What a fantastic month Lynn has taken us on! I hope you are feeling suitably equipped and raring to go on the spiritual warfare front.
As for me, I've missed you guys!
I had a full month myself, with some big life changes that have taken up much of my heart space:
The first change is this: My wee Miles, who is 17, left home last week. And he did so with gusto: Full of independence and joy. He has gone to university in a town that is almost two hours' flight away. He's in Dunedin, which is a cold but cool university town at the very bottom of New Zealand, and I'm in Auckland.
I took him there just over a week ago, settled him into his room, had a final coffee with him at a local cafe, then wrapped my arms around him - me crying, him laughing, and me kind of laughing too - as we said goodbye.
My family unit has fract-u-r-ed I whimpered dramatically as I sat on the plane back to Auckland.
I'd just walked up the plane stairs alongside another mother who'd just dropped her daughter off at said university town.
"It's umbilical." She observed. "From the moment I set eyes on her as a newborn I've been dreading this day."
What a pair we were, egging each other on as fellow Mums. But the truth is I'm delighted for him too.
Meanwhile, what did God say?
"Turn, turn, turn - To everything there is a season." You know the song and the scripture?
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Now is the time for Miles to find his feet outside of home. His free will and independence are part of God's package; just like God silently lost me for a while there when I was younger. And so I must turn and embrace MY new season ahead too.
The other change is that Bryce is taking a sabbatical from work, and we're going to Europe for six months. Much preparation has gone into this, we leave in only a few weeks' time, and it's going to involve us being together as a couple, 24/7.
We're going to a few countries in Europe, including England where my family lives. And I've rented little self-catering places for us where we'll live like the locals, and potter together.
While away, we're going to walk an ancient pilgrim trail called the 'Camino de Santiago', which goes across Spain. That trail is a centuries-old Christian pilgrimage, and many of the people who walk it do so for spiritual reasons. That will be interesting for us as a SUM pair, as we will probably meet a lot of Christians on that path. And there may be spiritual conversations.
Knowing that we'll be in each other's pockets, I've been thinking about whether I will find the 'togetherness' too much, or lovely. I think lovely. But we did have one conversation that went along these lines:
Me --"Look I will need quite a lot of time with God in the morning, you mustn't force me to leave the house too early!"
"We'll see..." He replied.
"I like to linger with God," I said, meaning it seriously.
He rolled his eyes. "Not too much lingering," was his reply.
So we will have to work that out. Will he and I enjoy doing everything together?! I'll keep you posted, and you might get some new SUM thoughts as I navigate this new time.
So that's me. But now from a ministry point of view, we have some plans to share for March. We have a fantastic guest writer who is going to come and take us through a series that I know will be helpful for many of you. Jeanne Ritari, who many of you know through her work with Lynn, is going to be writing on the topic of adult prodigal children.
Are you up for that? I am grateful to Jeanne for taking this on, she is a great writer and an inspiring woman of God, and you will see her kick off this series next week.
Well, that's all from me. Enjoy the guest series, and much love to you all.