Thursday 14 April 2016

Treasure Finding and Glimmers of Gold...

One week since we returned from our week in Wales... how quickly time flies. I know I'm always saying it on here, but I feel like life is particularly speedy at the moment. Maybe its having three children who constantly keep me on my toes, maybe its the constant flow of events and projects that seem to be taking up my time... maybe its just that I'm getting older... I don't know, but whatever it is, it seems to be flying by at breakneck speed!


Wales. Wonderful Wales.

We took a group of 65 of us from church to "Word Alive" this year. A whole mix of age ranges - the youngest was 11 weeks old, the eldest in their 70s. A week away to immerse ourselves in the gospel. Fantastic teaching, community living; beach walks, coffee dates and swimming sessions. The children were in their element. They loved their groups, disappeared happily off every morning to their own stories, crafts and games and returned, later, with big grins on their faces, laden with all their creations and talking ten to the dozen about all they had done and learned.

I was challenged and encouraged, and so inspired, by all that we learned this year. My friend Jo and I headed off daily to some fantastic sessions on the book of Ecclesiastes. It's a book of the bible I've struggled to get my head around in the past; a strange combination of pessimism and hope. But digging through the book was like mining. It took work and effort... thought and struggle, until, eventually, we struck gold.

And strike gold we did.

We unearthed truths that liberate and allow freedom to enjoy all of God's beautiful creation, broken and unfulfilling as they are in themselves... in Christ, they are to be savoured, enjoyed, appreciated. It was like fresh air to my soul.

And we surely did appreciated creation last week...

Our evenings were immersed in John's Gospel, looking at the "I AM" sayings of Jesus. Familiar territory, but oh so refreshing. Ancient truths ever new. A reminder that Jesus is all I need; the water of life, the bread of life... He's my Protector and Rescuer - my Good Shepherd... and he's my hope  - the resurrection and the life. He is what life is all about.

So much to take in... so much to reflect on, and think about, and apply. And the beauty of North Wales is having the space, the freedom, the fresh air to drink it all in.

And if you want, you can make new friends too... these guys were pretty friendly!

It was great to be together with some of our church family... to spend time hanging out, having deep and meaningfuls over hot chocolates laden with whipped cream and marshmallows (every. day. oops), sharing life, sharing what we were being challenged by, what had struck us, what was encouraging.

Friendship at its finest.

And a big part of the joy was just watching our children enjoy the freedom and space and company of each other, and just the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors...

A fantastic week on so many levels. I am so thankful for the gift of Word Alive, and for the joy it has been to head there these past 13 years. I'm already looking forward to my 14th!

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