My background is working with those with Dementia, and for many years I worked for Alzheimer’s Society covering Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Chanel Islands. I loved the Chanel Islands, particularly Guernsey. I spent a fair amount of time working there, working with the States of Guernsey promoting positive dementia practices and working with our local team. There’s no NHS on the island; processes and laws are completely different. Working there was a huge learning curve, both challenging and rewarding. I loved it!
I also loved, and still love, the way that our God knows where we are at all times, knows what we need and knows how to meet those needs. Often, we are completely unaware of the amazing plans and tapestry he’s woven all around us.
A few years back, while in a pretty dark place, I spent a few days working in Guernsey. As usual I checked into a familiar hotel but this time I was on the island to start a restructure process that would affect my team on the Island. I was feeling low with some major personal problems and I had to deliver some very unpopular news to some beautiful people. This was not good. I was also due to review a care home. Care homes are very different on Guernsey and not regulated like ours are here. Care is often patchy at best and models of care is very outdated.
After a very difficult day with my local team, a team I felt I’d let down, I went back to my hotel room. Working away can feel very lonely. I checked my voicemail to discover my care home review had been cancelled. This cancelation left me with a whole day clear.
I believe God creates opportunities for us when we need them.
The following day I took a ferry to the tiny Island of Sark. You might have been there yourself. If you have, you’ll know it’s only accessible by boat and there are no cars. It’s so peaceful. That day I connected with God in an incredible way. I wasn’t expecting it but he blew me away. I walked and walked and found myself outside a little Church. I went inside and sat and prayed. It was beautiful, I just let God minister to me and I felt rest. I felt peace. I stayed in that place for a couple of hours, I prayed, I even sang. It was so lovely. Then I walked again.
At the edge of a cliff later that day I found a plaque with a few words of a psalm written on it. It was Psalm 77. I sat down, opened my Bible to look up the whole Psalm and read this –
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated, and my spirit asked:
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favour again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
To me it was a psalm about someone struggling and then making a conscious decision to trust God and becoming aware of his greatness.
It was perfect. Totally and utterly what I needed to read at that moment. Totally and utterly affirming, a gift from my kind Father. I remember that day so fondly and always trust that God is with me whatever I face. Good or bad, happy or sad, he is with me. He is with you too in the everyday, in the tough day and the laughter. So whatever your day looks like today or tomorrow, I pray that you’ll know his closeness and his heart for you every wrapped around you and always for you.