Today we were farewelled from our home church, St Clement's Anglican Church. I had woken this morning with a huge knot in my stomach; dread about our impending departure. I've spent the last couple of weeks saying goodbye; last night was a fabulous dinner with a beautiful friend, and today was to be our official farewell from church.
We first walked into St Clement's two and a half years ago, and my immediate reaction was I hate this place. People waving flags, big band music - I just wanted to go home. I actually left that first service for about half an hour, to collect myself and calm down. And now, two and a half years later, I feel like I am leaving my home.
We've been so stretched at St Clem's. I have grappled more with my faith these past two and a half years than ever before. I have sought the Lord, sometimes with my face on the floor, I was that desperate. I have sought Him, and He has been found. We have become part of a Connect Group (in the old parlance, home group) and our group has been a source of refuge, of testing, of growth.
And now, we are abandoning this spiritual home.
When we first floated the idea of going back to the mainland, I think we both truly believed that we were leaving Tasmania for good. Gradually, we've come to realise that we have built a home here. We have people we love. Amazingly, there are people who love us! So, we are leaving Tasmania with the hope that we will return, but with the caveat: DV. Deo Volente. God willing.
Not long after we began to make plans to leave Tasmania I read these words:
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."' James 4:13-15
In every other decision Jim and I have made cursory nods to the Lord. We're relatively capable people, well-educated and not too socially inept so we've been able to push ahead with our own plans to a large degree. This time, we are stepping out in faith. In faith the our Heavenly Father knows us, has a plan for us and will reveal that plan to us. I greatly desire that we return to Tasmania. I could say to people that we are only going for six months; after all, Jim has a job waiting for him in 2013. But I am realising the futility of that. We could say that. We could genuinely believe it. But if God has different plans, then our words are in vain (and on the other hand, we could also say that we won't return but God may think differently!).
So, while I do hope that we come back, we have to wait and see.And in the meantime, there be cows to be chased, and kids to be educatin'!