Joy: “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”
How often do we find ourselves looking back over our lives and reminiscing of all the good things that have happened, all the exciting things we have done and look forward to all that is to come?
We are filled with joy.
I am constantly taking pictures as I love to look back and remember the things I have done, photos transport me back to that exact time and place and I immediately feel like I am back in the moment experiencing the same feelings and emotions.
However, we aren’t always filled with this sense of joy. How often do we find ourselves in a state of depression worrying about our pasts, hoping for things we cannot change or wishing things didn’t happen?
I know I’m not filled with this same joy. But, why not?
It is so easy to view the world with a negative mindset yet we are told that it is in those times when life is hard and difficulties hit that we should be filled with joy.
James 1: 2-3 says:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for pure joy.”
This verse challenges me in so many ways, we need a change of mindset and focus, we need a strong faith in the midst of trials. My friend once told me that we don’t need joy when things are going well, we need it when life is hard and God is always there to supply it. This is so true, joy is God’s gift to us and this joy should be overflowing from our lives.
In Philippians, Paul is a great example of someone who’s life is overflowing with joy. Paul was imprisoned and was sentenced to death, yet in his writing he uses the word ‘joy’ 16 times. It is in some of his most difficult days that he wrote such encouraging words.
It is so easy to look for this joy and satisfaction in all the wrong places – work, family, relationships, money – but when we start to realise that we will only be completely satisfied in God and encounter Him on a daily basis then we will start to experience the fullness of His joy.



For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. Growing up I would play schools with my teddies as pupils, boss everybody about and have obsessions with stationery (although the stationery obsession hasn’t changed much). For the past four years I have been pursuing this dream of becoming a teacher as I studied Primary Education at university, and in August I will begin my first year of teaching.

This week has been very exciting as I found out that I have passed my dissertation and have been placed in my first choice council for my first job. As I reflect back on what I have learnt over the past four years in training to be a teacher I have come to realise the similarities to teaching and my faith. Some of these I want to share with you.

One of the main things which a teacher faces every day is the variety of needs and abilities of the children they teach. Recently God has revealed to me, yet again, that He created me, not to be the same as the person next to me but to be individually unique. So often we try to conform to the ways of this world but God created each of us differently and it is because of these differences that He loves us. In the same way that I teach children to be themselves and to relish their differences, I am trying to remember that God loves me the way I am, and I should love others in the same way.

If you have ever spent any time in a classroom observing learning taking place you will see that no child learns in the same way. Although this may seem great, it can prove difficult when trying to prepare lessons. However, the same thing occurs when I am learning about God. I find that the ways in which I learn about what God is teaching me are not the same as my family and friends. At first I thought I was doing something wrong but I have realised that it is not the ways in which we learn but the learning that matters. God wants me to meet Him daily, whether this be reading my Bible, praying or worshipping Him, and when I do this I learn more about what He has done, what He is doing and what His plans are for the future. My relationship flourishes when I choose to learn in the way that suits me and not trying to copy the ways that others meet with God.

One of the first things that my supervisors and tutors looked for when observing my teaching was the relationship that I had with the pupils. I think it is so refreshing to know that God is wanting the same. He wants my relationship with Him to be the most important. For a relationship to work time needs to be spent with that person; getting to know them, loving them and discovering who they are. When we spend time with God our relationship with Him grows and grows. Over the past couple months as I have dug deeper into His word, searched for Him further than I ever have before, relied on Him and loved Him, I feel that my relationship with God is growing stronger and stronger.

Finally, over the past four years I have come into contact with so many children that I have been able to work alongside and teach new and exciting things. However, not all children learn just the way you want them to. Some children really struggle in their learning, some children just don’t want to learn, some skip school and some can seem like they are taking everything in when in fact it is just a face they are putting on. I think Christians can be like this in their faith. At times our connection with God is great; we have a deep and personal relationship with God, but at other times we don’t. Sometimes we struggle to pray or read our Bibles, we struggle to hear from Him or struggle with what He is teaching us. Sometimes we just don’t want to learn, we can drift from our relationship with God. Some days we skip God from our lives, we think it is fine to not talk to Him one day or live God-filled lives. Or we can put on a face that we are drawing close to God to others where we can rhyme off Bible knowledge but in fact we are further than we have ever been from God. If the past four years have taught me anything it is that I am continuously passing through all of these phases in my relationship with God, my faith goes up and down but every time I drift from God and fall short, I learn something new and God forgives me and pulls me back again.






