Loved in July
Gardening is a newly discovered love! Our back garden is a bit of a challenge, as there is only a small flat area. The rest of the area is mostly rock, which goes up very steeply, making it difficult to cut the grass. When I changed jobs, over three years ago, and reduced my working hours, I decided I would try and slowly fill the slope with plants. Eventually there will be no grass to cut! It is very much a work in progress, but this year it is beginning to look colourful, and the plants are starting to fill out. As I go further up the slope it will be harder to find things that will thrive. There is only a thin layer of soil, but hopefully I will be able to find some hardy plants. This July due to lockdown, and having even more time at home, we have started a small vegetable plot. I am loving home-grown produce, it is very satisfying going out and picking your own veg. We have lettuce, onions, shallots, chillies, tomatoes, potatoes, mangetout, runner beans, rhubarb, and blackcurrants. We have just started from seed now, leeks, cabbage, swede, and carrots for the winter. Now the summer harvesting has started, freezing, pickling and jam making are adding to the list of new skills!
The Night The Angels Came, by Chrissie Chapman. In July I have only just finished reading this book. It is a very moving story of one woman responding to God’s call on her life and His faithfulness. It is set in Burundi, a poverty-stricken country, during a time of unrest and civil war. Chrissie, who initially went out there to set up a maternity clinic, finds herself adopting three children and then setting up a home for abandoned babies. As she responds to the needs unfolding right in front of her, she recounts stories of God’s protection and provision.
There are many quotes in this book that resonated with me, but this one in particular, for God’s word is so powerful when it is known and felt:
“The faithfulness of God is not something we know intellectually or have been taught: it is to be experienced, embraced and lived in.”
July has been such a good month, because the restriction of having to stay local and travel no more than five miles from your home, were finally lifted! We are still only able to meet in an outdoor space but at last there has been ‘walking and talking’ time, which I have missed so much.
I have been able to meet up with girlfriends for the first time in over four months. Although we have WhatsApp, Messenger, Zoom and phone calls, they do not compare with face to face, heart to heart chat. I do feel blessed to have friends with whom I can share and who I know will speak truth into my life. So, thank you ladies for all those steps!
You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17 MSG
I am coming to the realisation that ‘Ahead’ needs to be re-imagined and re-shaped. There are still so many variables! No date set for returning to church fellowship here, although it seems unlikely that we will be meeting for services in our small chapel for some time yet. No definite date for returning to work, it could possibly be August, but nothing confirmed there either.
Some travel restrictions further afield are still in place. The effect on extended family relationships, of less contact, less time spent together, what is the impact of that? I would love for my elder son, who works in Northern Ireland, to be able to come home for his birthday at the end of August – I haven’t seen him since December. We are just beginning to discuss, as in theory, I think it is now possible!
For many of us that is the challenge right now, the realisation that ‘Ahead’ will still contain many changes, some things that have stopped or have halted may not restart. Some new interests, skills, and relationships that have developed may grow further and lead to new opportunities. ‘Ahead’ is uncertain, but when we love the Lord we can look ahead with a deep sense of peace and security!
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