Learning to plough

I have not written weekly home ed updates this season. It’s been a very different season to the one I neatly time tabled and planned in colour code back in August. Our children are people with their own minds and for this season writing that incorporated their actions has felt an intrusion on who they are. It has been a session where I have named and started to own my anxiety. To recognise past actions that have fed into that, balanced with hormonal impacts and a lack of nightly solid sleep. The difference speaking them out loud to another makes sense. In scripture we are called to confess our sins to one another. Anxiety works the same way. We are freed from the hold of them when they are out there. We still have to address them, to face the consequences, to work through them but they no longer enslave us. Just this past Tuesday having spent the day going round in circles with anxiety and finally getting time late at night to share with Mark and laugh over them together was I able to drift off to sleep peacefully and enjoy Wednesday. Issues were still present but I was able to put logical thinking into action and address those that needed action.

It has been a term when we have journeyed through the application and interview process for a new job with a church which we will be starting in the New Year. That has taken far more out of me than I anticipated. It has meant facing up to many fears and events in my past. It has meant acknowledging pains and wrongs afresh as I look to head back into church ministry. In some ways it has meant a new journey with God. I want to say it has meant I have spent more time with Him, praised Him more. In reality it has more often than not meant leaning on the truths I know of Him of old and putting one foot in front of the other as laundry, meals and lessons have gone on, hoping that it is true that He has gone ahead and prepared a place. That He has promised to be with us to the end of the age as we go and make disciples.

There is a passage in scripture that speaks of some being sowers and others watering and others harvesting. I have never felt any of those have been true of me. But one Saturday morning following The Well God showed me His calling for me and in a moment; that moment after my heart had sunk and gone ‘not again Lord’ as I saw the realisation of dreams I had held for a place come to fruition but once more not on my watch; so much of my journey behind and I suspect of what lies ahead is that I am called to plough. To simply go up and down the field turning the soil and preparing it so someone else can sow, someone else can water, someone else can harvest. A friend reminded me that without soil no seeds can take root and grow. It is a hard road, the ground has often been left and there is much that needs turning over, breaking up, softening and the plough and plough horses are too heavy to go on the ground once the seeds come and so that often means I have not been around to see any harvest. I had grown weary and frustrated wondering what it was God had called me to, but in that moment I was reminded He has called me to co work with Him and this is what He has called me to. Gardening and care of creation requires preparation, so does discipleship. So does evangelism, so does worship. Our hearts and minds need to be ready to receive so they can give. ¬†God can and chooses to use me.¬†Another friend when I shared this with her encouraged me with the thought of how long had God been ploughing and preparing this earth for us. We may not often talk about it but ploughing is part of God’s creative work if we think of what is needed to have what we have now.

Right now we have a new job starting in January but no home to move to till sometime in February. This is hard. I like to be in control. I like to be able to plan, to write detailed to do lists, to steadily work my way through them. To have a plan of action. I have none right now. For how much can you pack away now incase you don’t move till February? The thought of doing it all quickly straight after Christmas though throws me into a spin especially as it will be for a temporary move at that point if that plan works out.

So mixing the uncertainty of the move with the fears of my past record with churches and the thought right now of stepping into this new adventure has spiked my anxiety. Realising that the last time I was in a team ministry setting as the only woman was deeply wounding at so many levels. Spiritual abuse is so often misunderstood and disregarded and damaging to the person. That twice I have been asked to leave church, the very first at my infant baptism. It may not seem much to many but realising 40 years on that at a significant event in your faith journey the minister rearranges the service to baptise you right at the start and then ask your parents to leave the service with you because you are not quiet actually spoke massively over your life. To be told you might as well leave as there is nothing for you at the church you have grown up in and served and given everything you had for it because your understanding of loving God and youth weren’t on the same page let alone same book. Yet it was where God found you. To be in a church where you thought might be safe and shared your story of spiritual abuse only to discover that the same was happening there too. To balance that another church was the very opposite where I saw clearly God providing me with a save haven thanks to the actions of the church leaders actions in the months before going without them knowing I would be coming but because of my story. God has shown me the blessings of church but church overall for me is not the safe place many say it is or should be. But it is God’s place and He is safe, He can be trusted and so I trust Him, I trust that if this is His way that He wants the world to know His love than I will stick with it. I will follow Him. I will follow His way. I will plough where He asks me. I will do my part to be a light to the world of a God who loves us, who is mercifully and compassionate beyond measure. And I will plough the ground where He asks and let Him guide someone else to sow the seeds He has for those fields trusting that in the final redemption His light will shine bright in the lines that I have ploughed and others tended.