Last Sunday we sang two songs which caused me to stop and think about the journey I’ve travelled with the Lord in this church over the past few years. The first song was ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United, which talks about stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting the Lord with our journey. Practically my circumstances changed considerably, and I’ve had to adapt to a very different lifestyle in a different area of the country. I was widowed and had to adjust to ‘empty nest syndrome’ as my youngest daughter left home shortly afterwards, and I was then made redundant from a job I had thoroughly enjoyed. The words of the song encouraged me at the time, as I took the plunge and moved several hundred miles south to live in Suffolk and join Halesworth Community Church. Although the practical adjustments have been challenging and felt overwhelming at times, God has been faithful each step of the way and, as the song says, ‘he’s never failed’ and I’ve known that my soul has been safe with him – ‘in his embrace’.
However, it has been the change in the way I think and feel that has had the biggest impact and that is what struck me on Sunday. The second song we sang was 'Your kindness' by Chris Spring. As I sung the words, ‘It’s your kindness that leads me to repentance … to see as God sees me’ I was aware of how profound that change has been.
I had grown up believing that I was a disappointment and with a very strong sense of obligation to work hard to try to put that right, unsuccessfully. As I’ve been challenged to understand my temperaments and the way I operate through attending the Understanding Yourself courses and being part of this church, I have realised just how deeply ingrained the negatives that I had always felt were. At times it felt like crossing an insurmountable chasm to believe anything different about myself. In my head I could agree with some of the positive truths which were shared with me, but that didn’t seem to affect the deeply ingrained negatives which sat within. My joy on Sunday was to realise that the chasm isn’t insurmountable and it’s possible to stand on the other side. It has been, and still is, a gradual process of having to keep facing how I feel, sharing those feelings and choosing to believe the truth that is shared with me. It is still an ongoing process as the negatives we believe about ourselves can be very deep rooted, but the Lord’s love for us is even deeper. As I sang those words on Sunday and approached the Lord’s table, I caught a glimpse of how the Lord truly sees me and the freedom that comes from knowing that I am OK.