BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Alison Hardy, Jubilee Church Wirral
This image of New Brighton in one of the recent storms reminded me of a hymn that we used to sing in the church I went to as a teenager.
As teenagers we always groaned when they got out the ‘redemption hymnal’ instead of singing a ‘chorus’ – I’m not going to lie, some of those hymns went on forever!! But as I’ve grown older I’ve realised that those old hymns are filled with amazing truth. Watching the storms unfold over New Brighton reminded me of these hymn lyrics.
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
My husband Andrew and I have been through many seasons in our lives, seasons where we’ve known financial blessings and seasons when we have had financial lack. Times when things have gone well in our family and times when things have been a real trial in our family. Times when I’ve felt so close to God and times when I’ve felt He was a million miles away.
About 13 years ago, the company Andrew was contracting for closed its UK offices, leaving Andrew unemployed. I’d given up work after we had had Naomi. It was the middle of a recession and Andrew couldn’t get another job. He was offered the opportunity to do a PhD which he took, but that was the beginning of four very stressful years. His mental health was affected, his mum was becoming more frail and elderly and there was difficult stuff going on in our own family.
It was during this time that I started volunteering and then working for Wirral Youth for Christ. After four years Andrew needed, for the sake of his mental health, to step back from his PhD and, to cut a long story short, we went through several years of not really having enough money to live on.
Andrew wasn’t working, I was working part-time for a Christian charity and, added to this we and lots of stressful things going on in our family. My faith was battered. Why was God allowing us to go through storm after storm? I felt battered on all sides, I remember feeling so despondent.
I remember one day walking the dog through the cemetery and just thinking is this it, is this my life until I die, never having enough money and watching my family struggle in so many ways?
Don’t get me wrong, God was so faithful to us in those times and provided for us in so many amazing ways, but I was emotionally and spiritually exhausted from it. But God is faithful, and He promises us that He uses all things for good.
The hymn asks “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life …. Will your anchor drift or firm remain?”
What I know is that while my faith has been tried, God is my anchor and He remains firm, He keeps my soul steadfast and sure, whilst the billows roll.
You might wonder why I’m telling you all this. Well, a few weeks ago in church during the worship I was reflecting on those tough times and how I thought that things would never change and how God has been faithful to us even when I wavered and felt tossed about.
The last 3 years have seen a lot of change. Miraculously, Andrew got a job, I left my job to do a Masters degree, and now I have started a full-time paid training role with CAMHS. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of storms in our lives, both personal and those going in in the world around us.
I wrote most of this during the worship last Sunday (sorry Vern) whilst singing
Our God reigns over all things
Now and forever
The first and last word will always be His
Our God reigns over sickness, over our families, over our jobs, over our finances, over our doubts, over our fears, and over the storms.
But, I asked myself, do I allow Him to rule over my thoughts, my fears?
Do I trust Him in all the seasons of my life, or just when things are going well?
The Phatfish song “There is a day” says
Though trouble’s hard,
It’s only momentary
And it’s achieving
Our future glory
We will meet Him in the air
And then we will be like Him
For we will see Him, as He is
Then all hurt and pain will cease
And we’ll be with Him forever
What a promise! Our life in this world may be filled with storms and trials, but it is temporary. One day we will meet Him face to face and all hurt and pain will cease.
Alison Hardy of Jubilee Church Wirral, 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?