So this blog is a bit more personal – photos I’ve taken that have inspired me one way or another, images that fit with mine and Derek’s story in life and the adventure we are on. Allowing people to get to know us a little bit better. I guess this is the personal part of Jenny’s Diary.
This post is a little of our journey and where we are at. It’ll give context and meaning to a lot of things and future posts, hopefully! The photos at the bottom of this post will make more sense by the end. They represent movement, time and places; a journey of minding the gap. (It’ll make sense I promise, keep reading!) As some of you know already, Derek and I have been married for almost 7 months now. In that time we moved to London. It would seem we are to be on the move again: New York City this time. Big change for this country girl from Northern Ireland who only ever wanted a country house with a big kitchen (with a Belfast sink) in which I could spend hours cooking and creating. God decided a long time ago that I wasn’t getting that – maybe someday, but not now. He told me I was going to London to live when Derek and I got married and for me that was HUGE. I like the country – I love cows and tractors and the smell of manure (weird, I know, but there’s something vaguely comforting and familiar about it for me). London is big by most standards but by mine it was a pit that was going to swallow me whole. Those of you who know me well know I did NOT want to go. At all. But God said go, so who was I to argue?!
Off we went: got married, had a honeymoon which we didn’t pay a penny for (we are seriously surrounded by some of the most amazing people), moved to London and life began. I hated it: hated the noise, the cars, the fumes, not seeing my parents and my few best friends. In London I was alone. No Judeness to go for breakfast with. No Claire for cheese dippers and mocktails. No parents for dad’s special tomatoes on toast and Saturdays in Belfast with mum. Instead, I had a man, a husband one of my own and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. So I cooked. A lot – so much so by Christmas 6 months after we got married we had gained 3 stone between us! What else did I have to do except do some shoots. I didn’t want to go explore when Derek was in work so I stayed at home: safe, on the sofa, with the tv and a book. Alone, safe and unhappy.
I figured we would be in London for a while, get involved in our church Liberty and then move on eventually when God called us again. Move on back to Northern Ireland I was hoping, so I was biding my time grudgingly. But, by the end of August that changed dramatically and God was like ‘nope not happening’. A lot changed in a matter of 3 days. So, we went into a tailspin of what the flip do we do? – Liberty is our home. That thought resounded with us for the next 2 months as we prayed. Then we thought ‘right, lets take this seriously’ and really pray and figure this thing out.
So it seems on the Sunday the day before we were to start fasting God confirmed our thoughts to me 3 times in one church service! I did not like what He was saying at all. Derek had already had it confirmed to him but hadn’t told me. So we talked and prayed and fasted and God was saying New York. You’re going to my people. You. Yes you. You’re going. Meanwhile I’m in church yelling back in my head – Belfast sink – I won’t get that over there – they don’t even have Tayto there, I can’t live there!! Priorities right? But again, God said go so who was I to argue?! Though this time I had an excitement. A weird, in the pit of your stomach, nervous excitement.
We began to tell our families what we feel God was and is leading us to do – of course there were mixtures of emotion: we weren’t just 1hr on a plane away anymore, it was going to be a whole freaking continent! Eek. Enter Regina and Greg, our friends from Liberty. These two have been such a blessing to us in London and with our plans for New York-they are just amazing. Regina is a serious saint listening to my worries and concern and amazingly dispelling every single one. But we continued planning. Praying. Seeking. Fasting. Fast forward to January. Two weeks ago we started the visa application for me (Derek’s an American citizen). Last week, Derek handed his notice in for his job for the start of April. I started to think about moving the business to NYC. Wow. Though the last 3 weeks we were filled with doubts. People questioning us, people wondering are we crazy, us wondering are we crazy – Derek has great opportunities in work and I’m so beginning to love London. So by last Sunday we were exhausted and fed up. It came to the question of will we stream Liberty NY like we do some weeks or go to the service in HTB. We stayed home. It was Liberty Vision Sunday January 25th. By the end of the video when they played about the vision of the church (found here) we both knew we had to go. We have to go. It’s a longing that can’t be explained.
Now don’t get me wrong, we so appreciate our friends and family making sure we have thought about it thoroughly and praying for us and with us. We would never want that to change. We could both be completely mad and not listening to God entirely but I really doubt thats the case. God could say no and my visa may not come. I don’t see that happening. I see my visa arriving by June. (That will be a miracle so please pray with us). I see us packing all our worldy possessions into boxes again and crossing that big ocean and making NYC to be home.
There’s a huge gap from being at home, in the country, in your parents’ house, to getting married and moving to London (never having lived away from home ever and living in one house for almost 20 of my 24 years), never mind moving from London to NYC. There’s a huge gap in understanding between family and friends, some who are supportive, others who are concerned. There’s a huge gap between being scared and being confident. But there’s faith. Faith is why we are going, faith is why we believe God told us to move and faith is why I’m sat in a coffee shop in Canary Wharf on a Friday night drinking tea and eating cake writing this post. Minding the gap means there may be a huuuuuge gap between what seems sensible what God is calling you to. It means you may have a huge gap between you and your loved ones. It means I may not get that Belfast sink but it’s worth giving up. It means seeing that gap and saying I’m going to jump the canyon anyway.
Mind the Gap Please.
London is surrounded by so much movement.. Transient movement at that. Something I am not used to. London, busyness without emotion. Or hidden at emotion is perhaps a better way to describe it. People engrossed with coming and going and making a life they have marked out for themselves. Never stopping, never taking time, never waiting. Always Minding the Gap at the tubes but never because they want to, only for safety. So many personalities in one city in one photo, lives crossing paths everyday yet rarely exchanging a word on the street without necessity. What are these peoples stories, what happened just before this photo, just after. What were they thinking where were they going? Who are they.