It’s Friday, and I’m on the ball for once, which means I’m doing a 5 minute Friday post! Each Friday Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama hosts a link-up challenging us to write for 5 mins on a set topic. No editing, no over thinking, just writing. It’s freeing an it’s fun.
Why don’t you hop over there and see what other people have to say, or give it ago yourself? Don’t have a blog? Then join in on a piece of paper! You could always email / mail it to me, and maybe I’ll put it up here!
This weeks topic is Welcome…
Are you ready?
“Welcome” It’s a word we throw around a lot. “Welcome to my home”, “Welcome to church”, “You’re welcome [for what I did/ what I gave]”, “Your presence here is welcome”. I wonder though how often we really mean it and how often it’s just a word.
I like to think that welcome means, may it come well to you, whatever my sacrifice must be. May being in my home be a positive experience for you, may what I have given you be good, you being here makes us feel well, may being at church make you well.
Do we really mean it though? When we had to stop to help the lady with the pushchair out of the store, and then pick up the old man’s shopping bags that he dropped, and then run for the bus but still miss it. Do we really mean you’re welcome, any time, I’d do it again even if I knew what it would cost me?
When I welcome someone into my home, into my friends, into my church (with a small c), into my town, do I really mean, may this come out well for you, whatever the cost on my behalf, may I do all I can for this to bless and encourage you?
I hope I can be more fully welcoming. To love and to serve and to invite no matter the cost.
So to you I say.. welcome, welcome to my blog, and welcome to my life. May I serve you however you need. Although I know in many ways it will be you who blesses and serves me.
How does one week turn into one year?
I don’t know, but it has. I remember that day as though it was yesterday, I remember the few days leading up to it. Oh the turmoil, do I go, do I stay. And then a month later, where do I go next? Oh how my heart raced, my stomach churned, my mind ran, my eyes wept. My whole body and soul shook as I tried to be still, listen, and discern what it was my Father wanted me to to, and then to summon the courage to do it.
Oh those two days, separated by a month. Those two decisions, some of the hardest I’ve had to make. Read about it here.*
A year ago today I was evacuated from my home, I flew away from my friends, family, job, home, life. I flew into nothing, a country I barely knew, to a sea of strangers, to a hotel, no home, to hospitals and doctors and a whole world I had never entered into before in my life. It would only be a week I was told… it was what I had clung to when I had to choose to allow them to take me out.
A month later I was being flown out again, only I wasn’t returning to everything I knew. I was moving on again, to nothing, to more doctors and hospitals. I had wonderful friends and familiar faces waiting to greet me, but the other faces, familiar as they were, were distant memories from years past, a person I used to be knew who they used to be, but those characters they had changed and no-one really knew each other any more.
Time passed and as it did, and as it dragged, I felt betrayed, I didn’t understand. I wrote about it here.
Now one year on, I can hardly believe the journey I’ve been on. I can hardly believe I am STILL here, in this country, in this place. It feels like just another day on this long and uncertain journey. Still unknowing where I’m headed, when I’m headed. Still not really knowing what this is all about. Just another day trusting, and living. Yet it seems wrong to not mark this day. To not set up an alter at this one year anniversary and say the journey has been long, the journey had been hard, but God has been faithful, and God is still good, and God is still God.
Yes it is true, this year has not been pretty. I have wept more than I care to think about. I have grieved in ways I did not know it was possible to grieve. I have felt darkness that I did not know existed. I have despaired, I have been ready to give up on it all. I have doubted, I have been angry, I have lost trust, I have been oh so unfaithful. All of me in the past year has been ugly, weak, disgusting. But God, God has been beautiful, faithful, redeeming, strong.
God has always provided in every way. My father, he has loved me in all my ugliness and in all my unfaithfulness. My saviour, he has saved me from despair, he has picked me up when I’ve fallen, He has helped me hold on when I was ready to let go. My God has turned up every single time when I thought I couldn’t take one more step.
My God, has been God. He has been in control, He has had a purpose, and He has taught me, and He has walked with me,and He has carried me.
So on this day, this one year on, I want to mark this place, set up my Ebenezer, built and alter, and say My God He is good, and He is faithful. He has been my help, my hope, my lifeline, my only purpose for waking and breathing. I have no words, simply a thank you that bursts from my heart for all He has done.
* Photo Credit : The Creative Spirit
I was walking one of my usual walks, across the fields, through the woods, down the paths, and around the lanes. The beauty around never stops amazing me, and as I heard the birds singing in the trees, and watched the sheep munching on the grass I stopped for a moment to look around me. I felt the sunshine, breathed in the clean country air, and took in the rolling hills with their farm animals and wildlife, and the quintessential English buildings on the horizon. As I paused to enjoy this moment a question a friend once asked came back to me:
“Why would you give this up? Why would you trade this for there?”