Separation

As you know I am training and studying to be a minister for the Moravian church in Great Britain. Part of my training is to experience other parts of the Unity. Last year I spent 6 weeks at Ockbrook church in Derbyshire and my family were able to share some of the time with me. This year however I am further afield in Germany and The Netherlands and this time I am flying solo.

After my lovely week in Keld, see previous posts, I thought I was prepared for time away from home but unfortunately not, I have never felt so isolated before. There are so many thoughts and feelings going on in my head I do not know where to begin. I may sound blunt and I do not wish to offend or upset anyone, but I need to be honest with myself so I can understand these emotions.

I feel that I have abandoned my family at a time where we could be enjoying the summer holidays together. So there are feelings of anger and disappointment towards the church and myself.  At the same time as feeling homesick I have been offered wonderful support by my hosts and that makes me feel guilty also.

The hardest part is not being able to share these wonderful new experiences alongside my family, I feel I am leaving them behind in some way, almost betraying them. I know these are irrational thoughts but they are very real at the same time.

Most people who know me know that I am an organising person. I like to plan ahead and know what is required of me. These 6 weeks have been organised for me and they are changing week by week, where I will be, who I will stay with, how I will get there. I am not in control and I think that is a major factor in my unsettled feelings.

Learning to let go is not easy, putting your trust, and life, in someone else’s hands is even less easy but it is something I need to do this summer.

The Watchword for today is: “Trust in him at all times, o people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8.  I have been pouring out my heart to you good people, I am not looking for pity but this is the only way I can make sense of things. I am having a wonderful experience and am grateful that I am here. I know I will look back on this time and remember the people I have met with fondness but I will also, hopefully be strengthened personally and in my faith.

That’s all folks!

A woolly tale

Sheep outnumber people in Yorkshire by a fair number. The local sheep are called Swaledale and have distinctive black faces. Their wool is very coarse and they are a very hardy breed, a requirement for the exposed areas they live in.

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The wool is very thick but when knitted up it makes lovely warm garments.

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As I was walking around Keld I saw a farmer putting out some feed for his sheep. modern farmers use quad bikes now but for many years shepherds walked everywhere. Even though the farmer is a bit more upto date with his/her transport methods they still know exactly where their sheep are. This picture is of a farmer calling his sheep and they came running across the hillside when they heard his voice.

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Jesus uses analogies of the shepherd and sheep in many parables and stories when describing himself and God to people, and I was reminded of these two verses in particular as I watched the farmer call his sheep to him:

John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

John 10:27 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
This is a good reminder that as we go about our daily lives,  God is always watching over us and knows each of us by name.
Just like the wool I described at the start which begins as a knotted and tangled mess, it can be drawn out, spun and knitted into something that is beautiful to look at and has a function. So we can be made strong by spinning ourselves together with God, He knows us all by name and has a job for us all to serve Him, so get knitting!