The single biggest sacrifice that we have made since my husband has become a vicar is having to live away from our families. I have lived in Wales since I left home at eighteen and for the majority of that time our closest family was a 4-6 hour drive away. Now we are living the clergy lifestyle we only get one day off a week and have to be around for most Sundays so popping away for the weekend, or even the day, is really difficult; Pembrokeshire is such a long way from anywhere!
I would love nothing more than to be close to our extended family, a feeling only exacerbated after having children. I often think how nice it would be to pop round for a cup of tea and a catch up, and for our kids to grow up around their cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunties and uncles. There’s a well known African proverb which says that it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s so true. Parenthood can be challenging and lonely and it’s hard when you don’t have a support network around you.
However, the great thing about God is that when he calls us to make sacrifices he often blesses us abundantly in other ways and provides for our every need. He loves relationship and the church should be a model for that; a family. Even when we are not biologically related we still have a wonderful connection and bond and can be there for each other through good times and bad.
As we think about moving on I wanted to take this opportunity to write a huge THANK YOU to our church family for being just that. A family. Our Village. You have helped us more than you ever know.
To those who have snuggled our babies when our arms were exhausted and we just needed to sit a moment – thank you. To those who have loved and encouraged us and our children – thank you. To those that have given us grace when we’ve made mistakes – thank you. To those who have prayed for and with us – thank you. For every meal and gift we’ve been brought – thank you. For every offer of babysitting – thank you.
And to those who have gone above and beyond. Those people who we can ring in the middle of the night and know that they will be there. Those people that clean your house and take down your Christmas decorations at the end of January because you’re too sick to move (yes, that happened!). Those people that have given lifts and offered to do so much more. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
My heart is heavy as we move house and churches but I try to remind myself that we’re not leaving our ‘village’ behind. Although it changes, it only grows as we go through life and create more relationships.
The idea I will take away from this is that we should never underestimate the importance of our kindness to one another. Even the smallest helpful act or word of encouragement can be the boost that keeps someone going for another day. These experiences continue to inspire me to be ready and available to be part of someone else’s ‘village’ too; life is better when we go through it together.