Fields Of Life. Ch.13.
True to life, things don’t always progress as we’d like, and soon we were riveted into uncertainty and dread when obstacles seemed to be ever present-as things were working out not as we’d planned.
It’s not always a straight line.
It’s not always a smooth path!
And as we included in scope – that the difficult corners in our journey of life were as important as the straight runs – we began to get the picture.
Added to the closure of the New Life Christian Centre in Blaenavon: Within a few short months of our move to South Yorkshire, for a while, our lives seemed to be turned upside down.
Basically, we had been influenced skilfully to someone else’s advantage.
The set of facts that surrounded our situation were deeply upsetting!
In truth, to some degree, the nightmares that we experienced through this distinct time period were probably one of the hardest we had to bear.
At the time, this felt like the darkest chapter in our lives.
There were moments when this dark episode became almost more than we could shoulder.
We were completely overwhelmed.
Really, this was a harder road than any we had known.
The sequence of disappointments, dashed hopes and broken dreams, far exceeded anything we had ever encountered before!
We felt reduced in worth and character.
All credulity and passion we once knew were virtually sucked out of us!
The series of imposed regulations within the system caused all feelings of creativity and diversity to be sapped!
Every new insight of faith that led to flexibility on the inside of our hearts were squelched!
The very core of our identity was challenged.
The routine required a lot of changes, and as acknowledged, we did not handle all of these changes equally well.
We became fully aware of ways we could have done better with more care and more grace.
Admittedly, life is definitely not perfect and we have made some mistakes along the way.
Did we have flaws and weaknesses?
Find someone who hasn’t.
Facing one’s faults with courage is never easy.
Yet, it is impossible to tell this story without including the struggles.
Together with this, we needed to wrap God’s grace around our hearts.
On a medical level, it was astonishing how some people formed opinions about my disabilities and obstinately stuck to them!
And sure, I did some things a little differently.
My ability to perform a multitude of work duties was significantly impacted.
Still, hey, ho!
In spite of everything, God can do amazing things for those who are open, transparent, and honest with Him, themselves and others.
Anyway, although my ministry appointment came to an abrupt end, resulting in us commencing legal proceedings, we decided, after prayer, that it was time to let go.
Time to move on.
We needed to let go of trying to fix things.
We needed to shake off the dust before our next assignment.
For this reason, as we walked away from this episode – which incidentally, due to the stress, had an adverse effect on our physical and mental health – we chose to forgive.
From this time, we found that the way in which we saw closure to this sequence proved to be the happiest and most effective.
In truth, it was a great load off our minds.
Okay, it wasn’t easy!
But sure-enough, one of the things we have learned from this episode – which is absolutely vital to knowing and accepting forgiveness, and having the willingness to forgive others – was recognising how we arrived at this point – and realising how things appeared to all concerned.
More importantly, our fear at this time, was how things were looking to God through us.
We couldn’t deny or compromise His benchmark.
It was time to get back on track!
Righto, it would have been better if our quandary hadn’t taken place – it was improper that it occurred – but it sure did happen!
Playing the blame game didn’t help matters.
Nitpicking over commas and semicolons didn’t help either!
But together we faced every event, every unpleasant and trying situation, every circumstance in life.
Without any doubt – this particular point in time – hadn’t been a smooth sailing and joy-filled experience!
For-sure, it can be a very rough ride, travelling along this bumpy road called “Life!”
Talk about being shaped for the task!
Our stress levels increased.
Our home life suffered.
Our security came into question.
Our well-being went down-hill.
We were bruised.
We were made to feel very uncomfortable.
If only we could have sailed above the troubles and earthly problems!
We finally sought medical advice for time off work to decompress.
Yet, despite this, whether the hurts along the way were caused by our own poor decisions and careless choices or someone else’s, we can assure you that God remained faithful through it all.
And He still is!
In any case, as we prayed, the Holy Spirit shaped and influenced, gave direction to our decisions, comforted us throughout the times of suffering and distress, made us stronger when we had little physical or spiritual strength, and picked us up when we virtually abandoned any sense of hope!
Yes, even though it seemed as if we were hemmed in with troubles, we were determined to keep ourselves alert for whatever God would do next.
No matter what had happened or may happen today or tomorrow, we had learned to be strong and courageous in our God.
He will never leave us or forsake us. He will never let us down!
How marvellous is His unconditional love!
And yes, by His grace, we gradually experienced healing to our wounded spirits.
Our characters developed.
KEEPING OUR INTEGRITY:
Admittedly, we did not always get it right, and we did not pretend to be perfect, but like everyone else we were on a journey and were trying to do the best we could.
Learning how to rebound from an event that did not accomplish its intended purpose didn’t come easy.
But, somehow, we knew – we would never gain ground with an impelling force or strength if we allowed our past to cast a shadow over our future!
We couldn’t hold on to anything that would hinder or hold back our blessing.
We had to shake off the rejection we experienced.
We had to trust that God had more ahead of us than anything behind us.
We could either harbour a grudge or hand-out grace.
We chose grace.
Okay, everyone wants to be a well equipped and prepared traveller, but would we have enrolled on the journey had we known what it would take?
Yet, God strengthened us, increased our confidence – and, heightened our consciousness of the great need for Him as our Saviour.
And, we continue to learn.
Being simply content to let God set things right, we entrusted the whole episode to Him.
It was only then, that we began to grow and produce a blessing.
From beginning to end, a quiet growth of grace and character was renewed.
The integrity of our honesty kept us on track.
We remembered, God doesn’t miss anything.
He knows perfectly well all the love we show Him by helping needy Christians, and that we keep at it.