Embracing The New
by Michelle Smith
“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:19 AMP
I’m privileged to be in close communication with people from across many nations and continents - Kenya, Canada, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, across the UK and some European countries. The common thread that runs through conversations is that in all of history we’ve never experienced what we are going through right now through the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been a mega shift in the way we live and we’ve had to adapt to the current boundaries of lockdown in its various stages.
For some the lockdowns have been a safer and more enjoyable space - I have spoken to individuals and families who have been thankful for the lockdown and it’s slower, more private way of life. And for my husband and I and our wider family there have been some benefits amongst the sometimes enormous challenges we have faced.
We have learnt some things in this six month journey that we want to carry into the future which include greater self sufficiency in terms of resourcefulness, the benefits of being in and enjoying nature (trees, plants, animals) and most importantly how our relationship with God and people we value is what will carry us through every change and challenge.
As the Bible verse above tells us, He (God) will even
create a new road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Have you seen the ‘new road’? What does it look like for you?
Have you drank from His river of living water during this time? Have you felt His refreshing?
If the answer is yes to the questions above then we would love to hear what you have gained in insight and understanding, how you have embraced challenges and what you have discovered.
If the answer is no then can I encourage you to take time with the Lord and ask Him to show you the next part of the new road for you. Ask Him and He will to take you to His river to drink the living water that will refresh and sustain you, just as He did for the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4)
There is no escaping it, there is and will continue to be a new normal. We are never going back to what was before. And this is a good thing.
There IS HOPE for our future. And we need each other on the journey. Together we are strong, together we can pool our resources, share what we’ve learnt and build new culture, new communities, beginning with our families and friends.
We can radiate hope to those around us
“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”
Romans 15:13 TPT
During lockdown we asked the Lord what we could do to offer hope and be a light in our community. We said “ Just like the little boy with his lunchbox that fed the 5000, what do we have in our hands?”
We were already hosting and facilitating online groups where people could ‘gather’, grow in relationships and be supported by each other, be trained and equipped in Biblical teaching, share prophetic words concerning the times and season we are in and pray together. This has been and continues to be a lifeline for some and continues to be a growing valued extending family.
We wanted to do something ‘on the ground’ and saw that our garden could be used to begin an outdoor therapy centre. So with the help and training of our extended family at GUL (www.god-unlimited.org) we began weekly online training and practically started preparing the ground, quite literally digging the garden,
planting seeds and placing fence posts.
We then bought four nanny goat kids and just this week added eight Serama chickens to our therapy pets corner.
Counting the cost
It takes time, effort and discipline to build something new as well as create new habits. With the goats it began with 16 bottles of milk per day, lots of reassurance as they were missing their mums and getting our hands and clothes dirty. This was in the midst of a new regime of homeschooling four grandchildren full-time!
It requires a change of mindset and willingness to let go of the past, especially that which was comfortable and comforting.
This includes relationships whether it’s adjustments in existing ones or making new friends and becoming wider family.
Know your tribe or clan
We’ve spent 18 years developing close relationships with Kenyans, in 22 trips (in total over 2 & 1/2 years physically in the nation) and through our five adopted Kenyan children we’ve learnt a lot about the importance of tribal life and values. We also lived for almost 3 years in Scotland where we were taught by those we lived and worked with, how much belonging to a clan means to the indigenous people. Wearing their tartan with pride to special events and bantering with each other about differences, historical battles won and knowing that a fellow Scot belonged to the McGregors or MacDonalds for instance was much celebrated.
In this new era we will need to know with whom we belong as close family within the Body of Christ. Sharing hearts, values and lives in person as well as online with wider global family increases our own sense of worth and helps us grow into the mature sons and daughters of God that we are called to be.
Iron really does sharpen iron and this is and will grow increasingly important in the decisions we face going forward.
Here at NDC we give number one priority to our relationship with the Lord and becoming more like Jesus who only did what He saw the Father doing. We value relationship with each other as high priority too.
We are building family and community in our homes and locality as well as across the globe with those who share our core values.
It isn’t necessary to agree on absolutely everything, it is important to hold the same commitment to follow the greatest commandments to love God and love people. Keep it simple and be available to stop for ‘the one’ as well as feeding, training and equipping the Army of the New Dawn.
What does it look like?
Well, some we know already and some is yet to be discovered. And it will have variations across our community, around the UK and other nations.
We know it’s about living more closely together, pooling our resources from carrots and apples, homes and equipment, practical and life skills to Bible knowledge, musical talents, giving of ourselves, our resources and time for the common good.
We know it’s about helping those who are struggling with mental and physical health challenges whether or not they hold the same beliefs as us or not.
It’s about being a good neighbour, a listening ear, a smile and yes, where able and needed, a physical hug despite the COVID-19 restrictions because sometimes the wellbeing of a person quite simply requires it.
Our desire is to help each one to discover more about themselves, each other and do life together in increasing faith, hope and love in communion (common union) in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If the above resonates with you we invite you to come on the journey with us.
Please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org