I’m no longer a part-time nun! I’ll share a final blog reflecting on the year at some point, but for now here is something from Friday 22nd June when we had our Community Commissioning Service at Lambeth Palace. A few of us were asked to share our testimony of what we have learnt from this year. This is what I shared:
“Apparently I’ve done a very good job of convincing my fellow community members that I’m good at being on time. This will be a shock for those of you who know me outside the community; timing has never been my strong point**. Which is why I find what God has been teaching me this year somewhat amusing.
Back at our first retreat in November I had a worrying revelation. Well, God told me a few things during that week, but this was key. I suddenly realised that in signing up for the Community of St Anselm, I’d signed up for a Year in God’s Time. The problem wasn’t that it was actually 10 months not a year, but that what I’d signed up for was in God’s time, not my time, and God’s timing seems to be annoyingly different to mine most of the time. This literally hit me in the face and as I said it to one of the other community members she laughed a lot. I mean, it’s pretty clear, it’s written everywhere on the publicity, but it just hadn’t quite sunk in.
Yet it wasn’t until this past Saturday that it all clicked in to place. We had time to look at Genesis 12 where God was with Abram as he moved around and set altars at each place. We were encouraged to look back at the altars or moments we’ve had through the year and I saw that for me, it was all about God’s timing. Each time God has shown me something or spoken to me about something, it has been at just the right time to prepare me for what was to come. It wasn’t so early that I’d forget, it wasn’t too late that I was left floundering. It was exactly when I needed it. I’ve been learning that I don’t need to know everything all at once, and sometimes it’s better I don’t know what’s coming or I’d run a mile.
One of the passages I’ve thought about a lot is when Jesus calls Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water towards him. As soon as Peter loses focus and looks away he starts to sink, but when his eyes are fixed on Jesus he is okay. I’ve been learning to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and whenever my gaze wanders He calls me back to looking at Him.
This year has been full of adventure, pain, surprise and joy in so many ways. But for me, it’s all been about learning God’s timing is most definitely better than my timing. I encourage you when you’re sharing about this wonderful community to tell people about the retreats, the laughter, the prayer, the spiritual accompaniment, the singing, the choosing each other, the teaching, the opportunity to serve others, the albs…but please also remind them that as the publicity says, it does indeed involve a Year in God’s Time.”
**Ive only managed to miss my train home once in the whole time I’ve been commuting between London and Canterbury, which is an absolute miracle. Big shout out to my amazing friend who picked me up super late from another station and helped me get home.
The service was very moving for us as a community. We sang in languages representing the members, we shared our stories and we were given Bibles to remind us to ‘let the Word of Christ dwell in your heart richly.’ The Archbishop shared his prayer for us to know Jesus deeply so that “that his call becomes your call, and his cause your cause.” That is my prayer too.