The Beach

It is great to be living so close to the beach again. There is something so relaxing about the large open spaces, the sound of the water and the fresh sea air.
Every time we visit I can’t quite get over the fact that we live here. We have visited Pembrokeshire beaches so many times on holiday I automatically feel like we should be going back to our campsite and setting up a BBQ not heading back to our home for real life!

When we first moved Ivy wasn’t too sure about the beach because she’d never had much exposure to the countryside when we were living in Cardiff. However, every time we visit she gains a bit more confidence and now she loves splashing through rock pools, picking up gloopy sand and finding giant crabs and ‘bugs’.

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The last few weeks have been a real shock to the system. Not only have we moved house and changed routine, Josh has also started a completely new job with totally different working hours, and has started working from home. I think it is going to take a while to get used to it.

One of the biggest changes however, is that we are suddenly very visible. When we arrived everyone in the churches already knew us and had been waiting for us to move for months. They have been so friendly and wonderful but I still wonder if we have lived up to their expectations!

And then there is the dog collar.

Oh, it’s so bizarre to walk around with Josh in a collar. I can just feel the inquisitive looks as we walk around – a 20-something vicar, what’s that about? While it has already brought Josh some amazing opportunities to talk about Jesus it also feels strange to have lost our anonymity; we are obvious representatives of God, not just in church but everywhere he wears his collar or that people know us.

All of this has made my old anxieties resurface. Am I good enough? Do I meet with people’s expectations? Is my house clean enough for parishioners to pop round? Is it okay to go to bed early in case someone comes to the door? Is Ivy misbehaving in church? Are they judging me?

It’s all about me, me, me.

The whole reason we went into ministry in the first place is to tell people about God. About a God who created us, and loves each one. About a God that walked on earth as a man called Jesus, who unlike us was perfect, and died as a sacrifice for each person who believes in him so that we can be friends with God. About a God who cares about each part of our lives. About a God we can talk to about our worries. About a God who provides for all our needs. About a God that we can be with forever.

My anxieties distract me into trying to get people to look at how great I am, instead of looking at how great God is. So, I’m letting it go.
Ivy whined through the whole of our first service in parish, my floor is dirty and I’ve been a stresshead for the last few weeks. That is real life. I am not a perfect Christian, a perfect wife and mother and I’m definitely not going to be the perfect curate’s wife, but I refuse to let that stop me taking opportunities for good while we’re here.

It’s all about learning and growing and taking every day as it comes. 

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