Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ten years on

Reflecting on life and the anniversary of a friends marriage I realised that it is 10 years since my life was completely turned on its head- and 13 years this month since the somersaults started. Thirteen years ago I found out that my husband was having an affair. Despite my best efforts he left me and 10 years ago last weekend I received my decree absolute. I was divorced something I had never thought would happen to me! That day as I drove through the Derbyshire countryside I prayed and told God that this was the start of the rest of my life and that I was going to continue to walk with Him and the first thing I would do would be to find a new church home. On the following Sunday I walked into St Thomas church Brampton and immediately felt at home. Little would I know that that would be the start of the journey which would see me 10 years later an ordained priest in the church of England.
The following March I wrote the following in the church magazine- and rereading it today it still is the true testimony of our great God working in my life

Great is thy Faithfulness
During the last two weeks this hymn has been sung at services and has been echoing in my heart while away from church. Nineteen years ago this was the hymn my husband and I sang at our wedding. It has been a constant testimony of God’s goodness through the intervening years.

As I sang it this last Sunday I was choking back tears - very mixed tears both of joy and sorrow. You see three years ago the husband I had promised to love and honour nineteen years before, and whom I stood with and promised before God we would serve Him together, left my children and me. He also walked away from God and all that he had believed. So my tears were naturally of sorrow that all my hopes and dreams so long ago had disappeared and my life is very different now to what I had expected. August of last year saw my divorce complete, something I had always hoped to avert. But also they were of joy as I recognised the truth of the words despite my circumstances of the last three years.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

My circumstances have changed but God’s goodness to me has never changed. He has held me close throughout.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

God has truly provided all I have needed, a new home, jobs as required, and rest when my body has been weary. In the last six months He has brought me to a new church home and more recently I have met and started dating a lovely Christian man.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

God has pardoned my sin - both at the time when I became a Christian and any sin I committed that contributed to my marriage breakup. He has also given me strength to get up and carry on being a mum to my three boys each day, strength to face work, however difficult and strength to get on with my life. He has also given me a bright hope that my future will be better and that life will continue. I have many blessings, and I praise God for each one of them.

I have been asked how I held onto my faith in God during this time, I have to say it was not me holding on to faith in God but The God of Faith holding on to me. He has cradled me in His arms and kept me safe when all around me disintegrated. Now I face the future secure in that love and with a heart full of praise.


Some years later someone read this and sent a message via the Rector to say how it had helped her. I'm learning now how my testimony of God's greatness can still help others and that the pain I went through when my husband left me has allowed me to help others going through the pain.
Nothing is wasted with God- and God truly causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Peer support

Today I had the blessing of meeting with a fellow curate who I trained with. We had originally planned to meet twice a year to share and pray but our first year of curacy left us with no suitable time to meet except at curates day at Cuddesdon. Today we only had half an hour between sessions at her Diocesan synod conference being held 20 minutes away from my home. BUT that half hour was so refreshing though definitely not long enough.
I meet with another curate in our diocese for mutual support and prayer about every two months and I do find that useful but my meeting today reminded me how important relationship is. Because my friend today and I are similar age, similar experience and had the blessing of training together for 2 years residentially we have a much deeper relationship than the one I am slowly forming with my local curate friend.
We came away from today both agreeing that we need to put more effort into trying to meet up more regularly for our mutual support and encouragement.
Now just to put that into practice.