Reflection on the year that was

I was messing around with one of those random facebook applications earlier.  The one where it shows you your year worth of status updates and puts it into a pretty collage thingy.  You ever wish you just didn’t do something?  The status updates around the time of our leaving officership are so difficult.  The conversations, the THQ interview, the promise of another appointment when it was clear we couldn’t stay in Torry, the disappointment of that appointment being with drawn and our previously withdrawn resignation being accepted, being asked to leave the quarters to make way for another officer (who for whatever reason has yet to arrive even now) which made  the ‘tent-making ministry’ we offered to the Army in Aberdeen impossible for us financially, our ‘farewell meeting’ and then just the heartache of driving out of Aberdeen.

God called me to be a Salvo.  God called me to be an officer.  He also placed a burden on my heart and I went for it and now I’m no longer those things.  Just sadness.  The conclusion doesn’t really feel like its what the Lord ordained.   To say that leaving the Army was a bereavement is an understatement.  Its more than that.  Its like a whole part of me died.  Thats pretty painful folks.

In spite of that, I’m so thankful that God has provided what he has provided for us at this time.  We have a roof over out heads and food to eat and more.   He has planted me within a fruitful ministry amongst people who are open and receptive and who appreciate all I bring and yet its so hard.   You know, more than that, its been such a humbling experience to be allowed to offer my learning, experience and ministry to people just delighted to receive it.

Do I regret leaving officership?  Quite simply, I didn’t walk away from the Army.  I had no choice whatsoever.  Well, I could have laid aside any conviction that I had, kept my head down and kept my opinions on the future of leadership in urban SA corps to myself.  I could have chosen to ignore what God was saying to me about my officership leadership. I could have fallen into line and continued on.  I could have continued to try to be what others expected me to be.

This blog is subtitled ‘notes and rhymes on following Jesus after Christendom.’   Not all the notes and rhymes are happy ones friends.  I grieve the fact that for whatever reason, the Army weren’t willing to embrace a different beat from us.  The Lord knows that I’d be willing to step up to the plate again.    But the Lord also knows that I was pressed to breaking point.  At the end of the day, the Lord knows – I don’t.  I’m not bitter, the anger has gone….all that is left is just the sadness, the latent Salvo passion and the questions about what the last 15 years of my life have been about and about what the future holds.

Continued prayers appreciated if you’re willing.

Stepping Down

I need to confess that my passion for blogging has waned somewhat of late.  Previously, a large part of my purpose in blogging was simply to add a voice to the Salvation Army blog scene with the dear hope of re-kindling something of a passion somewhere.  I guess to one degree or the next it maybe did that.  And, of course, my final blog series over there on leadership was, as it turned out, my final ‘shout’.  Leaves it all rather tiring doesn’t it?  In many ways, I think I need to leave blogging back in officership where it served a worthwhile purpose at least for some.

I carry out ministry in this new place fairly happily, thrilled to be able to offer some missional imput into an already successful church and do my bit, and yes there are some exciting things happening praise God.  In many ways it is a role that I’m perfectly fitted for, an apostolic role of evaluating, laying and relaying foundations, inspiring mission and prayer, new forms of outreach and all that stuff – I’m working every day with the stuff that really fires my passions.  Incidentally, its a role that The Army felt unable to offer us.  We pleaded to be released from corps officership to see if we could work the thing out and that we might be able to contribute from our strenghts rather than from our weaknesses.

And, finally, thats the last reason I want to take a rest from blogging…My natural blogging tendancy is to simply share my heart and as I’ve said previously, I don’t really want to keep on re-visiting our experiences of the last six months.  For my own sake and the sake of my family I need to move on.  The problem is that there really hasn’t been closure on the whole issue.  We still have had no response as to why things have ended as they have and I don’t expect we will very soon…still no response to the questions we forwarded to THQ asking for clarification on those issues.

Yet, as this Sunday approaches, I will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the day that I knelt at the Army mercy seat and gave my life to Jesus.  I’ll celebrate it and I’ll sing with thankfulness to him for what he has done and I’ll give songs of thanks for the kind, godly people who welcomed me as a broken young man and took me into their family and loved me as their own.  And, no doubt, I’ll struggle with the issues of pain and rejection from ‘my own people.’

Again, just a thanks to those who’ve journeyed with us and who keep us in their prayers and who’ve been kind enough to support us through thick and thin.  I will, of course, be active on the old facebook.  See you there!

Thanks, much love to all…be blessed.

yours in Jesus

Andrew xx

Unfolding Wisdom

Life for us at the moment is in one of those twilight periods.  You know, at that point in the day when its not fully dark, you can see stuff, but its not fully light and so there is a bit of mystery.

Now, you might think that this period of life would be like ‘dusk’..just before dark what with us leaving the Army/officership.  There are some moments it feels like that.  There are memories that produce tears and sorrow.  Only last week I had a morning where I woke up in floods of tears.  Yet, in spite of that, God is in the business of turning that mourning into dancing.  One of the verses of scripture that has been encouraging me is the verse that says ‘sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes with the morning.’  Boy, is that a promise and a half!

There has been so much recently that has proven to me, the biggest doubter, that this is not dusk as far as God is concerned.  It’s just the next day.  After the last few months of ‘night’ the dimness of light at the moment isn’t it getting darker still, its getting brighter.  It has just been so amazing to watch God’s unfolding wisdom, foresight and blessing unfold as we start to see the path before us.  He has prepared a path that may not necessarily be the one we dreamt of in the night, or even squinted at through sunset but his plan and revelation has been perfect.

You know, that sounds like a lot of code.  Its not meant to be all mystical.  But I do have to say, what with having been presented with a fair few opportunities to grow bitter, I’m actively refusing to be bitter by the help of Holy Spirit.  The honesty of all this is that God is answering my prayers.  I spent 3 years at Pill Corps praying and singing that God would send a revival and that he would start with me.  I’ve prayed that he would break me, melt me, mould me, fill me and he has and is doing.  In 15 years of following Jesus, he’s been so faithful in leading me on, deeper and deeper.  It is for that reason I can, at this time, sit quietly and simply trust him for even the smallest need.

We do value your prayers for us at this time.  So many people have been faithful in that way.  Here are a few ways that you can still be praying for us:

  • for some part-time work for Tracy in Newcastle which will help us financially
  • today we placed a holding fee on a rental property and we’re praying that goes through smoothly
  • we could do with some form of transport
  • for that new community which we will be living in, that God would be preparing hearts
  • for the children’s schooling, we need to find places for them
  • for all the difficult farewells still to come here in Aberdeen and in the Army
  • for Tracy’s health…she is experiencing some really bad toothache at the moment which is proving difficult to resolve.  She is also awaiting tests back from the hospital with regards ongoing thyroid irregularities.
  • for the children as we try to prepare them for a new stage of life (Geordie accent too!)

Thank you for praying with us and for us.

in Jesus,

Andrew