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The times they are a-changin’

There has been a lot of ‘moving on’ in the Allen household recently. My dissertation is finally done, and although I’m so happy to have completed it, I’m already mourning the loss of academic study. I love the discussion of ideas, the intense study and the grappling with theological issues, it draws me closer to God and keeps me sane. We are also looking for a new church post, and the realisation that we don’t want to move on from the people we love so much here hit in as I started applying for new roles. But most importantly, our middle child has her last week at primary school and it’s been both a joy to see her laugh and smile as she celebrates her friendships, and a sadness that her world is changing. As a family we are used to change, moving a lot has created a love of adventure and joy in the new, but this time it’s different. It seems to hurt a lot more.

Stopping something and beginning something new is both a joy and deeply painful. We grieve what we know and love before we’ve even lost it, but also have the hope of an adventure ahead. Humans are complex, and as we feel multiple emotions we still have to take that step every morning to love the people God has given us or to do the task God has asked us to do, knowing that change is coming. Some days the pain wins, and some days the joy wins.

Bono and Eugene Peterson talk about honesty in the Psalms, the rawness of emotion and allowing that to be a song or prayer before God. Christians can quickly point to the hope that is coming, the new adventure with God, and neglect the emotion of leaving what was before. Honesty is key to moving on because by acknowledging what we think and feel we can begin letting go and allow the new to shape us. When reading the Psalms, it’s clear that the rawness of human emotion is welcome before God, and I’d suggest wanted from God. He wants all of us.

The pain of leaving those he loved behind and the joy of seeing what will come is evident in Jesus’ prayer in John 17. He empathises with the disciples, he knows who they are and loves each one of them wishing they could come with him, but knowing that they can’t. Jesus’ prayer is full of love and compassion for those that the Father has given him and the pain of leaving them behind. He acknowledges his emotions and is honest in prayer.

If you are dealing with change, I encourage you to be honest with God, he cares about all of you, your joy and your pain. If you’re not dealing with change there’s likely to be someone you know who is, are you able to lovingly support them being honest with God too?

Jo Allen Director South West, Rural Ministries


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