Well its finally happened…
Where we’ve been
Nearly a year ago, as I made my leaving speech at my last school, I recall expressing a belief that good things in life needed to be worked for but the crucial things came along “easily, quickly and unexpectedly”. It had been a tough year, we had felt called (and several, unrelated incidences made it very clear) that we should leave the position I enjoyed serving in as a teacher and housemaster but, despite great CVs and many high level interviews, we had always come off second. We simply could not see where we were being called to and it was scary.
The anxiety was genuine, it meant losing our job, income, school house, daughter’s school and yet our faith meant we genuinely believed something amazing would turn up by the start of the academic year and it was brilliant, but no surprise when it did. A week into the new year I found myself in negotiations with a small private, primary school needing a headmaster. Very frustratingly, we did not feel able to take it. We rather felt that God was offering this as a safety line, it was actually not ideal and He was very much hoping we would choose to follow Him into the unknown.
Since then life has been hard…
We’ve moved about a little (briefly living in a roadside inn), have had constant financial worries, limited work, pride-swallowing with job seeker’s allowance, new school issues for our daughters, disagreement with each other over decision-making, a student assault and a fractured rib, constant job applications with little response even for very basic roles. We simply could not agree on how we were being called forward. At times we have felt very distant from the God we proclaim to follow. At other times, however, we have felt His calming presence and soothing nature so tangibly.
Where we’re going to
Really we felt God was holding us back, preparing us for something or, more accurately, doing work within us. Last week, out of the blue and having been offered no permanent work all year, I was offered three jobs in the space of a few days, all were local and all I would have enjoyed. They seemed to come “easily, quickly and largely unexpectedly”. So, next term I am supporting the RS department at Milton Abbey and from next year I shall be supporting Sandroyd prep school, heading up their IT dept as they renovate and innovate their facilities and teaching. I am really looking forward to both.
What we’ve learned
This time has been odd. but we have had the opportunity to explore our faith and understand the nature of God and His work in the world around us a whole heap better. We come out of this time re-envigoured, refreshed and stronger.
If three things have made this time easier for us, they would be…
- The constant reminder that, despite the hardships we were struggling with, we were blessed. We have friends around the world, and know of many others, daily struggling with a great deal more than we had to endure, so much so we feel awkward describing our time as tough at all. Our daily needs were daily met (although not always in the ways we imagined) and we have better learned to trust in Him.
- Prayer to and Praise of God. Aware of the many blessings He has provided has drawn us closer to our maker. deeper and more regular communion with Him has enabled us, if not to see the bigger picture, to understand that there is one and that we are an integral part of it. Patience and reliance on Him and His timings has allowed Him to prepare us for that future better and quicker.
- Fellowship with others has also brought us closer to Him. on one level this has meant staying close as a family, sharing and supporting each other and necessarily withdrawing somewhat from the social whirl that was our life before. At the same time, however, commune with others on a deeper level than ‘conversation round children’s tea’ has brought God closer into the midst of our conversations in a real but intangible way. Social Media has been brilliant for this.
We do not see ourselves simply picking up where we left off. spiritually speaking we are now playing a whole new game, or maybe its just on another level. We have moved on up but find ourselves at the bottom of a new pack and and but are keen to keep progressing.
From a practical perspective, we have been given a great opportunity to engage better with God, family and the wider issues of the world. Please pray that this time we’ve had continues to be meaningful and relevant; boarding schools have a funny way of getting their staff completely immersed. We love that, have been missing it and are looking forward to returning to it but are keen to now keep the wider perspective in balance as well . Please also pray for successful purpose in our lives as we explore and develop the new roles we are moving into, that we can be used by Him for his purposes through all we do and fulfil them to the very best of our abilities.