Hello! My name is Joy Aletheia Stevens. Actually you already saw my name, even if you didn’t know it… The Joyful Truth. Yes, you see the Joy, but the truth is hidden in my middle name, Aletheia, which is Greek for truth. Which is, of course, the point of my blog, to search for God’s hidden Truth.
Anyway, if you are going to read this blog and trust in anything it has to say, you might want to know who is writing it, so I will tell you a little about myself and I will try to make it short.
I was raised in a Christian home by loving parents who from a very young age encouraged me to love God wholeheartedly and to search for Him in His word. I used to teasingly say that I feel like I grew up in seminary because of the depth of teaching I received as a very small child from the adults around me. One thing I’ll always be grateful for is how my mother would encourage me to never just take a pastors word for it over a particular truth, but to always go back to the Word and in prayer and seek out the truth for myself. I believe this is part of the reason that as I grew older I felt no need to go through the “questioning phase” I saw many other people I grew up with go through as they sought to figure out what they believed apart from their parents, you see my beliefs were always my own and in no way just an offshoot of what my parents thought.
I did have some difficulty as a teenager though, but it came in the form of medical issues rather than a crisis of faith or a season of rebellion. At the age of fifteen I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis. I won’t go into the details of that time here, but it was, and still is a difficult part of my life. My liver as it stands has been (according to my doctors) teetering on the cliff between cirrhosis and complete failure for more than a decade. I firmly believe in healing, and I do know God can heal me. However it’s up to Him when that happens and as long as He finds a purpose for His glory for me to keep on as I am, well then that is fine. (Though whenever and however He wants to heal me, I’m fine with that to!)
As a teenager this was all very difficult for me, especially the medications. I was placed on a high dose of prednisone, a steroid with a multitude of side effects, but the most severe for me was depression. I often felt like I wanted to just sink into the couch and cease to exist. I wasn’t suicidal, but honestly only because suicide would have taken to much effort and I had nothing left in me. At the worst point of this time I felt like there was simply no joy to be had in life and no reason for living. I felt like all joy was in heaven, and we just weren’t meant to taste it here on earth.
It was at this point that a young man I knew (the man I’d eventually marry in fact) gave me a verse: Psalm 27:14. As was my habit I not only read it, but the verse behind it, as I feel one should study the context around a verse in order to get its full message.
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14
Oh how I held on to that verse! I meditated and meditated on it! I claimed it as my own! I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the LIVING!
And I have.
I was told the damage to my body might not let me have children, I was told that I needed a liver transplant, that my body might fail at any time, that they couldn’t guarantee tomorrow. That was over a decade ago and as I write this I am listening to my husband having a tickle war with our daughter on the floor. Believe me when I say I know His goodness.
Today I am a happy wife and mother, and though my doctors still preach caution I am relatively healthy even after developing a second autoimmune disorder to add to my first. I stand every day in awe of Him. I’ve been worshiping Him from the time I was a dancing child singing louder then anyone in the room until now. I will worship Him always.
I am more than you know
I am worth less than my price
I understand more than can be understood
I know less than a child
I’ve seen farther than the most distant star
I haven’t traveled much
I love more than I can comprehend
I do not love enough
~Joy Aletheia Stevens