As I begin to write this I am in my 6th week here at Emmanuel church as the new Communications and Ministry Support Officer. These weeks have flown by and I already feel part of the furniture (in a good way). My first day started in prayer and with thoughts of who I had left behind after 17 years but, I had such a warm welcome from everyone here that I went home smiling and feeling loved. I feel that I am right where God wants me and it is like I’ve come home.
I feel like I’ve just exposed the end of the story like you do if you read the last page in a new book and find out what happens (I never do that!) but, really it is just the beginning of something new and exciting.
However, it is the end of what has been a difficult couple of years. A time when I was asking God, “what is next? Where do you want me to go? What will it look like? How will I know?”. I just wanted (and still do) to be obedient to God.
Last summer whilst spending some time listening to God here at Emmanuel, when we had a visit from Gill Gifford, I asked God for a picture, hoping this would give me some indication of what he had planned for me, particularly with regards to my job. The picture I got was a blank canvas! As you might imagine this puzzled me and left me wondering and seeking further an answer. Looking back now I realise this was a time of pruning and the song entitled’ New Wine ‘comes to mind… ‘in the crushing, in the pressing, you are making new wine.’ I kept going and just surrendered it to God knowing what a good, good father he is…. ‘when I trust you, I don’t need to understand.’ Another line from the song!
In Jeremiah 29:11 it says, ’’For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’’. My mum kept reminding me of this verse and I found this comforting.
Another great source of comfort was that I had friends praying for me and with me. When it felt at times that God had wandered off, and he seemed silent, they reminded me of his promises. And God keeps his promises. Although I was weary, and some weeks it felt like I was alone in the desert, I still worshipped God and praised him for what he had done for me, what he was doing, and what he would do. I trusted Him.
Fast forward some months and here I am serving God in a very different way and in all honesty not the way I had planned. But I realise that this new role is the blank canvas, and I trust God to reveal a bit more of what is going to be on it in his timing. I am doing it all in God’s strength and for his glory and I am in awe of how God works things for our good- Romans 8:28.
I have been pondering on John 10:10b where Jesus says, ”I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” But I wonder how that looks for each of us? My life feels very full right now and instead of facing challenges at work with anxiety and fear I face them with confidence, and a sense of peace, because I know that God didn’t just send me he went before me, and his spirit is with me even in the smallest of tasks. It is a privilege to serve him in this way and be part of the ‘Trellis’ at Emmanuel Church.
So, I wonder if you feel like you are in the right place? Or have you been asking God similar questions to mine? Are you living life to the full? Do you know what gifts God has given you? Have you opened them? Are you using them? Or Is fear holding you back?
I urge you not to let the thief come and steal or destroy what you have been called to do but instead ask someone to pray for you or with you. There are people here today who would be honoured to pray with you.
Choose today to stand firm and be who God has created you to be. You are forgiven, loved and accepted. You are no longer a slave to fear – You are a child of God!