Monday, 15 September 2008

Miss… you’re so random!

A couple of days into the new academic year – after three days of Staff INSET – I was asked if I’d be able to come along as a team leader for a Year 10 spiritual retreat. With very little thought, and a quick scan of my diary, I gave my consent. So it was that on Tuesday 9th Sept, around 2 pm, I found myself on a coach load of almost thirty students heading down the motorway to Soli House, in Stratford.

It never ceases to amaze me how often God makes appointments with us even without us realising it or before we perceive the event. The priest-in-charge offered the young people a similar thought: “you might not believe, or indeed realise it, but God called you to come on this retreat to have an opportunity to engage with, and encounter Him”. And I found that I too had been led – notwithstanding that it was a last minute call – to come along and do business with God.

The retreat was a powerful spiritual experience for me amidst ongoing personal struggles. In the quiet and calm of the surroundings, I found God ministering to my spiritual needs – reminding me of his enduring love and presence in every situation. In recent weeks, I have been praying that God would move me from a place of fear to a place of faith, and during this retreat I was given a gentle reminder that the wind of change that is needed to propel my transition from ‘fear to faith’ consists of: taking God at his word, and choosing to trust him completely. Not surprisingly, moving to that place of total surrender is no easy feat and is a daily and ongoing challenge for me. However, after many years (over five years, if anyone is counting!) of spiritual stalemate, I have decided that I do want to press more into the Father’s heart, dig deeper into scripture, and move to the next level in my relationship with God. Hence about two months ago, I made a commitment to read the entire bible using the book ‘Searching the Scriptures’. And I must say that I’ve got so much from the book of LUKE which I’m re-visiting again with new eyes – being washed and cleansed afresh with numerous nuggets of truth e.g. “Any of you who does not give up everything he has, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33)! Having made this commitment, I have sensed God opening more of himself to me – seeking me out in the routine of my life, and equally, in the out-of-the-ordinary events such as this Soli House retreat.

Hence in the midst of a gaggle of nearly thirty Year 10 boys and girls going through their own private journeys with God and despite the three days of sleep deprivation (on the first night, I didn’t get even an hour’s sleep!) – I found myself being renewed by the person of Christ, and the love of God. In addition, it was rewarding to experience this group of young people outside of the school environment and see their faith journeys being nurtured in this way. Getting to know the young people, and having the opportunity to share my life story with them – to the extent that one girl commented: 'Miss... you’re so random...' what a treat!

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