Monday, January 08, 2007

Abigail Dryden's Blessing

On the last Saturday of 2006 my daughter Abigail was blessed that is to say we made a huge deal of her dedication back to God (after all He gave her to us in the first place). This also coincided with birthday celebrations for Deborah who turned two years old the day before.

Now when Deborah was dedicated in June 2005 things were very different for me personally. I kinda wasn’t really with it, which was a bit disappointing seeing as do it was such a special day for our first child together. I remember the highlight of the day was just being with my brother and sister again, which, as it turned out, is the last time we’ve all physically been in the same place together as my sister then nipped off to Ghana to get married. Other than that, I just wanted to get the day over and done with and as a result, for me, the day of my first daughter’s blessing was a let-down.

Therefore in the light of the blessings of God during 2006 and how I was in a significantly improved position personally, I really wanted to make the most of the blessing of Abigail. For me my family are not just blood relatives, but people with whom I share a significant part of life. That for the most part is the church that I belong to including the Lawrences and our dear friend Deon among others. This family all chipped in to support the preparation for the day and I’ll never forget the extent to which they went out of their way to bless us with their help.

In this different season of my life I was hoping that a lot of my loved ones from around the country as well as in the community could make it to the blessing. As it turned out for one reason or another one or two dear ones couldn’t make it. However, someone who did make it deserves special mention. Charlotte (pictured with Abigail right) – Charlie to her friends – is an angel. I met her early on
in 2006 when I was doing temp work at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Anyone who’s done temp work knows that it is a challenge sometimes to remain optimistic in surroundings that can sometimes be demeaning, belittling, boring and tedious (and those are on good days). In my time working with Charlie (that makes me a friend then!) she went out of her to make sure I was treated like a human being! She was friendly, helpful, amiable – someone to make the job interesting and a genuine pleasure to work with. Now you don’t make hard and fast friends in the temp world, but Charlie (and her colleague Sarah among others) left a great impression on me for the way they looked after me. As a result I said I’d invite them to the blessing and sure enough I did and she said she’d be there. Now that’s something in itself for someone who only knew me over a few months, it would be understandable if the request was ignored or politely declined. What’s more, Charlie was in New York City when there was dodgy weather on the week of the blessing. So it would have been even more understandable for the decline. Yet cometh the hour cometh the (wo)man. It was brilliant. I was well chuffed, I felt even happier for Abigail to have been blessed with coming across this angel!

That in itself would have made the day memorable in itself. The whole day though went well. My mum was there which made it even more pleasant – she’s attached to Abigail so much we needed pliers to draw her away from the baby when she left the next day. My brother and his wife made it as well and it had been almost a full year since I last saw him, so I was incredibly pleased to see him again and we had a good laugh. The turnout for the event was terrific
including someone who’s been another angel for us – St. William Sayer, a guy who’ll you find out more about when I eventually post up another entry on my latest squash craze. Anyhow this guy came with his family and they were brilliant.

So the ceremony went really well, my mate Ray (the dude on the right in the photo left) gave a testimony which moved me to tears and I’m sure had an impact on those seeing if faith is for them. My boss Danny did me a huge favour and stood by me as the official part of proceedings took place – he really was a tower of strength for me and I appreciated it hugely. Surely this man will be blessed ever more abundantly. Hughie – mentor and friend – blessed us with a word on the importance of life even at this early age and how it’s crucial for us as parents to bring up these gifts of God by using His manual. He’s a good talker is Hughie! The food afterwards was brilliant, which is only to be expected as it was made by our First Lady Angela Lawrence (she's the lady next the dude in the photo right), my Beloved Authrine and of course my Mother. In the afternoon after
the grub we had an interesting conversation on relationships which got me looking at how Jesus related to people even more.

The day ended for me feeling better for having experienced the day with friends and family. It was definitely a day that will live on long into Dryden folklore as it passes it on from generation to generation. I’m so grateful to God for blessing us with a superb day, with superb friends and family and with two superb daughters in Deborah and Abigail.

4 His Name’s Sake
da man cd

What Book?

Someone I know asked me for some book recommendations and after reading what I sent him, I thought it would be useful to share it here.

I’ve read a fair number of books in the last 10 years or so since I’ve taken my spiritual journey with Christ and to be honest it’s difficult to remember all of them, as well as that our home library hasn’t been set-up yet and there are some books that are still in boxes somewhere. However here are three books that have been tremendously inspirational and helpful in my own spiritual development that I would recommend without hesitation to anyone looking to be serious in knowing and growing in their relationship with God.

Discipleship by David Watson – This brother speaks from the heart in terms of what it is to be a disciple and the cost of it. I had this book and can’t find it, but if I could I’d purchase it again I would do so in a heartbeat. Brilliant, challenging, deep and gets to the heart of what we’re called to be as believers without compromise.

The Contemporary Christian by John Stott – When I was going through a rough patch in my journey this book proved to be such a great eye-opener as to how to apply the fundamentals of what we believe to the challenges of the world I live in. Despite being written over 15 years ago it is still so relevant that I recently re-read it and nodded my head at some of the truths coming from it. Again it leaves the believer in no doubt of who they are to be in society and how important it is to remain connected to God through prayer, the Word and His Spirit to live victoriously individually and corporately.

Desiring God by John Piper – I’ve read some heavy books in my time, but this one is
seriously heavy. Indeed I wouldn’t recommend it to a Christian just starting out on the journey because some of the concepts might not be that easily understood. After a fair grounding in the things of the Spirit, this book would be a great read to maintain a hunger and thirst for God. It puts things into perspective in terms of the role of emotions in our spiritual walk as well as the larger issue of what should be the driving motivating factor in our lives. Highly recommended without reservation.

One of the good parts of being in this job is that it does call me to be even more rigorous and grounded in what I believe and so I’m tending to support my bible studies with other material as well which I’m hoping to recommend to others, so as I get them I hope to let you know. Soon, hopefully, I’ll also develop a list of useful web-sites to check.

4 His Name’s Sake
da man cd