Jamie Hopkins

Birmingham, UK


In life there are stresses and struggles. And sometime we feel overwhelmed...

This summer i spent 2 months teaching and befriending some great kids at a children's centre in china. They were astonishingly loving and quickly accepted me as their friend. They had all been abandoned and were challenging at times behaviourally. I took them for classes for about three hours in the morning, sometimes with a helper, sometimes alone. If you’re wondering, no I don't speak Mandarin! Inevitably there were ups and downs.

I spent the first few weeks depending very much on my own strength and planning. I thought if I had enough good ideas, brought good resources and tried really hard we could have a fun and educational time together. This was not always the case, and about a month in I broke! I couldn't manage them, trying to entertain 5 kids of different abilities across a language barrier was proving too hard! After a particularly bad morning, I turned to God.

I've been a Christian for many years, and it has influenced my life in many different ways. But at this moment, my faith reminded me what I had, a loving Father God, who wants to be a part of my life, who wants to help me. I realised what I was and was not in control of! I could prepare all I liked, but there was no guarantee they'd enjoy themselves, engage or behave. In reality I had to acknowledge to God I'd kinda like his help, that I couldn't do it without him!

In the Old Testament God tells us to 'be still and know that he is God'. So I prayed and read the bible and asked for help. It wasn't those ritual of those actions that had power but what it said about my heart. After one of the worst mornings, I had one of the best afternoons, really happily doing craft together. That afternoon I saw God intervene and bring peace where I was powerless. But God isn't just a crutch when I'm stressed, or overwhelmed. Maybe you’re thinking that’s not you, so you don’t need God. But I am convinced that God wants to know each of us, and that we need him in the day to day and matters of eternal life!

For me confessing what I've done wrong and asking for God's help and forgiveness is just like me praying for my time with the boys. It is me saying I can't do this alone, in fact I need you.

Society tells me I can do it alone, it tells me I don't need help, especially not a God. Often, I want to do my things, my way. But I have found time and time again that there is greater joy, satisfaction and fulfilment in doing God's thing God's way. He wants the best for us! In the moment we can't always see it, and his 'rules' may seem stifling.

But I don't live reluctantly by 'rules', but freely follow his loving commands. He died for me! That's why I live for him :)


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