Finding The Joy
Feeling very honoured to be able to share these thoughts from Ellie about how God has been working in her life throughout 2013. I hope as you read her post you will be challenged to find the same Jesus-centred joy in your own life. Lx
I love seeing God at work in things you never thought He would be. I love looking back on things that have happened and that awesome feeling you get, when you realise God was there, guiding you through. I love seeing the path He’s brought me on and where He’s got me to. I have a pretty sweet life and a lot to be thankful for. Every day is an absolute blessing.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
As we begin a new year, I thought it was the perfect time to reflect on what God has been doing specifically in my life over the last year. He has definitely shown me that despite the sadness and stress that we as humans, inevitably experience, joy is always just around the corner. For me 2013 has been about finding the joy.
“There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning”
In September, I grieved the loss of my Great-Grandad, the long-standing head of the legendary Gauge family. In the tears and grief that comes with death, I was able to celebrate the incredible life he had - all 104 years of it! At the funeral I sung the song ‘What A Wonderful World’, and in reflection over the entire year, I feel a real affinity with the song. It is true, life in all its glory, is simply wonderful. We should learn to cherish it, and rejoice in it.
In May, my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had chemotherapy, and then surgery and is now on the final stage of treatment which is six weeks of radiotherapy. The last eight months have seen constant to-ing and fro-ing from various hospital appointments. There’s been a lot of waiting around for her to reach the next ‘cancer milestone’. Her hair fell out, so did her eyelashes and her eyebrows. We were all hit by something truly horrible, something you never imagine would be so close to home.
But, as well as getting cancer, this year, she also beat it. How amazing is that? She has eyebrows and her hair is growing back. She has a very neat surgery scar that is healing beautifully. She has smiled throughout, and beat the utterly disgusting disease with a real joy and courage. She doesn’t even realise it but, she has coped brilliantly and I know everyone is incredibly proud of how well she has pulled through. She is amazing.
“For the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This year has been hectic, busy, stressful and at times pretty tough. And yet throughout it all I have felt loved, supported and incredibly blessed.
I have struggled as we all do with doubt and fear, but I have learned to trust that God has your back. 2013 has been full of incredible opportunities and unforgettable experiences. I performed in two shows and directed three. I finished my first year at uni. I spent seven weeks in Zambia on a Drama Project, where I met and worked with some truly inspirational people. I moved into a house. I signed a contract for a new house. And on top of it all I have been able to share everything with some incredibly beautiful people. For that, I am eternally grateful.
It’s easy, on reflection, to know that God was there. It’s quite clear now that God was faithful. That he provided for my every need.
It seems obvious, looking back, that there will be joy eventually.
What I find much harder is remembering all that when the trying situation is staring you right in the face. Then, it’s easy to forget God, to blame Him, to leave Him out of the picture, because you can’t see a way He could fit in.
What we have to remember that joy is a promise to us. It’s something incredible granted to us, by the sheer fact that Jesus came.
It’s not about what we do. It’s not dependent on our circumstances. It’s not made by us. It’s a promise. It’s a gift. It’s ready for us to open and hold onto. We just have to know that and trust that there is always joy if we choose to find it. That’s what’s hard.
But with God, all things are possible - so it’s definitely doable. My hope for 2014 is that I am able to live a joy-filled life, and to keep the joy alive in everything.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8)
Ellie is in her second year at St John's College, Durham University, studying Education & Theology. She spends most of her time in Durham involved in various theatrical productions - whether that be performing or directing. So far she has been part of 7 shows, most recently directing DULOG's 'Guys & Dolls' to be performed in the Gala at the end of January. Since her gap year in Dominica she has caught the travelling bug, and is now heavily involved in the Durham Zambia Drama Project.