Tomorrow we’re heading to the Big Church Day Out. As I feel the wind ripping through my clothing and beating down on my wet hair, I’m wondering why in the world I thought this would be a good idea. However as I sat down to do some work before heading out to buy ice packs (which I cannot imagine needing at this moment in time) and other bits and pieces for the weekend, I clicked on Amy Grant’s new album on Spotify.

Her new single “Don’t try so hard” came on, and I stopped. Tears welled up. Suddenly I was back in my bedroom in Wisconsin at the age of 12 listening to “All I ever have to be” feeling completely free, released, and happy, with such a strong sense of who I was. Fast forward twenty-two  years, and His message through her music is telling me another version of the same thing…because I need that message now more than ever. So yes, I’m going to see her live this weekend. She is a voice from my past….and I feel very drawn to go and see her live, which I’ve never done. Alongside her will be the very present and current inspirations of my favourite worship music. Gungor, Rend Collective, and Matt Redman. Judah keeps running around singing “Set your church on FIRE!! win this nation back” and it’s just too cute, along with Iona’s “oooooooOOOOOOooooo my soul” as she sings along to 10,000 reasons.

This week is possessions week for 7, so yesterday I spent the day sifting through cd’s, books, dvd’s and other bits and pieces. The idea is not to just bung them in a bin bag and charity shop them, but to turn them into something more specific. The reality is, I can’t imagine anyone really wanting or finding any of this stuff useful, so I went on music magpie and zapper and have decided to use the cash towards towards some things I’ve wanted to give to recently. However Jen said…”This isn’t a one hit wonder”. I have yet to do the homework, and much of what she said on the DVD was again, so much more than just about having a clear out and simplifying our lives….much deeper…and as we’re on half term next week that means I have a whole other week to dig deeper on this one.

Monday morning was good. The best lesson many of us learned during clothes week was that no one seemed to notice our amazing ability to just wear seven items of clothing for one week. It was sort of a non issue. I am pretty sure Jon never even noticed me only eating seven foods lets alone only wearing seven clothes. This revelation was particularly liberating to those accustomed to giving much head space and time to what they were going to wear every day.

On a deeper level, one of my friends arrived armed with copies of newspaper clippings about injustices in the garment industry, as well as a compiled list of fair trade clothing and goods retailers. Her response to several people being ill on Monday: “they won’t get away! I will get them next week” Love it!! I can just sit back and enjoy and not feel like “the one” who’s always going on about this stuff.

For me….my lesson from clothes week was simple. It comes from Matthew 6. God used several incidents in the week, particularly at the weekend to confirm to me again, (as he has MANY time before) that he looks after me…so much more than the lilies of the field. He clothes me, feeds me, and provides….not only for me, but for my children. Iona danced on Saturday, dressed in a lily white dress, she joined hands with her classmates as they celebrated the ancient tradition of May Day. My heart was full as I saw her smiling, dancing, and clearly taking pride in what she was doing. When she asked afterwards for a crown of silk flowers and ribbons, it gave me great pleasure to say “YES!!” and it made me even happier when she knew exactly which one she wanted…the gold one with sparkles! The sun didn’t shine, and we were shivering, but we drank tea out of real tea cups, ate cake, and Iona went home happy, having danced and having been and gifted with a crown.

The next day, after proudly wearing her crown to church, and Sunday club, after a play in the park, we were halfway home when we discovered she’d left it behind. In a whirl of frustration we rushed back, had a look for it, and could not find it anywhere. We took her friend home on our way back and I had to console a very very sad little girl. That evening at bedtime, we prayed it would come back to her, and not 20 minutes later, a knock at the door, and her little friend was there with her mother. Her friend had bugged and nagged her mother to take her back to the park so she could look again for Iona’s crown, and they’d eventually found it! I could have adopted that little girl right then and there. I sent her straight up to Iona’s room as I’d just put her to bed. The smile on her face was precious!

More than the pleasure I took out of buying her the crown, (a mere £3), It was even more amazing to see her witness answered prayer. He looks after us Iona….we can trust him.

Iona Maid 2013gold crown iona


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