Three weeks ago my family and I moved 200 miles to Birmingham from Cornwall. It felt like all we are, who we are, what defines us, had been packed into boxes and been loaded onto a van. Some was going with us, other stuff was going to family members to store for us. Things felt broken, separated and uncertain. Continue reading Learning Community
A few days ago I went on a short prayer walk with some friends to pray for our local churches, and in particular the youth work within them.
We met at the bottom of a china clay tip near St Austell, walked to the top together then split up for about 20 minutes to walk, wander, pray and listen to God, and we were asked to think about 2 questions… 1) what is God saying to you, and 2) what is God saying to the churches.
I’ll be honest and say often at these sorts of things I’m grappling around trying to discern God’s voice from among my own thoughts, but this time was different. Continue reading Trusting God’s direction
I remember a time about 3 or 4 years ago when I had a great feeling of what I now describe as loneliness. I felt distant from God and other people and while I was incredibly busy do many things, much of what I was doing felt somewhat empty. Coupled with a great uncertainty about the future of my life I was not in a great place spiritually or emotionally.
I’d been running SACREdplace, the Christian Bookshop in St Austell for 2 or 3 years and while it had been a dream come true to have that job, finances in particular were struggling and the pressure was taking it’s toll on me.
Looking back, it was around that time that deep down I began to realise that God was going to call me to leave the shop and on to pastures new, but while I say I began to realise it, it was so deep down I couldn’t grasp hold of it. I was still feeling lost. I remember daily on my walk to work passing same azalea rain or shine and praying, ‘Where are you Lord, I can’t feel you. I feel like a fool. I feel false when I preach and lead things, I feel incomplete, un-holy.’
One day I was sat at my desk, those similar thoughts and prayers going around my mind and for a moment I looked up and took notice of the picture frame that sat on my office window. A number of years before I had design a number of Bible texted pictures and this was one of them, quoting Romans 8:39 (below). As I read those words a new sense of peace came over me. It was a verse I saw almost daily, yet didn’t truly see until now. The struggles and feelings of loneliness didn’t disappear, but I did feel a renewed strength to deal with them, knowing however I feel, nothing can separate me from God’s love.
I’ve been thinking about that this week because a friend gave me these verses only a few days ago, reminding me of the picture…
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39, NIV UK
Reading those verses again it’s been a reminder of just how far God has lead me over these few short years. As I and my family prepare to move to Birmingham and I begin training for full time ministry there are so many things to think about, organise, work out and at times worry about. But in and through it all, I am comforted and strengthened in the knowledge that nothing can separate me and my family from the love of God.
I hope you can be strengthened and comforted by that too.