I am English. Despite trying my best to put on a ‘Scottish twang’, after a few minutes of talking to me, you will soon discover that I am from down south.
I grew up in Cambridge until I was fourteen years old. I will never forget the dreaded moment when I waved goodbye to my dad as he ventured off to a job interview in Edinburgh. Me being the stroppy teenager that I was shouted : “Don’t you dare get that job!” Of course, he got the job and after a few months of packing up we started our new adventure. The moment I got onto that plane I was so scared. Leaving my siblings down south at university, I was entering a complete unknown world. No friends, no security, just me, my mum and dad (a teenagers dream!). I remember the journey well. As we were beginning our descent into Edinburgh my mum pointed out the window to the most beautiful and fullest of rainbows. She said: “Look Joanna, that’s God's way of saying to you that this will all be ok. He has got you and he is going to protect you in this. He promises that he will look after you.”
Now I wasn’t a Christian at this point. I had turned my back on God but for some reason this message really stuck with me.
He promises to look after you.
A year later God’s promise was already being fulfilled. I had settled into and was enjoying my new school, I had made fantastic friends and most importantly… I had found God.
I had told my parents I would only consider going to church if they found me a friend. Of course, God is good like that and I was introduced to a lovely girl who is now one of my closest friends. In fact, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was also introduced to my now husband, Matthew. The puzzle pieces were coming together and it was for this reason that I started to believe that I had a loving God that I could put my trust in. God was going ahead of me, making the paths clear and making sure that I got to know him and felt secure in my new life in Edinburgh.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’ -- Proverbs 3:5-6
Fast forward to last year and God’s promise was living true. I had finished my teaching degree and Matthew and I had just happily married. We were entering into another new period of unknown and this petrified me. Although, this time it was different. I knew that I had a loving God who was still continuing to fulfil his promise of looking after me. Our new life started to come together but the church hunt every Sunday was getting rather frustrating. Until, one day someone had suggested Vineyard. “I think you’ll both love it … they have doughnuts apparently!”
As soon as we arrived it felt like home. God’s way of assuring as that it was the right place to be was when Megan and Stuart announced on our very first Sunday that they would be starting a young adults group. Wow. Ok, thanks God, this is almost too good to be true!
Now that I look back on my journey so far, God has looked after me and loved me beyond measure. That very promise he made to me on the plane to Edinburgh has been fulfilled time and time again. I hold this verse so close to me as I think it is such a true reflection of my walk with Christ:
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” -- Genesis 28:15
I still look at rainbows now and am reminded of the promise that God has made for all of us. Whenever I see them I feel a sense of warmth. It is almost like God giving me a huge big cuddle and reassuring me that he is with me always. Of course, my story is not finished and neither is yours. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the future but looking back on my story and seeing how God has been with me every step of the way, I know that my future is safe in his hands.
I challenge you, next time you see a rainbow, what is God trying to say to you?
All I know is that our God is an incredible father who promises to look after you.
Love Joanna x
Thoughts, experiences, and encouragement from the ladies of Falkirk Vineyard.