Whistle-stop travels up and down the country have come to a halt, we’ve now been in sunny, rain-splashed Keswick for a couple of weeks or so.
The days are filled with frenetic book-selling for Jonathan, sometimes trailed by two little ‘workkk’ (in Billy’s slightly scouse pronunciation) loving boys desperate to help. When not in the shop, we scoot from park to house to lake spending time with various familiar faces who spill in and out of the convention, and help to cook for a rotating crowd of brilliant volunteers. A full, often fun, and definitely tiring time.
Amidst the whirlwind of it all, big goodbyes continue and the emotions swing from one extreme to the other as we anticipate our departure in just three days time.
Today was spent with my wonderful sister, and her children. While we watched the kids throw themselves off various soft play apparatus, we chatted and cried and laughed and reminded each other that we should be filled with gratitude rather than grizzling about the fact that we were going to be far away from one another.
There are countless things to be thankful for over these unexpected English months. We are amazed by the generosity of God in giving us (amongst other things)…
…bonus time with many of the people we love most in the world. All the more precious because we were supposed to be many miles away.
…a place to stay again and again through the staggering kindness of friends.
…make-shift homes close to friends and family. Especially when we never expected to live in the same places as them.
…opportunities for Jonathan to be in the thick of it with the UK business, and able to be here in person to work out various things going forwards.
…the most amazing pre-school experience for Rufus, where he has been loved and nurtured and challenged in so many ways in a gospel environment.
…many people, those we know and don’t know, praying for us. We have felt incredibly loved, supported and uplifted throughout this year.
…a growing trust in the Lord as we’ve grappled with unknowns and uncertainties. While we don’t know what’s around the corner, we love that God definitely does.
…a better understanding of what it is to wait well. Invaluable for life now, but all the more as we wait for heaven and all that is to come.
…a solid, long-term visa, despite our fears that it would never happen.
…friends in America who have kept in touch, and help to make us feel like we are returning to a home, and a network of people.
…curry, fish and chips, decent chocolate and baked beans aplenty!
The list could go on.
God has been, and continues to be, so kind to us. We have been given so much more than we ever expected when our American adventure stalled back in November. Thankfully, while our plans paused, God continued to work out His better plan throughout this time – we’ve received much, grown much, matured a little and – while weary – are excited for what is to come on our journey with Him.
Some recent good-byes…