Its been almost three years now since we sold up and set off on our travels to North America. Little did we know back then, where the adventure would lead us and how much it would cost to leave the sanctuary of a familiar life in Exmouth. So much has changed in those three years, more than we could have ever thought possible. Our lives have been transformed, we have been given promises - many yet to be fulfilled - made friends, left friends, encountered Papa God in astonishing ways, been in lack, been provided for, been loved, been tested, been in awe.
One short blog is far too inadequate to describe the journey, words don't form easily to bring structure to what has been a time spent in hiddenness, a time nestled in Papa's heart, a time where faith has been forged within challenging circumstances.
|Wales - left to right Moriah Chapel birthplace of the 1905 Welsh revival; Brecon Beacons; Caerphilly Castle.|
On our return from America last year - where we had hoped to move - we had a sojourn with some wonderful people in Wales then found ourselves coming full circle by returning to Exmouth. It has been a very strange return as we are not the people who left and the community we were part of is no longer our home. We live in a tiny cottage where we live, cook, eat and sleep in the same space! It has been a much appreciated sanctuary and we've enjoyed the peace we have found there.
|The Garth covered in snow near our home in South Wales.|
Mike launched spottedsheep.com selling greeting cards carrying his designs and those of other artists from around the world and has also latterly returned to writing. Nicky loves working as a home help to 96 year old Monty who she visits every day. Opportunities to pray with her and encourage someone who is frightened of dying has been an incredible privilege. She has also developed her creative gifts in painting and textiles, which she loves and is longing to get back to playing piano again!
|A great year for Beth and her fiance Josh - they both graduated and got engaged. Wedding in 2014!|
We continue to live in the in-between where, as many of us do, we have promises that we long to see fulfilled. We follow in the footsteps of Abraham and Sarah who waited for what seemed like too long for the birth of their promised son. We feel like Joseph as he waited in prison to be commissioned by the King. We find ourselves alongside Jesus as he was lead into the wilderness. There are days when we don't understand the journey or the length of time we are kept waiting but we would choose no other path than this, as we know He is faithful to bring about what He has promised. We are continually finding treasure in this darkness, new aspects of Papa's heart, new life and more capacity to love. We have discovered that no matter how dark things seem, Papa always hides treasure within the darkness which bring glory, light and hope.
|We had a wonderful weekend in Cornwall.|
We have pondered recently on how many epic stories we read about in blogs, in books and on Facebook. We have all of us become experts at celebrating what we consider to be the 'epic' lives of people, their epic triumphs, journeys or ministries. We have come to realise that every life is epic, every life is extraordinary, however ordinary they may appear from the outside. Our own lives have appeared, over the past year, to be very ordinary but we have heard Papa whisper over and over that we are extraordinary and this last year has been as much of a glorious adventure as when we were on the road. It's the same for us all. With Jesus life is a wonderful adventure full of opportunity to love and be loved, to cry, to laugh, to come alongside, to encourage, to be found faithful because He is faithful and to daily surrender to His ways rather than insist our own.
|We enjoyed many walks on the South West Coast Path.|
We have no idea what this next year holds, apart from the wedding of Mikes beautiful daughter Beth to Josh in April (very excited!). We don't know how long Papa will keep us in this place of waiting, but we do know that He is as faithful as the sun-rise every morning and that our prison season will shift, that we will hold our Isaac and that we will leave this beautiful wilderness full of power as Jesus did. We are so thankful too for the love of family and friends He has placed around us, for His constant provision, for His promises and for each other. Life truly is an epic adventure, ours and yours, may we have the courage to see it and live it with our hearts set on the One who makes all things possible.