One of the reasons for my absence and a contributing factor to my return is that I have had nothing to write about. Well actually there are lots of things that I could have written about (politics, refugees, children in detention, poverty, mission, justice...etc.) but the problem is it would have been empty words. I claim to be passionate about justice and mission but you wouldn't be able to tell from my actions. Since our move I realise it has become all talk and no action.
Now I could make plenty of excuses...
- I'm still settling in to a new town/church/ministry/job...
- There's been a lot of change
- We've been through some periods of uncertainty
- I've been busy with work/study/church...
- I've had a baby
- I'm just focusing on my family/marriage/baby/cat right now...
...and probably plenty of people would tell me that these things are valid.
However, the uncomfortable truth is that
- I have become comfortable
- I have not been intentional
- I have not prioritised this part of my life
- I have been talking the talk without backing it up with my actions.
I confess these things as the first step to rectifying the situation and exchanging what is comfortable for how I am called to live, intentionally prioritising the pursuit of Kingdom things and living out the talk.
I sit here smiling to myself as I read over the previous blog post, summarising 2013 and wondering what 2014 will look like... Here I am again, more than 12 months later about to do the same thing again.
Each year seems to move faster than the previous one. It makes me feel dizzy just thinking about it. The cliched saying that the only constant in life is change is certainly evident in our lives and for some reason a few of the big things happened in quick succession. At the beginning of the year I took on the role of Acting HR Manager at work and started some study in HR to assist with the steep learning curve. It was a great experience. There were some challenging and rewarding experiences and I learnt a lot. I then returned to my previous role for just a few weeks before heading off on parental leave in October.
On the 12th October we welcomed the biggest change to our lives, baby Elijah. He will be six months old on Sunday and he is a complete delight. At about the same time that Elijah arrived, Tim entered discussions with the Church regarding the potential for him to take on the Senior Pastor role. Just before Christmas he was offered the role and we returned to Ballarat to catch up with family and to have a rest before embarking on a new ministry adventure.
I don't know what's in store for the rest of the year but I hope that it will a year of love and laughter. I'm still getting used to my new roles as mum and pastor's wife and trying to figure out how all of the pieces fit together. I continue to ask the big questions about who God is calling me to be and continue to struggle with not knowing 'the plan' even though I know that I just need to be faithful and obedient in each step, leaving the rest to Him.
Tim and I, much like many others, have been reflecting on the year that has passed and wondering what 2014 will look like. I always find the beginning of a new year exciting, imagining the possibilities and not yet having painful challenges or heartbreaking disappointments. As I get older I also take pleasure in looking back. It's an opportunity to see God's work in our lives and be thankful for His blessings. It's also an opportunity to reflect on lessons that have been garnered through the experiences of the year, both positive and negative, that I can take with me into the next year and years ahead.
Unlike this blog which was quiet, 2013 was anything but. There was nothing about the year that I could have predicated. There were many highlights including our trip to Cambodia and the Philippines, meeting one of our sponsored children, lots of laughter with new friends and quality time spent with old friends. We've shared in the celebration of marriages, new babies and baptisms. We've seen God work in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
As I look back on the year I am overwhelmed by God's provision for us - Jehovah Jireh - the Lord will provide. When we said yes to pursuing full time ministry God's provision was evident as we blessed with work and a home and a community of people who embraced us immediately as family. This year God's provision has been equally miraculous as we have walked through challenges and uncertainty. His provision for us has been far beyond anything that we might have imagined for ourselves.
One of the examples of this has been the developments that have taken place for me in my work. In a matter of 12 months I have moved from a temporary admin position, to a temporary learning position that allowed me to combine my skills in education with my passion for justice. There were some hard moments along the way when I applied for some permanent opportunities but was unsuccessful as well as some other challenges that made life a little uncertain.
I finally found the courage to resign from my teaching position in Victoria even though I still did not have a permanent role. I think God was waiting for me to let go of that role, because within about a week of doing that my manager handed me a letter which stated that my learning role was now permanent. We celebrated, I was totally stoked. I love my job and I love working for Compassion. I was satisfied but it turns out God wasn't quite finished. Shortly after being made permanent I was asked if I would be interested in temporarily taking on a management role during a period of transition within the team I work in. Only by God's hand is this even possible but that is what I am doing now. As of the start of the year I have stepped into this new role for six months. It's an opportunity that I could not have imagined.
This is just one of many examples of His provision last year. I do not know what the year ahead holds but I look forward in anticipation to seeing God work in powerful ways.
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ.4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemptionof those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.