Indescribable Joy

Do you recognize the name Peter Halajian? At 26, Peter moved to Naugatuck, Connecticut from his native homeland of Armenia. His job at a thriving rubber plant allowed him the flexibility to pursue his dream of one day owning his own fruit and candy business. After work he and his two daughters made sweet treats and sold them door-to-door. They soon became known for their high-quality creations, and business picked up quickly. After just five years, Peter achieved his dream of becoming self-employed. Customers found his last name hard to pronounce, so he legally changed it to its English equivalent, Paul. By 1912, Peter Paul opened his third candy shop and his brother-in-law Cal Kazanjian joined the business.

During World War I, candy makers were commissioned to provide chocolate bars for the soldiers. Doughboys in the trenches in Europe benefited from having such a convenient, high-energy, long-lasting food. After the soldiers returned home, these candy bars remained a great source of enjoyment and comfort. Peter and Cal’s enterprise grew quickly, along with their dreams and ambitions. In order for them to move forward, they persuaded four close friends and relatives to invest in their business.  

As a result, the Peter Paul Manufacturing Company was born. Their core values set them apart from the competition: “Give customers fresh, quality candy and top value for their money.” While they offered a variety of sweet treats that became popular, it was eventually the Mounds bar that became the favorite. It became such a hit that keeping up with the demand became harder and harder since manufacturing was laboriously time-consuming. In 1922, a new factory was purchased and the future looked brighter than ever. By 1930, the company developed innovative machinery to meet the ever-growing demand, and production took off.

While many companies floundered during the Depression, Peter Paul’s company took a significant risk proving they had not forgotten they were servants of the public. They promised to offer the same exact product for whatever the public could pay. They prospered from the wholehearted support of the public. 

World War II challenged the growing company once again after the Japanese overtook the Philippines – the company’s source for coconuts. They took a tremendous risk by buying and sending seven small boats to the Caribbean for loads of coconuts, all the while evading German submarines. A lack of coconut, sugar rationing, and chocolate shortages caused other companies to resort to using lesser quality ingredients and fillers. Once again, Peter Paul refused to lower its quality or raise prices. They adhered to their original core values of fresh quality at top value. In fact, Cal Kazanjian promised, “We will make Mounds the right way, or we will close the company down until we can.”

Once again, the U.S. military became their best customer and the company packed five million candy bars into combat rations every month. After the war, Almond Joy became popular and was marketed alongside the Mounds bar with the famous tagline, “indescribably delicious”. 

It’s that tagline that kept sticking in my mind as I wrestled with describing the massive amount of joy that comes from being set free in Christ. I know I’m not alone in my inability to express it properly because it seems the apostles Peter and Paul found it just as frustrating. 

In 2 Corinthians 9:14-15, Paul referred to God’s surpassing grace as “His indescribable gift.” The New Living Translation says it this way: “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” If you’ve experienced grace and freedom, you know precisely how that feels! 

In an effort to encourage Jewish Christians scattered by persecution, Peter got personal by reminding them, “You love [Jesus] even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” Peter had seen Jesus in the flesh. He watched Him perform miracle after miracle. He listened to everything He had to say. He was in Jesus’ inner circle for crying out loud, and he still betrayed Him. But Jesus loved him anyway. Jesus forgave him anyway. Jesus went to the cross for him anyway. Peter absolutely understood inexpressible joy – and so do I. 

I’ve tried describing inexpressible joy using words and phrases like effervescent, jumping out of my shoes, overwhelming, a heavy load lifted, energizing, reviving, extraordinary, etc. No superlative sings nearly loud enough to do the job justice. Instead, what I’ve decided is that it’s our lives that are meant to do the talking when it comes to indescribable joy.   

