Rest and reflection

How are things with you? I’m feeling rested and refreshed after our summer holiday. This year we’ve taken a break from the Keswick Convention and instead headed down to East Sussex for a week at Ashburnham Place, which is organised every other year by folk from a few churches in Leeds or with connections to them. We were invited by friends and it was just what we needed.

The location is beautiful, set in woodland and with trails around three lakes that were perfect for starting to run again. There were organised sessions and activities but also freedom to opt out. I particularly appreciated the morning and evening meetings and the seminars, which were all tied in to the ‘Story’ theme and helped us ask questions, see what God has done and explore what might lie ahead.

Both the art and journaling seminars opened up opportunities to explore our stories in a visual and tactile way. I’ve not used paints and oil pastels or done much paper crafting for a long time, so am looking forward to finding new creative expressions that don’t all involve fabric and in which the process is just as important as the outcome.

It feels as if I’ve been rushing around so much in recent months that even stopping to queue for meals was a blessing. Our girls formed some good friendships and spent a lot of time outside in trees, on bikes and even swimming in the lake. We both reconnected with friends and acquaintances from our much younger days.

My hope is that I will take on some of what I learned during the week, ensure I seek to focus more on the things that matter rather than being distracted by what’s convenient or immediately appealing, and that in exploring my own story, God will show me the way ahead. I’m asking big questions about my work with parents and babies, and how/whether to continue with it, and wonder what doors will open and close as I think and pray through this.

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