Ok, it’s getting kind of late to write a blog. And today has been jam-packed-full to the brim of the most wonderful blessings. And I have lots of photographic evidence. So in typical-Peta-fashion, this blog post will be in some kind of a list, it will involve some tenuous links back to what God has been saying to me, and you will get an insight into the most beautifully-crazy of days.
Because today two of my fake-little-sisters came to visit. Our final day together before I take off to Japan in two weeks time. And as I’ve mentored and loved these girls for a number of years now, it was always going to be a bit emotional saying ‘Goodbye… For now’. Because you can’t love and not invest, and you can’t invest and not hurt at times. Times like ‘Goodbye’.
So, today’s highlights…
1. I managed to not get lost picking the girls up from their bus. Score! I did however, manage to get VERY lost finding the new church building that the Elim church in Erskine were meeting in… Like, so completely, and totally lost that we did a tour of pretty much the whole of Erskine… We eventually (please don’t even ask me how) ended up in the grounds of some ridiculously expensive 5* hotel, and called into the reception to ask for directions. Like, the three of us in our jeans, being greeted by posh men in tartan trousers, just to get them to google-map the new church building. It was classically hilarious, and if we hadn’t been in such a hurry, we would have taken some photos to mark the occasion. But I must say, ‘Thank you, kind staff of Mar Hall. Your directions were better than my failure of a SatNav’.
2. I thought, in beautiful irony, the sermon this morning (when we finally got to church!) was entitled ‘An Unexpected Journey’. We did actually LOL at that one (like, who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?!) My friend, who pastors the church, preached a really, really great message based on the story of Saul-who-becomes-Paul that we see in Acts 9.
Point one: That we should expect the unexpected. That God can birth something significant from the most ruled-off and humble of beginnings.
Point two: That the place of the unexpected is a place of prayer. I loved this. That Saul began to fast and pray and God spoke to him. He heard the voice of Jesus. He saw a vision of Ananias. But yet, his circumstances didn’t change immediately. God started the work, but Saul had to keep praying and persevering for 3 days. THAT was an encouragement!
Point three: That on the unexpected journey we are empowered by the Holy Spirit. Saul became Paul. His vision was restored. He became mobile again. His strength was renewed. And this really made me think of our physical journey to church. Because, when we stopped at Mar Hall, we were totally lost. Totally. I had no idea where to even think about trying next. We couldn’t see the destination, or even the next step. We were at a stand still (literally, in the car park!) And I would hazard a guess that the girls were really losing confidence that I could actually get them to this church. But stopping, and having a moment, and getting some guidance, and listening to the counsel of others… Well, that was what we needed. We left that place knowing where we were going, driving the car in the right direction, and feeling a lot more hopeful about the outcome (even I can follow, straight-left-left directions). And so, in the worship at the end of the service this morning, I felt like spiritually, it was a similar journey to my physical one. Because as I took some time to rest in Holy Spirit, to hear His guidance, and listen to His counsel… I just felt those other things very clearly. The Presence of God was stunning this morning.
Wow. That was a long point 2. Ok…
3. We found our way back to Glasgow without a hitch (hoorah!), and spent some good time trying on clothes. Ok, ok, we’re girls… It goes with the territory. We laugh. We bond. We try on ugly clothes for laughs. I mean, check these outfits out… 😉
The reason I’m wearing that hat in every picture is because I actually felt quite attached to it. However, I have now been told by three different people that it is the ugliest cap ever created. No joke. The child-of-the-80s in me really secretly liked it… It was a throw-back to the happy days where I would watch the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ as a teenager. As I still know all the words, I even rapped a little. AND, I really feel that I’ve got a kind-of Super Mario look going on, which really works for me…
Ok. I’m kidding. But I did buy the dungarees! 😉
4. We went for High Tea. There’s probably no other justification needed for why this makes the list.
Actually, the best moment in the slightly-posh-establishment we went to for High Tea was that Rach accidentally knocked a full-to-the-brim cup of hot milk and honey all over the table whilst trying to grab my cucumber off my plate (because we’re classy and share salad…) It showed the amazing quality of customer service that we were immediately surrounded by women with cloths and smiles who rescued our cakes, replaced Lisa’s drink and didn’t laugh once at the fact we were literally swimming in sticky, sweet liquid. I laughed though. Pretty hard… 😉
5. We then went for Nando’s. Because food is good, and trying on clothes works up an appetite. And again, this doesn’t really need much explanation.
So, it’s been a grand ol’ day. Another one for the memory-books.
And you know, as sad as goodbyes are, I am so filled with joy and thankfulness at this point right now. I am so proud of these girls. Of the way they talk about God. Of the way they pray. Of the way they sing out in worship. Of the way that they are bold and confident to laugh loudly and be adventurous and wear stupid clothes.
Because I am blessed beyond words to mentor and love, in the same way that I am blessed beyond words to be mentored and to be loved. Because the family of God is so precious, so beautiful and so powerful.
So Rach and Lisa, know that I love you beyond words, pray for you beyond tears, and will always only be a Skype away… 🙂