Challenges and Blessings

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve added to my blog. This is not because nothing has happened, in fact it has been quite the opposite;

the past week or so has been an incredible mixture of being exceptionally busy, times of trauma and moments of great blessing.

Two weeks ago the festival season kicked off with ‘Craic by the Creek’ – an Irish Music Festival. It was organised by three lovely lads. It was their very first festival and they should be really pleased by how it was received. It was exceptionally busy though and a shock to the system for those of us who were volunteer helpers behind the bar!! It has been a long time since our last festival and we were certainly thrown in at the deep end with regular single orders for over twenty drinks! My mental capacity was stretched to its limits – not just the adding up, but remembering what I’d already given them as they continued to pass drinks back and add on more!

We then had just three days before the onset of the next festival. This was a big one for me as it included my conducting a Sunday Service.

The Wednesday evening saw me giving my hardworking daughter a lift to her end of school teachers’ night out. As she was running a bit late, I chose to take the route over Werneth Low. It was whilst on this country road that a car came towards us head on, middle of the road…and it didn’t stop. I had pulled my car over as much as I could but there simply wasn’t enough road for me to get out of his way. As he approached, we could see that he had his eyes closed until the impact and the sound of my horn jolted them open. When he momentarily got out of his car we noted that he smelled of alcohol and his eyes were glazed. He then quickly returned to his vehicle and fled without leaving his details. Thankfully, my quick thinking daughter photographed the car, enabling us to give the police details.

Needless to say, we were both shaken but blessed to be unhurt. My car, however, was definitely crying ‘Ouch’ and is in need of significant attention.

Buckle and Boots Country Music Festival opened on Thursday, and by late afternoon the police came back to me with reassuring news about locating the driver of the car that hit me.

I also had a wedding rehearsal on Thursday evening; a lovely hour spent preparing the bride, groom and wedding party for their special day on Friday before I returned to Festival duties.

By the time I reached the farm I knew I was beginning to hit a wall both physically and mentally. I had already read on social media that a number of people had had cash and phones stolen overnight. It was time to forget about how tired I was and organise a collection. Amazingly, we were able to give everyone who had had cash stolen the exact amount back before the day was through. The country music family are amazing.

At 11am on Sunday morning I was back and in the large Paddock Tent preparing for the service. People gradually began to drift in. And drift in. And drift in. I lost count but later realised there were over 300 people in front of me and the two amazing singers who accompanied me.

I was totally overwhelmed. The service went really well and seemed to touch the hearts of a number of people. I spent the rest of the day talking with people who had found aspects of the service that had resonated with them.

As I stated at the beginning, it has been two weeks of such diverse events and emotions, but also of great blessings and reason to be grateful.

When times are really challenging, it is good to step back, reflect and then take a moment in prayer to simply say ‘Thank you’ to God for all the good and positive things that have happened that perhaps we didn’t immediately see amongst those which hurt us and pushed us to our limits.

We may not always recognise our blessings mid trauma, but they are definitely there, and for that I personally am truly thankful.

💙💙💙

8 thoughts on “Challenges and Blessings

  1. Phil Meredith says:

    Good on yer, Rev. I read about the car “issues” and was glad the perpetrator was found and I hope he has the time to think about his choices and reform his behaviour. Really enjoyed the Festival service. xxx

  2. Richard Mccann says:

    The service at B&B was very special. It was also great to see you and your family.
    My photos show the number of people that sat outside as the paddock tent was at capacity. All the best Rick labrat

  3. Magi Coles says:

    The traumas and the blessings are what make you the remarkable person you are! The festival service was raw, honest, humbling and beautiful – thank you for it all!

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