I have been asked to speak at church this morning, about my call from God. Unfortunately I can't do it without crying today, so we'll see how it goes.
What is God calling me to do?
To be honest, when I was asked about doing this, about talking in front of people for a couple of minutes, I didn't answer. I actually held my breath. I didn't know what to say, and I didn't know if I could do this. I wrote it down so that if I don't get to the end, someone else will do it for me.
I thought about the question over the next few days. I thought about all the things I felt God had called me to in the past. I know He called me to teaching, and in all the jobs I've had, I could look back and say, Yes, that's where he wanted me right that time, and now I see why. Maybe it was the child who just needed someone at the right time to get them over a hurdle, to find the thing that was stopping them learning - like the little girl who was petite mal fitting up to 100 times a day, and forgetting the last couple of minutes every time and nobody knew. Maybe it was the class who had had a series of supply teachers since they were in Reception, and for who, by the time I had been there 3 months, I was the longest serving teacher they had ever had. Maybe it was the child I don't remember now, because I was the right person at the right time and I didn't even know. But in the dark times, when I couldn't help, when I knew the child I was sending home was going to an unsafe place, or that the parent I was talking to wasn't listening because I was "just a teacher and knew nothing about the real world" I questioned what God was calling me to do. What difference was I making?
But that's not now.
Later, God called me to mothering, stay at home, hippy-earth mothering with a joy and a delight and a love of freshly washed nappies and a happiness that only came from being with the Adorable Child. He was a wonderful baby, but when he was ill at 6 months old, and we didn't know why, and the longest he slept was 40 minutes at a time before waking and screaming in pain, I didn't understand. I remember standing at 3am, with an exhausted child, sick dripping off my elbow, lying him down to sleep on a towel with a towel over him because we'd run out of sheets, and questioning what kind of mother I was when I couldn't even make a difference to my son. I couldn't stop the pain.
But that's not now either.
5 years ago we moved and I met new people. 4 years ago Rich and I started "walking out" together. We bought a house together, we planned a life together, we raised the Adorable Samchild together and planned a family of our own. I was teaching again, and trying to listen to God, and feeling His call to work with Special Needs children, with children on the autistic spectrum, with dyslexia, with complex needs. Children who just needed a little more time. We seemed to understand each other, they and I. I seemed to be able to finally answer His call, of mothering and teaching and loving and doing it all and even managing to serve the Church in a small way with the notices.
That's not now either.
In July, we all know what happened, and it took a little while before I realised where God was in the accident, what God was calling me to do.
He was calling me to love Him, regardless. To show that love, regardless. To make a difference in the world around me just by loving God and being proud of it and hanging on to it when everything else was tumbling. He was calling me to trust Him, and to show that I trusted Him, to show that the words I had read, the rituals I had gone through, the prayers I had said and thought, the communions I had taken and the sermons I had mostly listened to were worth it, and that when push came to shove, I leant on Him. It's a call to cope, a call to say "Yes, I can do all things through He who strengthens me." It was that call that got me out of my chair to read His words, ending on that verse at Rich's Celebration. It's still a call to mother with all that I am, to teach, to serve, but it's a call to do it with God at the forefront, not just as the Sunday morning extra.
I am lucky, in so many ways, to have friends and family who love my son and I. It's encouraging to hear and to read that they admire my strength, that my coping is an inspiration, that the way I have picked myself up and got on with life is something they hope they could do in the same situation, heaven forbid they are ever where Sam and I are now. As many times as I can though, I tell them, I can only do this because I have family, and friends, and because London Road behind me, because I have Methodism behind me, and because through them and with them I have God next to me.
So that's where I feel His call is leading me now. To accept the love and care and support and prayers I've been so wonderfully given, and to send them on, both back to Him with thanks, and to others with the message that He is there for me through all of this, and He'd be there for you as well. The call from Him, is to go back to Him, and bring my friends.