Loving where you live
Loving where you live is important. Where you are, is where God has placed you - you are there for a reason. Perhaps you are there for a short while or perhaps you are rooted and established, either way God has a plan for you in this place, for now, for his Kingdom. From How do I know my calling blog post, God gave me a verse and it calls us to love and pray for our town:
And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7
It is good to pray for the place we live. For our community, for prosperity and peace, for opportunities and for the kingdom of God to be known here. There are so many things we can pray for when it comes to our neighbourhood:
Community - different age groups, backgrounds, ethnicity, religions, clubs, neighbourhoods, peace, town leaders and politicians
Environment - litter, spaces, safety, crime, planning, traffic, leisure, parks, facilities,
Prosperity - businesses, the town, celebrations, events, employment and education opportunities
Services - healthcare, police, fire brigade, teachers, council workers, volunteers
Churches - growth, leadership, evangelise, events, supporting our community
From this we can pray for our county and country and for the wider world. Whilst we are not called to serve in every area, we can pray for it. For our leaders, gods creation, for future generations. The list is endless. If you struggle to love the place your in, pray to God to give you a heart for your town and community, ask Him what He wants you to do, write a list of all that is good and pray thanks, then write a list of all that you dislike and ask for His help and guidance.
I can't say I was always enamoured with where we live now, so i thought I'd share our story of why we live, where we live and what I love about it now.
I was born at our local hospital and raised in Farnborough, Hampshire. When I was younger I hated living here. I thought it was boring, everything stopped at 6pm and there was nothing to do. It wasn't a pretty countryside setting, just a dull town with limited shops and no activities. I can remember a seaside trip with my family when I was a child and asking my mum why we couldn't we live here - and I was amazed that you could choose to live anywhere, so I knew from there I wanted to live by the seaside. When the time came to move out for university, I chose Bournemouth. A busy south coastal town, beautiful, nightlife and there was lots to do!
My husband was born in London and moved to Farnborough as a toddler because his family wanted to raise their children out of the city, where they felt it was safer. I met my husband when I was still at school through friends. We lived 5 minutes walk from each other, and our parents still live 5 in the same houses. My husband is a little older than me and he finished his higher education locally, so when I was ready for university he could move with me. It took him quite a while to find employment as we didn't realise at the time how limited his industry was in this part of the country. He moved around jobs getting closer to the job he wanted to do.
After university, my husband and I began our careers, bought homes and started our family. For a while life was good. As time moved on, we realised that career advancement by moving jobs was limited and it was a case of filling dead-mans shoes. My husbands job took him away from home a lot and because of that, he worked long hours. I also had an hour commute in and back home, and worked long hours. Once we had our children, I stayed at home as we had no family to help with childcare and felt it was unfair for our young children to be out of the house for 10+ hours a day. Raising young children without family around and quite often without my husband around was hard but we weren't afraid of hard work. We felt living here, would offer our children lots of benefits.
Over time we discovered our eldest children had autism and were developing in a different way - life became a lot harder. This beautiful town, I could no longer access. It was stressful, lonely and beyond hard work. My son needed a specialist provision and the specialist provisions locally was not suitable to his needs. My son didn't fit into the disabled children's group either because his needs were unable to be supported. There wasn't any support. My husband was unable to get another job in his field because, even in a busy sea side town, companies that offered what he wanted to do were sparse. It took its toll. I did not want to send my son to a residential school.
In the summer 2012, I broke my hand and was unable to go to hospital due to husband working away and getting childcare for an autistic child was impossible. I broke down and it became obvious that this dream was not meant to be. We chose to mover back to Farnborough, near our families, for support and more choice of schools as we lived near London - because of this, house prices were more expensive. We sold our home, and due to the recession we made very little equity. We knew we would not be able to buy but we couldn't continue to live as we were and keep our family together.
7 years on and we now own our home, my son has completed his specialist school and will be going to college, my other son with autism has a placement at a university technical college to specialise in computing and my other 2 children are doing well at their local schools. We received a lot more support here and God has really blessed us and my husband's career. We moved here broken yet determined to be together as a family. It's not been easy and we have had a lot of heartbreaks along the way but God has helped us through.
What I love about Farnborough
As you can see, I didn't appreciate our town when growing up here but now I do. It has changed - it no longer closes at 6pm and it has moved on with the times (thankfully).
Our family is here! I always wanted to be independent and to do things my way. As a child I felt like I didn't have choices and was always being told what to do. I wanted to move out as soon as possible. However as an adult, our relationship is different. Grandparents love our children, like we do. They love us and want whats best for us, they support and help us as best they can, without trying to control us.
It is well linked - we have 2 train stations, an airport and a motorway. We live 30 miles from London and can catch a fast train and be in central London in just over 30 minutes. Yes, its noisy at times and I do dream of countryside but thankfully that's easy enough to access with the travel links.
Less traffic - it is so much quicker to get to places locally than when we lived at the coast. It is a smaller town and there is less traffic - despite the links.
Green spaces - we have lots of green spaces - parks, lakes, brooks nearby for interesting walks
Smaller town centre - our town centre is not necessarily somewhere you would travel to for shopping, but it has what we need and its not a pa-lava to get too. There are places to eat, a cinema and pubs (much better offer than when i was young). We are close enough to London and other bigger retail outlets, but we don't have to live with that on our doorstep if we just want to pop out for something.
Historical - Farnborough is the birth place of aviation here in the UK. It was founded in Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday book 1086. Our church, St Peter's C of E was here in the 1100's. There have been famous people, emperors from France lived and are buried here. It is an interesting historical town. There is a wide variety of architecture.
Opportunities - There are big businesses here, good travel links, it's cheaper than London to live but easily accessible, education from primary to degree level, sports and leisure facilities. It is quieter than a city/main town but busier than a village. You can make a good life here.
Where do you live and what do you love about it? I'd love to hear about it, to encourage one another in praying and appreciating God's world...