At our staff meetings on a Tuesday, we always kick off with a prayer and then go on to talk about encouragements from the previous weeks before going into business.

I know what you’re thinking, there was already a blog about encouragement recently. And you’d be right. There was, just after Easter, because we had a great couple of weeks as a church family.

So then, how does this blog differ I hear you ask?

Well, this is all about my personal encouragement from the last week. Indulge me this once, as my heart’s been very full and I believe a lot of it is down to the faith journey I have been walking over the last few years, ignited by this very special church family I have been blessed with.

GP Drop-In Clinics

When I’m not working for church, I do the comms for a local charity called Thames Life, who I was introduced to by Anna; one of their chair of trustees. Thames Life has been working with the council and one of our local GPs, to have GP drop-in clinics for the community to be able to get a full health check and get in front of a GP, which has been quite tricky recently. It was truly amazing; the people we got to meet, the impact we were able to make and the stories we heard of how much these sessions are helping really made me feel grateful for my community-facing jobs. Not only the positive impact, but the sense of team. All working together and pulling our weight to bring together something that is much needed to our wonderfully vibrant side of the borough.

Now with my other hat on, as a resident, I was amazed by the impact on myself. It was the first time I had ever met my local GPs, after living in the area for almost 4 years. And to have that time face to face, not being rushed out the door and being given the space to talk through the small niggly things. The things that, when you get them off your chest, you realise how much they had been weighing on your mind. Dr. Jagen John spent 45 minutes with myself and my little family, talking through each of our issues in turn, which is so unheard of.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were long hours put into it and there were no breaks taken (though I did get a 10min shoulder massage plus the time out to see Dr. John ) but the day flew by and before I knew it, it was the end of my day at the event.

Baptism No. 1

I left the drop-in clinic a bit early because my husband got baptised that evening. A small, short affair, but meaningful nonetheless. I had been praying for this to happen for the longest time, and it finally happened! What was special for me, was that it happened in my childhood church but my husband had asked Sam to be a sponsor, which brought my/our faith journey full circle. The Reverend at the church spoke to me afterwards and said that she thought it was amazing that I have that church almost as my spiritual home, that we will always come back to when visiting with my mum and dad etc, but that we have the support and guidance of such a wonderful church family in Barking Riverside. And that really touched my heart, because it’s so true.

God placed us on this estate, at the exact time, knowing I would lose my job in marketing but that I would find a role that would be more than a job. A role that would impact my life as well as those closest to me. And I couldn’t be more thankful for that…

Baptism No. 2

Then on Saturday, our daughter got baptised. Again in my childhood church, and again Sam was invited by the Reverend to do the Word which was so powerful, we wish we had recorded it. It was full of beautiful moments for me:

  1. It was the first time since our wedding in 2019 having all our friends and family members in one place. Many of them hadn’t met Aria due to Covid and lockdowns.
  2. My best friend and her husband are now Godparents and Aria is so in love with them she spent the majority of the day with them which warmed my heart
  3. My Godmother happened to be next to the Paschal candle while we were at the font, so she lit Aria’s candle which was lovely
  4. My best mate who was brought up as a non-practicing Muslim, seems to be on her own journey to Christ felt Sam’s talk really spoke to her and felt it’s something that she needs to explore further. Opening up new conversations for us to have, that we hadn’t before in our 23 years of friendship.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

Psalm 107:1-3

So though I am very tired, I have so much to be grateful for that I really felt the need to share. Not to brag, but to illustrate how much those around us can really support us. When I first moved here, I didn’t realise how much our lives would change in 4 years, for the better! I’m really looking forward to seeing what else God has in store for us in the years to come.

Hows God been moving in your life. Trust me, even when you don’t see it, He’s working, even when you don’t feel it, He’s working, He never stops, He never stops working…

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