Recently, I was at one of my favourite local spots, Eastcote House Gardens (which my daughter and I have renamed the enchanted garden as it is so lovely). It’s a short ten minutes drive from our house yet I feel miles away once there and it’s just beautiful. With a cafe, lovely green grounds, a gentle river and a walled garden to enjoy, it’s a winner in bringing my stress level down and helping me to unwind.
Having said this, I should really go there more often, but the weather’s been very rainy until the last few weeks. Also, good friends of ours introduced us to this lovely spot but moved back to America a few years ago, and it’s just not the same to be in that park much without them.
On one occasion, I was brought back because one of my daughter’s classmates was having a birthday party there. Instantly, I felt like I was visiting an old friend and in a way, I felt my heart was healing as I had grieved not having the Bates family near us anymore. Seeing the beautiful greenery and lovely purple allium flowers, I was instantly taken back to memories of our two families having a full English breakfast after church while our children played in the park. I really admire our friends and one of the greatest lessons they taught me was to wait on the Lord. Not just to pray once and make the best educated decision but to wholeheartedly wait on God and His plans.
Both American-born, Jack and Rachel had been toying with the idea of moving back from England to the USA with their three lovely children. In their thoughts, it all seemed a good option for a bigger house and to be nearer to family in Tennessee. But when they actually did move back, they soon realised that they hadn’t really waited for God to put together all of the details, and it wasn’t smooth sailing.
After a few months, they purchased tickets to England, going back to the last place God had had them. This time, they were determined to fully wait on God to give them His directions over their lives. Selfishly, my husband, our kids, and I were thrilled to have them back and in that year of waiting, God allowed us all to foster a deeper and lasting friendship. I also got to see them actively pursuing God in the waiting. By no means were their lives on hold, but rather they were learning to be faithful and live life in the here-and-now, while God sorted all of the little details out.
Within that year, God made it very clear where he wanted our friends for the next chapter in their journey by opening a job for Jack in Richmond, Virginia. The kids would also have places at the school Jack would work at and Rachel had the faith that God was taking her family there, even without ever seeing Richmond before. They have now been out there nearly three years and although they miss their English lives, with ten years abroad and three kids later, there is no doubt in their minds that God has strategically placed them in Virginia to continue His good works. And there is blessing received, because they learned to wait in hope and only then acted upon God’s plans for their lives.
I shall always miss their wonderful family especially when visiting Eastcote House Gardens, yet I can smile and be so happy for them knowing that they are exactly where they are meant to be.
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22