Loss and God’s care

Loss and God’s care

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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Loss and God’s care

By Yvonne Martin, Jubilee Church Wirral

My mind is a jumble of thoughts. I feel like I’m a jumble of emotions.

What can I bring out of how I am feeling and what I’m thinking right now, to encourage the church?! There are so many verses in the Bible about God’s comfort and care, so that’s the best I can bring.

As many of you know, I lost my Mum in January. She’d been struggling with Pulmonary Fibrosis for a few years and for the last 18 months battled through the chronic pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Suddenly in November last year we were told that the chest infection she had picked up was very rare and severe and despite finally finding the correct antibiotics, she was too compromised to fight it and nothing more could be done for her. She went home to die.

I’m still grieving. I cope, I carry on, but there’s times when I still cry as I think about nursing her in those final days and about how much I miss talking to her. I generally feel quite sad and not very joyful.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”
Matthew 6:8 “…Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

My mum with Asher

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

My mum with Asher, Zach and Vernon

I’m also facing another loss. That of our eldest son, leaving home at the beginning of September to start a Degree Apprenticeship with Pfizer, based in Kent. He’ll be 19 soon but he’s still a boy who needs reminding to clear up after himself!

There’s so much about Asher that I’m proud of and thankful for – most of all his love for Jesus and willingness to serve in the church; his confidence that he’s going to do what God has provided for him to do next. He’s worked hard at school and it’s paid off; he’s done really well to get the apprenticeship he wanted. He knows that God is with him guiding his next steps.

The downside for us though is that it’s a six-hour drive away. This doesn’t seem to bother him however and he seems ready to spread his wings and fly the nest.

Matthew 6:33 “ But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

In the eulogy I wrote for my Mum’s funeral, this is one of the things that I appreciated and praised her for – when I was leaving home at 18, she always encouraged me; never expressing doubt or reservation in my decisions, even when I announced at 16 that I was heading for Africa, and as I went overseas in my 20s.

She had given me to God as a baby – I was very premature and being 1972, it was very touch and go, whether I would live. She knew that children are a gift from God, given to us for a short time and knew God would look after me my whole life. I am only now realising how hard that is – to let go of our children and trust God with their future.

I have heard the still small voice of God whisper to me “I’ve got him” as I cried thinking about Asher leaving. But it is still the pain of loss I am feeling.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

So my encouragement to us all is this: God knows, He’s with us and He cares. He’s not going to take away the hard thing that I face. He probably won’t take away the hard things that you face. He wants us to lean on Him, learn from Him, find comfort in Him. It’s about trusting Him, believing His words “I will be with you.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”

 
Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral 

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Today’s Mercies for Today’s Troubles

Today’s Mercies for Today’s Troubles

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Today’s Mercies for Today’s Troubles

By Yvonne Martin, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

As I was reading Helen’s blog recently, I was reminded of something that I’d shared as a video clip during the first lockdown.

 I thought it worth recreating and updating as a blog.

Lamentations 3:21-24. It is the prophet Jeremiah speaking and he says “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him.”

“His mercies are new every morning”; got me thinking of a verse in Matthew (6:34) that first struck me 17 years ago. The verse says

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

17 years ago, I was a new Mum. Despite having done child care courses and nurse training, I didn’t feel like I was doing a very good job of it. I felt very inadequate and anxious about having to care for this baby who struggled to sleep and who had recurring tonsillitis, resulting in a tonsillectomy before his 2nd birthday.

I came across a very helpful sermon that John Piper wrote on this verse and here is a quick summary of what he says it means.

“Our task today, is to live by the mercies given for today and to believe that there will be new mercies for tomorrow. Today’s mercies do not include strength for tomorrow; they include faith that tomorrow’s unseen mercies will be sufficient for tomorrow.

This doesn’t mean – make no preparation for tomorrow’s needs. We have to make wise preparations for things that need doing tomorrow or next week or even next year. Those preparations are part of today’s “sufficient” trouble. BUT, don’t bring the troubles and uncertainties of what you have to do tomorrow, into today. Don’t be anxious about how the thing tomorrow will turn out, don’t stress that you don’t feel strong enough today to do your part tomorrow – that is NOT something God wants you to do today. Those are tomorrow’s burdens.

Don’t cross over from faithful preparation to unfaithful anxiety.”

As is usual with John Piper’s material, you might have to go back and reread that, maybe a few times! Try to let it sink in and identify how you can put it into practice.

There may be massive things that you have to do tomorrow, things of significance that are life changing. There may be mundane things too, but still, they are things that can cause us to worry because we don’t quite know how it’s all going to work out.  Not to mention pandemics and wars and all the uncertainty that brings with it.

