When we agreed to move from Nottingham to Coventry, we decided to move at speed to help both churches (and ourselves). The cost of moving took us by surprise, we had been treated amazingly on our way into Nottingham, lots of extra support and huge updates to the vicarage which we got to choose and specify. That having been our only experience we expected the same. We were wrong. A different house (going from massive to big) and the need to make a house we knew as “Peter and Ann’s” our own, made our furniture unworkable and necessitated a lot of decorating. New uniforms and many trips to and from to do the decorating and a variety of small spends built up to a large sum. It burnt through our surplus. We took this to God and felt that He was calling us to empty ourselves. Throughout 2015 we began to see our resources and back-ups dwindle, we were never worried; the season had changed. We were still storing up our holiday money to give and with God’s blessing, we had broken one of our rules.

One of my silly sayings throughout our time at Nottingham had been, “one day, when we have a hot tub on the roof…” referring to the apocryphal, dream, future, retired, good-life. One of our holidays a few years before had been at a cottage in mid-Wales which had a hot tub. We thought we’d use it once or twice, but we ended up being in it once a twice a day. It was such fun. Our future musings about retirement became daydreams about how we might afford one, but we still saw it as an idle dream.

Our leaving event at St Saviour’s was emotional and lovely. The gifts we were given were wonderful, there’s something lovely about being given gifts that are generous but more importantly demonstrate that you are loved and known deeply. The gifts were moving and joyful, the final gift was a long running joke; I’ve been oft accused of having an addiction to whiteboards. So a church whiteboard covered with scribbles and mess on one side was brought out, a good humorous finishing touch, then as the whiteboard was turned around, it was written as a cheque. Over £2k was collected and given as a leaving gift; coming from a small congregation, many of whom were not affluent. It blew me away, my prepared leaving speech went out of my head and emotion took over. It was lovely but in the aftermath we were stuck with what to do with it. Such a gift should not disappear into ‘general funds’ or be stored up for a rainy day. We wanted to commemorate the amazing journey God had brought us on and family we had grown in the Meadows. It had been a time of learning about Gods abundance and generosity. So when I asked Sophie at the meal after the leaving do she said, “I thought it’d be the hot tub money.” Once that seed of a thought had been put in our minds we were off and running. We took it to God with some trepidation thinking that this was self-indulgent and out of the question due to the need for loan and a thousand other things. God surprised us with a huge, resounding, happy, smiling, yes which was confirmed by words and pictures from outside of our family. An ex-showroom ‘small’ tub with all the bells and whistles in the annual sale was duly purchased and installed. There was even an upgrade which felt like God’s hand:

We bought an ex-showroom model. Then went to pick up the kids from school and brought them back to the showroom for a test-drive. Whilst the kids were splashing around the salesman called me over. There was a slight problem; as we were buying the tub someone else in the other shop was also buying it. It had been sold twice, something that was almost impossible on their computer system. As the guy we were taking to was the head of the company he gave us the choice of the one in the showroom or the exact same model, but brand new from the factory. We had just been talking and looking around the showroom, we’d noticed that some were finished with non-slip coating and we’d been wishing that was available. He said that the factory one would have all the bells and whistles (Bluetooth music system) like the other, but would have to be in the non-slip finish. We were even happier, it felt like God’s blessing and confirmation.