BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Julie Greenhalgh, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
Life is a journey!
Now there’s a sentence I’ve heard many times.
When I think of a journey I generally think of travelling in a car. Of course, we can take physical journeys by foot, on bikes, in trains or aeroplanes but when I think about my life I tend to picture myself in a car.
Until I was 26 years old I was firmly in the driver’s seat of my life car! I decided which direction I was taking, which way I would turn at crossroads and what speed I liked to travel at.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always believed in God. I went to church and Sunday school (although that was on a Saturday in my church) and I prayed before bed. But I didn’t have a real and personal relationship with Him, I hadn’t allowed Him into my heart and I certainly hadn’t asked Him to forgive me for my sins.
When I was 26 I made the decision to become a Christian. I made a commitment, I invited God to live in my heart, I asked forgiveness for my sins and soon afterwards I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
But, even after all that, I still felt like I was in the driving seat in the journey of life!
That is until my life plans went completely pear shaped a couple of years after I became a Christian and the direction I was heading in was taken out of my hands. The way I thought my life was heading hit a hair pin bend and I felt like I’d taken my seat belt off. I was faced with a choice, either let go and be thrown from the car or dig my nails into the seat and have faith that the God who was now so personal to me would save me.
A good friend directed me to the following words from Proverbs 3:5-6
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’
I decided to trust. I made the choice to hand the reigns fully over to my Heavenly Father and move over into the passenger seat, I even closed my eyes for part of the journey and just let Him drive. It was there that I started to learn how to release control of the things that I realised I actually had no control over at all!
Don’t get me wrong, for any of you who know me, I still like to have control. I enjoy making plans, I love to research things and decide on the best course of action for myself and my family. From deciding which meals we’ll eat each day, to buying a new washing machine, to researching holiday destinations and prices. I love to plan. But now when I’m faced with a decision, from the small to the life changing, I stop and turn to my driver, my Father, and ask for advice.
Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the journey my family has taken in last three years. At the start of 2018 we reached a huge roundabout. Our journey to Zambia drove us through months of planning and preparing, having no idea when or even if we’d ever make it out there. God drove us through fund raising and form filling, waiting and waiting, more form filling and arranging, waiting some more and finally to Zambia in September 2019. But then, and this part wasn’t part of the ‘plan’, He directed us back to the UK seven months later and home to the Wirral last July. Now, three years on from entering the roundabout we seem to have left at exactly the same exit!
So, what now? Things didn’t go according to my plan. Do I not trust my driver any more? Shall I move back into the driver’s seat? Absolutely not!! I know for sure, with a trust that comes from so deep within me, that my Heavenly Father has the greatest and best plans for my family and for me so I’m going to lean back and relax from my passenger seat. Jeremiah 29:11 says this –
‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’
My life has take me up mountains and down into valleys, around sharp bends, across each lane of the motorway and down thin country lanes where I can’t see what’s coming round the bend. It’s taken me on wide, smooth, well lit and signposted roads and onto deeply rutted, muddy tracks. I’ve enjoyed off roading across fields and rivers and speeding around nice clean race tracks. Sometimes my car of life has felt like I’ve gone into reverse, sometimes I’ve broken down for a while and at other times we’ve parked up and waited in a quiet side road and rested. I’ve driven through green lights and sat at endless red lights. Sometimes I’ve put the top down and laughed in the wind and at other times I’ve wept at stop signs and dead ends.
But, through it all, I’ve been able to close my eyes at the scary parts, sleep when I needed to rest, stop at service stations for sustenance and enjoy the most amazing and beautiful scenery all from a seat next to my Father and for that I will always be thankful.
I made the right choice all those years ago and I wouldn’t change one mile of it!
Julie Greenhalgh with her husband Andrew
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Helen on why Psalms have taken the place of Proverbs as her favourite book of the Bible
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?