Yesterday I planted some purple sunflower seeds in my garden which I had been given in the Autumn. I looked up how to plant them and followed the instructions, choosing a sunny spot in my garden, and watering them in. Now I wait, in the hope and expectation that they will grow tall and strong in the weeks to come, and eventually bear nourishing seed. Although I love flowers and gardens in general, I am rather a fair weather gardener, and often find that in the busyness of daily life our small patch of Eden gets neglected. How wonderful now to have the time and space to slow down and reflect on all the natural beauty which God has blessed us with, especially in these prolonged days of glorious sunshine. 

Across the world nations and peoples have an unprecedented opportunity to re-evaluate the true meaning and purpose of life, to rediscover who and what is most important, to fully appreciate all those who work so hard with minimal recognition to provide the services we so often take for granted. 

So with the families we support at ICN, many fathers who work long hours on low wages in order to support their families and establish a settled life in their adopted country, now have an opportunity to rest and recuperate and to engage with their children in a new way. Mothers who carry the responsibility for running the home are fully occupied in providing nourishing meals for their families, and doing their best to support their children’s school learning and to keep boredom at bay.  

As the month of Ramadan progresses, we pray for our Muslim friends and ask God to bless them especially in these days of physical separation from loved ones, to bring them comfort and peace, that God would draw near to them in a new way as they seek to honour and please Him. 

May we follow their example, and use this time to draw closer to God ourselves, to make space in our lives to hear His voice, as the clamour and demands of 21st century British life are temporarily on hold, and we can hear the birds singing again and have time to smell the flowers in the garden. Let us wait expectantly to see the seeds that have been sown begin to grow and bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of those we care about. 

Rosalie Buchanan – Women and Families’ Support Worker 

07 May 2020 

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