A moving story
Whether the A1 is the high road or the low road, I’m going to be driving up it next month and moving to Scotland. Here’s why…
Something gets started
Debbie and I currently live hundreds of miles apart and that doesn’t really suit us. God’s been so good to us with money for frequent visits to each other and free calls on our phone tariffs but enough is enough. As we realised that being together forever was what we wanted to do, a number of church leaders whose opinions I respect advised me that this was an opportunity to consider where God wanted me to be. So that’s what we started to do. What follows describes the attention-grabbing moments; it’s less easy to write about the many prayers and conversations that Debbie and I had together and with others but they were a vital part of this process.
After these initial chats with leaders I had loads of thoughts flying round my head, so I decided to spend a day in the countryside thinking and praying. At the time I was making my way through a book by Charles Spurgeon which contains a Bible reading and meditation for every day of the year. That day’s comments included the following:
“A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny… We choose that God should choose for us… We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgement… This day lay down thy wishes at Jesus’ feet.”
Coincidence? I didn’t think so. This was exactly how I wanted any move I made to be: guided by God. I spent a while writing down my dreams and present realities, and anything that I could think of that God had said in the past. The only firm conclusion I came to was that this was a time to think seriously about where Debbie and I should live. When I left the place where I had been sitting, I walked past a couple of people and overheard one of them say, “…on the verge of moving,” which I thought was funny.
Some weeks later I shared what was going on with another leader and he prayed for me and prophesied many of the things I’ve been hoping for: that God wanted me to be in a big city and that He wanted to use my preaching to reach many people. I felt permission, more and more, to think about moving.
A couple of months later Debbie and I were at the Newfrontiers Leadership Conference, hoping to hear more from God. During one of the times of worship, someone read out Isaiah 43, a passage of Scripture that God had used to encourage us early on in our relationship. The person reading it went on to say that there were people listening who God wanted to send to new places. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? We looked at each other, really excited that God had spoken so clearly.
Further confirmation came when two people from my church – on separate occasions and with no knowledge of what the other had said – told me about pictures God had given them which indicated that it was time for me to move on.
All that just to get me to leave Brickhill? Well, yes. I’ve always tried to be committed to that wonderful church and have never wanted to leave unless God made it clear that this was what He wanted. I believe He has now done that. It doesn’t make leaving any less strange or sad but it does bring confidence and enthusiasm for what’s next.
Yet more help
So where?! As Debbie and I were working this through we realised that spending some time living in the same country before we got married would be really helpful. In the midst of making this decision, I was asked to consider getting involved with King’s Church Edinburgh. This wasn’t exactly what we had expected but just a few days after this invitation a woman from my church told me that she believed God had something to say to me through a picture He had given her. The picture involved an image that meant a lot to Debbie so that gave us faith that this really was for us. The message was that making a slight adjustment in our plans was OK, and so, after yet more praying, talking and thinking, that is what we have gone for. I will be moving to Edinburgh at the end of March and Debbie will continue to live and work in Glasgow. We’ve booked a wedding date for next spring (if that seems a long time away to you, just think how we feel!) and we’re really excited about the whole thing.
And that’s the story so far. I have next to no idea how I am going to earn money or where exactly I am going to live. I am asking God to provide, as He always has before. There’s even more un-clarity about what we will do after we get married but with all that God has done for us so far we remain full of faith that He will make it clear when we need to know.
Debbie and I are so grateful to God, and to all those who helped us with this decision in any way. I was once told that the best place to be is right in the middle of God’s will, and that’s exactly where I believe we are.
P.S. I have no intention of buying a kilt.
P.P.S. That’s probably the last joke about Scotland I’m going to be allowed to make.