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Well blog, its been a while, sorry. I just realised that although i have set this blog up, I didn’t explain what is going on in my life and why I want to enter into the world of story-telling/ my reflection on life.

“Whether you feel like it or not, as you grow to know Him you will find yourself in the grip of Love that will change your life and set your heart on fire.” – Heidi Johnston

Life on the Isle so Far….

So in July 2012 I finished Relay and moved back home to the Isle of Wight. I live in an amazing old Victorian house with my parents in Ryde. I live just round the corner from the Vicar and his family, as well as within walking distance to church and a few others members of the local congregation.

Although I had really no idea what I wanted to do post-relay ( that still hasn’t changed) in terms of career this didn’t give me much choice but to move back here, spend some time with the family, re-connect with old friends and network with the large-ish arts community here on the ‘Island’. As an ‘Islander’ I am well placed to be living as a ‘missionary’ without having to cross the water, and it was and still is to have a ‘Kingdom’ mindset about decision and priorities, even if that meant no job or little money at that point in time.  Bish reminded me of the value of this recently here.

Summer soon turned into Autumn, where two family bereavements knocked and a lot of hospital trips us hard as a family. It made me question the whole question of why do people suffer and what happens to us after death. It broke my heart to see that there was NO bibles in our local crematorium. I was reading the book of Job at the time, which on reflection, pulled me through, especially these versus:

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
(Job 19;25-27)

There is so much to be said about suffering and after experiencing this and knowing that it is nothing compared to what other people have to deal with, Praise God that at the cross he overcame suffering and death. I still think I have a lot to learn about when dealing with things like this, also pastorally caring and listening to others when they are hurting.

Meanwhile, the Autumn term started up in church and I reluctantly volunteered my Friday nights over to youth ministry for school years 6-9 (11-14 yrs old). I say reluctantly becuase I do not feel overly- gifted in youth ministry what-so-ever. After a year working with students who are happy to talk about the Trinity and Athanasius over a nice cup of coffee in some dept to then being hit on the head playing dodgeball whilst trying to remember 15 new names and faces and going camping in minus temperatures. I feel my pride slowly being shattered by 11 year olds. Its April now and it has got a lot easier over time but more on them another time…

So after a little time at Damaris in Southampton and after a lot of Job interviews between July to January, both on the Island and off the Island, all with no luck.  After a memorable job interview in Exeter and really questioning if I wanted a graduate/mainland job or not, there had to be a sacrifice.  Money, mainland job and career vs Isle of Wight relationships both in/out of church and life by the sea. I decided to stop looking for any jobs on the mainland and start looking for a ‘tent making’ job here on the Island.

This is hard sacrifice to make and to explain to other people as I feel it is very counter-cultural to live this out but actually it was the best decision I have made all year since… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mat 6;21)

Living on JSA has been an eye-opening experience in terms of meeting people who are not-as fortunate as myself with education and so forth. It is heart-braking seeing 1,000 apply for 100 jobs and also the reality that so many people force their identity in their works because they do not know about God’s grace and our union with Christ.

I have also learnt that there is little excuse for laziness whilst your waiting for an ‘door to open’ or for your next stage in your life.  Frankly God is not like an 8 Ball, you can shake and stomp around about your currently situation as much as you like but He doesn’t give you a straight yes/no answer. He just whispers… live for me, do this for me, be creative, do not worry, I love you, your safe with me.

This free time was amazing to be able to serve other people, volunteer for some organisations, eat with people, look after children, read books and the bible and pass onto other, gave me vision and focus to set up Young & Collective.

Last week I got a job. No interview, no application form, just a simple please. I did nothing on my behalf. He did it all for me becuase…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

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More on IOW life and living in community… in due course. Sleep times now!

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