When we visited for the interview at Allesley Park and Whoberley, Liz and I were both excited by what we saw and experienced. I certainly felt filled with a love for the people we met (which is peculiar, seeing as they were complete strangers!). And then, amazingly, I was offered the job as vicar. But the big question remained; was it right, and how would we know? Our principle reservation was to do with geography – we were hoping to be nearer Liz’s parents. Instead, Coventry is further away from where we are now (which has seemed like a long way away), although it would probably take the same amount of time to get there. We had to make a big decision and it’s felt like a big leap of faith for us. How would we know God was leading us here?
This is where I’m simply grateful for God and his wonderful guidance. Firstly, our friends and family who know us well saw that this looked like a good fit. Crucially they upheld us in prayer throughout the whole process. Secondly, I believe God spoke to us both powerfully through Scripture. For me, the key Scripture was from Psalm 37:3 – Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” I had a sense that God was saying that he was leading us to dwell in the land (i.e. Allesley Park) and that it would be safe pasture for me and for us as a family. Liz’s experience was wonderful. Firstly, both girls were asleep at the same time in the morning (which NEVER happens!), but then she was seeking which Bible passage to read to help her to discern what God might have been saying to us both. The name “Rebecca” popped into her head, but she didn’t really know why. When she read the account of Abraham’s servant going to his ancestors’ land to find a wife for Isaac, the following bit leapt out at her… Laban and the servant discuss the proposition, and it then reads:
they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her about it.” So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”
“I will go,” she said. (Genesis 24:57-58)
Rachel was willing to leave her homeland to go with the servant to begin a new life. This part leapt out at Liz and it seems like the confirmation we were both looking for – that Liz has a choice in the matter, but that it seems like the right one. What is incredible is that that very reading was the Common Worship Lectionary Old Testament reading for the day of my interview. Short of it saying in Scripture “You shall go to Allesley Park”, it seems that this was as clear guidance as we could wish for. God works in wonderful ways! This is something we’ll be able to hold onto if and when doubts creep in.
It’s been nearly four weeks since we made the decision to go to Allesley Park, and just over a week since the announcement was made. We both feel at peace about the decision. There has been the occasional wobble, but we believe this is the right place for our family for the foreseeable future, and we’re excited about the plans God’s got for us and for the community he’s called us to serve.