Learning Lessons the Hard Way

Remember how the Lord led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
Deuteronomy 8:2

I was recently asked if we missed living and working in Aberystwyth. I replied that I thought I always would, but that I was probably in love with the memories of what was, rather than what it would be now if we were still there.

You see, our final years in Aberystwyth were golden. We were settled into an awesome church, we were surrounded by great friends, we did jobs we loved and we lived in the midst of beautiful countryside. We felt like we were serving God whole heartedly and we were content. {I even blogged about how happy we felt here and here.}

In contrast, our time in Cardiff have felt like desert years. We know that God has called us into ministry and that coming to Cardiff was a necessity but that hasn’t made it a lot easier. The last couple of years have just been hard physically, mentally and spiritually. 

However, I am becoming more and more convinced that God is using this time as a training ground for our future. I am under no illusion that being a vicar’s family is going to be easy. In fact I’m sure it’s going to be hard. Really hard.
I feel like God is slowly and gently acclimatising us to life as a clergy couple; teaching us how to swim rather than throwing us in at the deep end when Josh is ordained and letting us drown. 

>> Our spiritual food comes from God and not church
Being settled in a church with great worship and teaching makes it so easy to become complacent about seeking God and reading his word, I mean it’s handed to us on a plate each Sunday morning! We have struggled to settle into a church in Cardiff and Josh finds attending a liberal Anglo-Catholic college really hard. We are no longer regularly receiving good, solid bible teaching and that has meant we have had to be even more disciplined about coming before God and hearing from him directly. This is so important. When Josh is a vicar he is going to be the one teaching; he will have to get his nourishment from God so he can pass it on to others. If we don’t we will both starve spiritually. 

>>My worth is not found in doing
I’ve gone from being super involved to having no job and not really being active in church. I think it’s great to be involved and everyone should have a purpose, but so often I have found my worth in doing things.   I am learning to accept that I am God’s child whether I am super busy or not and as a vicar’s wife I don’t need to prove myself by organising everything!

>> Be proactive
I’m quickly learning that I need to be the person I want to be. Friends aren’t going to drop into my lap and things aren’t going to change just because I hope they will. There is no point slumping into a depression because things aren’t going my way – I need to be proactive about creating the life I want to have. 

>> Be independent
I often hide behind Josh in social situations and I don’t really like doing things by myself. When Josh is a vicar he’s going to be really busy. Either I’m going to have to get used to doing things on my own or become a recluse living in the garden shed. I choose the former so I’m making more of an effort to get out and do things for myself. 

We were up in Aberystwyth this weekend to celebrate our vicar and his wife {who have been working in the parish for 25 years} as they announced their retirement.
As I listened to person after person speaking about how they have been impacted by their work I imagined how they must feel; I guessed it must be bitter sweet to see how much God has blessed your work but to be at the end of it all.

It made me realise how privileged we are to be right at the start of our ministry and it gave me butterflies of excitement that we get to see what God has in store for us.

Yes, things are hard and yes, we have lots of difficult lessons to learn but I don’t want to look back at the end of our ministry and see that we wasted time by being dragged down by our struggles and worries. 

We only have one life and I want to make the most of every moment. 

Linking with Thriving Thursdays


  1. Love you Rach! God is going to do so much through you and Josh. I always think the christian life is like diamonds. They have to go through real pressure to turn them from rocks to precious stones. God allows us to go through times of difficulty because he uses those circumstances to change us for His glory and for our benefit.

    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:1-5

  2. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog!

    It does sound like God is using your circumstances right now as training ground...keep persevering and I know you will see fruit in time.

    I identify with some of your feelings here...we are in different circumstances but I have been struggling a little with where we are and what God's purposes are. Part of that is settling into where we're now living and feeling a bit homesick for where we were before, but I'm trusting in God's goodness and His plans for us. And having to choose to do things rather then become a recluse? Yep, with you on that :) Especially going from a working woman to and at-home mama!

  3. I love these lessons you shared - they are so true! Especially about our spiritual food coming from God, not church - that is a great point. I need to invest more time in spending the time with the Lord one-on-one, so this was a good reminder.