In a recent post I mentioned that we had decided to move, and that I was not sure what would be ahead. This is a post about continued uncertainty and frustration, and how it is possible at the same time to feel really insecure about the future, yet utterly secure that God has a plan.
I did not get the job I applied for at the college where William works. I have to admit that I am basically really upset about that, on top of also not getting another job earlier in the year. At the same time, the sale of our house is proving difficult, with lots of queries being raised by the buyers’ solicitor, ironically more about our leasehold garage than the freehold house. It all means that while, a couple of months ago, we would have expected to have moved by now, we are still in our old house and I have lost that part of my identity which comes from having a job/ministry title. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago and considered for a second pulling the plug on the house sale and staying exactly where we are. But that is clearly neither right nor possible.
When the apostle Peter got out of his boat to walk on the water towards Jesus (Matthew 14:28ff), there must have been a moment in which he felt as he never had before: the water was wet; how much of his feet got covered without him sinking? Perhaps it was like that insecure feeling you get on a roller-coaster: your stomach goes up and down but you still have that basic belief that you will get safely to the end of the ride (until he didn’t – but even then Jesus saved him.) What I mean is that he could have felt insecure while knowing he really wasn’t. I think that’s where I am at the moment. Feeling uncertain is compatible with faith.
This morning I read Isaiah’s prophecy to Hezekiah, given in the context of the promise of relief from the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem. Hezekiah and his people were being promised a miraculous deliverance, and in that context:
This year you will eat what grows by itself; and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” (2 Kings 19:29)
Reflecting on that, I wonder if what God is saying is for me to take some time to do what is before me right now: manage the house move, then get to grips with the new house and garden (perhaps literally eating what is growing by itself there.) Then there will be whatever springs from that: what will this move bring? Though I do not have a paid or named role in the college, we are still sure that God’s leading was for William and me to have a more joined-up life, which means that I will try to make relationships with his colleagues and students, and some contribution to the life of the college in general. In fact I have freedom to do “what springs” instead of sticking to a job description. Maybe significant fruit can still be found. And perhaps there will be a time in the future for some more deliberate sowing, reaping and planting. Literal or metaphorical? My farmer son will, I’m sure, be only too glad to encourage me to do some literal planting and reaping in our new, huge garden. (And, I would add, jam making.)
I have always thought I would be a rubbish housewife. I’ve never not worked or studied. And I hate tidying up. But it seems that I have a time ahead of me in which I will get the chance to serve William in a new way. I spent a lot of today trying to understand and edit the website and facebook page of an organisation of which he has just become the chair, so that I can post things for him. There is still stuff for me to do, which is encouraging.
But if you want to invite me to come and preach anywhere, I’d probably jump at the chance!