It’s been a tough few days beginning with our anniversary on Saturday.
On Sunday I rang my parents as I usually do. My dad had nothing to tell me but sad news - death, cancer and a heart attack!
By Monday, after yet another email of gloom arrived in my inbox, I felt even more despondent and was beginning to wonder if I would ever be “happy” again!
Monday afternoon was stormy and while travelling back from oldest son’s tennis lesson the sky in front of us intensified to a dense shade of navy. We had left the brilliant sunshine behind us – it was a metaphor for my mood.
I scanned the horizon for a rainbow because the weather seemed so perfect for one.
“God, I haven’t seen one for ages and I really need some hope, some sign that in all of this you haven’t abandoned us!” I prayed.
I looked and looked but all I could see in front was an ever darkening skyline. I’d almost lost hope.
Then we turned a corner to be confronted by not one but two rainbows and they kept getting brighter. I was mesmerised. It was as if God had heard my plea and painted it just for me. A powerful sign to show me how much I mean to him. That he hasn’t forgotten me even in the midst of everything else that is going on in the world.
Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning will know how I believe that a rainbow is a sign of God’s faithfulness. It is his promise to us.
I don’t think I have ever seen a rainbow so dazzling. It stretched wide across the deep blue heavens.
God is still holding on to me whatever decisions I make. Whether in the small things like deleting Andrew’s work number from my mobile phone or the big step of putting the house on the market, HE is there.
Regards selling the house I have left it in his capable and outstretched hands. I have seen his provision before where houses are concerned. He was with us when we bought this one. There was a stage where we thought we may have lost it forever although some part of us always thought this was the one and we trusted God to guide us.
In our prayers we asked for a house we could use for God’s glory. We were always aware of how privileged we were in having such a grand house that we often had people to stay and opened our home and garden for various projects and fundraising events.
I have another house story from when I was at University.
After a year in the halls of residence three of us decided we wanted to share a house in our second year. We kept looking for somewhere but found nothing suitable. It was getting nearer and nearer the end of term. Finally in the last week we went to look round a house with space for the three of us. However we would have to share with students we didn’t know.
This could have been a good thing and chance to meet new friends but when we came out it was a relief when we all decided that it wasn’t the house for us. We just didn’t feel we could comfortably live with the students already living there. The three of us were Christians and we wanted our house or flat to reflect this. A home we could share and use for God. This wasn't it.
We weren’t being prejudiced, the tenants already there probably wouldn’t have wanted to share with us either.
As we left that term we had no idea where we would be staying the following academic year. We prayed God would find us somewhere to live and put the situation in his hands. One member of our group who lived the nearest to the university said she would return to check the accommodation boards through the summer holidays.
All our faith was put in God and what we eventually found was amazing. A testament to his marvellous provision.
Above a window cleaning business, in an ordinary quiet road, tucked behind the main shopping street, was a sprawling five bedroom flat. It had never been rented out before so we drew up a shopping list to take to the local hardware shop and chose everything we needed brand new at the landlord’s expense.
Anything else we wanted, that was a reasonable request, our generous landlord bought us, full length mirrors on the wardrobe doors, rooms decorated the colours we wanted and even a washing machine because we didn’t like having to use the launderette!
On reflection some of our requests were more than we really needed but we saw God’s hand in this. This was the flat he had prepared for us. We had asked for help and he delivered so much more than we ever expected.
Our flat became the centre of everything we were involved in. It almost became an extension of the Christian Union and was a great place to hold parties and prayer meetings alike! I know there are people who follow my blog who I’m sure will agree that Stone Street was a special place because they were there and experienced it!
Last week I watched as not one but two little girls were walking along the wall around our church. Each child was holding the hand of their mum or grandma. The grown-ups making sure they did not fall and felt secure in their adventure.
I remember being just as small and walking along a wall on the way to the library. My mum would hold my hand as the wall got higher and higher.
As I watched these children I had a picture of God holding my hand. In my head I had one of those conversations, almost with myself, imagining God answering and saying “yes I’m still holding your hand and I will take you higher, somewhere that maybe appears even scarier from your perspective but I will never let you go!”
Yesterday morning in my Bible reading I was looking at Psalm 31. This is the very last verse.
“Be brave. Be strong. Don’t Give up.
Expect GOD to get here soon.”
And then I turned to the New Testament reading in John chapter 6.
Jesus says “Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.”
I’ve been down and felt that despair of grief that things will never get any better as I have lost half of myself. I am still unravelling and wonder if this will ever come to an end.
However the rainbow is still there if I keep searching for it. Just around the next corner in all it's brilliance. And like everything from God it will be more marvellous than I ever expected.
And best of all God is there, still holding my hand as he always has been. Ready to catch me if I should fall.