Five Go Nowhere

They call Worthing “God’s waiting room” because so many elderly people live here. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, and why they’re so negative, but funnily enough that description is quite fitting for us at the moment as we’re waiting to collect our visas and leave. When we first found ourselves stuck here I had a word with God following on from a time in Turkey in September when I was up early having a whinge down by the sea. Our house sale STILL hadn’t completed and we were heading home to pack and move out. ‘God, shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, doing DOING some stuff round about now?’  I complained. ‘Just watch..’ he replied. So I watched. Grumpy pants (me not Him). There was splashing here and there in the sea which I’d been vaguely aware of, and as I dutifully watched I focussed in…there were fish, splashing here and there… and then: Splash-Plop.. a JUMPING FISH! It threw itself a few inches out of the sea and bounced then plopped back a short distance away. A FISH THAT JUMPS!! So cool! It was as if God was saying ‘I’m teaching you new tricks’.

Well I’ve tucked that away until we got stuck back in the UK. Feeling a bit lonely, further away from SA than ever, with kids 24/7, no wifi, displaced, with not enough stuff in our suitcases, I asked God exactly what ‘tricks’ he could possibly be teaching us that would be of any use for any conceivable situation ever ever again in our lives…? Here’s what we came up with:

Practising being flexible – building resilience
Going with the flow – not sweating the small stuff
Resisting worry (which is a sin, after all)
Being resourceful
Loving the family

Wow, it suddenly seemed quite a lot to do. I realised I have purpose. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you have purpose.

I realised I could ‘wait in faith’, engaged, or just…. wait…. flopping around like a wet lettuce. I could hide from things or decide to show up.

It’s a bit like choosing to put Faith Glasses on, like these that belong to a Queen of Faith, my dear friend Betty:

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While I’ve got the glasses on, I want to tell you my version of recent events, in chronological order:

In June, Col and I went to Bloem. We met and hired an excellent immigration lawyer who worked out a plan for us to get a waiver letter as Colin could be classed as a ‘religious worker’. The rules had changed the day beforehand meaning we could get in on a workers’ visa. This would take much longer to process, but would be more secure once we were IN – no need to pop back to top up or re-apply etc. Amazing.

Although we only had 2 days there, we got our kids into two excellent schools which were our top choices, and we met both head teachers face to face. We found a dream house. We came back home and sold our house within a week, for the full asking price to a couple with no chain. Towards the end of the school year, emotions were sky-high and both our boys had wobbly moments. Isaac settled down once the summer began, and Fin found his own faith for the move whilst at Newday (a christian camp) and hasn’t looked back since. (Phew and thank you God!) When schools went back in September, our kids stayed with us so that we could travel a bit and prepare as a family. (The school year starts in January in SA so we had time in hand.) We went to Turkey and saw where the first church plants happened, and connected with lots of encouraging people who had done similar things to us.

We came home and packed up our house, said our goodbyes and partied our socks off. Once our house sale was secure we tried to buy that dream house we’d seen in SA, via a power of attorney. At the last second (during the signing of contracts) the owner texted saying he wanted more money so we pulled out. If we had bought that house, the value would have already dropped by over £10 000 because of the state of the rand, and we would have been paying for it and not living in it! I am glad we had it in mind in those previous months, because it cheered me up whilst moving out. Once we lost it, it left me and I’ve been fine. We then moved out of our house on the exact date we originally requested – Colin’s birthday. Again: amazing.

We went to Dubai and stayed with family as planned. We went to the conference, and Colin preached up a storm. We enjoyed free vitamin D, and joined hearts with lots of peoples in the lovely church out there – who knows how many friendships will be significant for the future? We recovered slowly and received faith, love, refreshment – and we watched our kids have a ‘dry run’ making friends and increasing in confidence… it was a very special time.

We came back for our visa appointment as planned. Everything was submitted perfectly (well done husband). The rules had recently changed without our knowledge, so we handed over our passports. At the very latest we will have them back, with visas, by 10th Jan. School starts on the 13th – our deadline all along. Wowzers.

So the ONLY thing that hasn’t gone as planned so far is that we’re in the UK now rather than Dubai. It’s fun choosing faith eh? So shall I carry on, looking back at the last month of being “stuck”??

I was free to go and help my superhero friend Donna in her hour of need, doing some writing for her charity which you can learn about by clicking here: Hope for Tomorrow Global

We have made  a U-turn with our financial plans, and it’s been brilliant to have extra time to take advice and make decisions on that. What a relief.

I have had fab times with friends – like the Christmas fair where my mate and I spontaneously hugged each other with sheer festive glee when we arrived! I ended up buying a celebratory 2nd hand fur coat (fake of course)! Ready for those bitter winter mornings in Bloemfontein.

We have had some solid home schooling time here – much more than we would have done in Dubai. We had an Afrikaans speaker visit, and a perfect project in the form of a Triumph Spitfire needing some TLC and engineering know-how.

We have really enjoyed being with our church again, mopping up free hugs and meals, even receiving a tray of leftover mince pies after the carol service tonight because ‘we were homeless’ – ha ha! Every little fun moment has felt like a bonus – less sad and fraught than late October.

OH! And you’ll be delighted to know I’ve been sorting through my difficult Christmas feelings!! More on that next time… HO HO HO!!!

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