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Change in life (or how my eye rolls turned to tears) – Abi Partridge

With ribbon thread through cut swallowtail flags from a nine year olds’ t -shirts, (kept for his brother), and small jumpers from his newborn days (kept for nostalgia) – I made bunting. I hung this around the conservatory window-walls where we held his family birthday party instead of the garden because; English summer. Some things never change in life, the English weather is not one of them.

Surely it was only a few days ago he wore those jumpers for a couple of weeks, before his body left them behind as no longer enough. I have been running to catch up with him ever since. I didn’t want to hear it when he was younger, inwardly eye-rolling as the wiser mothers comment “they don’t stay small for long” when exhausted from labour cries of “how long?” and sleepless nights praying “when will?”. Now my pride hates to admit it was true.

I treasured the opportunity to throw perhaps one last party for him and created themed activities and games around what the age of eighteen means he can do. We all celebrated him with temporary tattoos, pirate name changes – voting for our favourites and blood red jelly in syringes (because at 18 you can give blood). The mix of childhood fun and marking of time, mirroring the dichotomy I felt at this time.

Pain in change

I muse over the change in life with a melancholy pain. Why do we wistfully remember and wish for days gone by? They weren’t particularly the “good old days”, or didn’t seem so at the time, as I look back do I reframe it with a rosy filter? What is it that I miss? What is it that I long for?

I miss those chubby hands in mine, the same ones throwing bread to the ducks, then patiently building lego space ships, writing handcrafted cards then essays. My eyes no longer roll but well. I miss the purpose found in him needing me and now I ache with a job somewhat finished. An ache that is both a satisfaction and a yearning.

Change and gratitude

Growth and change provide a gentle release from providing support. Fresh freedom and a strength in us both that only comes through the passage of growth. Life’s challenge to us: move through change, keep up, let the waves of change move, yet support our head, like a buoy bobbing above depth that threatens to pull us to the inertia of the sea bed. I pause a memory of hands holding scooter bars as his text message chimes in, and hold both our past and our present in gratitude.

iola change issue front cover image

iola the change issue is out now! Read more here.

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An exercise in rest – Abi Partridge

Were you ever made to do that trust exercise at in drama lessons at school or perhaps at a youth group or for team building at work? You know the one – where you stand in front of someone and have to fall back and they catch you? I’m sure I’ve done the exercise before but I can’t remember a specific time. I guess I was always caught, otherwise I probably would have remembered falling to the floor, along with my feelings, pride and trust.

Broken trust

I do remember though, a time where my trusting brother had his head cracked open after a boy at primary school pulled his chair out from beneath him when he went to sit. A cruel trick that ended with a bloodied head, a trip to A&E and stitches. I expect my brother remembers it more than I do.

I remember the times when trust was broken more than when it wasn’t. Maybe because I have been lucky to grow and live among trustworthy people. I’ve been realising how it takes trust to rest. When we go to sleep we trust that no one will break into the house. (A little extreme, I know, because you probably don’t think about that before you fall to sleep.) A more mundane example perhaps; when I sit down with a cup of tea and a magazine, I trust that there is nothing that needs to be done right now in that moment. When I take a bath with a book to read, I have to trust that no one will berate me for leaving the washing up till later or even until the next morning. 

Learning to trust

I have to trust that the lounger at the pool side will not break when I sit on it. (Maybe even more so when I’ve eaten nothing but croissants for breakfast all week!) Leaving things undone, taking time to sit and not do means trusting that it is ok to rest. That I myself, and others will give me grace. This is in both small things like when taking time to put my feet up, but also when it comes to big life things.

In big life things like when I believe I can figure it all out and that my ways of work, parenting, paying the bills etc, depend solely on me and what I can do. I am not resting in my trust that God is who he says he is. When I rest in God’s presence, when I listen to what he is calling me to step into next, I am trusting that he will provide, that He knows best and that He is good. 

Rest requires trust

When things go wrong I have to trust that he will make all things right. I have to surrender control in order to rest. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, there is huge freedom in that trust. There is ultimate rest. It’s no longer up to me. I can do the next thing, take the next step knowing that God is right there with me as he prompts and leads. 

As rest requires trust, trust equals rest. Easy to write but a life time to learn. I’m learning to trust by practicing an exercise in rest.

Abi delights in creating places of peace & beauty for others. She loves encouraging women in their creativity. She is a creative at heart, designer by trade and lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with her three children. She writes, designs, and publishes iola and loves it!

After studying English and Publishing in Oxford (UK), she has worked in the publishing arena as a book and communications designer. She writes on creativity and design and has self-published a creative tutorial book and a creative devotional guide; Making for Living and Giving, and Re-create – restore your creative soul.

She drinks coffee in the morning but earl grey tea in the afternoon and takes photos of flowers like they are going out of fashion. IG @abilouise_harvey.

This is just one of the articles from the rest issue. Read more and get your copy here.