Never shall I forget the partings I have had in my life. They are such a rending thing I shall never want to repeat them.
God Himself has led us to Plymouth. God's leading to us was not so much by any miracles,
such as a pillar of fire, an audible voice, an angelic visit,
handwriting on the wall. It was by ordinary methods by which in
combination God seems to nudge us in the paths of righteousness, through
circumstances, commonsense, godly counsel, biblical principles.
Plymouth was God's will, so there was peace in my heart as we prepared
to leave Trondheim. But, it did not utterly cancel the pain of parting.
It was so depressing to say good-bye. And then I became quite
seriously ill. It was quite plain I had the recurrence of thyrotoxicosis
symptoms but I ignored them initially; we were so busy moving from one
place and settling down in another. Soon enough the disease developed
that I barely had sleep. When I laid down I felt my heart palpitations
and noticed tremors in my hands and body. My bowel frequency increased
to 4-6 times a day and my eyes watered and burned so much I would rather
having them closed. After examination [this was in June] the doctor
recommended a minimum of 12-months treatment with anti-thyroid drugs,
during which I was advised not to plan to conceive whilst thyrotoxic
because of the high risk of miscarriage. I have not been imagining that I missed Trondheim and its people, have I? :') With medication, I am slowly regaining my health - and my enthusiasm. And I have also met a few mother-friends.
Our house is at the end of a row of houses, which share a common
private pathway away and safe from traffic. Some of our neighbours are
families with small children. I have met V, with her three girls, H with
a 2.5 year old girl with her 2.5 mths old twin-girls, T with a girl
called E who is a little older than Hana, & some older boys and
girls who belong to other families. At late afternoon just before "tea"
(they call dinner "tea" here :)), the mothers chit-chat while we watch
the children play together on the pathway. We are really thankful for
the pathway that helps connect people. At toddler-groups in different
churches, I met H and R, each with two boys. There is also L and her
family of 4 who live in the countryside, and then S, a homeschooling
mother of 5, whose homeschooling home I frequent at least once a week.
It is not uncommon here to keep the young ones mostly home until they
are at least four or five years old, so this presents opportunities for
Sethia and Hana to make friends even outside
schools/nurseries/child-cares. I believe a place grew to be
special to us because of the memories of friendships that we made. That
was why each parting that I had was more painful than one before.
Have we made friends in Plymouth? I remembered I wrote this several
years ago, when I met Adi as a friend and brother in Christ:
"Friendship nowadays appears to be a broad and common interest, but it
is ones with you which finally urged me to write about it. These
friendships I do not make, these friendships I find myself in, these
friendships spring. I find them, or rather not I, but the God in me and
you. You my friends, come to me unsought, God gave you to me. A friend
is not gained, a friend is given, a friend is a gift. I have always
wondered, what brings two friends together? How does one become friend
of the other? I cringe at the idea of discernment or taste. We often
talk about choosing friends, in fact friends are self-elected, or more
aptly, divine-elected. As Jesus says, you have not chosen Me but I have
chosen you, friends have not chosen one another but He has chosen them
for one another. To love is to ask not to be loved in return,
but to be a friend to you is to have you have me as your friend too.
When the goodwill and delight and tenderness and warm caring in and for
the other cease to be reciprocal, friendship ceases. With strength of
God’s love, I can choose to love. But I cannot choose to make friends. I
cannot make friendships. People are tied by admiration, by hope, by
fear, by duty, by circumstances, by hate, by love, but friends are drawn
together to each other by something more than that. There is some
spontaneity and absence of calculation involved in it, a leaning of mind
rather than an awareness of what is to be contributed or to be derived
from it. I admit I used to put you on the pedestal, I knew then it was
not a friendship. When I stop looking up or down at you, and when I
start looking at you yourself, you become my friend. Only God
can turn evil to good, and only God can wreak havoc in the corrupted
course of nature, even if that slice of nature is called the self of
weak human being, the weak you and me. I have to be patient with
whatever wrong I cannot make right in you and me. If I cannot bend my
will to what I would wish to be, how can I bend your will? I cannot want
you to be severely corrected while I do not correct myself. But we do
not have to be perfect to correct, to counsel, to advise each other. No
man is perfect, no man is without fault, no man is without burden, no
man is sufficient on his own and no man is wise enough. It is our dues
therefore, to support and build each other. No gift is too trivial and
no man is too good for the meanest service. Each and everyone are a
student and a teacher." (http://reposeinthee.blogspot.co.uk/2007/06/letter-to-friends.html)
Have we really made friends in Plymouth, I asked myself again and
again. The answer has been, I am hopeful. GOD has chosen them for us
when He appointed us to Plymouth.
"I really hope that you get good friends, spiritual friends in
Plymouth, by patience, watching and praying. I think you can wait for
the godly friends from God." -EF ---
Make us Thy labourers, Let us not dream of ever looking back, Let not our knees be feeble, hands be slack, O make us strong to labour, strong to bear, From the rising of the morning till the stars appear.
Make us Thy warriors, On whom Thou canst depend to stand the brunt Of any perilous charge of any front, Give to us the skill to handle sword and spear From the rising of the morning till the stars appear.
Not far from us, those stars, Unseen as angels and yet looking through The quiet air, the day's transparent blue. What shall we know, and feel, and see, and hear When the sunset colours kindle and the stars appear? (Elisabeth Elliot)
From prayer that asks that I may be Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee, From fearing when I should aspire, From faltering when I should climb higher, From silken self, O Captain, free Thy soldier would follow Thee
From subtle love of softening things, From easy choices, weakenings, (Not thus are spirits fortified, Not this way went the Crucified,) From all the dims Thy Calvary, O Lamb of God, deliver me.
Give me the love that leads the way, The faith that nothing can dismay The hope no disappointments tire The passion that will burn like fire, Let me not sink to be a clod: Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God. (Elisabeth Elliot) ---
Blest be the dear uniting love That will not let us part: Our bodies may far off remove, We still are one in heart.
Joined in one Spirit to our Head, Where He appoints we go, And still in Jesus' footsteps tread, And show His praise below.
O may we ever walk in Him, And nothing know beside, Nothing desire, nothing esteem, But Jesus crucified.
Closer and closer let us cleave To His beloved embrace, Expect His fullness to receive, And grace to answer grace.
While thus we walk with Christ in light Who shall our souls disjoin, Souls, which himself vouchsafes t’ unite In fellowship divine!
We all are one who him receive, And each with each agree, In him the one, the truth, we live, Blest point of unity!
Partakers of the Saviour’s grace, The same in mind and heart, Nor joy, nor grief, nor time, nor place, Nor life, nor death can part:
But let us hasten to the day Which shall our flesh restore, When death shall all be done away, And bodies part no more.
Who does not hope, to know and understand her strangest passion. Where she grips at all labours, and always the heaviest plight. When at once she grasps, all pleasures and the daintiest delight. Who has the sense, to belong and grow in her fittest portion.