December 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
These past few months, I think it’s safe to say, have been pretty difficult. With no real money coming in, a small pot in the bank which has been paying the bills while we wait and hope for Messy Dad’s business plan to kick in, and learning to live together again it’s been hard work.
We’ve had lots of moments when we’ve wondered if we’d made the right calls. We’ve had moments wondering if the next step is a career move to China for a few years. We’ve both worked hard getting our respective businesses set up right, allowing each other space, encouraging, holding on…
But when the bills get paid each month and the pot of money goes down again and again and there’s nothing significant coming in, it does tend to produce the odd occasion of panic.
But God hasn’t been entirely silent.
Standing on the moors, in the mist. Beautiful, but undirectional. What direction do we go in? See the mountain in the distance – we have a goal but no idea what lies between us and that. As we move forwards, more of the path will be revealed. Growing in faith! The moors – beautiful, but unsustaining. Can’t just stay in one place, as beautiful as it is. Life as it is, with [Messy Dad] at home more, serving the church more, is beautiful but utterly unsustainable in the natural.
One afternoon after church we came home to find an envelope full of money had been left on our doorstep – we’ve never ever had money given to us like that before. Ever! We still don’t know who blessed us like that. It was a blessing of far more than just finances, it was a little reminder that God hadn’t forgotten us.
Wedding – vows of faithfulness to each other, felt like today we were reaffirming our marriage vows with God. God promised me, I won’t break my faith with you.
I wanted to write a post to collate all the various words and pictures that have been brought to us over the past couple of months as we’ve been wondering if we’re even trying to walk in the right direction at all.
A maze, and a flagpole in the centre. Having to just walk forward in faith, knowing where we are headed but not knowing the route. An exercise in faith, not being able to see the next step, but having to have faith to keep walking forwards. (Abraham didn’t have GPS!) Where it looks like a dead end in the maze, a door will open. Have faith! The flagpole not just a bearings marker, but bearing a Union Flag: significant – not just to remain here in the British Isles but also significant in that it represents a Union, Togetherness. The mist – there is blessing in the mist. Pray the mist into clouds, and the clouds into rain, and receive that blessing.
Praying the mist into clouds, the clouds into rain, and to receive the blessing in the rain… I’ve been doing that! I see the mist as all the potential jobs out there for my husband. I know how good he is at what he does, I know his passion, his desire to do what he does, I see how much he cares and wants to train others too.
Continue to model God’s heart for Family in the way we live our lives.
One of the feelings that Messy Dad had over this past week is that God is pushing us, slowly, slowly, but pushing us more and more, to see just how much we trust Him. How far do we trust Him before our hearts can’t take it any more and we go begging to the bank for another overdraft extension….
Blockage in a gutter / downpipe – need to pray through the blockage, to release the blessings.
We’ve been feeling (well, I’ve been feeling) pretty disconnected the past few days, it’s not helped that Messy Baby has had a couple of random nights of being sick at 4am and then being absolutely fine afterwards so we are feeling the tired-strain at the moment.
Be yourself – God has made you unique, with a unique voice. You have been created like this for a reason.
Tomorrow was going to be the beginning of our biggest test: most of the big bills get paid in the middle of a month and I honestly did not know whether they were all going to be paid this month. I knew next month was out of the question, anyway. So to be given another envelope full of money this afternoon almost reduced me to tears…. Thankyou, SO much. To know that you care this much for us, is as much as blessing as the finances to pay this month’s bills is.
A snow-globe…. knowing that God has a plan and purpose for us, but not being able to see it clearly. Knowing it has been detailed and carefully wrought, but not able to see it fully. TRUST.
Well, it may seem kind of trivial… But a lovely group of ladies who I talk with regularly did a little secret santa. To be completely honest I’m not even sure that this was my actual secret santa present, the only clue was in the address label which had “craft” in the middle of my name!! But of all the things to send me, and then of all the days to pick to open the thing….
A HUGE poster print that I think we need to put up somewhere prominent, saying
Be thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart,
Naught be all else to me save that thou art,
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.
Hmmm. I kinda get the feeling that God is trying to get the message through to trust Him…….
December 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
December 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
Y’know for years I have struggled trying to find a kids/church balance. When Messy Boy was a baby, I dreamed of leaving him in creche as soon as possible, for him to be happy to be left, and for me to be able to get back into the service whether that was just to be able to hear the preach, or play or sing in the band.
Needless to say it didn’t quite happen like that.
What happened was that for a short while I made it out to evening groups. Then baby got a bit fussy. We did manage to put him to bed at other peoples’ houses on occasion but not that often. Over the past three years my physical attendance at our church has waxed and waned – as Boy headed towards two years old it was a sweet time for me as he started enjoying going to creche and I was able to get back into the band and start exercising my brain and fingers again a bit. We had a good time while he was two. Messy Dad and I would alternate who went out to homegroup and who would stay in with Boy. Then I got pregnant again and sickness stopped a lot of things, although I was singing and playing in the band still once a month (I reckon the bean enjoyed it, even if he did kick the bass guitar a few times!).
Since Baby has arrived though I’ve barely been to any homegroup meetings. Well, barely any evening meetings at all: Baby is one who likes his bed of an evening, and likes his Mama to be close. Which, in and of itself is something I don’t mind at all really! It means I get regular downtime in the evenings putting the boys to bed, and it’s a lovely way to end their day (and mine) by snuggling up together. And it’s something of a special occasion if I get to hear the preach of a Sunday morning. But, that said, my understanding of what Church is is changing as a result.
My “church”, as in, the gathering of God’s people, happens all over the place. At toddler groups. Cafès. The local indoor softplay. Creche. Coffee time after the official service has finished. Saturday morning breakfasts. Playdates. Online, even. Via text message, email, or phonecall.
See – what I’m realising is that church isn’t just Sunday mornings or midweek homegroup meetings. It’s not just the breakfast or evening prayer meetings. It’s whenever and wherever the people of God meet, with the Holy Spirit there (who lives in us, right? That’s kinda central really, so the Holy Spirit is there, fact): that’s Church. It’s being part of each others’ lives. I saw a funny little thing on facebook earlier about ‘fake’ vs. ‘real’ friends: how fake friends ask for food but real friends are the reason you’ve no food left; how fake friends knock on the door but real friends walk in and say “hi, I’m home!” It made me think because the way ‘real’ friends were described was how I’d think of family. Which is exactly what Church should be: family.
So what’s so “just” about an Open Home?! It’s not “just” an Open Home. It’s Life. Our life is an Open Home.
“They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.”
– Acts 2:46-47
There’s nothing “just” about an Open Home. It should be a very real part of daily life for Christians. For those, like me, who struggle to fit in to the norm of attending Sunday morning services and evening homegroups, open homes are essential for maintaining our spiritual life and staying connected to the wider Church.
So when you next see an invitation to an Open Home, and you’re struggling to stay alive in your faith, get along to it. It’s so much more than “just” company and a cup of tea.