For Siân, in the midst of her Year Abroad

Dear Siân,

As you know from my paper letters to you, I’m more articulate when I have access to the backspace key, so I thought I’d take the plunge. I didn’t know I was going to sit here and write this to you, so this is a surprise for us both haha, please don’t be mad?

I just wanted to mark this point in time, to take a moment to be thankful for our friendship, to look a little way ahead, and to offer up a prayer as well.

This point in time. Close your eyes, scrunch your nose up and remember what it’s like to be you right now. Good, now bottle it. Oh, and whilst you’re at it, please imagine that I’m there with you to give your hand a friendly squeeze and sit a while with you. Just a year ago everything that’s happening wasn’t even finalised – and now  you are a fully-fledged teaching assistant doing a wonderful job of teaching all the lucky little boys and girls in your care! I am so proud of you in all that you’ve done, getting through months of WiFi woes, spending all that time in your Polish classes, picking between winter boots and surviving in a country significantly lacking in love for ‘Schwarze Tee’.

Some thankfulness. It may not come as a surprise to you, given that this sentiment is in no way new and in no way secret, but I am hugely thankful for our friendship. Whenever I have a moment in which I question why it is I am doing this degree, you pop up in my thoughts and suddenly I have an answer. You are always there to listen, offer wise words and be a source of comfort. You encourage me: to depend on grace for my only confidence, to seek out hope when I feel the darkness, and to settle only for the highest Promise. Thank you, you are wonderful ❤

The way ahead. Given that the year has only just begun, I know that our finals year seems a whole whole long way away, with a whole whole lot of hard things in the way of us and that point in time. But take heart, friend, and keep going in all you are doing. Some truly amazing things have happened to us so far – in the changes that we’ve witnessed, the words of God we’ve received, the grace we’ve known and felt – and we only have more and more of that to come. Both in the time we have left at Newnham, and in the time beyond that. From all we’ve shared, I know that we both feel acutely the badness that lies within us; how fragile and impatient we are in the smallest things. I am now thinking that this awareness is only ever going to increase – even the holiest of women have many a blemish and defect when weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and the further along the road we travel, the greater and more evident will grow the frustrations of that. But I look forward to those points further down the road, because alongside that feeling and those frustrations I see us having a greater awareness of the goodness of our God. Here’s to the rest of this year, our last year, and whatever is in the as yet unknown time after graduation!

And so it is that I bring this point in time, much thankfulness, and our thoughts and hopes of the way ahead all before Him who has brought us here.

A prayer. At every point of every hour, we are needy debtors to mercy and grace. Lord, meet that need. Come and meet us in our impatience, frustrations and hurts. Bring Sunday morning grace to our Monday morning blues.Help us to be faithful to who you are to us, faithful in private, faithful in quiet, faithful in every duty of life. Lord, may our everydays be unravelling a tale of two women touched by your goodness, willing to be nothing, that you may be everything. May we value everything only in the proportion with which it draws us to you. May we say a hallelujah whether it comes whispered out from amidst our brokenness or shouted out in the midst of our joy. Whatever comes our way, may we choose you. Choose you though our faith be small and our worries great. We know that though the year is long, the years are short – and just a few more summers, a few more winters, a few more sorrows, a few more meetings, and a few more partings, and the grass will be growing on our graves.So help us to live in the now, with more of an eternal perspective, our eyes fixed firmly on you in all the trivialities of essays and six-year-olds. Increase our faith, surprise us again with your love. Jesus Christ, it is you who we call our Saviour. Lord, it is you who we say authored salvation. Spirit, it is you who sanctifies us as people of God. Take the offering of our lives and use it for your glory. We praise your name, remember your kindness, and long for your kingdom. Amen.

That’s all from me, my friend. If I’ve written this well enough, hopefully you have been able to hear my voice in your head as you’ve read it through! I certainly hope that’s the case.

I’m so proud of you Siân (*copies and pastes a circumflex from the top* – your name is the only reason I know that it’s called a circumflex btw, too many google searches of ‘a with a hat’!).

Pass on my love to Inma, Noodle Child and little Friedrich.

I am so looking forward to seeing you soon.

All my love,

Rachel

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