Now, not many things make me homesick… But missing friends on their birthdays is one of those occasions that tugs at my heart strings in a way that makes me wish I could just fly half way round the world to deliver presents, hugs and love in person. So on this, my final day in Tokyo until the very end of my trip, I am taking a day to write up meetings, record facts and order my thoughts, but my heart is back in the UK with two of the most precious friends/mentors/role models I have.
So this blog post will not be about Japan, although there is a lot I could write about Japan. It will be dedicated to Maria and Chrissie, who are just, quite simply, the best.
And who I want to wish a huge, amazing, ‘Happy Birthday’ to!!
Now, these two ladies are super humble, so they are probably going to be so mad at me for writing this out in the public domain. But I don’t care! 😉 Because these are also two of the people most likely to be serving the unseen in the unseen place, giving their abundant love and care and servanthood in situations that are unrecognised and under appreciated a lot of the time.
But when I think of great spiritual influences in my life, I am privileged to say that I do not have to look very far.
Because Chrissie hears God in a way that humbles me. Her words, her poems and her heart communicate the love, the challenge and the rebuke of Creator God in a way that carries gentleness, power and accuracy. Quite simply, she has an anointing on her life and ministry that I love watching, that I have been humbled to receive from, and that I am excited about seeing continue to grow. Her worship inspires me. Her freedom frees me.
And because Maria has taught me more than I will ever be able to put into words; about loving always, about persevering prayer, about steadfastness, about patience, and about kindness. What can you say to thank someone who has seen you at your best and your worst and your every-inbetween-moment and who continues to love you and support you and pray for you in every season of the soul? To someone who ministers so gently to so many, but get never seeks the glory and honour for anyone but Jesus?
And because both of these women of God inspire me, spur me to become more like Jesus, and feel like my family, I want to uplift them and honour them and love them.
And because I sit thousands of miles away, I only have my words, but my words will have to do.
So Happy Birthday precious friends.
Please tell Anna and Rach that today is all about you guys and that you deserve to be spoilt rotten!!
I love you so much.
Now, I leave Tokyo very early tomorrow morning to head to Hamamatsu for a couple of days before moving on down to Osaka. This means that I have two days to finish writing lectures, finalising presentations and generally preparing for the busiest part of my trip! So please pray for the practicalities of these next two days. And pray for that efficiency that I know Holy Spirit can give when you honour Him in all things.