Ros's March letter 2018
As I write this I'm sitting looking out on a snowy scene that would not look out of place on a Christmas card! This week I've resorted to wearing my Christmas jumper because it's been so cold. But we are in Lent, not Advent. We are preparing for Eaaster, not Christmas! Everything seems so unsettled and topsy turvey.
The weather sums up my life at the moment - out of sorts and unsettled! Not what it should be like! But the weather has had its bonus side, even if it has disrupted my plans and prevented me from doing some of the things that I wanted to get done or needed to do. I may not have finished packing up my boxes ready for things to go into storage, as I've been stuck at my parents' home. Instead, I've been able to spend some quality time quietly praying - both talking and listening to God. This has been an unexpected bonus at a time of great busyness regarding the move. I've certainly been stopped in my tracks by the snow, but it has been like having a Lenten Retreat given to me as a surprise gift.
The snow certainly slows you down. When I drove back from Swanwick on Tuesday evening it was noticeable that all the vehicles were driving much more carefully. Then, on Wednesday, when I came to my parents' from my home, it was snowing quite badly and the cars were crawling along and leaving big gaps. I planned my route very carefully, going a much longer route in order to stay on a critted bus route for longer and to avoid a steep hill where cars park on both sides. Despite my careful planning there were a couple of places where I started to skid as I went around corners. I really don't like skidding and the feeling of being out of controlk, even when it is only for a brief moment. This has been one of the things I've been reflecting on. How difficult we sometimes find it to put ourselves out of the control position when handing situations over to God. We say all the right things and hand things over but then snatch them back again at the first opportunity. What we really want is dual control cars like those used by learner drivers. We are content to hand things over as long as they go the way we want them to go and at the speed we want to go. But once things go a different route or take longer than we want, we want to meddle and take back control. But experience has shown me that God's ways are best as he sees the big picture and the same can be said about his timing too.
One of the things I've been feeling greatly unsettled over and praying about is where I'm going to be living. I obviously feel totally out of control over this. Even arranging to put things into storage is difficult because I can't give them an answer regarding how long it will be for. Trusting God over this is sometimes hard and there is the temptation to do something to make things happen... but then God reminds me of who he is and I have to hand it all back to him again, even if I do so reluctantly! But in recent days the emphasis has been more on thinking about what sort of home I want, not in terms of structure of the building but more in terms of what I want to use it for.
I've been taken by surprise at times by the route that my thinking has been taking but what I've realised is that it is more than just somewhere for me to live but is part of the bigger vision for the church and the community. I'm going to have to go home and reassess what I'm giving away to charity and what I'm putting into storage! So the snow has had a bonus purpose, even if it has disrupted our plans and lives.
At the end of the month we will be into Holy Week, with its reminder of God's amazing love and sacrifice. May the rest of Lent continue to be a focus on who God is and what is important to him. Have a Happy Easter, as you look back and remember those events all those years ago and allow them to have an impact on the living of your life in the present.
May God bless you