by Jackie Wenden
‘Let the morning bring me Word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you’ Ps 43, v8 Downsizing, I moved to Highbridge in March 2020. I had had disappointments and had been doing things in my own strength - this led to me hurting the most significant person in my life and taking my focus off the needs of my children at that time. I was disappointed in myself. I did not step into a church for years, although God kept sending me Christian friends to love and challenge me.
When I came to Highbridge I was married again and had started to pray. I found the Hope Baptist church online at first. When I finally summoned up courage to go in through the unassuming front door, the welcome was so warm. A broad smile from Lyn reassured me that I was not being judged and to this day her smile makes me think of the smile of Jesus and His Father when they see one of His lost ones seeking Him out after years of running away.
Over the past two years my perspective has changed from an arrogant ‘What can I do for this community’ to ‘How blessed I am to live in this community!’ I have come to learn that Jesus does not deal in the statistics nor gossip on which we base our preconceptions about a place. He deals with individual human hearts. Jesus loves every individual in our community and in my block of flats, whether they know Him or not.
Highbridge has the friendliest shopkeepers, the best bakery, the best coffee shop and looks amazing under a full moon! Residents in my block are feeding birds, planting flowers, tidying up the garden, and supporting each other in little ways that no-one sees. Jade our minister-in-training asks us each week ‘What has made you smile this week?’ So many things.
Missing having a garden and inspired by Graham’s amazing results in the Hope vegetable garden, I applied for an allotment (expecting a long wait.) In March 2022 I was number 5 on the list. Nosing about the allotments I met a wonderful lady who showed me her productive plot. I offered to help her with some of the heavier tasks. What a blessing she has been! As well as knowing Jesus and sending me daily spiritual encouragement, she has taught me so much about growing vegetables.
Offered my own plot at the end of June, I have, through it, discovered a community of lovely, generous, and helpful people. A place of peace and sanctuary after a long day at work. In a few short months we are harvesting all manner of vegetables, feeding ourselves and others.
Jesus himself told us ‘This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows though he does not know how’ (Mark 4:26).
God is at work in ways we don’t know.
One summer evening I was working late at the allotment until it was almost too dark to see. I looked up and was stunned by the beauty of the evening primrose. It took my breath away- it takes a dusk light to see it in all its glory.
God changes us by changing how we see things - by changing our perspective - by showing us things in a new light. The revelation of God’s unfailing love is all around us.