Over the past 8 months we have lived in three different houses, moved from Northumberland, to Knowle West, to Horfield and to Easton. We've viewed house after house to find our home and now we await our last move in Easton, our final stopping ground, our home for the next unnumbered years of our life...and we couldn't be more ready to settle down, have a baby, and make Easton our home.
When I really think about it, the last 8 months haven't been all that great, it's been hard on many different occasions trying to figure out what it is we should be doing, where we should be working, if we should be working at all. We know on some level we are called to be in Easton but mostly, we just love living here...the people are people we feel connected with, the area keeps us entertained and busy, and we can walk around feeling a sense of belonging because people have been so welcoming. We love our church and we love getting to know people in it. Most of the time we don't feel like we are following a sense of calling but more following our hearts, and ourselves...finding a home where we feel 100% ourselves. I've come to believe that your home and your choice of location for it is a pretty defining moment in your life, how it defines ours I'm excited to discover. Were going to be living a 5 minute walk from a road still known widely as the 'most dangerous road in Britain' and in an area that comes within the brackets of being in the lowest 1% of deprivation in the south west. As far as we can tell most of our neighbors don't speak English as there first language, if at all, and being white is pretty much being in the minority. Again, i don't feel like were called to be here in some mega spiritual way, or that in fact we are being 'mega-spiritual' by living here- As my very wise Canadian mentor once told me - there are dark places all over the world, all over Britain, as God's people we would have a purpose wherever we went.
In many ways, all i ever come back to, all i really want to express, wherever i am is that i love my community...not because it loves me, or understands me or I it, not because its accepted me or welcomed me and not because i feel God has told me or called me to love it but because "in My image i will make thee..."
... Purley by accepting who's image I am made in, who's spirit is with me, who's power is within me and who's forgiveness is renewing me I can begin to understand who I am and what my life should reflect...to be people in community with others, whether they are like us or the complete opposite, whether they worship our God or someone or something else, whether they accept us or not, whether they can talk our language or not is neither irrelevant or important...its just what it is and we hope we can learn to live a life that celebrates diversity as surely being in the Kingdom of God has to include the seeking of reconciliation and Hope that is building relationships and celebrating diversity? To struggle through it, to desperately seek to understand it, to be educated in it, to be accepting of it and to be so confident in who you are that it doesn't matter if your different, because your base is in an understanding of who God is and who he created you to be.
So we may have no idea what the next 8 months hold, what being a mum and dad really feels like and how exhausted it will make us. How Andy is going to find going back to university studying theology and working in the local area as a community worker. How we will continue to live as community with those around us and what it is like unpacking boxes and not needing to pack them up again 3 months later but God does, and if there is anything i believe in its this - that with God we have an amazing story to tell... Knowing our starting place as being created in the image of God, loved by Him as our creator and knowing in the end we will stand before Him and He will say; " well done my good and faithful servant..." and how we discover, plan and partake in what comes inbetween will be the making of us, the bringing of the kingdom here on earth and best story we could ever hope to tell...
So as story tellers we hope via this blog and our newsletters we will be able to reflect on our journey, involve you in our story and hopefully be challenged and supported by people who love us and want to walk side by side with us in this journey.
Our newsletter will come out every few months via email - please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive it :)