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From the Curate - May 2022

26/04/2022

Patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace and if you have all of these then you have a pretty face. I have no idea where this rhyme comes from or even if there is any more to it, but right now it explains a lot. No pretty face just a frowny face and no grace. Why? I hear you ask. Simply because I have very little patience when waiting for things especially when it is for myself!
 
If I am waiting with someone else or praying for them for something to happen, I have all the patience in the world. I have a great ministry of presence, which simply means sitting and being present in the moment and waiting, but not for myself. When I must wait, I get frustrated. When people tell me it will be in God’s time, I get frustrated. When people say that God is teaching me patience, what I would like to say to them is unprintable! The polite version is I have waited long enough, it is time that God opened the door for me. So that I can begin a new life and Ministry somewhere, anywhere.
 
Please do not think that I want to rush away from you all because I don’t. I have waited patiently on God for so long that to get to this point of almost being in my own parish and yet not quite there is frustrating as it is for many of my peers who are also waiting for the right position to become available. When I was signed off by the Bishop in January it was with the expectation that I would be getting ready to move by now, God seems to have other ideas and I wish he would share them with me or at least give me a time scale to work with!
 
It isn’t just me who is waiting, it is my husband and family as well. Fortunately, my husband works in an industry where his skills are transferable to any geographical area, I can only begin to imagine the stress that waiting causes for those whose spouses have to give notice to their employers and then find a new job. So, we are blessed in that respect. Then there are family members who are waiting to know where Mum/Grandma is going to be living and when can they come to stay. Plans are put on hold, just in case that elusive parish becomes available and with only a small window of opportunity to apply. Dare we book that ten-day holiday in the Caribbean (a delayed 25th wedding anniversary gift to ourselves), and what happens if the ideal role comes and goes whilst we are away?
Every time the church times arrives, I open the pages praying that this will be the week when a vacancy calls to me, then there is a sense of disappointment when there is nothing suitable. The same happens when I search diocesan websites and find nothing, After, the anticipation, there is a sense of loss and a feeling that clearly everyone got it wrong, and I should not be a minister! Then begins the half-hearted look for a secular role, that I will never take because the conviction within me and the assurance of others that God has called me to this life is so strong that it cannot be wrong, and this is what keeps me going as I continue my search.
When I begin to lose hope, I am reminded in Romans 12: v 2... Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so you may discern what is the will of God. This passage spoke powerfully to me when I was preparing to go forward for discernment to confirm that my calling was indeed from God and not just my own thinking and it continues to sustain me now, in fact the whole of chapter 12 is worth reading prayerfully when we are struggling to know where we fit in. There are many books that I read, too many to mention, but all about people who have struggled to wait on God. It is good to know that I am not the only one who gets angry and shouts at God, who weeps with the frustration and hurt that waiting can bring. After I have finished with the self-pity, I remember the hope that the resurrection brings, the hope that there is something for each one of us so I sit and wait just as the disciples did because I know that the eventual gift that I receive will be far greater than I probably deserve.

I am going to finish now with the words from 'I the Lord the Sea and Sky' that I use a lot in my time of waiting: Here I am Lord, Is it I lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord if you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart. He called, I answered, and now I am ready to go wherever he leads, so if he could just get a move on that would be great!

Ashley

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