Being in the office over the summer is sometimes quite nice as the weather is better, the traffic is better, and generally there aren’t quite so many new initiatives launching and meetings scheduled. It also feels a bit like there is a party going on somewhere else that I should be at, but I don’t know who’s holding it! The kids are fine, my husband and my mum have got things organised for them to do, and I’m taking some time off to enjoy various special treats with them that are probably more for my benefit than theirs! 

I was shocked to read that the average basic income required now for 2 adults and 2 kids, is £37,000, this is based on research into poverty and the income required to live a modest lifestyle. Summer holidays can be expensive, and all the mums I know are busy swapping tips on cheap things to do around here to keep everyone happy.

Meanwhile the greatest sporting event ever is going on, and these amazing Olympic athletes are collecting medals, and outperforming their personal bests.  I am not that a big sports fan, but it’s really hard not to be moved by the sheer effort and commitment that they have put into what they are doing, and their total gratitude for results, when really, they could actually stand back and say “I deserve this”, “I worked hard, I earned this”. 

The aspect of my faith that I find useful daily, is its ability to make me say thank you for things in my life and to honour the support other people give me. Like all these athletes, none of us can manage to do much without help from other people, whether that is staff at work, friends and family or just taking advice from books, and magazines. Being part of a church community is great, as you get to meet people from all walks of life. At an event today, there was an ex-convict, three old ladies, lots of teachers and their families, a barrister, vicars, counsellors, and a mountain of children of all ages. This is the only time in my week when this would ever possibly happen in a social setting, and it’s the thing I love most about my church.  I’ve been a member for ten years now, which is scary as I arrived as a very cynical sceptic, and still see myself as an outsider in many ways. The support we get as a family from people there is huge, and none of it is because people owe us anything, or need to help us, it’s just through their commitment to their faith, and to building a community together.

Today the person speaking said that as Christians we need to demonstrate to others what  God’s love is through our actions and the way we live our lives before other people can understand it for themselves. To embrace and own the scale and enormity of God’s love is similar I think to the pride that an Olympic athlete must feel when winning gold. He wants us to know that every aspect of how we were made, our weird quirks and penchants, are all perfect in his eyes. For us it’s not possible to understand this on a daily basis, but sometimes we get a glimpse of this through exploring faith together, worship or through feedback from other people, and for those amazing athletes it’s Gold! All God requires from us is that we acknowledge his existence.

Proverbs 27:21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.

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