Posted by: Mad Lamb | 26/09/2013

A year on

A year has passed since we moved to Bristol and there’s still no sign of changing jobs.  However the two-hour commute has now become the norm and we have survived financially, although the budget is still very tight. My mobility has improved substantially in this time despite substantial delays between medical appointments.

The emotional journey through the last thirteen months has been a mix of hope, fear, confusion, anger, exhaustion, doubt, isolation and frustration. Yet through it all there has been faith and trust, albeit of different levels, and some times it has been a conscious effort to not just give up.

That, itself, was a curious place to be. If we give up on faith and God, where does that leave us? In our own strength we can gain little more than we can hope for under God. If we make radical changes, away from where we felt God was calling us, then it is only the temporary freedom of past frustration that gives any sense of new hope. Over time the new situation will bring its own pressures and we are back looking for a new way forward or a way out.

Even if we give up on life itself, then we either have to face God in the afterlife or to experience nothing, which leaves us wondering what we thought our efforts and striving would achieve.

Christians can sometimes be accused of living in some happy-clappy head-in-the-cloud world but, for many, this is not the case. Some are openly persecuted and most face the same struggles and pressures of the rest of society. This is where it is of great comfort that the Bible contains books like Job, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Habakkuk. In fact, almost every book has an account of God’s people struggling with life and occasionally each other.

It is in this struggle that we realise we are not controllers of our world. It can seem like those with money and power have this luxury, but unexpected events can come for us all to challenge and change our attempts at plans.

There are even times when such struggles cause us to give up our self-perceived control and then we realise there a number of significant blessings we have already that we did not fully appreciate because we were concerned about the things we did not have. This is where, I find, a faith in God helps. In those times, you can focus your thanks on someone else, regardless of who you is around you.

So at this point, life is very different to what we had expected thirteen months ago. However, strangely, I am grateful for the experience and very thankful for the blessings of a helpful husband, a supportive family, wonderfully cheerful work colleagues, a host of online friends, an amusing cat, a resilient body, a watertight house, a welcoming church congregation and an extremely gracious God, who knows what’s best for me despite my grumblings.

Of course, I do wonder what is in store for the next year. Perhaps you’ll travel with me as I update this blog as it unravels and even share some of the blessings you have discovered in the last year.

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