of a new stage of life!
This morning I waved Andy off on his pre-ordination retreat at Pleshey - 3.5 days of morning and evening prayer, legal oaths, silence, food, cycling (not for everyone) and maybe a trip to the pub.
It's been an incredible journey over the last 5 years or so since this all began (you can read more here and a more recent, less positive post here!).
On Saturday, Mr. Andy Smith will become Rev. Andy Smith in a very special service in Chelmsford. We are being joined from all over the country by people who have been with us on different parts of the journey and have prayed for us, encouraged us, cried with us and laughed with us. There are many others too who can't be with us and I know will be cheering us on, praying and looking forward to social media photographs!
In a month we will pack up St Peter's House here in Hutton and move, just 10 miles up the road to Basildon where Andy will (as from Sunday) be Assistant Curate at St Andrew's and Holy Cross.
We leave behind an amazing community of friends and neighbours here who we never expected to have - we were never meant to live in Hutton! We have also been so blessed by the church families at Emmanuel and Deeper over these 3 years who have welcomed us, challenged us and enabled us to prepare for this next stage.
I haven't blogged properly for so long (the number of tags for Isaac against the ones for Matilda show why my blogging activity may have slowed down!) so it feels a bit odd to pour out too much here but I am incredibly grateful to God for all he has done in our lives these last 3 years. We could never have known how much it would hurt but we would never had understood the depths of his faithfulness and love to us without that. He has held us and stretched us indeed - through all the studying that Andy has done, the youthwork we have led, the people we have met and the stuff we have learnt. About ourselves, about who we are in Christ and about his plans for us. He's never let us down and he won't start now. But I am terrified and excited - the unknown is a hard place for a planner to embark on! I'm only glad that as Andy has been called to be ordained in God's church, so he has also called me to love my husband, to love people, to parent well and to see the church inhabit the places where there is need, particularly amongst young people.