Welcome to my new blog! If you want to read more about me click on the link above.
I’ve been studying the subject of Hope and as part of phase two of my project I am wanting to share some of what God has been teaching me. The past two years have been particularly challenging for my family. This dark period began for us in Spring 2013 when I found myself feeling weary and lacking the kind of balance of life and ministry that one needs to not only survive but thrive in the long haul.
That summer we planned to take a team of students to Norway & Latvia for a short-term missions programme. We had an excellent team but one by one various events combined to change our plans. Our attempts to complete the Three Peaks Challenge in May 2013 were thwarted after a collision in the Lake District brought the challenge to an abrupt halt. Then once we had reached Norway one of our team, James Witham was tragically killed in a hiking accident in the mountains. Suffice to say that our time in Norway was dramatically impacted and the team ended up travelling onto France with our good friend Gez Perry rather than travelling onto Latvia as planned. James, 21 years old, was a good friend and had been with us in the student ministry for the past 3 years. We were so excited to have him with us but God called Him home early. That event was quite the game changer for us and we did not travel on with the team as planned. Debbie, my wife suffered Post Traumatic Stress which was also the trigger to bring up some quite difficult things from her past and was also the beginning of a very difficult journey. When we got back to Southampton she began having counselling with a trained Christian counsellor which has proved incredibly helpful .
Yet the counselling also led to continued struggles with her mental health and Jacob Luke was born on 6 May 2014 it was clear that she was now struggling with Post natal depression. So in September 2014 under the advice of the local medical professionals she took the decision to admit herself to the Mother & Baby Unit in Winchester where she spent 69 nights along with Jacob. About the same time I stepped down from leading the Navigators Student Ministry in Southampton in order to care for Debbie and the family; indeed for the time Debbie was in hospital I was forced to operate as a single parent for the remaining three kids, visiting Debbie every day but also trying to continue life at home with the kids as normally as possible.
You will be pleased to hear that God has faithfully brought us through this difficult period and we are back home, reunited as a family of 6 and once again beginning to flourish in all of our various relationships and responsibilities. During the past year God has brought the subject of Hope increasingly into focus and for that reason I am keen to start passing on something of what God has been teaching me. Primarily I want to share how God has taught me the nature of hope and helped me see that true hope is not found in something but someone. Thanks for reading