Bespoke Furniture, Rolling Clouds and Growth

I was remembering a home we lived in a few years ago. Because it was on a mountain, and because it was our favourite place to live – ever.

And from the front window of that house you could easily see a good chunk of the mountain, and we were always blown away by what we saw, the magnificence of nature, changing vistas, circling birds of prey…and from that house we were routinely treated to a true spectacle of nature, as the clouds could be clearly seen rolling up, and over, the top of the mountain.

It always made us gasp because it was both stunning and breath taking to witness.

Stiperstones, Shropshire - rolling clouds
Stiperstones, Shropshire – rolling clouds

Throughout our four years living there the seasons would roll along, the scenery would change, and we never, once, got tired of the wildness or raw beauty of what became our back garden! Despite us living thirty minutes from the nearest proper shop!

Stiperstones, Shropshire - a favourite spot
Stiperstones, Shropshire – a favourite spot

This image – above – is an especially favourite spot for us, some five minutes walk away from what was our front door, and it became a frequent spot for birthday cakes, cups of tea and endless hours just sitting and being and resting!

On moving day for that home, we arrived with the heating not working (it only had central heating) and there was an ongoing, very heavy, snow fall. And when our youngest started to show early signs of possible hypothermia, despite our best efforts to keep everyone as warm as we could, we made the wise decision to drive off the mountain and head for a hotel for the night after along, stressful and difficult day.

As a professionally trained, qualified and skilled driver, with some 15 years experience behind me, I needed every shred of my driving expertise as we navigated our way through the snow in search of somewhere warm for our family. But it wasn’t easy and we had to spend our first night in our new home…in a hotel, with our belongings split between two houses, a van, a car, and a storage unit – in 5 locations…hardly the move-in-a-day we had originally planned for.

And sometimes we have to make the right choice from a selection of choices that we usually wouldn’t consider choices at all, like that house move.

But that, in a nutshell, is what leading your family can be all about. And that house move reminds me to be flexible when planning anything, whether large or small, and even more so when following God is high on your list of priorities.

Bespoke furniture

We have never been blessed with wealth. But, in that mountain top home, we discovered we used to live really close to a man who made sit-kneel chairs, and decided some better furniture for me – for my desk – was much needed!

And our first, and only, piece of bespoke furniture became a possibility and a reality.

Andy's first piece of bespoke furniture
Andy’s first piece of bespoke furniture
Andy's sit-kneel chair unwrapped for the first time
Andy’s sit-kneel chair unwrapped for the first time

Having never been in a position where we could afford to have a piece of furniture made to our exact requirements, it was a very exciting time for all of us (as we all use the chair), and all were involved, even if I was the intended recipient. Because there were so many choices to make including the colour of the wood; the colour and type of fabric; the material used for foam; how firm we wanted the seat and kneel pads and there were castors to select, as well as a few other things to consider too.

As the date got nearer towards completion, I got a call to say there had been a problem.

That craftsman always opted for beech when making his chairs, for a number of reasons that he pasionately, and fascinatingly, explained to me. But he couldn’t get any at that time, so he’d made the “difficult and tough decision” to use the only other possible substitute available to him at that time – English Oak.

He was a little upset, and very sorry, because it wasn’t his preferred material, and because he made a point of making all his furniture from beech, and because we’d agreed he would make it from Beech.

But, despite his ‘failure’ and disappointment, his efforts gave us our first, ever, bespoke piece of furniture, and it’s fabulous! Eight years on, and it looks brand new, shows no signs of wear and enables any who use it to sit at a computer, for longer than you should, with not a shred of strain to the back or neck! And that oak frame will easily outlast the fabric used, and is incredibly strong…………………and is English Oak!!!!!!

Growth

As I’m typing this our family is in a state of flux  praying for God to teach us faith more than a decade ago (a prayer God is still abundantly answering!!!) has made for a very exciting decade of family life.

We work a five day week, but jo works Saturdays so we take Mondays as a proper day off, with a hybrid Sunday mixing free-time and churchy stuff in the afternoon.

Jo works late shifts too, which means we have adjusted to getting up later in the mornings and working until later – with Home Educating our 3 boys, this is super easy to do, as it always wraps wonderfully around the paid employment part of our lives!

But we have still had to make changes to accommodate this as Jo takes food to work with her and most dinners are eaten without her being at home. And some of those changes – even the ones we prefer – can be difficult to adjust to: life is full of seasons…this season just happens to find us using our beloved dining room table during the day, rather than the evenings.

Learning to be flexible when walking with God becomes increasingly necessary the more you choose to follow God’s prompting over human ease!

So what’s my point?

Joshua 1 v 9 (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Well God’s voice through scripture always makes a better point than any of us ever could!

Just like the seasons on our mountain, we are in a season of change; with another house move forced on us early next year (the landlady wants her house back for [more profitable] holiday lettings). We’ve shifted our working day later to spend more time with Jo in the mornings. And that green chair? Well it is a reminder that we will never please everybody, so why waste our efforts trying and people pleasing?!?

The best we can ever do is to seek to please God, and do what He is asking of us. And to do what He is asking us with boldness and confidence, knowing that our plans will seem totally insignificant when we’re done!

We will never pray enough or for enough people, or read our bibles enough, or be a good enough witness  we simply don’t have the ability to do that, because we are human and can’t do it all.

However, we can do what God is asking us to do, and allow Him the choice to then magnify our efforts into something greater, as He uses us to build His Kingdom!

Please, Lord, give us ears to hear your voice leading us. And when we stop listening, please speak a little louder to get our attention! Amen!

Andy B


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2 Comments

  1. Excellent post brother. As it happens my new post I am working on at present has some bearing on your message here! Our God’s plans are magnificent!

  2. Excellent post in many ways. Not only do we share the same name, but we too home educate our children. We have four girls though! Prayers required! Seriously though, really enjoyed reading this and very encouraging. Thanks again

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