First of all I would like to thank-you all for the amazing support and kind words I have received from setting up this blog. God truly has given me the gift of having wonderful people in my life. You all have such kind and loving hearts! Thank-you!
But today, I would like to explain something, kind of setting the record straight as such. For years I have received such lovely comments and people tell me I’m an inspiration and don’t get me wrong, your beautiful words really do touch my heart and I’m so thankful. However I also want to let you all know, that whilst this blog is a chronicle of my life, I don’t want it ever to turn out as something all about me, because it’s not, it’s about my Saviour Jesus. Yes I want to raise awareness of chronic illnesses and give you all updates and an insight into my life, but I want this blog to be a display of God and how He is working through me.
Therefore I want to share a thought that has been on my mind for quite some time. Something God has been teaching me day by day, month by month and year by year. It is a teaching that has been vital to my life and getting through each day despite the pain, disability and whatever else EDS throws at me.
For many years I’ve lived with a false understanding of the word “joy.” In the past if anyone had asked me what this word meant, I would have replied “it means being happy.” With believing in this false meaning of joy I never understood when the Bible said to be joyful in whatever circumstances. It just didn’t make any sense, how could I be happy that I was in pain? To me this was utterly illogical and to add to confusion the worldly dictionary definition of the term just complicated things more. The dictionary defines joy as;
‘the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.’
Is it just me that “being happy and glad that I’m in pain” sounds plain crazy?? However after a long time of considering this and the more I grew in Christ with His transforming power, He began to show me what this phrase “joy” really meant and it truly was a breath of fresh air! To learn that the true meaning of joy goes beyond emotion and dictionary definition was amazing. I began to see I didn’t have to be glad and happy that I was suffering, that it’s okay at times to cry, to be frustrated and that it’s perfectly normal to hate pain! But instead this true Biblical meaning of joy meant I could depend on God regardless of the difficulties and rejoice in God, that no matter what I may face I have God there, right by my side, carrying me, strengthening me and wiping away my tears.
I am so glad that joy doesn’t simply mean happiness. True joy exceeds all circumstances, it is the natural response of the heart which occurs when we recieve the overwhelming assurance that God is all we need, when we confidently rely on the promise of God and when we trust and depend solely on Jesus despite adversity.
‘The miracle of joy is this, it happens when there is no apparent reason for it. Circumstances may call for despair. Yet something different rouses itself inside us…we remember God.’ (Ruth Senter)
Joy is a recurrent theme throughout the Bible, in Philippians Paul speaks of the ultimate joy of living in Christ, whilst James reminds us that we can find joy through suffering when we allow these trials to strengthen our relationship with Christ. Joy truly is a wonderful fruit of the Spirit and I am so happy that God has showed me what it truly means. I truly have discovered God’s presence in the midst of suffering. I am thankful that I can depend and trust in my Saviour through this difficult time in my life. For suffering doesn’t mean there is absence of God’s love, rather it portrays that I am weak and helpless. Without I am nothing but I am full of joy in that through my suffering I can allow God to use my situation to transform me, for He is powerful, sovereign and strong. He is King!
Right now it seems like I’m being drowned in disappointment, just one struggle after another, each day dragging on with more pain and exhaustion. Yet I can rejoice that God is King, He is in control and He will never leave my side.
‘Consider it joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ James 1:2-4
So to whoever reads this today, whatever you are going through, I pray that you too will find true joy.