We bought a little terrace to rent out nearly 4 years ago, not long before the whole question of moving to Coventry appeared on our horizon as a complete surprise. We were planning for decades in the Meadows not a move after 6 years.

Everything, (even my dream of a Lexus if you’ve been reading the previous blogs, 😉 went on hold at that point. We had a difficult year of living in limbo between Nottingham and Coventry. This journey of reliance on God was not so much a financial one; we were asking lots of big questions about the next steps.  We prayed through whether the move was what God wanted with lots of day-to-day conversation with Him and one 48hr escape for Caroline and I to a hotel in the Peaks facilitated by visiting parents-in-law and the overflow in our current account. After that initial questioning we widened our circle of discernment to our closest trusted friends, some in Nottingham, but manly those in neither Coventry nor Nottingham who had no particular personal interest.  As we discerned this one of the things that God told us what that we were to put solar panels on the roof of the vicarage in Coventry, we didn’t have the job and were coming to the point of believing the move was right at that point. It seemed like a random thing to note down and come back to later.

Completely unconnected to our move, God asked us to set aside our holiday money for him. We get 6 weeks including five Sundays as holiday each year, which is a great blessing, but it’s also expensive taking five of us away. Holidays at home are difficult as our home is our office and a place of to where work comes.  So for years we have put aside £500 a month to cover the holidays and when we book holiday and go away we live out of a different bank account. This was a big step in giving away control and something integral to our wellbeing. We love our life and work, but believe in working out of rest. Each period of rest builds up the reserves to work from for the next period of work.

Shifting our thinking from working form rest rather than resting from work came from being taught that if humans were created on the sixth day, their opening day on earth was one of rest. The Israelite understanding of time was that the day begins as the sun goes down on an evening, so evening meal, recreation and sleep prepares for the rest of the day which is mostly comprised of work. It’s a subtle mind-shift with surprisingly large consequences. We remember it through the Semi-Circle Lifeshape(link) which takes this simple lesson and deepens and widens the learning into further contexts.

So holidays are a very big thing to us. That’s why we invest such a large percentage of our money. They go in the diary before anything else and we have a pattern of when and what kind of places we go. Trusting God to provide and not having a plan for holidays was another step of faith and putting ourselves and our wellbeing in His hands.  Maybe it wasn’t that big a sacrifice, holidaying with family would be fine, (we hoped!)

When we make decisions we often check them against the peace of Jesus. That sounds a bit grandiose; basically we make a decision and then check how we feel with Him after,  often after sleeping on a plan or if it’s really big giving it a couple of days. When we walk out His will, we leave Jesus’ peace behind. When we are following His call, His peace is obvious, it’s a great way of checking we’re on the right path and if we make the decision in our hearts and “check the peace” for a while we can be sure before we actually action anything.

I was hoping secretly that giving up our holiday money and letting God provide would mean a year of 5* hotels and every holiday overseas, just as I was still hoping that God would provide the car of our dreams. Incidentally, the car of my dreams has changed, the advent of electric cars and observing with our more mature friends and evaluating our needs lead to us realising that we need vehicles for two things; we need a small super-economical (electric?) vehicle for the myriad 1-5mile journeys we make each week and something bigger for trips to see family, going on holiday and times when work call for trips away. The larger vehicle of our dreams is now a converted VW van, a modern camper, converted to our own specification. The smaller just needs to good for the environment and keeping our costs low. Or to have one vehicle we figured we could cope with a Tesla model X (our boys preferred option, costing £60k+!) With car loans something that we’d never consider this was a long way out of our natural reach. We’d learned that God was a God of provision and abundance in Nottingham, always giving beyond our expectations and dreams. We enjoyed the high life on Him repeatedly, both in church and at home. Now God was going to teach us a different lesson.