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Our daughter Beth turned twenty-one last Saturday. She started the day in Scotland where she had been on mission with her Nomad Cage Football team for two weeks. Beth is the only driver and it was her responsibility to get the team and the van safely back to Birmingham. That required seven hours of driving – on her twenty-first birthday! We drove up to Birmingham later in the day laden with cake because Matt and Laura (the minister and his wife who Beth stays with) had laid on a party for Beth in their church hall. I think you might say that Beth was blessed. We were.

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Beth – quiet for once!

When Beth arrived on the scene at three in the morning twenty-one years ago we had no idea of the path she would one day follow. Beth is one of five children, and is our only daughter. The fact that she is part of an initiative that uses football as an outreach should not really be a surprise given that Beth has four brothers. Any thoughts of a dainty daughter taking ballet and doing girly things were dispelled when Beth was at junior school where she spent all her break times playing football with the boys.

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The Nomad birthday cake Marilyn made with icing shield!

While we could not see Beth’s future, God could. Using the wonderful science of hindsight it is easy now to see the path He had prepared for Beth. All she really needed to do was listen to God and follow Him obediently. This is no mean task for any of us, but Beth received her calling while in her mid teens. I often wonder how much some of us older folk might have missed out on because of poor listening skills or a lack of obedience to the call of God on our lives?

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Beth attempting to blow out 21 candles simultaneously. (Another Marilyn cake creation.)

I spent my twenty-first birthday at sea. At the time I was a navigating officer on a 24,000 tonnes products tanker working a regular route between refineries in the Caribbean and ports on the eastern seaboard of the United States. I didn’t spend much time deliberately listening to God in those days. In fact I didn’t spend much time with God at all in those days. I wish I had. But what I might consider as time wasted just might be viewed differently by God. I don’t know. But what I do know is that God never left my side in all my wanderings, at sea and on shore. I’m doing my best to listen to Him now and I am so grateful that my children have acquired such listening skills at a much younger age than I ever did. Personally, I am still learning. How about you?

Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28 NIV)

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Youth for Christ Nomad Cage Football Team (2016-2017).

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