Trust Jesus in the big and the small. I know it’s easier said than done. But it’s about faith. Consciously exercise your faith – believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.

Let’s try to remember what Jeremiah declared. The Lord’s mercies; that is, His strength, His grace, His sufficiency – is new every morning, for us to face whatever it is we have to face each day. The Lord loves you steadfastly and you can hope in Him.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

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How God transformed my life

How God transformed my life

Blogs
Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

How God transformed my life

By Yvonne Martin, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

Recently I commented on a post on Jubilee’s Facebook page, which posed the question “Has God transformed your life?”

The post happened to coincide with it being our 19th Wedding Anniversary, so I said that God transformed my life by fulfilling His promise to wait for His timing; resulting in Vernon and I getting married.

When I was 13, a friend introduced me to a couple who were planting a church in my rural part of Leicestershire. I was brought up in a Baptist Chapel, and became a Christian aged 10 but when I started going to these house church meetings, I met the Holy Spirit and my life changed. I was baptised and as I came up out of the water I was filled again with the Holy Spirit. The feeling was so fantastic I said “I want to do that again!”

It was during these years that I developed a love for Africa and its people and started to feel that I would go there one day. I suppose I was starting to feel called to missionary work, so I attended a ‘Missionary’ conference. During the weekend we were encouraged to think about where we thought God was calling us to. I heard God’s voice say to me “Mozambique”. So as I ended my school life, I was looking for a way to be useful in Africa, and to that end, I undertook nurse training. I read everything I could about Mozambique, the world’s poorest country at the time.

My nurse training was in Newcastle upon Tyne. Not having any connections with churches there, I went into the Christian bookshop and asked if they had a list of churches in the city. Another customer overheard and asking what type of church I was looking for, I replied “a house church type”. He invited me to Kingsland. It wasn’t even on the list! Kingsland, which soon became City Church Newcastle, was a New Frontiers church.

Newcastle upon Tyne
The 7+ years I spent in Newcastle were wonderful. I grew in confidence and skill in my nursing; I grew in God as I spent my time involved in CU and church life. I had a lot of fun with house mates from my church. One by one however, my friends started to get married, but I was still single, aiming for Mozambique. Deep down though, I had a longing for a husband and felt lonely sometimes.

I found out about a couple who were planning to start a church in Mozambique and would allow me along to help but God had other ideas. I am so grateful for wise leadership and counsel from my church elders who advised me that they would rather I went to Africa to work with people who New Frontiers have a relationship with.

New Frontiers were in South Africa by this time and the “Frontier Year Project” was suggested to me. This was only going to happen in 2000 though and I was getting restless. My elder learned about a missionary lady in Portugal affiliated to New Frontiers and for most of 1999, I was living in Portugal.

I worked as the only Registered Nurse in a Salvation Army Nursing Home, trying to improve the bit of Portuguese I had learned in night school. It was a tough year to say the least! I had to make a decision about whether to spend the following year in South Africa and eventually decided that if I was in SA, at least Mozambique was within touching distance, so to speak!

Table Mountain in South Africa
The year I spent doing the Frontier Year Project was amazing. I was posted to Somerset West, 40 kms from Cape Town, to work in “Choices Pregnancy Centre”, a counselling centre for women in crisis, and a home for those choosing adoption instead of abortion.

During this time, I kept getting drawn to Psalm 37: “Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will act… Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…Wait for the Lord and keep his way; he will exalt you to inherit the land…”

In the NF church that I was posted to, was a young youth leader called Vernon Martin. He also sang in the worship team and was generally around the place a lot.

The pregnancy centre and my home for that year was on the same plot of land. Our friendship developed throughout 2000. I stayed for a second year continuing to work in the pregnancy centre and church and our relationship deepened in 2001, resulting in our engagement late that year.

In July 2001 I went to Mozambique!! It was a 2 week mission trip to help the local YWAM do Aids education. It was an incredible experience in so many ways but I knew that my life wasn’t going to be in Mozambique after all, and my God ordained path was waiting for me back in Somerset West.


Mozambique
Matthew 7:11: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

I knew God was giving me the good gift of Vern, because He knows what I need.

Now, in 19 years, it hasn’t always felt like the gift is good! We still have challenges and upsets… but we made a decision to stick together, to work out our differences and honour God’s plan, even though that’s sometimes the hardest thing to do. Love is a decision, not a feeling and that’s why Jesus went through with his horrific death for us.

I hope you can find some encouragement in my story; Be baptised! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Wait patiently, He knows your needs. Honour wise counsel and accountability. He will give you good gifts. Decide to love as Jesus loves us.

Life Group leader Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

Yvonne Martin of Jubilee Church Wirral

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