14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
In March 2001 I was given a room at the Fairfield Hotel, 83 The Promenade, Southport. I didn’t choose to stay at that hotel or in that room (I was attending my first Aglow Conference, but didn’t have a place to stay and I was given the address when booking-in at the conference as another delegate had failed to turn up, and thus her room was available).
From the time of my first hearing “The Power of Your Love” by Geoff Bullock, that has a line in it saying “As I wait, I’ll rise up like the Eagle ……” I have been excited at the mention of the word Eagle. I believe there was an eagle on the magazine advertising the Aglow Conference and that encouraged me to take a risk and set off from Lincoln (where I was living at the time) for the unknown town of Southport for my first Aglow Conference, without the benefit of a hotel booking.
After a long journey, I arrived at the Floral Hall just as the evening session was about to start. I was blessed with a parking space immediately opposite the entrance. I was then blessed with a hug at the top of the stairs and another hug at the bottom of the stairs. As I didn’t have a reservation for the conference, I was sent to the “Queries” desk. I explained that I didn’t have a place to stay yet and thus I may not be able to make the evening meeting. I was then handed a yellow piece of paper with the address of the Fairfield Hotel on it (it had been left at the desk by some delegates from Rhyl in North Wales as one of their members had failed to turn up and thus her room was available). As a child we used to go on holiday at Whitsun and the Whitsun after my Confirmation in March 1965 we went to Llandudno in North Wales. During that holiday we also visited Llangollen (I was later to find out that my mother-in-law was born and brought up in Llangollen and my husband was christened there)
From the address of the hotel, God was reminding me of how in 1994 I had stood (completely traumatised by my marriage break up) on a green area known as The Fairfield in Kingston upon Thames (I had moved to Kingston in ‘83) looking at three buildings. On the left was the GP practice I was registered with, in the centre an ordinary house and on the right a Church. I felt God say to me as I was looking at those three buildings “Where will you go for your healing – you can go to the GP and have pills and potions like your mother and sister, or you can go to the Church”. I said “No contest” – having seen the evidence presented by my mother and sister’s care – “I choose the church”. This was symbolic of Jesus working through members of the church in general, rather than being that actual church. I started to go to Pioneer Church (an evangelical charismatic church that I found via Cliff Richard). Incidentally it was the leaders of that church’s wedding anniversary on the Sunday of the weekend I was in Southport).
I had been confirmed on St Joseph of Nazareth Day (19th March 1965). Almost 36 years later when I arrived at the Fairfield Hotel in Southport there was a sign saying “No Vacancies”. I was reminded of “no room at the inn”. I rang the doorbell and explained to the hotelier that I had been given his address by a lady at the Conference. I entered the Fairfield Hotel on Friday 16th March 2001 and was led to the room that was available at the top of the house. It was room No. 8 and the room to the left of it was room No. 9. It was at the Grapevine Conference in Lincoln in ‘98 that I had met a lady called Val Hammond who was the President of Wolverhampton Aglow and meeting her had eventually led to my being at the Conference in Southport in 2001. So God knew when I met Val in ’98 that I would be in Southport in 2001. When I entered the hotel room I saw Country Manor bedding and curtains by Marks and Spencer. I knew that the design was Country Manor because I had it on my wedding list in 1988. God knew when I married in 1988 that I would be staying in this room in 2001. When I went down to breakfast the following morning I was told by the proprietor to sit at a table facing the door to the breakfast room. On the wall at my left was an old map of Middlesex (please bear in mind I was in Lancashire, so it would be unusual to find a map of Middlesex there). Middlesex was where I was born! God knew when I was born in 1952 that I would be breakfasting in this hotel in 2001. The name of the conference was “Made in His Likeness”. On the Saturday afternoon we had time off and I was led by the Holy Spirit to buy a jacket in a charity shop that matched the trousers and top I “just happened” to be wearing. The label on the jacket said “Affinity” which means “resemblance, similarity, likeness”.
I then returned to the Conference wearing my new jacket and Val Hammond spotted me and invited me to sit with her and her fellow members from Wolverhampton. Later John Bevere was speaking about casting out fear and there was a lady behind me with a football rattle. The scene was quite amusing because I was from Lincoln (a breed of sheep) amongst ladies from Wolves and the lady behind me was a lady from Wath upon Dearn whose name I knew to be Alison Wild. So, I had Wolves to the left of me, Wolves to the right of me, a Wild woman making an awful racket behind me, the only way was forward. What I felt God was saying to me was that sometimes it is scary to move forward into the unknown, but sometimes it is even more scary to stay where you are. It also reminds me of a scripture (Matthew 10:16 – 31 in The Message) that God highlighted to me immediately before I met Val in 1998.
Another thing God spoke to me about was intimacy. Because of all the things in the hotel room that reminded me of my ex-husband, I felt sad and said to God “I miss intimacy with my husband”. I felt God say to me”You need intimacy with me, then you will not be intimidated”. (And intimidation is what the scripture in Matthew 10 speaks of)