God always amazes me. And I'm always amazed at how he amazes me. Its like he is thinking “what can I do to surprise them again, how can I show them again that I really have got it sorted”, and then he goes ahead and does it.
To be honest I wasn't really looking forward to Ripon this year. In the run-up to it I was really busy- we had a guy living with us, visitors every weekend, the World Cup (!), I was working lots of overtime and planning for various things/events. I was tired. What I really wanted was a relaxing holiday not doing much (the opposite of a week on camp with activities 15 hours a day alongside 90 other people). I wasn't looking forward to the site being different; not sleeping much and a new group of leaders, a load of whom I hadn't met and most of whom I didn't really know all that well. But I still knew God wanted us there and so begrudgingly I packed my bag and picked up my car keys.
However, by the second day of being there I couldn't have felt more different. I woke up refreshed, it felt like I had slept for 3 days solid and I was ready, and excited. I normally feel refreshed after a cold shower; a nice swim; an ice-cold drink; a juicy mango (best fruit ever); an ice lolly (particularly a Twister) or a big cry followed by washing my face. But I felt refreshed that day after sleeping for only about 5 hours (don't know why?!) and doing none of the above. I know that was God, I know that was God's Holy Spirit working in me to prepare me for the week at Ripon and everything after it. And I believe that was God's plan for the week and everyone there. To be refreshed- inside and out.
God was working, through new friendships, honest conversations, laughter and tears. I believe God wanted us to be able to release anything bothering us, getting us down, frustrating us or just getting in the way. And he provided space, humility, love and a family-feel to do that. And in doing that he was then able to refresh us with his Holy Spirit through Jesus- for each person I am sure it looked and felt different, and that it happened in a different way; but I definitely saw it. And my prayer is that what he has started in each of us and our lives this past week at Ripon can continue to draw us nearer to live completely and utterly in his powerful, unconditional love and acceptance. And I thank God for it all.
About the author.
Natasha lives and works on Liverpool although she'd rather you didn't hold that against her. She is married to Gareth and enjoys ballroom dancing, murder mysteries and Ovaltine.