My mother never told me what her feelings were about marrying a Baptist Minister and moving to a small village in the Gloucestershire countryside. Born in Aberdeen, Mum grew up in Portsmouth, so I guess she was a city girl through and through. It must have been a strange transition. Mum didn’t drive then. There would have been a bus service, and in those days there was a railway line running through the Golden Valley from Stroud to Cirencester. Our home was on the hillside overlooking the valley meaning that my parents could watch the trains approaching. In a world long before mobile telephones Dad would look out for the train when my grandparents were visiting, and drive down to collect them from the station.
I was born in Gloucestershire. Linda followed three and a bit years later when we were living in Plymouth. My memories of Plymouth are limited. Plymouth was much closer to my paternal grandparents who lived less than an hour away in the coastal village where my parents moved to in retirement. Alison and Janice were born while we were living in Guernsey meaning that we were a family of six when we left our island home for Dad to take up the call to a pastorate in what we kids knew as the mainland – a four-hour journey by sea from Guernsey.
With the family having been firmly planted in Guernsey I wonder what my parents felt about relocating to a housing estate in a new town in England. I know what I thought. I wanted to stay in Guernsey. That was where I was well and truly rooted. Guernsey was my home. But move we did, and in time (and through another pastoral move) my three sisters became planted on the London/Surrey border where they all still live. My parents made that move as I left home to travel the world while serving in the Merchant Navy. While I would have given anything to return to Guernsey, home for Marilyn and me for the last forty years has been back in the countryside, in the beautiful county of Herefordshire, not so far from my first home in Gloucestershire.
I believe that the places and times in our lives are set by God and for His purposes not ours. For some of us that means many moves, while for others it may mean being in one place for our entire lives. Perhaps the most important aspect of being planted is obedience to a call to move elsewhere, if such a call comes. Like it did many years ago for a man called Abram.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. (Acts 17:26 NIV)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)