I want to live a life that proves I’ve not only tasted and experienced joy, but I’ve digested something unique and incomprehensibly sweet. I refuse to let Satan get the best of me again! By remaining true to our core values of loving God and loving people, others will want to taste and see for themselves that the Lord is good and His “mounds” of mercy are everlasting. Our indescribable joy will fix our eyes on the future even as we endure hardships. We will see our struggles as the events that propel us into the presence of God and bring us peace. At times, we may need to be innovative, risk being transparent, join hands with other joyful people, or streamline our many efforts in order to inspire others to truly experience the joy of the Lord. No matter what, we can be sure that the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Jesus gave us good advice: “This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!” (John 16:24, The Message)

Lord, we’re asking! In Your name! Let us never be satisfied with lesser ingredients or fillers when it comes to experiencing Your joy. Overflow our hearts, especially in the hard times. Let others witness our joy and realize this kind of joy only comes from trusting in You.

In Jesus name, Amen. 

Posted in
a photo of a person jumping off sand

Donna Jackson

My God Story – Ella Van Deusen

By Donna Jackson | June 21, 2022 |

I’ve waited weeks now to introduce you to my sweet friend Ella Van Deusen! We first met when I began to serve the elementary aged children in our church. At the age of ten, Ella’s understanding of God and His Word made leading her small group a huge blessing. I’ve watched her grow into an…

One of the Good Ones

By Donna Jackson | June 14, 2022 |

You may call me shameless, and that’s okay.  However, I have someone who deserves a pat on the back. Some royal treatment. A great big “attaboy”. I’m sure you have a “someone” in your life who deserves the same. Even the apostle Paul told the Romans they should give honor to those to whom it is…

Weary and Discouraged

By Donna Jackson | June 7, 2022

As the iconic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” opens, we meet George Bailey, a banker who soon finds himself trapped under a boulder of challenging circumstances. Even though he has a wife, children, extended family, and friends who love him and would gladly help, he still feels trapped. At his lowest point, he feels like…

Your Story

By Donna Jackson | May 17, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your life’s story would read if it were part of the Bible? Would it be complicated or comical? Melodramatic or monotonous? Apathetic or adventurous? Heartbreaking or heroic? I wonder what Moses thought of the whole Exodus story. His exploits were definitely legendary – the stuff blockbusters are made of –…

I Don’t Want To

By Donna Jackson | May 10, 2022

For several years, our small tribe of women met for Bible study with female inmates in our local jail. They shared their stories of abuse, drugs, tragedy, and great sorrow. We did our best to point them to Jesus, the only One who could heal their hurt and help them find lasting peace. Since we…

No Time to Play Games

By Donna Jackson | May 3, 2022

Last Monday rubbed my patience about as raw as sushi. And I hate sushi. Everything I tried to do went sideways. In my mind, I imagined flinging my computer across the room so it would feel the same amount of grief it had caused me. Every click of the cursor apparently filled the hard drive…

A Life That Matters

By Donna Jackson | April 19, 2022

The motley tribe of seven disciples sat quietly beside the sea trying to understand the most recent swirl of events. Their time spent as Jesus’ close companions had given them direction and a purpose. But now, everything was changing so quickly. Their teacher, friend, and Messiah had been tortured, humiliated, and killed by Roman soldiers.…

You May Argue, But …

By Donna Jackson | April 12, 2022

Whenever my brain waves begin to lay flat and my mind becomes exhausted from a day of writing, I grab a glass of tea and the TV remote. I depend on Joanna Gaines and Giada DeLaurnetiis to give my mind a break. They offer the inspiration I need to fill a skillet or two for…

What Do You Want for the Children in Your Life?

By Donna Jackson | April 10, 2022

What do you want for the children in your life? That was the question I posed this week to a room full of courageous ladies in drug rehab. Answers flew back: “Happiness”, “Peace”, “Strength”, “A relationship with God”. In a previous Bible study, they had asked for a message on parenting. My wheels immediately began…

Why Travel Perfection Road?

By Donna Jackson | April 5, 2022

On the outside my grandmother Josephine looked like any other grandmother. She wore glasses, gray hair, and her share of wrinkles and spots. But on the inside pumped the heart of a playful little girl. We cut paper dolls out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog, sang at her piano, and turned brand-new pointed Crayola…