You may know Candace Payne as the stay-at-home mom from Texas who went viral after laughing hysterically while wearing a toy Chewbacca mask on Facebook Live. However, Candace is “much more” than a viral video star, and has a great deal of whimsical wisdom to offer as she encourages others to embrace freedom and experience defiant joy. In her book, Laugh it Up!, Candace shares her secrets for leading a life filled with joy. Today she shares with us how learning the art of contentment paves the way. It’s a grace to welcome Candace to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Candace Payne

Through circumstances beyond my control, I abruptly ended my college studies and an exciting musical theater focus to move back home and care for ailing grandparents.

During that season, I met my husband, married, and put many of my own dreams on hold to pursue love and family.

I entered into what I call the “anonymous years”…living life backstage instead of center stage, as it were.

I no longer found myself in a line waiting to audition for interesting roles in a play, but rather a grocery checkout line buying bulk diapers.

And to say I didn’t struggle would be untrue.

For a while, it felt as though my purpose and identity were fading like the late-day sun.

My grandmother, Annie Mae, was someone special to me. More than my grandma, she was a beautiful mirror into everything kind and lovely that I longed to become.

Both before and after the dementia took hold of her, she was an ornery lady with sass and sparkle in her eyes in equal parts. You never truly knew what that woman was plotting.

In her younger days, my grandma would make the best pot roast, force me to take a nap when I visited her house, eat a five-gallon bucket of ice cream in one sitting if she wanted (she loved pecans, pralines, and cream), and jerk out her dentures in one swift motion to scare the dickens out of me for her own sheer amusement.

In her later days, Annie Mae struggled with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and though she didn’t remember my name, she always laughed at my jokes, and I knew she knew me.

No applause or crowd laughter will ever carry as much weight as the memories I have of making my sweet Annie Mae laugh.

When we were together, and as I hummed hymns while brushing her hair, I felt more love and appreciation than I could ever earn on a stage.

I found contentment in just being her granddaughter; in simply sitting and holding her hand.

During those “anonymous” years, I discovered that who I was wasn’t dependent on where I was (aka, on a stage).

The shift came when I realized that contentment is not always achieved in fulfilling our grandiose life goals. 

It’s found in quiet moments and memories, many of which can so easily be lost to time and busyness if we don’t work to preserve them.

Simply put, contentment is not natural, it’s a learned behavior and a choice.

“…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11b ESV)

But if we can work to preserve it each day, stop it from slipping through the cracks, we will find a surprising byproduct waiting for us.

Deep inside a heart that can find contentment regardless of heartache, disappointment, rejection, or failure, is my beautiful friend, joy.

It’s in contentment that we find authentic joy.

Joy may not always be full of laughter, but she most assuredly she offers comfort in spite of our circumstances or position in life. Every time.

Are you capturing the small moments of contentment offered each day, week or month?

Or are you letting them fade into obscurity?

Catch them! Hold on to them!

Let them be your anchor.

And whether you’re backstage or center stage, claim your contentment and let it lead you to joy.



Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose video of trying on a Chewbacca Mask became the most-viewed Facebook Live video in history (170+ million views). She has been featured in more than 3,000 media outlets and has interviewed with major media such as Good Morning America, FOX & Friends,  “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” The New York Times, PEOPLE and Cosmopolitan.

Her first book, Laugh It Up! tells the rest of the story behind the woman in the mask. Like most of us, Candace has often felt overlooked, undervalued, and insignificant. But she has also discovered the secrets to unshakable joy that no circumstance can take away, and Laugh It Up! will help you discover and experience the same.

Join Candace to discover the gift God has given us all to experience life to the fullest. All you need to do is answer “yes” when joy, whom Candace personifies as a friend, calls you to come and play. With humor and power, wit and wisdom, Candace lights the way forward to a life that is free indeed.

[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]