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I found myself researching a lot about purpose over the last few weeks. Realising that for many of us, our purpose and roles will be changing quite dramatically (either on Monday as the children go back to school, or as we find ourselves in new positions socially, or economically). For some of us there will be lots of decisions to be made about future job roles, academic roles (in that of further education or training), work life balance etc etc.

It struck me what a wonderful platform we as Christians stand on, because our purpose in being underpins everything. It comes far before our giftings or talents or calling come into play, it comes as a gift from God, because our purpose is to be loved by him.

I'm so relieved that before I have to work out anything regarding my future, I know that my future is safe and secure in his plans, these times are definitely changing us, as we identify new strengths, new pathways, new structures through Covid .

Isaiah 26 v 4 says, "Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord we have an everlasting rock."

I suppose what I'm wanting to say really, is just a word of encouragement, that although our future may feel uncertain there is such certainty with Jesus. That no decision we make (that aligns with his word) will take us out of his love and protection.

Perhaps what we need most, as we move back to new sense of normality in our country, is just a moment to pause, (before we leap on in!) and reflect on all that God is doing for our personal growth.

As I look out of my window I see my garden and I see the new growth, it's starting to show and push through the soil. The only reason why I can see this new growth is because I took the time to clear away the thick carpet of old dead leaves (we live near a neighbours very large old oak tree which loves to deposit its full bounty of autumn leaves in our garden each year!). As we move forward in to a more physically open world, I wonder if we should clear away some of the old from our lives before we, pick up the same habits/routines from the life we were living 12 months ago .

Our purpose is indeed the availability of ourselves and our desire to grow. However I have to say there have been times, during the last 12 months that I've been truly frustrated, when I've missed opportunities to move forward in what God has for me. The wonderful thing though, is that our God is a God of second chances, he is a God of grace and mercy as well as being a God of growth. So and each time I look out and I see the daffodils popping their heads up through my garden and lifting the faces to the warmth I know there is newness and restoration and freshness in what God has for me in my future.

He has a promise for me, as he does you, this purpose, well, it might not look at the start as I imagined, but I promise you this, it will bring you far more joy than any other promise you have known. It's the same with my garden have however much I plan and pull out and put back in and move plants around somehow there always seems to be a surprise element to what arrives where! The same is true in Gods Kingdom, he always has a delightful surprise for us and once the deadwood is removed, underneath there are always loads of new shoots just waiting to spring forth. I'm praying personally that God would help me to make new contacts and new friends this year that would be enable me to grow as a person that I

would be able to make him smile when he looks down upon me and sees that I am available to do his work in the ordinary, expanding his Kingdom. I’m always stunned that I have been entrusted with this, just as you have been, what a privilege, to be part of his handiwork.

I'm sure you feel that way too, let's walk forward with the sense of anticipation a sense of excitement what is coming because, what is coming is going to be good, simple because he walks alongside us and there is nothing more good than being near to him.

1 John 5 v 19-20 - "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true, in his son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

Have a great day and don’t forget to look up!

Rev. D. Garge

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