3 Jan

At the start of this year I new it was going to be a life changing one for many reasons, namely our wedding.

As I reflect upon this year it holds special significance for a few events which have made me ‘grow up’. By grow up I don’t just mean in terms of mental/social maturity but also in my thinking and spirit. This has not been an easy year in my spirit, much has challenged me, made me uncomfortable, made me doubt, made me smile, laugh and cry. Seeing young people growing closer to God, mixed with times of just not knowing why I do it? That’s exactly the questions that makes me realise that it’s time for this retreat, time to remove myself from the ‘norm’ (whatever that is), why do I do it? This surely shows when my head and spirit are not in synch, when I move my eyes from God and onto strategy and counting upon my own skills, time and effort to get me through. So why do I do it? I don’t, God does. All I try to do is faithfully follow or at least what seems to me to be faithful. Sometimes just to follow faithfully is so difficult to do in this ‘driven’ or maybe purpose driven culture. Don’t get me wrong, being driven is no bad thing but I think I or perhaps we get things in the wrong order. Being driven should come from Gods leading and directing and not from an attitude or practice of fitting God into things. I struggle with this, culture and society so encapsulates us to put value into doing and not into being people of character and integrity.

2 events from this year stand out very brightly in terms of their effect and the memories that will live with me forever. These are things that have changed my life, changed my thinking.

May saw our marriage, after 5 years of being together. It was an amazing occasion with so many family and friends joining together from all different areas and parts of our lives. The occasion was deeply spiritual as was the sense of God being inherently tied together with us. The whole day and weeks following were just so right. I had and have this feeling of being settled. Not in a comfortable way where God doesn’t scare, excite or challenge me but in a way that through these things I now have a companion on the journey and so does Jo. It is no longer my journey but our journey. For me the analyst, the reflector, the worrier God was so obviously with the whole decision, preparation, day and times following.

The second memorable event was the death of Marc Ward. Although only friends for a few years we became close, closer than many that I have known for a longer period of time. Marc’s death from cancer was not a huge surprise as he had been through so many re-lapses. Marc was a man of honesty and passion and that will always be my abiding memory of him. I was left with so many feelings afterwards, feelings of guilt for not being more supportive in the last difficult days for him and his wife. Also feelings of anger with myself for not keeping more in touch. Marc’s funeral was a beautiful event, it was a true celebration of a Godly mans life. In everything, as we wept and laughed we saw God’s hand and felt his presence although at times we may not have seen or understood it.. Marc’s death was the first time that I have lost someone close that I can really truly remember. Losing Dad and other family members is hard for me to remember as I was so young. It has been the first time that I have really had to think about and deal with the issue emotionally, spiritually and theologically.

Events of 2005

London Marathon
Moving House
Marc Ward
Andy Potter starting at WHBC

With regards to my work with young people, God has been good. So much has happened, good times of progression that I have seen in peoples relationship with God as well as the tough times too. God has drawn people to our church and I have felt inadequate and incapable many times but I have stuck to the words of Merton (rough quote):

‘though I may nothing of it, I trust that God will lead me by the right path’

As someone who likes to plan the way ahead this is not always easy and requires a greater degrees of faith. But I know God to be faithful and the way that he has guided and moved the church in which he had asked me to serve has been fantastic to watch, although it has not always been easy. The appointment of a new minister fills me with hope for 2006 as we share together and corporately try to make this church a place that is truly community and truly family to the people that we come into contact with.

Thank you God that you continually watch over me, that you are faithful and that you give me so many good things.



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