Our Stories: Ruth Maxwell
Hey hey lovely students!
I grew up in a Christian household in a town called Rochford, (near Southend), in Essex. I was so fortunate to be raised by two genuinely supportive parents while I was the youngest of four kids. As my parents were Christians I was taken to church from a young age. I always enjoyed church with the fun games, snacks and the knowledge that in an RE lesson at school I had the upper hand over other kids at knowing the answers. I guess I never truly understood the message of the Bible at this point. Throughout my childhood my family faced, what felt like, many trials. My sister was diagnosed with an incurable illness at a young age and so was in hospital in London while our family was torn apart for months on end. As I was only young, I didn’t entirely understand the severity of the situation but looking back I always admire the strength and perseverance of my parent’s faith to keep pursuing God in such difficult times. I guess from then on I just carried on floating through life, continuing to go to church but more for my friends rather than chasing after God.
When I was 16/17 however my home church split and a lot of the young families left. This left me in a confusing position of trying to search for a new church with people my age who I could relate to, while my Christian friends around me seemingly gave up on church. I think therefore coming to university was make or break with my faith. In a City that I didn’t know, living with girls from across the world with the added culture barriers, I can assure you I have never been more excited to go home than how I felt when the Christmas break came around. Thankfully after Christmas I got stuck into the Christian Union and began going to a church where I finally felt settled. After having a few years not properly in church, suddenly being surrounded by Christian friends was such a blessing throughout these ups and downs of first year. God taught me and showed me so much throughout my years at university, learning to place my reliance on Him and not in things that the world values; alcohol, clubbing, relationships. Although university hasn't been a super easy experience with its challenges along the way, it’s so clear to me how faithful God has been by placing in such a great city, with amazing people around me to help challenge and guide me.
This year I am serving the Church through ID, in particular City Students. After feeling so secure in second year that I had all the time in the world to decide what I wanted to do after uni I suddenly found myself terrified, lost and confused about my next steps once third year arrived. However, God is so good in placing us exactly where He wants us and I’m so grateful to be in Canterbury for another year, serving the Church, growing friendships and being apart of something I care so much about.
About the Author
Ruth is doing ID this year, serving City Students. She has just finished her degree in Drama and English Lit at the University of Kent. She is distantly related to Henry VIII’s wife Catherine of Aragon