I decided to spend my last full day to do go and see something in Atlanta. This trip has been focused on spending time with people and building relationships, but as I was going to be myself most of the day I decided to do something on the tourist trail. I was dropped of at the aquarium by my kind hosts. I can’t say I am a big fan of museums and other attractions because of the noise and busy-ness, but I decided I would go for a few hours just to experience it and say I had done it.
When I was dropped off and I went through the door labelled aquarium this way it was just a huge car park and I was starting to panic. I looked around me and there was a whole group of other people also looking puzzled. We all started chatting and commented on this being the strangest entrance – we grouped together and found our way through.
When I was in the entrance queue I got the most awesome message from my husband showing me a picture of my son getting his hair cut. I almost started dancing with joy in the queue. This may sound utterly nuts to you, but he has not been able to have a professional hair cut for two years after three different hair dressers couldn’t bring themselves to do his hair again because it was so traumatic for everyone involved. I have been cutting his hair when he is asleep which is pretty stressful too! I was pretty emotional to see that he had also tackled a big challenge for him! It was a super proud mummy moment!
There were many moments today where I had to perfect my ‘screaming on the inside’ but looking relatively calm on the outside. I need personal space so to have people bump into you left, right and centre (center?), or stop right in your path and push you out the way, means it’s hard to keep cool.
I felt rather overwhelmed as I walked into the main entrance, there were signs everywhere, shops, cafes, too much information! I wanted to roll up in a ball and either cry or hide but instead I took a deep breath and just prayed “Lord, please help me through this!” I spent several moments just turning in confused circles – this is where I need to be with some some who is good at making decisions so I just trot faithfully after them. I didn’t have that luxury so I decided to start with the dolphins, as I had been told to go and see that show. I went to the “theater” and made sure I was well away from the splash and soak zones. I was a bit disappointed when they said no photos allowed during the show, but then I felt challenged as last time I saw a dolphin show I spent the whole time taking photos and not just experiencing the show. So this time I just watched and enjoyed it. I then managed to get myself to another animal show, and then saw some of the other exhibits.
After a few hours I was very grateful that my host picked me up, and I then slept for a couple of hours to recover. I felt proud of myself because this is not something I ever do by myself or even really enjoy in groups. I am learning that in short bursts, even though it is challenging, I am able to enjoy it. It has opened up yet another door.
I found myself just looking through loads of family photos on my phone wanting to hug and kiss my little boy and be back home with my hubby. It has been amazing, and I have been so blessed by everyone’s kindness but I need to be home now.
So today, Sunday, I have just been making the most of my last day visiting another church. It was a church much closer in size to my church and the pastor shared a powerful message about how we can get so lost in consumerism in church and forget that we are part of it. He also spoke that we have the ability to share the gospel, reach out, and love our neighbours and to be Jesus to the world instead of falling into the thinking that only the ‘professionals’ can do it. In the Great Commission WE were sent to go out.
This message has been on my heart, and something we have been looking at my church in being released in ministry wherever we are – office, at home with your children, in the play ground, etc. We all have something to give and something that will bless others. I am so hungry to see people released in what they have and to see the incredible beauty within, the gifting they have and the knowledge they can make a difference, they are of value and have worth. It is not about a Church celebrity culture, but a family one where every one has something to bring!
After the service I had lunch with some friends from 10,000 Fathers which was so lovely to spend a bit more time just chatting and sharing. I am so grateful for the incredible journey God has been taking me one and the way I continue to grow and learn. I have been so blessed by the incredible kindness and love shown to me.
I have been feeling a bit of anxiety about going home, simply because there is not as much help available at Atlanta Airport as there is at Heathrow. But then I caught myself – God has met me at every turn and detail of this trip and has so beautifully provided. He knows that I am someone who needs extra help and guidance in certain things. So again I have to that He will have gone before me on my trip .
So homeward-bound, I am leaping in faith, and trusting that He will guide me!
I will wrap up this mini series with one final blog when I have arrived home.
Sending you love, for the last time from Atlanta!