Are you there God? It’s me, Laura Anne.

2015 is not far from drawing to a close, and with that I’m aware that soon I’ll be writing my annual ‘what I got up to this year’ post on facebook. Mainly because I’ve never been organised to do one, print it off in time for Christmas Card writing.

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I don’t really remember much of this year at all, and I wonder if that’s partly because it feels like a year of survival. 2014 was one that started so well with getting the opportunity to study in Würzburg, celebrating my 30th with so many friends (and still want to tear up when I think of the effort so many made to make sure I actually did so!), visiting my friend studying in Paris…and then it was like being whacked in the stomach when I lost my job. Because my job had never been just a job. It had always felt like it was my calling. And I never imagined I would be still unemployed months later, or that I’d be going back to doing the same minimum wage roles I’d worked in as a high school student.

I am however so grateful that this year I have had at least part-time work. It’s been enough to keep me going through my Diploma and with the added second job over the Christmas period, I’ve been able to buy presents  and send some Christmas cards (something I simply wasn’t able to do last year). I’ve even managed to get my decorations out this year (again, last year I was simply too miserable and getting to all my university classes took every ounce of effort I had left in me, I was so depressed).

I am however, missing my church community. It has totally disappeared…it started to disappear when I lost my smallgroup, lost some more when I had to send my car to the scrapyard, lost a little bit more when I had to start working every weekend , then my old smallgroup leaders moved to a place only accessible by car and then my church moved their evening services to start even earlier so there was no chance of me getting to them after work.

Sometimes I wonder if God is even there.

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I’ve seen countless rainbows this year, and in the summer I saw it as hope, now it feels like they’re mocking me. God never promised that life would be easy, but it just feels most of the time sometimes like there’s no point to all this. And I get super jealous of other people who I love who seem to be doing all the things I wish I could be doing. Yeuuccch. I hate being jealous!

I have however been given the awesome gift of ending my time in the cafe this year a weekend early. I haven’t had a full weekend off since August, and right now between my two jobs I’ve worked every day for the last 8 days and I still have 6 to go until my next day off. Luckily not every day is a full day, but often I have Girlguiding stuff in the evenings and the last few weeks have involved trips (and all the admin and organising needed for that). I’m praying I last until then, and being thankful for a generous gift from a friend and these two jobs that have enabled me to re-register for third (and hopefully final!) year of university to complete my Masters degree. A weekend off has meant that I can do a shorter (but busier!) shift at the shop and have my Sunday free. I hope to go to church. I hope that going back to church is a time of fulfilment and not loneliness like it has been in the past. I miss my church in Aberdeen and recently had some of the ladies who loved on us and mentored us students saying how much they missed me…the feeling is mutual. I miss singing my heart out. I miss walking in to hug everyone. I miss lunching with people after church services. I miss my flat and coming home from a music practice to discover friends who had a set of keys all sitting drinking tea in my living room watching my TV.

The challenge is to try and find a way of making a new normal that doesn’t feel like simply surviving, but living and giving.

I haven’t found it yet.

I hope I do soon.

Please, God, let it happen in 2016?

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