My gap year, where do I begin? It has certainly been a rollercoaster experience, many highs and many lows, but undoubtedly all crafted by God who is shaping my life so that I can trust more in him which is always always positive.
First of, the whole concept of a gap year was really difficult to deal with. I loved my time at school and I felt really bereft and empty knowing that I wasn't going back. I also love knowing what to expect, I like routiene, and without it I felt sort of lost. But then things started to look up, I got a job, working at a baguette shop, and my expectations were positive, I thought it would be great, oh how wrong can a person be? I dont really know what I was expecting... but I wasn't expecting
the oppressing atmosphere
the intimidating boss
the feeling of incredible smallness.
But depsite these things I kept going, I reminded myself that I wasn't suffering, it just wasn't pleasant, but it was where God wanted me. Three weeks past and I got a text, one small text on a Sunday morning. I was in Church, the sermon had finished and I glanced at my phone and saw a message which told me that business had been bad, so I wasn't to come back on Monday.
And that was it, bye-bye job! I felt a mixture of things, and I would be lying if sadness was one of them, I definitely was not sad to see that job go! I was anxious though, that niggling voice in the back of my mind wondering, would God provide for me? And relief, boy did I feel that emotion!
I didn't get a job straight away and there was a horrid empasse period where the niggling voice reigned. But God provided companionship for me as many of my friends were going through a similar thing and we really helped one another, bearing with the rejection of another dismissed CV after another. Sure enough another job turned up, at the school kitchens.
Not a dream job, but again companionship saw me through as I was working alongside friends, and it didn't last long. I got a job at 'Sally Lunn's' in Bath. I was to become a cook. I was incredibly shocked when they offered me the job, I had no experience (expect for an amateur love of cooking), and here was one of the most famous restaurants in Bath wanting me to be their cook! Man! I took it, got trained up and put in the most stressful position of my life: as a sole cook in a kitchen trying to provide for a whole floor of customers! It was not so much the actual preparation of food which was difficult but the volume of it, I am still haunted by the sound of the receit machine, telling me another order was waiting to be served. As they pilled up, so did the pressure, and waiters would come saying 'Where's table number 4? They're still waiting!' At times I wanted to break into a sob and run out saying that I couldn't cope. I tasted my breaking-point and God saw me through.
Sure enough I didn't last long there, why? I guess you could put it down to inspiration, inspiration that I believe came directly from God. It was literally before I went to sleep I had the sudden though of nannying! I adore children, and the prospect of looking after a kid filled me with painful hope. But after some great advice from a future-sister-in-law I found myself a job, with an incredibly lovely South African family looking after their 9 month son, Ethan. Words cannot describe how much God has touched my life through that job, the relationship that's built between Ethan and I is so precious, and although I know he won't remember me, the joy which floods me when he laughs when he sees me in the morning, or thrusts his tiny palms sky-ward in a desire to picked up is simply priceless!
So what's next. Tanzania , to a charity run by Tearfund working with those in the village of Musoma, teaching kids and building water containers. Am I scared? Terrified! Remember, I don't like the unknown! I love home and my family and thinking of leaving them for 3 months is hard. But my desire to be pushed out of my comfort zone and to help those in poverty and to be completely changed by God, well that's greater. Am I excited? Hell yes!
Sorry this blogs been so long, and so... story-like! I will be very impressed if anyone read to the end!!