For the most part I am guilty of writing with a theological mindset of teaching. This is certainly not to say that it doesn’t come from a place of my own struggles. That is evident for anybody who knows me and has read any of my previous posts. I have been through a lot and the only constant in any of it is my faith. I have therefore tried to write about topics close to me and encourage anyone reading them from my own experience.
What I really mean by the above is I get carried away writing, it become well constructed metaphors and thoroughly researched scriptures and topics. Not deeply personal.
Today I want to share something different. Today I want to openly share me. My heart, my inner most thoughts, my doubts and what I deal with daily. It starts by me telling you a bit about me. Who I am, where I come from and where I plan on going.
My name is Timothy Benjamin Cohen, yes sounds quite proper and very biblical. I guess my name gives clues to my upbringing. Both my parents are strong believers and I was brought up in church. My father was even a pastor for a number of years and it is true, that for some reason pastors kids tend to become quite naughty and stretch the limits. I was no different. Insolent, rebellious and completely self centered as if the world was created exclusively for my happiness. I had a form of faith and never ever doubted that any of the stories I heard growing up were true but that’s as far as it went. I didn’t live like I truly believed any of it. That all changed whilst backpacking for a few years. I came to know God personally. Far away from home and my upbringing. In the process I met Sarah who is now my wife of 6 years.
Our marriage, although dedicated wholeheartedly to God was much like our lives. Full of potential and sparks of purpose and love for Him. But I, like so many others, fell into the trap of complacency and was clinging on to tightly to the reins of our lives. It was if I was saying to God I was cool, thanks for being my saviour and my Father but in day to day life I got this. Before you know it the only time I was giving God was on Sunday mornings. That was until a tempting opportunity developed for us to have a stand for our new business at a market on Sundays. Justifications were a plenty and we even did art pieces professing and sharing our faith. Whilst the stand had evidence of our faith, my life in particular, started showing less and less. My wife had to return to England unexpectedly and the door was left open for my life to spiral further out of control and Gods comfort. We were apart for almost a year and the darkness of that year is for another post but I drifted further and further away from Him. When it’s only a little bit everyday you don’t notice and not a lot of people around you notice very quickly either, until it is too late.
Good news and fast forward a few months and it is NEVER to late for God. On a beach in Mallorca with more nude German tourists around than Christians I found myself again in close covenant and communion with my God. Listening to songs, reading scripture, and anything I could get my hands on. Hunger for him returned. It took me far too long, loosing so much, almost loosing everything before I finally accepted and humbly conceded that His plan for my life must certainly be better than my own.
Fast forward to today, a few months later and I can assure you that it is not a magical switch! On that beach I wish I could say that with my confession and re submitting my life to God everything just clicked back to normal. Not even close.
As I sit now writing this, I am in one of the most uncomfortable positions of my life. Literally my back is buggered. I have been sleeping on friends couches for several months now and it’s taking it’s toll. The latest of these couches is the smallest and least comfortable. Maybe payback for my sins Worse than the couch is the location. Without being disrespectful or ungrateful I am probably staying in the worst place I have ever spent longer than a week in my life! Winter is encroaching with alarming speed. I had work and it just got taken way from under me. Although I am technically still employed I am on a zero hours contract. Typically I received standard sort of 35 hours a week and really never thought I would get what was promised in the contract, however that is what I have had for the past few weeks. Zero hours.
There is light ahead and I by no means am writing any of this to evoke any sympathy from anybody, rather to paint an honest picture of my circumstances and whereabouts. We have secured a lovely 2 bedroom apartment in one of the nicest suburbs in the Midlands of England. A far cry from my current neighborhood. Only 17 days left until we move in on date of writing this. A base, a home, a place I can finally put my weary feet up will make me extremely grateful.
It’s just the beginning though.
This time has given me plenty of opportunity for reflection and equally time planning our future.
This is where it gets interesting. I catapulted myself into making plans and addressing my weaknesses and making contingency plans of contingency plans. Budgets, business plans, research projects. I prayed and reflected on our past plans, our commitments and desires from when we got married and I came up with a list of what we needed to do and a My plan was born. Spoiler alert, I got carried away.
But here it is, make sure to read to the end.
We want to host people. All who are weary to come and stay with us. After years of us both traveling we believe we would make fantastic hosts of a Guest Lodge. On top of that we are both also passionate about sharing our interests. For Sarah that means surfing, and she would like to complete her surf instructor course so we can offer surf lessons and maybe SUP tours. For me I am passionate about my country. I love South Africa and anybody who has met me abroad knows I just don’t shut up about all the amazing things they just have to come and see. So I would like to set up a scenario in which I can both host and show them around SA and sarah can spend time in the Ocean and share her passion for surfing.
We were deeply moved by a song called Oceans Rise and thus the lodge is intended to be named –
Oceans Rise Adventure Lodge.
To get there though, I needed a plan and yes you guessed it I I I I I I started to take over.
So enthused but also dangerously close to taking over the reigns again.
Get solid work in UK
Earn lots in pounds
Save lots – Goal £2000/month (20-1 exchange rate)
Learn to manage and grow finances
Scout property in SA – buy beach front land – Garden Route
Do research on running a lodge / B&B
Plan plan plan the lodge – Build it from the ground up – design everything
Sarah and I get qualified in activities – surf instructors, safari tours, diving instructors etc
Plan every detail before buying a thing
Set up a fail safe, contngency plan – property in uk?
Backup extra revenue stream for out of season
Diversify asserts so they not all linked or in lodge
Make oceans Rise happen!!! 5 years goal
External hobbies for Sarah and I – artistic creative outlets. Art studio and writing
Thank God everyday no every second for a life I didn’t deserve
Seems obtainable, even righteously so, but at 4am last night I was challenged by God to say that I need to submit to His will not mine and was definitely exposed for getting slightly ahead of myself, besides if this comes to be, His plan will be better than mine.
Trust in Him.
Father your will be done in our lives.
Dreaming of our future can rob me of my present.
The world is not enough for me, only God can satisfy and quench our souls. Just give me you.
Dissatisfied perhaps in my current circumstance, I imagined a comforting scenario, a life that would make me happy and it does give me peace as long as I’m working towards it. I need peace in my present not peace in the Hope of my future.
But what if I get it? Will I be happy, will I still look ahead to something else? We need to be content before we even set out on this plan. In Him. He is enough.
I said to God just give me my wife back – He did
Just get me out of debt and a job – He is
Just get me back to SA – In His time
Please God may we live by the sea where we can be happy, it really does feed our souls –
If that is what you have planned for us Lord
All I know is your plan is better than mine Lord. You know me, better than I know myself. You know Sarah and my hearts desires and what makes us come alive. It was, after all, you who placed this purpose over our lives.
If we do this, we do it bodly within your will and under your blessing. With complete faith in you to see it come to be. I trust in you father, that you know what is right for our lives.
I love you Lord, you rescued me. You are all that I want and you are all that I need.
Thank you Lord
I hope this encourages you to seek His will for your life and whilst it’s impotant to understand your passions and purpose its about trusting in Him for them to come to be.
Oceans Rise……2020? Dunno watch this space. I am doing something everyday towards it.
Anybody interested in finding out more about it, check back on www.oceansrise.co.za – coming soon.