Sunday, 23 December 2012

Pause In Advent 2012 – #4

Pause in Advent Logo from Floss

Soon it will be Christmas Day, and in nine days we will be at the start of a New Year.  Lots to think about…

As you know, I have not had any supply teaching since June – and then I missed a job interview because I was ill. Another friend was also due to be at that interview- and she too pulled out because of illness.


She emailed me, about feeling at the end of the rope, but holding on. I joked that the trouble with having the flu was that it had left me too wobbly to tie a secure knot!

Then I remembered the motto of the college where our two husbands trained together for ministry around 30 years ago.

Et Teneo Et Teneor

spurgeons window

There is a beautiful stained glass window at the College showing a hand holding a cross. The Latin motto can be translated

“I both hold and am held”

I have no idea what will happen in 2013. We’ve got to the end of the year solvent [just] – Bob still has the motorbike [awaiting a new shock absorber] and we have managed to find the mortgage payment every month.

I cannot explain how we have managed – other than by the grace of God, and the love of his people. But my trivial problems are just that, minuscule, in comparison with others…

There have been moments in the past few months when holding onto faith has not been easy because of what has been going on in our world…

  • The whole Jimmy Savile thing, when men have thought it was OK to abuse children, and deny anything has happened, to protect reputations.
  • The hoax phone call to a hospital- where ‘entertainment’ took precedence over the privacy and dignity of a young pregnant woman – and another innocent woman caught up in it all, one who lived by values of honesty and respect, was so distressed that she took her life.
  • The awful murder, by a deranged gunman, of twenty little children and six adults who were at school preparing for Christmas  – in a nation which believes both in the right to ‘the pursuit of happiness’ and ‘the right to bear arms’
  • Nine young girls killed last Monday by a landmine in Afghanistan – triggered accidentally as they were collecting firewood for their families. "Most of those killed were aspiring engineers, doctors and teachers. Only four bodies can be recognised," said a tribal elder.
  • Closer to home, one friend’s husband died suddenly and another friend has been diagnosed with a very serious cancer.

These awful, heart wrenching situations have frequently left me weeping for those affected, as they suffer indescribable grief. And these things cannot be brushed away with glib answers.

holding handI cry out Why, Lord? – but as I struggle in these dark moments, I realise that I am not stumbling alone in the dark – His hand is holding mine so firmly, that even if my grip weakens, I will not slip.

“I both hold and am held”

When I get to the end of my rope, I find God is always there with me.


  1. I should read more carefully as I hadn't realised that you had to pay a mortgage; I am used to CofE and Methodist clergy living in church houses, so that although they don't get paid an awful lot, they are at least housed.

    I think that 2013 is going to be challenging for us all, but that we will support one another through it, just as we have done in 2012. With God's grace, we will continue to make a difference for Him. With love xxx

    1. Morgan - we are fortunate to live in a lovely church house here in Leicestershire - but that is only till retirement. In 2009 we took on a mortgage in order to buy our bungalow in Norfolk. In theory we will have paid off the mortgage by 2020, ready for us to retire there in 2021.
      You are right - by His race we can work together to make a difference for Him!

  2. Angela, I am so sorry that things are tough for you at the moment, and I pray that things will get easier for you and Bob in the new year. Thank you so much for your words here, I will remember Bob’s college motto – a wonderful reminder of God’s constant presence in our lives whatever the circumstances. I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas.
    Susan x

    1. Thanks Susan - and may you have a lovely Christmas too xx

  3. well said and it's lovely to know he's always there for us, even though sometimes we may not know it.


  4. You are wise and true. Blessed Christmas, Angela.

  5. How blessed we are that are Joy is not related to our circumstances Angela, you have been a source of great encouragement to me,so may I leave you some wise words from C.H.Spurgeon:
    "The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all is bless"
    what a comfort when life is tough.
    Wishing you and yours Joy,Love, and Peace.
    Shine on in 2013.
    Much love Tricia South Africaxxx

  6. What a wise and good motto, something I will remember.

  7. God bless you for your example of faithful following despite the difficulties of this world!x

  8. We love the Message wording of the beatitudes- blessed are you at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God. Thank you for this post. I wish I'd read it before I did mine!

  9. This is one I'm going to dwell on and only come up with a reply later, Ang! Thank you so much.


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