Thursday, 21 March 2013

Why didn’t I ask?

I had been into the school to take an assembly. I love the story of Joseph, how his brothers had planned evil against him and God turned it all to good. So now I had a free hour to do my shopping.

I had parked on the side of the drive in, as all the parking spaces were full. Yes, there was room to pass me. So now I drove around, only to find the way out was blocked. My free hour was being eroded as I tried to turn in a confined space.

I knew I could have run back in and asked for help. The obliging head has got me out of a predicament before. All I had to do was ask. So, why didn’t I?

Someone had complimented me the other day on my humility. That is a dangerous thing to do. After all, it would be awful if I took pride in being humble, wouldn’t it?
And maybe what appears as humility is just lack of confidence.

So now, why didn’t I go and ask for help? I confess. Yes, it was pride, pure and simple. They were already laughing that Mrs Lewis has lost the Mediterranean. (all I’d lost was a blue flash card for when we made the classroom into a map, not the entire sea.) So now they would be laughing at these hopeless women drivers. So no, I didn’t go and ask for help. Somehow I could do this.

I would bump the car up over the verge and squeeze past by driving on the grass.

Oh! You should have seen me! The curb was steeper that I thought and the grass it protected soggy from so much rain that I found I had landed in a bog. I thought I was back in New Guinea. My wheels were spinning, mud being splattered all over my lovely shiny car.

So in the end I had to ask. It took the head master and every man jack on the staff to get me back on the road.

I hope I will learn this lesson, to ask before I get deeper into trouble. We all need help, and especially from God. Maybe the trouble hasn’t come yet? But if or when it does, let’s take David’s advice, who said, ‘This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears.’

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Tree Felled

I think there are few sights sadder than a forest decimated by the woodcutter’s axe.  Each tree is beautiful, and sometimes the time comes when it has to be cut down, but it is rarely without some sadness.

In our beautiful land of Wales, many chapels have had to be closed, and this too has not happened without much sadness, and as in any bereavement we have to grieve, but also open our hearts to God to allow Him to bring  healing.

I have a dear friend, a farmer’s wife, who for years struggled to keep her chapel open, but eventually the axe fell and she is grieving and hurt. In praying for her I have been recalling my own experience and felt that I should share it, not just with her, but with you, my faithful blog-readers.

A tree had been planted in Porthcawl. Joel’s father had helped in the planting, and so Joel, retired, felt  called to help to build up the work.

The tree was struggling. ‘Pot bound’, Joel said, to mix my metaphors, but there was growth, and fruit. However, the great Gardener allowed the woodcutter not just to prune, but to cut it right down.

We were heart broken, but thank God were able to bring our hurt to the one who binds  up broken hearts. The Lord showed us a picture of a tree but right down to the stump, but out of that stump came a strong bough.

Comforted in measure, we attended Cornelly Apostolic Church, but had many opportunities to minister in other struggling churches; then, shortly before my husband’s sudden and unexpected death, God spoke to us that now was the time to build again in Porthcawl. Joel was full of faith. Almost his last words were, ‘I believe God is going to do great things.’

Soon after his death I heard that Brackla were planning a church plant in Porthcawl. I am privileged to have been involved in Grace Community Church and believe that this is the strong bough God had shown us.

We have just had our third ‘Church Away Weekend.’ From tiny babies, through to every age, I was the oldest, and was thoroughly spoiled.
But the wonderful thing for me was that the one who had the painful duty of wielding the axe was now with us as minister for the weekend, gently nurturing new growth, and strengthening God’s planting.

How happy I am that Tom & Lorraine have been able to see all that God is doing, but also that there had been healing of hearts and relationship in the long years in between; those years when we had not understood why God had allowed this to happen but had been able to trust Him in it all, and had allowed him to keep us sweet.

Thank God for Wild Goose Lodge, by the canal in Slimbridge; for Tom & Lorraine Stables who ministered to us in so many ways, and that God Himself came among us to bless and speak to each one of us.