Every Thursday night, Andy and I went to his parents’ house for dinner with all the family. We loved going to family dinner, not only because we didn’t have to cook for ourselves, but it was a time for us to see everyone (the kids). Andy is so great with kids and at the time of his accident, his niece, Olivia, was nearly two and a half and going through a phase of wanting to go outside. Her Grandma has made her into an outdoors girl and going out to see the horse in the neighbouring field is a must. The night before the accident I remember Olivia asking me “outside?”, to which I responded “Uncle Andy would love to”. Rebekah has a very vivid memory of Andy walking towards the chickens as the sun was setting, with Olivia on his shoulders. Uncle Andy is the best!
When he joined us again, Andy entered into the conversation we were having about the Holy Spirit. One of his sisters was telling us of her physical encounter the week before, and how it had massively impacted her. Both of his other sisters had also experienced a new way of thinking towards their own relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, which we all agreed was very timely. Andy and I then shared the experience we had on the Monday before and how I had prayed for a pain in his shoulder and it was released. I could probably write two separate blog posts giving you all the background and details of these experiences but that is not why I am writing this post today. If you would like a little more context on this, please go to the video I shared on my ‘Puppy Therapy’ post and I will hopefully be able to share a link to Rebekah’s story soon.
That night we talked a lot about how we felt God was doing something in our family, that He was preparing us for something and we were all so excited by this. The next day, our brother-in-law, Jamie, sent through a message referencing the Chronicles of Narnia:
A phrase has been coming back to me again and again for church and our lives recently… God is on the move!
It comes from the C.S Lewis book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. Below is a few references and quotes that paint an amazing picture of this phrase! It’s long but worth it…
“They say Aslan is on the move…”
It’s chapter 7 and still the identity of Aslan has been kept from the reader and then Beaver tells them more about Aslan:
“He’s the King. He’s the Lord of the whole wood, but not often here, you understand. Never in my time or my father’s time. But the word has reached us that he has come back. He is in Narnia at this moment.”
Lucy asks, “Is…is he a man?” And finally almost halfway through the story, we find out that this Aslan is The Lion!
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you, he is the King of the woods and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”
Then, of course, Susan and Lucy ask if this lion is safe, to which Beaver answers with his memorable line, “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
As the story unfolds Aslan, the king, gives himself over as a sacrifice to the witch and is killed. Aslan is dead!
But then pages later we read that the stone in which he was killed is empty and “There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane, stood Aslan himself.” At first, it all seemed too good to be true; and then too good not to be true.
Aslan’s not dead? No, he’s alive! He rose again!
The story continues and the word begins to spread… Aslan is on the move!
God is on the move…
God is King! God is not safe, but He is Good! God is not dead, He is alive-God is on the move!
A few hours later, we found ourselves in A&E. This was not what we thought when we read those words, “God is not safe but He is good … God is on the move”.
We have been on a very different journey than we imagined on that Thursday night, but it has been very clear throughout it all that God is doing amazing things and that He is on the move. “You [the enemy] intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” – Genesis 50:20.
Yesterday morning I visited a friend’s church. I look forward to my own church every week, and going somewhere new had almost worried me, as I didn’t want to run the risk of not getting the encouragement I needed for my week ahead. I decided however, that it would be easier for me to go to Re:Hope that morning as I had to go somewhere after, and Belfast was closer than Lisburn. Another friend had also asked if I was free in the evening to drive up to Causeway Coast Vineyard, and as I was only visiting Andy in the afternoon, I was. I believe that God spoke to me in many ways yesterday, and that one of the things He was saying was, “I am not restricted to Lagan Valley Vineyard, Emma.”
Re:Hope church was planted in August 2016 and it was great to finally see their space; I really loved being there yesterday morning. As my friend was in the band, I was standing at the front on my own during worship and at one point I began to feel in need of a little encouragement. We then sang ‘No Longer Slaves’ which I mentioned in my last post, how it has significant meaning to me at this point in my life. After this and towards the end of worship, someone approached me (who recognised me from the blog) and said that she had no idea why she was coming over. She then prayed with me for Andy and told me that she is continually bringing him before God. She shared that through praying for Andy, she has experienced healing in her own life, which just blew my mind.
