It's not easy, buying a house. Or selling one. Like most people, we are currently doing both. At the same time as a complete change of lifestyle, ministry, work, business, geography and space. Like many people. So there is excitement, anxiety, stress - and blessing. Blessing upon blessing, many of them small blessings, each of them seeming to be God's provision, timing, leading.
On Thursday afternoon, we stood in the Piggeries at our new home.
We don't actually own this house yet. But the Aga for my new kitchen was being delivered, and it is being stored in the Piggeries for now. My husband found the Aga on ebay - a mere 5 years old, unwanted and eventually unbid for. No-one wanted to pay the enormous asking price, I suppose. We couldn't; but a few emails and phone calls later, and a 4 door cream Aga is ours for a mere fraction of what it should have cost. Just like the house itself - ours was the lowest offer,yet for some unearthly because heavenly reason, our offer was the one accepted.
The Aga was moved and transported it for us by an amazing father and son team - the son is a young man with severe learning disabilities, but able to help his father in their family business of redistributing Agas. It was humbling to see them working together, interacting, chuntering and cheering at each other. They slipped the Aga into a large piggery, and promised to be back when the kitchen is ready for it. And while we were there, back in London a dishwasher was popped into our garage - unwanted, surplus to requirement and would we like it for our new home? As we don't own one (all the appliances in our current kitchen belong to the church) we were delighted to accept.
The new kitchen needs designing. It's currently 4 areas separated with partition walls, with old uneven stone floors and not much else. But a friendly kitchen designer has offered her services - for free. My ministry of Retreats and Quiet Spaces in this new house needed setting up with a company, a trust, a Board of Directors, a Charitable Status. It's all being done for me - kind friends, congregation members, acquaintances - giving freely and generously of their time and expertise; and suddenly Ministries By Design is a Company registered at Company House, and charitable status is on its way.
Others, whether friends known for a long time, or friends known only through Twitter, are offering time and prayer and skills for later when we could do with people to paint and decorate.
Or give the double aspect some TLC:
Blessing upon blessing.
And as for the huge financial needs - I don't want to go into specific details, but I can mention loans, small gifts, grants (even one to pay the removal costs, as moving without a job to go to means there is no removal payments) donations, provisions..... A long way to go yet, but enough so far to mean we can move ahead.
Blessing upon blessing, undeserved and unmerited.
At 5 am on Saturday morning, we were both wide awake. Heads full of plans for new kitchens or big physical tasks like laying underfloor heating. Too busy to sleep. Coffee in the kitchen in the darkness of an early morning, laptops wide open. Excited, anxious, worried, gleeful, perplexed.
Wondering whether we are totally mad. Wondering whether I will really be able to do what I feel called to do. After all, I've had 2 years off work, coping with PTSS and depression and broken dreams. I CAN'T DO THIS. WHAT MAKE ME THINK I CAN HELP OTHERS, especially those younger women clergy whom I long to support and encourage?
But then I re-read this, and knew the truth of it:
Many have found that their broken dream was an open door to a better dream that could ONLY come through brokenness.
And I remembered:
Attempt something so great for God that it be doomed to failure unless God be in it.
I am being blessed in and through the brokenness.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9
Where have you experienced unexpected blessings?
Where are you finding grace and power perfected in your weakness?
Might you encourage me too by sharing those?