Right - I am sure you have all been waiting for an exciting update on how I am getting on with becoming a Catalyst for Christ (or you have fallen asleep in your chair reading this already.....). Well its been a tough few months but a really rewarding few months also.
As you may know, my family recently moved house, and this has had a huge impact on us all. Rob had to complete his final uni essays in the midst of setting up a new home. Sam has had to try to settle in to a new nursery and get used to his new surroundings, whilst also dealing with the emotional battles of being a stubborn 1 year old and the pain of teething. I have been struggling with a full blown cold for over a month now and with the tiredness and general fatigue that brings with it. So chaos all round really! But in the midst of this, I have been pushing forward as much as possible to open up our home to others and to invite people round.
One success story so far is the coffee morning and cake sale that I held on Good Friday. I invited both people from our church and from our new estate. From 10am til 2pm there was a constant flow of people through the house coming to chat and enjoy coffee and cake. It was great to be able to have an opportunity to forge new relationships with our neighbours and also to raise some money for charity. I did think at 10am that no-one would turn up but God provided and came through in ways I couldn't even imagine!
It reminded me that all some people need is an invitation - we would all sit in our cosy homes, watching TV and going on facebook, when what we actually crave is friends and just someone to sit and chat with. I am sure that within a few hundreds yards of you right now there is someone sat wishing they weren't on their own. And that is the power of an invitation - that small piece of paper or simple phrase "would you like to come over for a coffee" can be all that is needed to help lift someone out of their loneliness. I am not suggesting that I am the best company in the world, or that I am the most bold in inviting people over, in fact I can be the biggest wuss in the world sometimes. But I am trying to take that step out of my own comfort zone to think about what others need first.
Over Lent I signed up to 40 acts, an initiative by a Christian charity called Stewardship. It sent out daily challenges to promote generous living throughout Lent. Some were easy (create a journal, make a generosity jar and start filling it with loose change) and others were hard (do an over the top act of generosity, leaving a note for someone, share your story) and I have to admit that I failed completely in completing most of the tasks. But I love the idea that to make a difference all you have to do is choose to do one generous thing every day.
We all have grand plans and visions for the future - I am working on becoming a catalyst - but you have to start somewhere. To make that big difference in the lives of people I am going to start off just trying to live a more generous life every day. When I feel like I should give or help or ask then I am going to follow the Spirit and do it!!! Whether that be giving away my clothes to someone who needs them, whether that is helping friends move house, whether that is giving out welcome packs to new neighbours, whether that is asking someone out for coffee - whatever it is I am going to push myself to do something generous every day.
If you want to join me (and I am going to be suggesting that our Life Group at church take on 40 acts together next Lent) then do check out the 40 acts website for some inspiration. My favourite story is a girl who bought everyone in her train carridge from London a chocolate bar and people started tweeting about her! Awesome....