The night before, Andy and I had a very long chat about what God is doing in our lives and how this situation is affecting other people. The fact that we can even sit and have that conversation is incredible, as previously Andy would not have wanted to hear it and a conversation of that length would have been a real struggle for him. But he listened and we were able to share how we both struggle with the balance between hope and reality. We have been having lots of conversations with consultants and therapists about getting home in the next few months and what that looks like, so I believe that is why these feelings were so strong for us both. I took this opportunity to repeat a lot of what Andy has probably been told before, but maybe hasn’t fully understood. I told him all about the people (that we know of) who have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, because they have seen the power of God working so much in Andy’s life. For those of you who know Andy well, you will know that he has a heart for bringing people to Jesus, but in a very quiet, behind the scenes kind of way. I would never have wished for this to happen to my husband, but on some levels, I have understood that his personality and heart for people would be a real help in his understanding and acceptance of his situation. During that conversation he named groups of people that he is praying for and that he would love to see encounter Jesus for the first time. He told me that he is praying for every nurse, therapist, doctor and member of staff that he comes across. We discussed how amazing it would be to see them give their life to God and experience Jesus. He even put photos he has of 4F staff in a separate folder, so that he could remember to pray for them. That man blows me away! He is continuing on his ministry in a new way and to new people.
Before we headed back to his bay, I told Andy that we all believe that God is doing something massive through his story and that this is not normal. That the number of people (all over the world) who are invested in this is crazy and that God is on the move. I truly believe this, that God is doing something massive in Northern Ireland and that Andy’s story has a part to play in it. I believe that God was affirming this for me when he sent that girl to share her story. Although I did not get talking to you afterwards, I want you to know that you are so brave, you encouraged me massively and God will reward you for your obedience.
I believe that I was at that church for a reason yesterday and this was confirmed even more when I realised that I had my days mixed up and I did not need to be in Belfast. I was also massively encouraged later on when I attended Causeway Coast Vineyard.
Benjamin Joseph was speaking about dreams and the significance they can have on our lives. I will struggle to recount everything he said and I am definitely not well versed on the theology, so I will just mention what impacted me, rather than address big topics like the prophetic word. The night started off with someone sharing a prophetic word about how God is moving within our country and it had the line, ‘Aslan is on the move’ in it. There was so much more than this but as you can imagine, this was the part that stuck out to me the most. When I was telling Andy the other night that God was using him and doing something in Northern Ireland, I felt an element of doubt in my head. In that moment, the enemy was saying to me, ‘but is He?’, and here God was saying ‘YES I AM.” I do not believe for a second that God is limited to Andy’s situation alone, but that He will be using other families like ours, probably in very different ways. God is doing something in Northern Ireland, we only need to step up, and join in with it.
As I have said before, I truly believe that I was in Vineyard for a reason and this was further revealed to me after the service. I bumped into a girl who I know, but have not spoken to in a long time. She almost took me out when she saw me, squeezing me so hard I had to tap out. At first I thought, okay that’s nice, but I then began to understand why. This particular girl had been having dreams about Andy and me, but did not want to share, in case they were not from God. She actually had one the night before, and was going to share it via text on Sunday morning, but decided against it. However, after the speaker went into so much detail about the importance of dreams, she felt compelled to pass it on. She text her boyfriend to remind her later, but just in case she forgot, God sent me to her; to a church neither of us attend. I was greatly encouraged to hear how invested she was in Andy’s situation and hearing from her was a real blessing for me; another way in which God encouraged me yesterday.
In the very early days of ICU we were reminded of the story of Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:21-43; as Jesus is on his way to heal the girl, He stops to heal other people. From the very beginning, this was our prayer for Andy’s situation, and as time goes on and events like yesterday happen, we are reminded that God still has so much healing to do. In this story, as Jesus is healing a woman on the road, people came to inform Jairus that his daughter had died. In that moment I can only imagine how much he must have wished Jesus did not stop and that his daughter would have been saved in time, but what we learn from this is that God’s timing is perfect. It was not too late and Jesus went on to heal the girl as she was “only asleep”.
This story reminds me of a line from a song that I have been listening to so much today. I have had the same CD on in my car for a while now, and when I don’t have Spotify playing, I listen to this. I think a few days ago I had turned it off as I felt that it had started to become repetitive, but last night, as we were driving back from Vineyard, I realised that I had not been listening. My friend said something about when you feel that your world is falling apart, it is actually falling into place, which is the exact line in one of those songs. After flicking through a few, I finally found it, and wow what a song!
Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go
I can identify with all of these lyrics, as I’m sure Jairus could at that time. His eyes were on the storm and therefore was not trusting that Jesus had control over the situation. This is the same for so many of us when we go through trials and I know that I often take my eyes off the cross, allowing doubt and fear to creep in. It is in times like this, when we need to come to God and find our rest in Him. He spoke so clearly to me about numerous things yesterday, to the point that today I can sing those words with real conviction; my world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.
“Be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead” 1 Peter 1:6