New Memoir Unpacks the Concept of Joy, its Connections to Grief and Painand Introduces the “Joy Quotient” For Assessing, Enhancing Daily Joy Levels

Make Room for Joy! By Speaker, Adversity and Life Strategist Vanessa Joy Walker


Have you ever experienced a crisis or series of crises so devastating that you wonder if you’ll ever be happy again? 

Public speaker and adversity and life strategist Vanessa Joy Walker, has, time and again.  Abandoned at birth, betrayed by her adoptive father and later by her husband, diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer—twice—then heartbroken by infertility and its losses, Walker has had every reason to question whether happiness exists at all.

Yet along the way she discovered something far more powerful and enduring: joy.

In her debut memoir, Make Room for Joy! Choose Hope, Discover Purpose and Cultivate Joy in the Middle of Life’s Most Complicated Seasons Walker recounts in poignant detail her journey and its invaluable lessons. Above all: contrary to popular belief, happiness and joy are two vastly different things.

"WHAT’S BETTER THAN HAPPINESS, ESPECIALLY IN TOUGH TIMES? JOY!"Happiness, which our world is fixated on, is fleeting. It is not reliable or sustainable during the most challenging times.  In contrast, we can embrace and experience joy all the time—whether standing victoriously on top of the mountain or caught in the middle of the darkest, coldest night.  Joy, fueled by hope and faith, is a sense, a peace, a stillness, a healing balm and an energy.  It is a force that fills in the cracks of brokenness and repairs the damage left in the wake of life’s disasters.

Regardless of happiness, every moment is gifted with the possibility of joy, Walker writes. But inviting and welcoming joy into our journey requires a conscious effort. From choosing gratitude and looking in the direction of hope to being prepared for crises at all times and making room for grief to breathe, Make Room for Joy! offers Walker’s unique wisdom about embracing joy, accepting its relationship with pain and struggles, recognizing the beauty of its complications, and understanding its deep connection with faith. 

To help evaluate her own level of joy at any given moment and empower others to do the same, Walker created the concept of a “Joy Quotient.” She encourages everybody to get in the habit of checking in with themselves every day to see where their joy quotient stands. The definition changes from day to day, and is different for everyone.  

Each chapter concludes with a list of questions readers can ask themselves to help activate the book’s concepts in their own lives.

Topics Walker can address include:

  • What’s the purpose of joy?
  • What is your joy quotient today and how can you increase it?
  • Why and how to lean into pain
  • Why your partner should NOT make you happy
  • The beauty of embracing “It’s complicated” 
  • Stop being busy.  Every moment is a destination
  • Why it’s okay not to be okay
  • How to make room for grief to breath—and grow from the experience

The book also gives an up-close look at Walker’s struggles with divorce, breast cancer, infertility, surrogacy and miscarriage before she ultimately finds lasting love, serenity through faith and peace in the knowledge that life’s best and most beautiful elements are not a result of the most comfortable journeys.

Praise for Make Room for Joy!

“Finding real joy in the middle of crises can feel impossible, but through Vanessa’s journey you will discover that it is possible. This book is a must read if you are ready to seek and experience real joy no matter what you are facing.”

—Pastor Jim Cymbala, Best Selling Author and Pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle

“Vanessa is the embodiment of grace and heavenly joy. She genuinely practices what

she preaches. Even in her rawest moments she exhibits compassion and humor.”

—Dr. Keisha Thompson, Ph.D., GoalsBrunch Founder

“Vanessa Is a game changer with a beautiful soul”

—Tammy Kling, Founder, The Conversation

About Vanessa Joy Walker

Vanessa Joy Walker lives up to her middle name. An adopted child, a cancer survivor, and an abuse survivor, Walker has toured the country and spoken to thousands about life’s seasons and choosing joy even in the midst of suffering. An iPEC Coach and founder/owner of JIllian Walker Management and Director of Operations at Point Made Learning, Walker thrives on helping both faith based and secular communities, and has spoken to thousands across the country as both as an Adversity Coach and with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers. Her book, Make Room for Joy (August 4, 2020), shows us how to find joy even when we’re in the thick of it. Brooklyn based, Vanessa currently resides in Chapel Hill, NC, and can be found singing, eating good food, and choosing joy along the way.  Learn more at