Just to be clear…. I do not feel that my life is quite the demolition zone that you see in the picture, but there is a definite sense of dismantling going on just now. Today sees our last service with the congregation to which we were called 22 years ago. How do you say farewell to people after that? In a month, we will leave the house which has been our home for 17 of the 23 years of our married life. The garden which has grown under my hands will be handed over to others to care for – it feels almost like abandoning a child to the care of others. I will drive away from city life; from a rich network of friends and activities and work which have supported and encouraged and satisfied me, to …what?
I am continually being asked if I am excited about the new adventure which faces me? And if I am being honest, I have to say no! I am not temperamentally an adventurous person, but one who likes the familiar, the known and predictable. I deliberately avoid situations that take me out of my ‘comfort zone’, and only really relax where I am in control of my surroundings, timetable and food! What peculiar creatures we are, and how difficult we find it to truly trust God for all our needs..
The last few weeks have brought a steady stream of thoughts along the lines of ,’This is the last time I will..’ Over and over I am confronted with special people saying thank you, and goodbye, receiving gifts and cards, being prayed for and commended to God’s care. It is humbling and very sweet – in the nourishing sense of the word – to know that one has been appreciated and will be missed. But I feel very little in myself on these occasions, hardly knowing what to say, and only glad when I can slip away and brace myself for the next encounter. All the glory and thanks belongs to God, the one who made and saved me, the one who brought me into these situations and who was pleased – through me – to bless others. I am nothing, it is all Christ in me, and I praise him for his goodness and generosity to me, allowing me to be a channel of his love to others.
Perhaps, given all of this, it is not really surprising that I have this sensation of ‘running on empty’; that my spiritual flame is low and I am simply following on, obeying because I know that is what I must do, but lacking vigour and liveliness in my walk with God.
I am so thankful that we have had days of sunshine and heat to bask in, that my garden is full of beauty and life, that our plans for moving continue to work smoothly, and that we can have holiday before that day comes. I know that I am daily receiving loving mercies from my Lord, and that in his tenderness and compassion for my low state, he is patiently keeping company with me.
I know that he has plans for blessing others through me in the place to which we are called, and I will choose to trust him to reveal those people and situations to me in his good time. And knowing all this, yet I still find myself emotionally numb, in an almost dreamlike state, where nothing seems quite real and so nothing touches me directly.
Perhaps this is a blessing in itself, as I am being spared exhausting emotionally experiences at a time when I need to be able to keep functioning, sorting, organising and preparing for the move. Perhaps after it is over and we are settling into the new home, I will come back to life again and then the sense of being fully engaged with life will return – and as often happens when numbness wears off, it may be very painful!
Through it all, my Lord keeps asking,’Do you trust me?’ And my answer must remain,’yes, I trust you. Help me to keep putting one foot in front of another and moving with you, and not fret about what I cannot control.’
It is one of the hardest things I have yet had to face; and what a relief to know that it is his power in me which will make it possible, not my own effort. Praise God, that he never changes, never fails us, and his grace will always be sufficient for my needs.