Reason to Trust #39 [Jane]

Jane AverillAge: A happy 56! // Favourite Food: Fruit! Fruit! Fruit! I often wonder what fruit tasted like in the Garden of Eden whilst secretly hoping that that there will be fruit in heaven that I haven’t yet tasted. // Dream Job: Pastoring a wonderful church family and an amazing team whom ( I feel) God hand picked especially for me! // Current Season: Enjoying God adventures with my hubby, loving my elderly parents, enjoying our adult daughters and connecting with all those God places in my path. // Met Jesus: Walked into a church at 27, and walked out the same day born again. // Favourite Verse: 1 Samuel 17:45-46 , as David runs to Goliath, he says, “ You come to me with a sword and a spear, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of the armies of heaven and Israel…….and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” // Instagram: @janeaverill

 I was 27 and living and teaching on the Gold Coast.  I had just completed running a marathon, I was enjoying teaching my Year 3 class, I had a boyfriend, a fabulous family that loved me and a wonderful social life. AND YET, I was lonely. Every minute of my day was accounted for and yet the pervading thought I had, was that something was missing in my life and I simply didn’t know what to do about it!

That same year, I was driving past my local shops and noticed the word JESUS on a banner . This piqued my interest and I decided to take a look. Upon entering the room , I  peered in and noticed  plastic chairs and a drum set in the corner and promptly thought, “ This cannot be a church. Where are the pews and the stained glass windows and what are drums doing here?”

As I was about to leave a woman met me and welcomed me and told me what time church was on a Sunday.  I later found out that this was the Pastor’s wife and that she had asked the church to come to a prayer meeting and pray that the young woman who had come to the door of the church would come to church on Sunday.

Oh, how glad and humbled I am that they did this, because without even really knowing why, I decided to go to church that Sunday. I found myself walking to the front of the church, and it was here that the Pastor’s wife met me and led me in a prayer, asking Jesus to be my Saviour. My spirit was born again and from that moment on, my life with Jesus as my Lord began.

Not long after this, a visiting preacher came and asked the single people to stand and I did. He prayed that I would be married in a year and that I was to to write 7 things in the front of my bible that I was looking for in a husband and I did!! I remember that I wrote tall, dark and handsome as one of my first points. Tall, because I am tall, and I wanted to be able to wear my stilettos alongside him. I am truly grateful to have met my taller than me husband! We met and married in 4 months and was within the year that the visiting preacher had prayed about.

And now 27 years later, he is still my most amazing tall, dark, handsome man! I don’t believe the way I met Murray is a formula for finding the ‘right man’ and I am not suggesting visiting preachers follow the example of making such pronouncements. However, I do know this was the gracious love of a Heavenly Father who looked upon me, His daughter and answered her prayer. I also know he loves you the same way.

You, precious reader, have every reason to trust that God is a good God who wants the very best for you. Even when I didn’t know God, He loved me so much that He had a Jesus sign right where He knew I would see it and a wonderful little church community that loved me unconditionally (even when I wore an  outrageously short mini skirt the first time I went to church).

I am forever grateful.

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Reason to Trust #38 [Ellouise]

Ellouise SouthamAge: 17 // Favourite Food: anything Mexican. // Dream Job: still working this one out…something to do with kids, hopefully my own! // Current Season: Just finished year 12 and serving passionately in Youth. // Met Jesus: Personally, I think I was 8. I don’t remember the date but I remember being in the ‘big church’ service and had to stand on the chair because the person doing the altar call couldn’t see my hand! // Favourite Verse: Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.” // Instagram: @ellouisejs

I have grown up in a Christian home, Christian school and Church all my life and if there is one thing I have learnt, it’s that you cannot live off other people’s revelations.

You need to make your own.

That means reading your bible yourself, praying in your own words, singing your own songs and going through your own tough times. Little did I realise that this would mean I literally had to go through my own tough times.

I was at the point in my life and my education where I needed to decide what I was going to do after college. Gap year, travel, move out of home, move states, move countries, what to study, where to study…there were an overwhelming amount of options. And I had no clues or burning desires to study anything in particular.

I then found this verse: “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” – Psalm 37:5. I thought, great! I did not exactly know the desires of my heart, but now I knew that God would give them to me if I just took delight in Him. So that’s what my next season consisted of: finding ways to take delight in the Lord.

At Hillsong’s Colour Conference last year, I felt moved to attend the info session about their Bible College in Sydney. Whist there, I felt so at home, so welcomed and excited about what I could study if I went there. It was there, in that conference room, that I felt like I finally knew the desires of my heart.

I was ecstatic to finally have found the purpose and path for my next season! It is a huge and scary move, meaning I’d have to uproot myself from all friends, family, my church and my home, but at this point, I trusted God.

But as you could imagine, my parents didn’t exactly share my enthusiasm for moving to Sydney. It was through a lot of prayer and discussion that they resigned their protests and accepted that this was where God had set my heart. I applied, which was great! I thought now that I knew what was happening with the next part of my future, I could relax and life could get easier from here on in…I was wrong.

Around that time, a plan to attend a conference in Los Angeles and holiday there had fallen through. I had been looking forward to this trip for years and it seemed to be almost ripped out from under me. It may seem insignificant to be so upset over missing out on a trip to America, but when you set your heart on something (something about God too) and it doesn’t come through, it’s devastating. Missing out on that had me down in the dumps. Shortly after, I was shut out of a relationship I wanted because I’d be moving; it was a consequence of my decision.

I was so frustrated with my situation and with God. My trust was starting to dissolve. He promised that if I took delight in Him, He would give me the desires of my heart. But not going to America and not having that relationship were definitely not the desires of my heart. I was mad. Really mad. Walking home one day, I yelled at God ‘Why didn’t I get what I wanted?!’ I felt God say back to me

‘No…you got what I wanted’.

Firstly I was so upset and I thought ‘no! That’s not what I want!’ But after a lot of thinking about it, what I want is ultimately what God wants. He is the desire of my heart. Since then it has been a struggle of my heart to continue trusting in Him for this next season. I have days where I really want to throw in the towel, reject my offer of place and stay at home where I know; stay where it’s comfortable. But ultimately, I know that this season of trust will lead to a better season. That despite the things I may have missed out on, I have confidence in trusting that God is leading me towards something greater.

I got told a little while ago that the season of trusting God never ends. That statement alone brought such joy to my heart knowing that forever more, no matter what, God will always be there. Always waiting for me to trust in Him.

 

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