In our occasional series on moving, today we welcome Lorraine Hooper who describes their journey to Jubilee Solihull.
The adventure starts here!
“My job is moving to Birmingham,” wasn’t what any of us were expecting to hear. We’d lived in London all our lives, been happy and well connected in the same church since before we were married. Our girls had moved house once – about half a mile down the road.
Could this be God taking us on an adventure? We had various options open to us, but as Steve’s employers offered a number of different opportunities to visit the city we thought we’d seize the chance to enjoy its hospitality. Driving up the M1 for the first time, a large M&S truck drove past us, and the words on the side resounded in my head and made my heart flutter… “The adventure starts here.”
A faith walk
We were desperate to hear God clearly. We determined to pray together more regularly, more earnestly, to hear what He was saying to us. We knew our close connection with Him and with each other was vital. Like He promises, as we sought God and asked Him to speak to us, He did. Many times I was reminded of a music video from the 1980s by Michael Jackson (Billie Jean) when as he stepped forward the floor lit up beneath his feet. This was a picture of our faith walk – step by step, with God illuminating the way. We began to discuss what we were feeling with a few close friends and our church leaders, and asked God to make us excited about whatever adventure He had for us.
The words of a song kept coming to Steve: “You split the seas so I could walk right through them. Cast out my fears with perfect love.” My fears were mostly for our girls – relocating our family would mean our 10, 15 and 16 year olds leaving their friends, their youth group and all they had ever known. As if that wasn’t enough, one of our daughters, Jen, would be half way through her GCSE course – the worst possible time to relocate a famiily! We were told by an Educational Consultant that schools in the area were full and that she may have to go into some sort of alternative provision. That did not feel right at all.
Earlier in the year we’d had the chance to holiday in Israel. Now, as we were seeking God, He reminded me of the miles of cliffs that we had driven past that had long, smooth pathways cut into them. In the same way God was fully able to cut precise, new pathways out of anything! At the same time Steve had a picture of the ground with bumps and holes across it. As he looked, the holes were being filled up and made level from beneath. We felt it was God’s promise that He would make straight paths and sort out any bumps and pitfalls along the way.
Again and again there was the sense of us walking on the water, especially in terms of Jen’s schooling and her Year 11 place. I was painfully aware that I couldn’t make it happen and couldn’t fix this one for her. We had to trust God for the miracle, and we believed He would somehow make a way.
With growing certainty that God was speaking and He was fully in this situation we told our girls that this is what we felt He was saying to us as a family, and that we all needed to hear Him together in it. Initial tears, anger and frustration gradually gave way to an acceptance that this was part of our family adventure.
Moves of God
Within days of moving into our rented accommodation in Solihull our 2 daughters who needed school places had started at their new schools – including Jen at the end of year 10! Places had been found! God made straight paths out of a hard place, and He removed the bumps and dips for us. We’d asked Him to show our where our spiritual home should be and felt very sure that it was Jubilee Solihull – and we were even greeted on our first day by a wonderful welcome meal. We very much feel we’ve been planted in rich, fertile soil; that there will be growth and fruitfulness.
I’m so thankful to God that the adventure continues. 6 months later we each have so many stories of what God has done. He split the seas for us, He illuminated our steps where needed, and smoothed out some “impossible” pathways. We certainly know Him better, but we’re hungry for more of Him and expectant of greater things to come.
Thank you Lorraine. We are so please you and the family are here.