In my last blog I wrote about personal transformation during a period working for ICI in Malaysia. I learned a lot about myself during that part of my life, and following it I married the girl I met whilst leading a Church Youth Group back in England.
Thus began another period of opportunity and challenge. I had obtained the ONC (about A-Level standard) I had been working for on my return to England, and decided to go a further 2-years part-time to secure an HNC in Electrical Engineering ( about 1st year degree level). This, I thought would secure my future with ICI and leave me with the option of going to university, provided my grades were good enough.
When the time came I went through the usual procedure for university application, with 5-choices in order of preference. My first four were Manchester, Loughborough, Newcastle and I can’t remember the fourth choice. The fifth was Sussex. The first four were all for Electrical Engineering. The fifth was for an Engineering Degree, Majoring in Automatic Control - my area of expertise as a Technician. Due to disappointing grades at HNC I was offered a place at my last choice only, Brighton, Sussex.
Susan and I were married in July. I left ICI and we went to live in Brighton in late September. It was a risk. At the age of 27, to give up a good job, with good prospects and embark on full-time education for the first time since leaving school.
I did not know what I was in for. The first year was Maths, Material Science (Physics and Chemistry) and Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics). There were two papers in each subject. The engineering was okay, but I had not done any chemistry, not even at GCSE level. Also the Maths was tough. The normal preparation for this was GCSE and A level: I had neither. The HNC Maths was much narrower in scope, geared towards engineering. I passed the first year exams in engineering, but I had to re-sit both Maths and Material Science. That means I’d failed four out of six of the first year exams. I managed to get through the resits, but it was a nervy time. I had to work very hard to overcome my fear of failure. It was wonderful to have a new wife alongside me. Without her I wouldn’t have made it.
Despite all of this we enjoyed Brighton and made friends. Susan began a nursing course at the Royal Sussex County Hospital when I was in my second year and she really liked it. We also joined a church in Brighton.
I found the second year a lot more comfortable and did quite well in the end of year exams. I found a lot of the HNC stuff useful here. In third year I majored in Automatic Control which was interesting, because it included Hydraulics, where I had no experience. Also, my project was a pH Control system. In the end, I managed a 2.2 Honours Degree, which I was pleased with considering my educational background.
Susan was half-way through her nursing course when we left Brighton. She would take up the final lap when we returned to Middlesbrough. We loved Brighton and the south coast, but we moved back to Middlesbrough for two reasons: I was offered a job with ICI, at Billingham again, this time as a Control Engineer. This was very satisfying, since they would not support me when going to university. I think they probably thought I wasn’t up to it? The second reason was that the church Susan belonged to before we were married. They had built up a very large Sunday School – well over 100. The older ones there needed a Youth Group. There were about 20 of them. We felt the need to be there for them. We bought our first house on the estate where the church building was located. All of the Youth Group were from that estate. We began a 2-year period where we were Youth Leaders again, but the circumstances were different this time.
Going to University and getting married were both notable events. I wouldn’t have gone to university without Susan. She was my emotional stability. I thrived on her love. She was chosen for me. God told her I was the man she was going to marry before she had even met me.
Brighton was lovely. Susan thrived there too. She had the freedom to be truly herself, probably for the first time. I loved it too and we could easily have stayed. I had the offer of two jobs in the area. But for me Sussex contained a particular challenge: I had to face my fear of failure and the nagging feeling that I may not be good enough to make it. I was carried through by more than my own ability and the will to work. Looking back I’m proud of what I achieved, but humbled by the fact that it was not just down to me. I felt very vulnerable at times, especially when preparing for first year re-sits. I wasn’t relying on myself anymore. My independence had gone.
|Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.||Eric Hoffer|
|Take what bothers you most as an invitation by God to work at solving that problem.||Lance Wallnau|
|Without grace, life is filled with struggle, it is not a life we enjoy; but with his grace, we can enter the rest (peace) of the Lord and experience joy unspeakable and full of glory.||Joyce Meyer|
|You never lose; you win or you learn.||Nelson Mandela|
|Your behaviour won't change until your thoughts change. As long as you think, "I can't do this", you are never going to be able to do it!||Joyce Meyer|
|I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts. It's about one life influencing another.||John Maxwell|
|If God is enthroned on my praise, who is enthroned on my complaining? If I enter his gates with praise, who's gates am I entering when I complain?||Bill Johnson|
|When we believe in God's sovereignty, and not our own understanding, we'll see how our problems will never outweigh what God has promised us (Prov. 3:5 NIV)||T D Jakes|
|Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.||Jim Rhon|
|If I give up my right to understand, He will give me the peace that passes understanding.||Bill Johnson|
|Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.||Winston Churchill|
|You can't change your life, but if you change your mind, God will transform your life.||Kris Vallotton|
|In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God.||Jarrod Cooper|
|Once in a while we manage to stumble on the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.||Winston Churchill|
|The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.||Winston Churchill|
|When the Lord says, "Do something", the favour needed to do it is already attached to the command.||David Forster|
|Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't.||Margaret Thatcher|
|The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us.||C S Lewis|
|Fear is misplaced faith.||Kris Vallotton|
|God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you.||Joel Osteen|
|God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you.||Joyce Meyer|
|Pray, and let God worry||Martin Luther|
|Those who never change their mind never change anything.||Winston Churchill|
|What you do (for a living) is not who you are.||Celia Apeagyei-Collins|
|People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail.||Lance Wallnau|
|There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.||C S Lewis|
|He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.||Jim Elliot|
|You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you.||C S Lewis|
|If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you.||David Forster|
|Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life.||Unknown|
|Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him.||David Forster|
|Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence.||Lance Wallnau|
|Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad.||David Forster|
|no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good..||C S Lewis|
|If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine.||Rick Joyner|
|For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter.||Graham Cooke|
|Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster.||David Forster|
|The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that.||Louie Giglio|
|In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release.||Bill Johnson|
|Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence.||Desiringgod.org|
|Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us.||Sam Storms|
|How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters.||Kris Vallotton|
|There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today.||Joel Osteen|
|The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives.||Alison Brown|
|If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance.||David Forster|
|If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.||David Forster|
|A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..||Graham Cooke|
|Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.||Graham Cooke|
|Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person.||David Forster|
|Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life.||David Forster|
|God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing.||C S Lewis|
|Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us.||David Forster|
|The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist.||Anon|
|Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love.||David Forster|
|You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer!||Tim Keller|
|Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal.||Lance Wallnau|
|Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.||Albert Einstein|
|Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy||Graham Cooke|
|Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.||G K Chesterton|
|When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people.||David Forster|
|You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else.||C S Lewis|
|A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind.||C S Lewis|
|Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death.||Graham Cooke|
|I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me.||David Forster|