the end of the year and ‘the kings speech’

A couple of weeks ago,  i was struggling to know what to blog about, then life got crazy and now there’s heaps to share!!

I find myself having a week’s breather between the end of 6 months in Poatina and heading back home to England. The certificate IV course ended well, although there was a bit of mad scramble in the last week, with students and trainers alike doing all-nighters to get assignments and final assessments completed. The graduation service at the end of each 6 months is a special occasion in Poatina as the students have become an integral part of the community.

I had the special honour of giving the valedictory speech for the service. At times like the end of a year or a course its good to look back and celebrate the journey. To reflect on the ups and downs, twists and turns and attempt to name what God has done. It has been inspiring to watch the students face their ghosts from the past, push through their fears and defy their own deeply held beliefs about their inadequacies. Each one grew significantly in maturity, breaking old and making new habits of thought, speech and action as they processed values and new understandings. I was proud to see them stand, authentically themselves, with new found strength and depth. And all this from a certificate IV course in Christian Youth and Community Work!

But part of the job on Saturday was not only celebrate the past but to say good bye to it and, standing in the present, welcome the future. But that is a daunting task after such an intense period of growth and learning. Particularly when one area of growth is in the awareness that growth never stops and the biggest obstacles to moving forward we’ll face are our own selves. And personally as i look forward to 2012 i know this is true for me. I want to run the race that’s been set before me by my  God, but my past and my wrong choices never cease to hold me back, so what do i do? It was in light of this that i brought Hebrews 12:1-2 to my students in the valedictory address. Its only as i fix the eyes of my heart on Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me, that i can run the race marked out for me.

At the start of the course i gave a devotion and shared the scene from ‘the Kings Speech’ in which the King of England is delivering his speech to the nation over the radio. For those who haven’t seen the movie, the King has a severe speech impediment and has been unable to speak clearly in public. To overcome this difficulty after much searching he finally finds a coach who will help him. In the end he comes to deliver this most important speech of his life in which he tells the country that they are at war, and the way he gets through is by keeping his eyes on his coach who is standing directly in front of him. I felt this picture was as relevant now as it was then; as we head into a new future, a new year, with new realities, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.

You can watch the scene here:

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