‘For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.’
A couple of weeks ago I sat in my car for 15 minutes before taking my little girl into nursery. I’d got there early and normally would stand outside the nursery school gates, but the rain was coming down at its best. Living right by the sea, it is opportunities like this that I love to take hold of, there is something about the rain hammering down on a window, the sound of it, mixed with the comfort you get being behind a closed door, cosy and warm whilst you watch and listen. I parked at the top of a hill, so I could see the view of the mountains and the sea. I watched how the wind and the rain changed the temperament in the waves. I sat, and I began to think about my faith, my journey. Becoming lost in moments like this allows me to draw near to God. This moment took me right back to 10 months ago when God found me. Suddenly, then I was going back to the point when I first started reading the bible at the age of 10. My thoughts jumped back and forth to different significant moments in my life, like when I met Dan, now my husband, who happened to be brought up in a Christian family. Then there was the time when I was in a long term relationship, I thought about the lesson I learnt of communication, and how God had shown the importance of this in a relationship and prepared me for my future marriage. I thought of how in each ‘serious’ relationship that I’ve been in, God has made sure it’s been in a family where a Christian faith has existed. Then I begin to go back to my childhood, seeing visions of myself sitting on my bed, flicking through the pages of my bible from the Gideons and I can remember, even now, so vividly, the feeling I would get when I read it. I just knew it was special. Then there were the prayers, 10 years old, my favourite prayer was for the rain to stop when it was inconvenient for me! This is the first time I’ve shared this one. So you might be asking yourself, did the rain stop? 9 times out of 10, yes, it did! I’m not saying my faith was based on the rain stopping, but if God wanted to reach a 10 year old, then why wouldn’t he answer in this way? I can’t deny that seeds weren’t planted from this, it happened way to often to be a coincidence. These days it’s very rare I want the rain to stop, heavy rain coming down full pelt is pretty awesome! It’s just another reminder of our creator, and takes me back to my prayers as a young girl. At this point in my life I didn’t understand the true meaning of my faith but I knew the cross was very significant. I can remember going on a German exchange to a little town called Engen, funnily, my exchange partner was Italian so I had more experience of Italian living than German! There was a little market selling jewellery and other bits and bobs, amongst the bits and bobs there was a cross. I was compelled to buy it, I just knew, again, it was special. I can’t pinpoint a specific time in my life back then that anyone explained what Jesus had done for us, but it was like an inbuilt instinct that this cross was so much more than just a cross.
Back in the car, once again my thoughts return to meeting my husband, and suddenly, I’m in tears. I meet my man, his family, we have our own family, move to a beautiful place in Wales, come through a roller coaster of settling into our new life, my husband has to leave his job, there is a family breakdown, he starts his own business, we start to attend church, I suffer with a short term depression, we are both found by God, praise the Lord! My trials teach me to LOVE and help others on a completely new level, we settle into the church we love, we are baptised, we become pregnant, we suffer through a miscarriage, family relationships are reconciled. Through all of this we have GROWN in our faith, we have been made STRONGER, we do not need to see God in the flesh, we see him through all our lives, working right from the start, in everything that he does. Carrying us through TRIALS, with his everlasting LOVE, teaching us to STAND FIRM in our FAITH. I am thankful to God for everything that has happened in mine and my family’s life, he will STRENGTHEN us in our WEAKNESS. It is only now, sitting in the car, that it dawns on me, how God has been working in every single little detail through my life to allow me to reach the point where I am now. It’s not like I haven’t thought about this before, or even been in awe of it, but in this short moment, this 15 minutes of prayerful thinking, I have a revelation. I am thankful that unlike in my early faith when I had just begun secondary school, I now have my eyes open and can walk Gods path with him right by my side.
One thing that I also understand is that we constantly need reminding of this because of the nature of who we are. We are the same as so many of the people we read about in the bible, it doesn’t matter if you’re a disciple of Jesus, or a slave, we must keep building on our faith by keeping our EYES FIXED on the Lord, we must not lose sight of what we believe, we need to keep our faith strong, encourage one another, love one another, and remember the true meaning of our faith amongst all the other incredibly beautiful creations, awesome words, and sometimes incomprehensible thoughts that we have been blessed with.