Reflections for 2024

This time last year I did not anticipate the year would unfold the way that it did. But God knew. He had plans that I hadn’t scheduled in, as He often does, and it soon became clear that I would need to make room for a sabbatical. God had lovingly and patiently led me to this place, and by August I was stepping into 3 months of slowing down, resting deeply, and pursuing greater intimacy with Jesus.  It was a time of significant refreshment, intentional surrender, and beautiful affirmation.

One of my sabbatical highlights was walking part of the Camino de Santiago, a Christian pilgrimage in Northern Spain.  I had never done anything like this before and it was a remarkable experience.

I loved the slowness, stillness, and simplicity of it, the removal of distractions, a ‘notifications off’ setting.

I loved simply getting up and walking, and of encountering God daily through the breathtaking brushstrokes of creation.  It also brought home to me what it means to walk alongside someone – quite literally.

I travelled with two friends, and each day we prayed together, asked each other deep questions, cried, laughed, and cheered each other on.  We ensured that we went at the same pace, that we provided company when needed, and created space when required.  We believed in each other when the going got tough, motivated each other when energy levels flagged, affirmed one another as we drew out each other’s God given gifts, and we committed to reaching our final destination together by putting one foot in front of the other, hour by hour, day by day.

We met many others on our journey, and sharing faith was easy as the first question everyone asks is ‘why are you walking the Camino?’ The stories came tumbling out: the crossroads, the tough decisions needing to be made on returning home, grief and loss being processed, the healing being sought, the determination to celebrate life, the sense that life is short, the struggles with faith, the desire to find faith, the desire to make peace with self, the longing for true identity.  Story after story. So many stories. And so much freedom to share ours too.

I remember meeting one particular lady who was about 70 years old, she was on her own and we walked together for a stretch one day. She said she wanted to find faith again. And as she opened up, she shared how much she had questioned faith due to some very tragic losses in her life. As we continued to talk, make space for her sorrow and questioning, we soon ended up crying with her and praying for her and sharing hope in Jesus.

Since that wonderful journey, God is continuing to speak to me about what it means to walk alongside people.

At Third Space Ministries we spend a lot of our time walking alongside people in a variety of ways. We know it is what we have been called to, and it is a privilege. Culture has wired us for quick fixes but often we can walk alongside someone for a long time, at their pace, committed to the journey, regardless of the outcome, walking with someone through their brokenness and searching.

This year I am sure God will bring those unexpected, unplanned moments of walking alongside someone, and we seek to be ready for whoever and whatever God brings our way. We are excited to be running a Wellsprings Course once again at the gym, a new support group for men, to be hearing stories of life journeys through the Soundcheck podcasts, to find creative ways to disciple and nurture early shoots of faith, to ask questions, listen well and speak truth.

Ultimately we come alongside others because Jesus has come alongside us – there is no path that we tread that He will not walk with us; there is no sorrow, despair or confusion where He cannot bring the peace of His presence; there is no future where He will not offer His hand and gently guide us.

We are so thankful to you, many of whom have come alongside us, to support us with prayer, finances, encouragement, and cheer us on in this ministry over the years.
May you know the powerful presence of Jesus walking alongside you each day over this coming year.

With much love
Carolyn