By Claire Aldridge
Hello there, this is my first Infinite Moment. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m Claire and I’ll be curate at St. Bart’s for the next few years. For my family and me the last few years have been full of change. Change, I’ve noticed, often comes with a level of upheaval. Now, I like to try new things but if I’m totally honest I’m a creature of habit and like to have a fair bit of regularity in my day-to-day life too. That means that leaving a job of 20 years to begin training for ordination and leaving a church we’d been in for the same length of time to move to a placement context was tricky. I felt a bit lost, a bit sad and more than a bit grumpy at times. Each move has come with work that needs to be done, forms that need to be filled in, people who need to be contacted and so it goes on.
As we move again from training and placement church to St. Bart’s, this time moving house too, I’ve been looking back at what change brings. I’ve been struck that although I know God is faithful and doesn’t leave me it doesn’t change the things that needs to be done. God’s faithfulness to me doesn’t change the need to wrestle with the tax man, to negotiate with removal companies and doesn’t remove the demands of family. So, what does God’s faithfulness mean then?
I don’t know about you, but I find God often seems to have a sense of humour about these things and the answer to my question struck me the other morning in the middle of a pretty hectic set of circumstances. I’d woken up and, before anyone else wanted me, managed to spend some time with God. As I got washed and dressed (in a dog collar!) I continued praying and was feeling pretty serene about life and its new calling. I began to wonder how I could doubt God’s faithfulness in times like this. Then I went downstairs! In a moment I was caught up in the busyness of the day – I needed to sew up a coat that had been caught on a bike shed, scrub some spilt yoghurt out of PE shorts, and organise a costume for a book character competition mentioned at the last minute. The calm, peace and certainty ebbed away! I was cross, grumpy, and wondering how this frantic life could represent God’s faithfulness.
I would love to tell you now that a booming voice from heaven called out to me or even that still small voice whispered in my ear, reminding me of God’s presence, but it wouldn’t be true. What happened was I shouted at everyone and eventually got through the jobs that needed doing. It wasn’t until later that morning when I was reflecting on how not to have such a horrible start to the day (and saying sorry for my grumpiness) that I recognised God’s faithfulness in his presence. He does not promise that all will be easy, that life won’t be tricky, and that jobs wont need doing. What he does promise is to be with us in all the mess. I’d missed an opportunity to lean into God in a moment of busyness to lift up my head and look for him in the franticness of the day.
So, I wonder if you are anything like me and need reminding that God’s faithfulness does not mean we don’t have to get the stuff done? If you are, I pray that this week there might be an opportunity to really believe amid the chaos of life that God’s mercies are new every morning. That there might be a chance to just lift our heads and notice his faithfulness and presence anew, even in the chaos of scrubbing yoghurt out of PE shorts!
Lamentations 3:22-23 – “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”