“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
You may remember a wee while ago that I announced that we’re planning to move to Leicester to be part of a new church plant that’s in the works. We had been thinking for quite a while about it, and finally got to a point where we felt like we were sure that God was leading us to be involved. We told all our friends and family, published it on Facebook and wrote a blog, so it was final!
Well, after all that, God has surprised us!
Recently we had a bit of a holiday, and spent a weekend with my sister and bro-in-law. On the first evening, we spent quite a bit of time chatting about some difficulties we’d been experiencing recently, and despite there being other things they could have offered us in practical advice, the first thing they did was ask us a question. “Are you sure you’re in the right place?” They recommended that we take some time out, take all plans off the table and really chat about who we are, what we want and where we’d really like to be.
That question and bit of advice really hit home – in truth, we’d been feeling a bit unsettled about Leicester for a little while, but we’d been trying to keep the faith and carry on with what we’d felt God say. Being set free to ask these questions, we started talking and realised that the most important thing to us is to be near family. The Midlands isn’t more than a couple of hours from my home town, but that’s far enough when there’s no direct train and we often end up going through London! The one thing we knew is that we didn’t want to head back to Basingstoke itself – we didn’t want to actually be back in the same town as my parents
So we started looking around to see if we could find a place that we could afford in Reading, Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and pretty much any other place we could think of that wasn’t actually Basingstoke. Until we saw a job advert that was pretty much perfect for Laluna in…… Basingstoke! This was the last wall to come down for us to finally give it up and say “Let’s just give in and go back!” In 48 hours, God had taken us on a journey from planning to go to Leicester, and never wanting to live in Basingstoke again, to seeing Basingstoke as a natural progression for us.
As we chatted to people, it turned out that almost everyone we spoke to had some kind of lack of peace about us being involved in Leicester. People generally seemed to support the idea of us moving back to Basingstoke, with some people saying that they’d been wondering for a while now about why we hadn’t moved back there already. After visiting the church we’re planning on joining to make sure that we could see ourselves there, we made a final decision that we’re definitely moving back.
After making our decision, we found out that my brother-in-law had originally been thinking that we should head back to Basingstoke, but didn’t say because the first thing we said was that we definitely didn’t want to go back there! Hearing that was a nice bit of confirmation
The only question outstanding in my head is “What about the time we felt God speak about Leicester?” I was fairly sure that I had heard Him speak about it, but when I think back on it, I can see that we didn’t really act in a wise way. According to James 3:17, the wisdom from above is among other things peacable and open to reason, and I don’t think I really gave anyone an opportunity to speak into the decision regarding Leicester. Instead, we kept discussions to ourselves, and when we’d finally made up our minds simply presented the decision to everyone without giving room for comment. This isn’t a good idea!
So yes, we had one occasion that we felt was God saying to go to Leicester. However, as I looked back over the three years I was at University in Preston, I spent pretty much the whole time believing that God was planning for me to go back to Basingstoke when I was done. I can see why it wasn’t right to head back to my home town immediately after uni, but everything that has happened in the last few weeks actually makes a lot of sense out of those years where I was so sure that God’s plan was a return to Basingstoke. I’d always written those years off as mistaken hearing, but weighing it all up, I think I’m happier calling the one occasion we thought we heard God speak about Leicester a mistake rather than the three years I was so sure about Basingstoke at uni.
So, we’re still totally for the new church being planted into Leicester, and will continue to cheer it on from the sidelines all the way from where we’ll be down south. It’s been great getting to know the people who are planning to be involved, and are praying every blessing on them all, especially Ben & Esther Rook who are heading up the plant. Our plans were to go, but the Lord’s purpose has prevailed – we’re really off to Basingstoke!