Our church life here had strange beginnings. We used to attend The New Life Church in Retford, where the worship was beautiful, and the teaching immaculate.
We knew the Lord had led us to Derbyshire, so we expected to leave our prospective place of worship in His capable hands. Mr O passed a church one evening on the way home from work, and suggested we go there the following Sunday. This was in the run-up to Christmas. We went for a few weeks, and got a very warm welcome, but found ourselves nearly nodding off during the service. And then in one sermon the preacher described God talking to Moses, and said, "Of course, God isn't going to communicate with people like that today." Oh really? As someone who communicates with God frequently, and knows it is very much a two-way conversation, I knew I wasn't going to be able to cope with that.
The second church had truly amazing worship, and we went there for a few months. But the teaching was abysmal, and then became non-existant. Oh dear.
So we were praying. Was it our job to stay here, encourage them to preach and maybe do some ourselves? But they were too much into the 'slain in the spirit' scenario, whereas we are, 'been there, done that, and guys, it doesn't actually work!
Then I was looking on the 'net one day, at the AOG website, at 'churches in Derbyshire', and came across The Zion Church, Chesterfield. There was something about the website that really attracted me. We were due to go to Chatsworth Horse Trials, but when we got there, it was cancelled due to bad weather. I said, "That's okay, because I know where we're supposed to go," and directed Mr O to the church. We walked in, we sat down, we worshipped God, and it was... wonderful, like coming home. We've been going there ever since. I have no idea, to this day, why the Lord didn't show us this place straight away, but I knew, sitting in the other churches, that we were being given second best, and the Lord wants only the best for us. I am thrilled too, that no one at Zion judges us when we can't be there because we're doing things with the horses. Nobody thinks we love God less because of it, and that is a huge blessing in itself.
Just before this, I'd met a Christian girl who was helping out at a farm up the road. We became quite good friends, and she came to the house. She introduced me to something that has changed my life - Facebook! I had to work out a lot for myself, but she showed me the basics, and that it isn't something to be frightened of if you are sensible with it. It has in fact turned out to be an enormous blessing. I am able to keep in touch with the children and friends, which is wonderful. Through Farm Town, I've become very good friends with a lot of American Christians, and I love them all. They are so bold with their faith, so generous in their attitude, I don't know what it is really, it's difficult to put into words, but I have become very close to them all. Funny to think I'll meet them all in the next life, even if I never get to meet them in this one. It's going to be a busy time! It's been an honour and a privilege to find them, share in their lives, to pray for them and know that they are praying for me, too. I have learned so much about the American way of life, and one thing I think we are missing out on in England is Thanksgiving. It sounded like such a wonderful time, I wanted to join in!
Then I read 'Life in the North' by Judith O'Reilly and became curious about blogging. Thanks to my friend Cherie, here I am, having so much fun, finding out about other bloggers, and finding out about myself as I write. Again I have met many more Christian women, and some wonderful horse lovers, and horse lovers who love the Lord. Imagine that! People who are just like me, who like the things I like, who understand the things I understand. What a blessing. Here's to much more of that in 2010. I have met people stoically coping with cancer, people who've lost loved ones, people with family fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, people who are waiting to adopt someone special into their families, those who write poetry, people who are amazingly creative with the needle, and so many who can express themselves with words and through a camera lense in ways I can only dream of. But blogging has taught me to be grateful for the things I am, and the things I have.
It's been thrilling to read people's kind comments, both on the blog and on other forums, from old friends, new friends and family members. Who knows where this will lead next year?
So I have begun to appreciate and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I like to sit and watch the sun go down, on my favourite bench outside the stables, with a cat on my lap. I like to watch my grass grow and ripen, and be cut and baled, and know it's going to feed my beautiful animals in the winter. I am loving doing cross stitich and making cards, and baking my own bread, and soon I'll be making my own jam. I love having a clean house, and having time to do all the washing, and make lovely meals for when John comes home. I love to sit and listen to the silence, or at the most a curlew or a hawk or a magpie. I love the chickens, they have brought me such pleasure. I love to ride around the local farms and see that everything is in order, for a local farmer to wave at me as he goes past on his tractor. I love life, here, as God has given it to me, and I intend to make the most of it, for as long as He says yes.
Mag's respirpatory issues continue
2 days ago