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Susan’s Story

Everyone has a story to tell. For Susan, the story revolves around how God has taught her to believe that the joy of the Lord is her strength. While she has faced the struggle of living through depression and other family illnesses, Susan desires to use the story of her struggle to point people toward the Source of hope. She longs for people to embrace the God who dances over them wildly with joy (Zephaniah 3:17). People have described her as genuine, friendly, practical, dynamic, and vibrant.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Susan M. Ward, Ph.D., has lived on the east coast for more than a decade. Susan began her speaking career early in life as a high school and collegiate debater. A Christian Leaders, Authors, and Speakers Seminar (CLASS) graduate, she speaks in a variety of different venues including churches, women’s groups, and business organizations.

Susan has a doctorate in communication studies and is a college professor. She enjoys studying how our communication influences the behavior of other people. More specifically, as a child of a parent with a disability, Susan is intrigued by how such children communicate given the influence of disability in their families. Though her friends tease her about it, she absolutely loves reading the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

Personally, Susan is most at home when sharing a cup of coffee with a friend and talking about the stuff of life. She is fascinated with the red holiday cups at Starbucks, thrives on making new friends, can be wooed into singing any line from The Sound of Music, and is an avid collector of Jetsons’ memorabilia. Thanks to her sixth-grade Latin America history teacher, Susan learned early where the Galapagos Islands are and plans to visit someday in order to pet a Galapagos tortoise.

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Defiant Joy’s Founding

During the fall of 2005, I was a part of a group studying the fruits of the spirit and as we covered the topic of joy, something stirred inside of me. As I listened to the speaker discuss what it means to live out the joy that God has given to us, I knew that the word “joy” needed to be a part of the name of the ministry. And then she said the word that would become forever ingrained in my mind: defiant. While it seems odd to use the word “defiant” in the name of a ministry, defiant joy so perfectly describes my own experience journeying through the process of recovering from emotional wounds and seeking to live a life driven by the joy that comes from knowing the One who loves me like no other.

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Defiant Joy’s Mission

mission: an inner calling to pursue an activity

Defiant Joy’s inner calling is two-fold:

  • To act as a stable reference point that continually directs people toward the cross
  • To proclaim that God has called each one of us to live life with a joy that defies, not denies, any undesirable circumstance we find ourselves in on a daily basis

My personal mission is as follows: My joy is anchored in God’s salvation of my soul. Equipped with such joy that defies the circumstances of life, I am able to move forward in the truth that He loves me with an everlasting love. To this end, I pursue the activity of living knowing that I am safe and secure emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

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Defiant Joy’s Purpose

purpose: the object toward which one strives or for which something exists

Defiant Joy’s purpose is: To strive to remind ourselves continually that God is the giver of life and the One who consistently dances over us with great shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17)

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Defiant Joy’s Core Values

value: worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor

Believing that Defiant Joy Ministries is the good work God has called me to do, the Ministry holds two core values as having worth in their usefulness for guiding this good work:

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Defiant Joy’s Guiding Principles

principle: a basic truth

The four basic truths that guide this ministry are:

  • God has called us to proclaim that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
  • God has called us to build grace-filled relationships with one another (1 Peter 4:10)
  • God has called us to live life with defiant joy (Philippians 4:6)
  • God has called us to care for those who have been emotionally wounded (Romans 12)

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