These posts are for me. Firstly, I doubt many others actually read them (I'm just not that famous, nor do I want to be), but also what I go on to write in a series looking at by soon-to-be 30 years of existence on planet Earth, I expect to be very open, very personal, as I touch some of the things that have made me - well, me!
In some ways its quite an unspectacular life, in other ways its far from normal.
To have thought that after 30 years I'd be living in Russia, written a novel, married for 8 years with a 4 year old daughter. All these things seem to relate to things that have happened in the last parts of my life, and I guess being my adult life, that's quite understandable.
But things did start a long time before that. I've had now 25 years as a Christian. I still remember the moment when I stood at the bottom of the stairs and accepted Jesus as my personal God. And I really haven't had any period's where I've gone against that decision, in fact, I know I've grown from that moment on, each year learning more of the personal, radical walk with God. I've seen God do some amazing things over these 25 years. I'm not talking about just things in the Bible, or what others say, but things right in front of my eyes, even within my own body - miracles that time and time again prove the life, and power, that exists only in Jesus Christ!
Within my Christian walk, I know God has been close to me throughout my life, almost protecting me from the world, it seems. How I made it through so many situations without the all to common 'back-sliding' period which seems so much part of the course now days, only God knows! (And He does).
I don't know the answer to that question? I am no more special than the next person. I don't for one minute think that God gave me any special grace. I've just seen enough things to know that God is real - and if He's real, I must take him seriously. And if you take Him seriously, he'll take you seriously. And that's all that's happened. It's been great to know what God has done and will continue to do.
I'm also someone that doesn't do things by half. You can't half walk a life with God, if indeed you think that he is real. If he's real, you either need to oppose him (not advised if you actually know how powerful he is) or give your all for him. So when he's spoken to me, I've obeyed. Again, not because I'm more able or better equipped - far from it! But because if God says so then it'll all be OK. And it has. Every, single time! Without question. Without any grey areas. 100%, God does exactly what he says he'll do.
My roots were in the South East, in Kent. A normal family upbringing, two parents with two siblings, one older (my Sister) and a younger brother. Things did get complicated on that front over the years, but maybe more on that later.
But after working in London, God said the nations and first stop was Manchester. Manchester was to be the first stop on my way to Russia, though there would be an eight year growth first that would see me blessed, matured and more ready than ever for such a big move abroad. But during that time, as with the move itself, it taught me the value on taking God seriously and trusting him. Our home in Manchester saw me meeting Rachel (no small thing), married for seven years and with a wonderful, amazing daughter Mia, soon to be 4. Plus loads of others things! How blessed am I. All possible, or more correctly, ONLY possible because I dared to believe God when he said go to Russia - via Manchester.
And again, having obeyed God to go once again to Russia, like we did last summer, even after a year I know I am more blessed. One example, not even mentioning the life skills we've gained, is that my novel has emerged from this year, something that I'm positive would not have been written by now, if ever, had I not gone. And while I'm sure it wasn't the only reason why I was to go to Russia, it just shows that God is a God of blessing. He loves it. It's his nature. And that's just one of the things I love about God.
But far from thinking my life has been a walk in the rose's, there have been plenty of dark patches in my walk over these last 30 years, times of real soul searching and many tears. Times when I thought the way through was one way, to realise it wasn't. Times of hurt within leadership, in self image. I'm well aware that I carry many thorns in my flesh that I still walk with. I'm far from perfect - more of a work in progress. I'm sure as this series (I'm assuming there will be a Part 2 at this point!) progresses, some of these things will come out. From God in my working life, and the colourful jobs I've done, to God in my love life and how He found my wife. From my inner struggles that I guess no one ever sees (or even thinks) to outer struggles.
I'm sure deep down we are all the same. We all need loving. We all need encouragement. And if in any area you feel a lack, you either copy it or over compensate. But people are different in how they show emotions and express things. I'm an internal guy. Things might seem OK. I might even look confident, but generally I'm not. It doesn't feel my nature. I do not enjoy being in a room with a lot of people I don't know. I need my own time and space, within reason, of course.
This last year I've known earthly 'loneliness' like I haven't seen before. Being in Russia, and not having people around me to talk to, not having friends around and then not hearing from people, it was very hard at times. And in all we were communicating quite well throughout, sending group messages on facebook to 150+ people at a time, to hear nothing, or very little back. I guess in reality, a draw back of good communication, is that people are informed and therefore don't need to email us to ask how its going. But I'm getting better on that front now...I hope. I still will no doubt check email about 20 times a day...Russia's just one of those places that makes you do it. But we are growing a base on the ground in Russia, a friendship circle that helps.
But enough on that. And maybe enough on this entry already.
Things to come up in future entries - Dating God's Way. And much more.
Thanks God for 30 years of blessing. As I finish this first third of my life, please do what ever you want with me this next thirty years and help me when I get it wrong. Send me as you see fit. You know my desires, my hopes, my dreams. They are yours too. Have your way, mighty wonderful God. Thank you so much for all that you have done. You're amazing!
Welcome! It's wonderful to see you here!
I'm a passionate writer - and therefore spend most of my time writing thriller novels. But I also live an interesting life in the nations. This blog is here for that aspect of my life - our life - I live with my wonderful wife and two daughters.
I believe in encouragement. I live for obedience. I believe in learning from our experiences, and this blog exists for both of those, and more.
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I was part of the leadership team in St Petersburg, Russia - which planted Hope Church in 2009.(www.hopechurchstpetersburg.com).
In March 2012 Hope Church sent my family to plant into Tallinn, the Capital of Estonia. I therefore lead this small but growing church plant team. Here is the website for Hope Tallinn (www.hopetallinn.ee)
For details on our journey here, read the series called Adventures of Faith which is linked for you on the right hand column, just below. That details our original journey to Russia and then onto Tallinn 4 years later.
Author for fiction novels - Cherry Picking (2012), The Last Prophet (2015), The Tablet (2015) and The Shadow Man (2016) are available on all major bookselling sites. Please visit: www.timheathbooks.com
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