Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Promises, Blessings and Miracles

Last week I spent a few days away on a New Wine Christian conference for Women and Leadership. The accommodation was excellent, food superb; the speakers were challenging and the worship was amazing.

On Friday morning we began our worship time by singing

Give Thanks to the Lord,
our God and King,
His love endures forever… 

with the chorus
…Forever God is faithful
forever God is strong,
forever God is with us,

Immediately I was transported back to another moment in time when I sang those words with gusto.

It was exactly 6 years earlier as I drove to church for one of our regular community breakfasts. It had been raining a bit but the sun was trying to shine and as I drove and sang the most beautiful rainbow appeared directly over the church where I was headed. And I thanked God for all his promises, his goodness and faithfulness to me. God indeed is VERY GOOD.

Little did I know that 2 days later my husband would die unexpectedly from a heart attack.

The song we sang next was Everlasting God

                Strength will rise as we WAIT upon the Lord…
                …You are the Everlasting God
                You do not faint
                You don’t grow weary
                You’re the defender of the weak
    You comfort those in need
                You lift us up on wings like eagles

I couldn’t believe the song choice, although why should I have been surprised by God? This was a song we had played at Andrew’s funeral but it’s been a long while since I have stood and sobbed rather than join in with the singing. Instead I listened once more to the words of promise, those comforting words that God is with me all along. That rainbow was a foretaste of God’s amazing faithfulness as he has provided for my needs and never left me through these years.

However faithful God is, it is WAIT that has been my word for this season and it has lasted soooooo long.

While the boys have grown, moved schools, taken exams and in the case of oldest son even gone off to university I have remained STUCK, still in the same house, which hasn’t sold. I’ve been frustrated, resigned, motivated, let down, energised, demoralised and through all the ups and downs I WAIT for a new season to begin.

A few years ago I was at the New Wine summer gathering and God gave me a glorious reminder that he was still with me and had many blessings in store.

You can read about it on my own blog, or hear the interview or even get the book.

I thought my life was about to turn around from that moment but years later still I WAIT.

So often I have felt that I am on God’s pending pile, someone He will deal with tomorrow because there are so many other situations in the world that hold His attention.

Of course God’s not really like that and He has made me promises that there are blessings to come and so I hold on to them and WAIT a little longer.

At this conference I shared a room with someone I’d never met before. When I checked in my room-mate hadn’t arrived but by chance or God-incidence we happened to be sitting at the same table for dinner.

“Do you need a miracle?” She asked.

“Ummm, I don’t know!” I was hesitant. We all dream of having our prayers answered but was a “miracle” a bit excessive for my needs.

“Oh well I got this sense earlier in the week that I should buy a bottle of perfume called MIRACLE for whoever I was sharing a room with. But if you’re not sure perhaps it is for someone else after all.”

And so we left that conversation there and turned our attention back to the delicious meal before us.

Later that evening we shared a few stories but I knew I held back. There was a time when I would have started  by saying I was a widow but I’ve come to a place where I don’t want my loss to define me, I still wear my wedding ring, although I went through a phase when I didn’t.  I am learning to tell less of my backstory as new chapters are being written. In lots of ways I am moving on.

Besides saying “I am a widow” is a real conversation killer as people struggle to find the words to say back.

However the next day, sometime after our most meaningful worship time, I found the opportunity to share.

The words and tears came tumbling out. And the real issue at the moment is not the grief or singleness but our mini mansion of a 7 bedroom house, in its own grounds set in just the wrong location, an area in the North East where houses, particularly of this magnitude are just not selling.

This year I have had 2 serious offers on it, I even instructed a solicitor to get the paperwork started and I dreamed of finally moving and starting a new life somewhere more manageable, closer to church and my friends.

Both buyers pulled out and I am faced with the prospect of a future here on my own. One son is already at university, the other has started A levels, these next two years will fly by and then what do I do?
“You do need a MIRACLE!” Said my room-mate. “I should have trusted my conviction.”

She produced a beautiful bottle of sweet smelling pink perfume in a shiny box full of promise.

There was a story to her purchase; running late, she only just made it to the shops in time with 2 minutes to spare but there was the perfume on display in front of her.

MIRACLES are meant to be, divinely ordained to happen at just the right time.

And I know for sure my MIRACLE is on its way, too many things are pointing in the same direction and some things I can’t share here and now but one day I will…there is so much more to this story and that's just the bits I know about, God's overview of proceedings is like a rainbow encircling the whole.

And just to make sure I don’t forget, guess which song is currently getting a lot of airplay on the radio with a brand new version by Simple Minds and KT Tunstall…

Yes God I am listening, still waiting for now, but I have a lot more hope in my heart that this season is almost over and the fragrance of MIRACLE will one day fill the air.

( I have scattered old blog posts throughout this and here is one final thought on fragrance - a short story called The Musings of Martha.)

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