Tuesday 4 September 2012

Thirty Years On. Life, Marriage, Children

It's been a while since I posted a blog page. I've been busy. I've had a lot on my plate. At my age, you just get busier. I now have grand children in my life. 5 years ago I would not have imagined that I would be sitting here today talking about a grandchild, much less two! But here I am. They are beautiful. A girl and a boy. Mayana and Reuben. We drive up to see them, and then they come to see us.
And so I  keep busy. Last weekend, we drove up to see them.
My Eldest two daughters, both married, both live in the same town. Zoey and Peter are the proud parents of our grandchildren. Bethanie and Lachlan live about 5 minutes from them by car. Zoey and Bethanie are both teachers at the same school (although Zoey is on maternity leave). Peter
Is a teacher at a pre-school and Lachlan is finishing his teaching degree. Having them all living in the same town has definite advantages, both for them and for me. Zoey and Bethanie have become very   close and both couples get together socially regularly.
Tambrey and I miss out on this so we have to travel up to make up the short fall in access place. This is one of the important reasons I run out of time. I love having time with all of my Maryborough mob; family is very important to me, and the fact that they live in the same town means we can visit everyone in one trip.

Our youngest two, Alexie and Jordan, both live at home with us. Alexie is studying Nursing and Jordan is doing a music degree. Both lead interesting and full lives. They are both heavily involved in our church and youth ministry, and volunteer regularly of their time to it each week. Alexie is the unofficial assistant and right-hand to our Youth Pastor, Michelle and the two have become inseparable best friends. She spends two days a week unpaid with Michelle working organising youth programmes and church administration and the like. Alexie and Michelle have become involved in a local High School where they run a mentoring programme for troubled and at-risk teenage girls. This programme has become so successful that the school has asked them to extend the programme to 2 days a week, and open it up to more girls.
Jordan is in classes 5 days a week in an intensive Music degree, the first year of which gives him a dual diploma in music performance and music law. This term his week has been reduced to 4 days and so he too volunteers his time at the church office, helping out wherever they can.

What's with the 30 years?

I titled this blog 30 years on because recently Tambrey and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date.  It was 30 years ago that I took an innocent country girl into the big city, showed her how the other half lived and went to the movies. We saw Chariots of Fire and walked around the city square. I'll never forget seeing those beautiful big blue eyes getting bigger and bigger as we experienced one religious group after another trying to convert us to their way of faith. We had young Christian zealots over in one corner who despised everything the mainstream church stood for saying all was based on pagan philosophy and ritual, Christianised by the early church and nothing to do with true faith. In another corner there was a local youth group doing street witnessing, praying together and singing Choruses accompanied by guitars. And last and most colourful were the Hare Krishna's in full get up complete with tambourines singing and offering peace cookies to all passers by.

For a young country girl whose regular Friday nights only exposed her to the locals pouring out of the pub in various stages of drunk, this was quite a sight, and she was tightly wrapped around my arm as we made our way around. I can say what we have been tightly wrapped around each others arms ever since!

30 years on, we have done much, lived in places where there was no tv and no telephones. We have experienced poverty and homelessness and seen God prove Himself faithful time and again. We have seen our children grow into incredible strong young people of God; independent,  capable, motivated and passionate.  We have never gone without a meal. We have had all our needs met at the times when we needed them met. We have had the privilege of meeting and having fellowship with some of the most amazing people that God ever put on this Earth. We have had the privilege of being an answer to prayer many times and in some of the most surreal situations.
We have walked where no white man has walked (literally). We have been to places that we might only have dreamed of. I have made music to crowds of thousands, and ministered to young people going through difficult times. Tambrey has blessed scores of people that God has put across her path; speaking into their lives, taking them to achieving things they never thought possible.
30 years on as we look back we can see the path that God has taken us on.
It reminds me of that scripture in Jeremiah 29:11.

I know the thoughts I have towards you says the Lord; thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a hope and a future...

And in Proverbs 16:9

A man's heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

God had and still has great plans for us and if I had known then what I have experienced since, I may not have been so keen to pursue this path. But looking back I have no regrets. We have had no shortage of tough times and situations, but God has brought us through every one. And not just barely but triumphantly. What I can honestly say is that these times, times of trial and triumph have defined us and our family, shaping us into what and who we have become.  And through it all, as the song says, I've learnt to depend upon my God.

The one thing I keep on seeing is the closer we draw to God, the closer He draws to us. He blesses us beyond what we have ever dreamed. And as I look forward to the next 30 years, sharing them with the loves of my life and being introduced to new ones, I pray that together we will continue to grow closer and more dependant on Him. Because that is where the blessing comes from!
Have a great week.

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