“Come As You Are”

Have you ever been in a place where you feel nothing? You have nothing left; no energy, no joy, and you feel physically and emotionally empty? A couple months ago this was me. I was running from everything life was throwing at me and I didn’t know where to turn. I had been hurt by those who loved me and those I cared deeply for were hurting. The pain I felt was like nothing I had ever felt before.

I hurt. I wept. I was lost.

The past year has been one of the hardest I have had to face. Satan attacked me and my family left, right and centre and I was feeling the effects. My family was torn apart. I went through a difficult break up. I pleaded to God for a way out, a solution to make the pain and hurting go away. I put on a smile and pretended life was great, but in reality it was far from it. I woke up each morning dreading the day ahead and constant worry and fear filled my days. Somewhere along the way…I got lost.

The relationship I had with God suffered. I lived for God on a Sunday but not the rest of the week. I tried but nothing seemed to work. But this dry spell didn’t last. In July 2015 I was sitting in a service asking God to speak to those listening, that He would come to each of them and let His presence be known. Little did I know, God had a plan for me…to return to him that night. As I prayed, God broke me down. I heard him call out my name, longing for me to come home to him. In that instant I wept, a lot! Letting go all that I had been feeling and holding onto for the past year. That night God said to me:

“Come as you are!”

He knows what I have been through, he knows what I have done, he knows the mess I was in, yet he still wants to know me and love me. To this day that truth still amazes me. I know I don’t deserve his love and forgiveness but he gives it freely anyway. God made the ultimate sacrifice by sending his son to take my place, forgiving me for all my wrongs. Whenever I think about the price that he paid I am constantly reminded of his unfailing, unconditional love. Love that isn’t dependent on anything that I can or can’t do. We are accepted, forgiven and loved.

1 John 4: 10:

“This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

The past few months for me have been those in which I am building up my relationship with God again. Time and time again I find myself in this situation but every time God teaches me something new. Whatever we go through, whatever we do, we can rest in his arms knowing he has taken the blame and we have nothing to fear. In our wrongs, on our bad days, when we hurt, when all we want to do is run away he calls us to turn to him and he will lift our weary heads, comfort us when we are weak, wipe away our hurt and tears.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4:

“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles.”

Having a relationship with Christ means that we live our lives for him, trusting that he will carry us through the hardships, the hurting and pain and knowing that although we don’t know what the future holds we know the one who holds it and we can rejoice in the fact that our Heavenly Father loves and cares for each and every one of us.







How many times have you been put down for the way you look?

How many times have you looked yourself in the mirror and felt ugly?

How many times have you scrolled through Instagram wishing you looked like someone else?

How many times have you turned to someone else to tell you that you look beautiful?

It is so easy in today’s society to fall into the trap of worrying about what we look like and how the world sees us. We are bombarded with models and celebrities who tell us how we should dress, how we should do our make-up and how we should live our lives. Our outward appearance becomes our focus and we get upset when who we are doesn’t meet these worldly expectations.

In a world where we rely daily on scrolling through social media sites we forget the one person whose opinion really matters…God’s.

In Genesis 1, it says:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

From the first chapter of the Bible God reminds us that he created us, and he created us to be like him. Isn’t that amazing! That someone who created the mountains, the seas and everything in between took time to make me and you! I am still blown away when I think about that. God designed me the way he wanted, he made me unique and in the image of him.

Psalms 139:13-14:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Yet it is so easy to forget this, it is so easy to want to change how we look and to resort to looking for our satisfaction in other people. But why do we do this? Yes, it is great when someone tells you that they like what you are wearing or think you look beautiful today. BUT it is not our outward appearance that makes us beautiful. Our outward appearances will fade and we may never be seen as beautiful by some people.  It is who we are on the inside that makes us truly beautiful and it is this true beauty that lasts forever!

I Peter 3:3-4:

“Do not be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

It isn’t easy to always be truly satisfied and know that YOU are beautiful in God’s eyes and not the world’s. Yet we will only be truly satisfied in HIM! We need to stop, turn to God and fix our eyes on him daily. The more time that we spend with God, in reading His word and praying the more beautiful we will become as we discover God’s purpose for our lives.