Who Am I?

Have you ever been in the situation where life takes over to the point you don’t recognise anything about yourself anymore?

It happens more regularly than you may appreciate.  If that is where you are right now, I hope our Who Am I? features will encourage you in the days ahead.

There are currently a lot of examples of people in Tayside Christian Fellowship being challenged by life and it’s a privilege to hear how they are coping.

Jo and Nathanael Smith

We arrived in our flat in Perth in October, just married and asking ourselves who were we in this new place and in a new church, who were we going to be?

Nathanael had been offered an opportunity to train as an engineer for MAF (a Christian mission organisation), which is what he had felt God calling him to do for a long time.  So, 6 months before we got married, Nathanael uprooted to Perth, where we knew no one.  

We tried to start following God’s call on our lives with Nathanael 8 hours away from Norwich where we were living.  I was finishing a PhD and planning a wedding, so Nathanael’s start in Perth was one of supporting a stressed fiancé from afar.  I then joined him in Perth straight after our wedding, leaving my friends behind and with no job. 

We arrived in Perth on the Wednesday evening and Thursday morning Nathanael was off to his training and I was left in an unfamiliar flat in an unfamiliar city, wondering who am I? and what do I do now? 

I had finished a really busy period of my life having lots of people around me to spend time with.  Now I had nothing to do, I felt useless, not knowing what was next for me and not knowing how to rest. 

‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

I started applying for jobs and received rejection after rejection. I not only felt useless, but also a failure. I didn’t have a job to secure my identity as a supportive wife and we had planned my job would help support us as a couple, so I was unsure what to do.

However, having seen Gods guiding hand for my husband and me, I needed to start trusting in the God who loved me and was in control, and I clung to the promise “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12 v 9 which we put up on our wall. This enabled me to rest in the time I had and have more peace when applying for jobs. 

Nathanael also had busy spells studying for exams where he would come back and study in the evenings meaning I had even more time to myself, and Nathanael struggled with how to be a supportive husband whilst studying hard.  God however did bless Nathanael with some calmer periods of study where we both had to learn to rest in God and thank him for the slower pace he had given us. 

We learnt we didn’t have to feel guilty if we had a lot of time not doing anything in particular but could enjoy God’s blessing of a time of slowing down and resting. Learning habits for life of supporting one another as husband and wife. 

In this time of uncertainty God was certainly not absent.  We had learnt on previous moves that getting involved in a church is a great way to settle into a new place.  Joining TCF (Tayside Christian Fellowship) we found that we had a family who were caring for us, which is what God promises now and in the future to those who follow him. 

‘And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.’

We had been given a home and a group of people who welcomed us into their homes sharing meals and friendship with us.  We knew they were praying for us and reminding us that God’s love is not dependent on how sorted our lives are, we were just called to serve God each day. 

No time is useless, change is hard, change is scary, but God provides. And for me at that time my service of God looked like loving my husband and finding ways to serve our church family.  God has provided friends, finances, and a joy of his creation in the hills.  We had lots of time together to grow in love for God as a married couple.  Whilst my plans involved finding a job and life speeding up.

We know that whatever happens God’s love for us is constant and is not dependent on what I am doing.  We are seeing God open doors for us to serve in the church and get to know more people and we are trusting we are secure in Him.  Being confident in our security in Jesus is the most important thing.  We won’t be in Perth forever and we won’t have the same job forever, but God is the same wherever we end up and whatever we are doing.  We only need to live as his children rather than trying to create new identities to fit in. 

As we are in a period of transition with our plans not going the way we had envisioned and with little control over the situation I can wait for a job knowing; God is a good God working together for our good and so I can be content even in the frustration and wait to see Gods amazing plans unfold.  Reading God’s words daily we have seen this in action of so many lives of God’s people taking unexpected turns, but God was with them every step of the way. 

‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose’.

Header photo by Aleksandra Mazur on Unsplash

Published March 2022