The last time we were in Sizewell we had just come back from Germany and we were all shattered! But this time things were different and we were also there for a bit longer. We use these retreat weeks to really listen to God, to spend time with Him and to learn from Him through teaching or Personal Time Outs (PTOs). Taste are given one of the cottages on site at Sizewell Hall, where we live together, eat together and worship together.
We arrived on Monday night after loading up at the office during the day, and unpacked and got settled into our rooms. I love the cottage that we stay in at Sizewell… it is so cosy! It was Joy and Andy’s turn to cook for us, and we enjoyed a delicious roast followed by crumble YUM! Each night after tea we were able to spend some time in worship and on Monday night Reece led the worship and we looked at how much God loves us. It was very powerful.
On Tuesday morning we set off for our first PTO of the week. We were going to be looking at the book of Philippians during the time there, so we started with chapter 1 on Tuesday. It was lovely to be able to take ourselves away from the business of reality and to focus on God. I took myself down to the beach and strolled along spending some time with God. I have been really asking God for guidance on my future, and so particularly focussed on that during my time with Him that week.
On Tuesday afternoon we spent some time together preparing for the following week’s lessons; at both of the Gorleston schools we had been asked to prepare lessons based on the topics that the classes had been looking at so that we were fitting in with the exam units. It gave us the opportunity to think about our views as Christians on things like Crime and Punishment, Drugs and Substances and Money and Wealth.
Tuesday night was girls cooking night! Which meant the oven gloves were out and myself and Elliemae were on duty! We had lots of fun cooking for the team and there wasn’t too much burnt food! It was quite a rare sight to see me in the kitchen!
I think our favourite part of the meal was our dessert…scrummy angel delight with a surprise of toffee sauce at the bottom of the glass! It was my turn to lead the worship time on Tuesday; I wanted to focus on how we should love each other as a team and wanted to build each other up so I started by getting the team to write something encouraging about each other on post it notes, so that we can keep the encouragements and re-read them when we are feeling down! I talked about how God has brought us together this year for a reason and we took an hour or so to pray over each other. It was SUCH an amazing evening. It felt so good to have that time together to pray and to share our love!
On Wednesday we began the day in the same way as Tuesday with another PTO. It was very cold outside but I wanted to push through and spend as much time outside as possible because it was so beautiful! Looking at Philippians 2 today I was really in awe of how amazing God is; how He sent His son to die for ME and one day every knee shall bow at His name!
In the afternoon on Wednesday we were joined by the lovely Claire Earl and we had a training session together. Claire was teaching us on ‘Adventures with Jesus’ which meant we were going to look at our relationship with God, with other Christians and with non Christians. Such a challenging session and it resulted in quite a lot of emotion when things got deeper in our discussions. Again, another amazing moment of the team praying for each other and prophesying over one another. Thank you Claire for leading such a brilliant session with us! I do love my team!
It was the boys turn to cook on Wednesday night and we enjoyed an amazing Mexican themed meal. I even had my own ‘onion free’ chilli! Meal times are great fun when we are all together; we always have a laugh! The boys did us proud with their cooking and entertainment! After tea it was Elliemaes turn to lead us in worship and she spoke to us about being optimistic and pessimistic. Something that really spoke to me was whether I was letting what has happened in the past determine how I feel about the future. I think when things happen in life they can determine the future in some ways which are unchangeable. But it then is down to us whether we let those things get in the way of how we view our future and ultimately, we know who holds the future!
Our final full day was Thursday; the last section of Philippians that we were looking at was chapter 3. It was amazing because the verse which really spoke out to me on this morning was verse 13
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
I really felt like healing still needs to be done in my life and so I would appreciate your prayers as I look to God for help and healing in my life.
The remaining part of the day was spent sorting out some of our lessons for the following week, attempting to solve some of the problems with part of the equipment and again praying for one another. To end the day nicely we ordered a Chinese and spent time playing our favourite game Ligretto!!!
Following the footsteps of what we did last time we were in Sizewell, we set our alarms for ridiculous o’clock and woke up ready to see the sun rise on the beach. The morning was unfortunately cloudy and misty which meant that the sun wasn’t obvious when it rose. However, as part of our worship time, Josh led us in an activity which meant we were to pick up a pebble off the beach, to chose something that it would represent, something that we would want to let go of, and to symbolically pray and throw the pebble into the sea. I took myself away from the group and picked up a pebble. I wanted to let go of the hurt and the pain of the past. As I had been walking over to my personal spot I noticed a fisherman out in the boat on the rough sea. They were getting further and further away. As I prayed and threw my pebble into the sea, I looked up and noticed that the fisherman was no longer in sight. It reminded me of how I was on a boat in the rough and stormy sea, which was ready to tip me off and throw me into the dangerous waters, BUT God has complete control over my life and every situation I face.
Ifeel very challenged by this week at Sizewell. I would appreciate your prayers as I think about my future and also try and let go of the past, and I pray that God will help me through these difficult times.