A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting Fincham’s Farm, an organic small-holding set in the middle of the Norfolk countryside. As I walked up the road and onto the farm, I was enveloped by a sense of calm. Inside the welcoming kitchen which had been converted from an ancient barn, was Bridget who runs the farm and a mixture of visitors and guests, all of whom seemed completely at home. Bridget’s greeting was warm and sincere, and I could tell that she welcomes every person with delight, whether they are visitors or guests who have come to stay for rest and rehabilitation as a result of addiction or mental health problems.

However Bridget’s face particularly lit up when Leah came in (name changed). Leah had stayed on the farm just over a year ago for a few weeks. Then she had been heavily pregnant. Now she was carrying her beautiful 1 year old daughter Sophie (name changed). It was the first time Bridget and Sophie had met.

As the team of visitors and guests began to tackle some of the jobs which needed doing on the farm, I learned more about Leah’s story. Leah had first started taking party drugs when she was 14. She later became addicted to crack and heroin. She described how she had lived a chaotic lifestyle, and didn’t even have a handle on her front door so that each night she had to remove the handle from an internal door in order to close her front door. Then in her early twenties she became pregnant. She also met Carrie Sant from City Saints in Norwich around this time, who supported her and eventually took her to stay at Fincham’s Farm. Leah’s addictions and chaotic lifestyle were such that Social Services planned to remove her baby as soon as she was born. But it wasn’t to be. Baby Sophie was born unexpectedly early, not giving Social Services the time to intervene. Leah had prayed that Sophie would be born with a protective bubble

"AS FOR ME, I WILL ALWAYS HAVE HOPE; I WILL PRAISE YOU MORE AND MORE." PSALM 71:14 

around her – and it turned out that she was born with her amniotic sac unbroken. Leah reports that when Sophie was born her life changed completely. She and Sophie have faced many challenges together but they are now living independently in a beautiful flat, going out during the week to attend play groups. Leah’s interactions with Sophie are full of love and fun, and it is impossible to miss the powerful bond between them.  

Leah’s story moved me and filled me with hope. In a world of brokenness and hurt, stories of hope can be hard to come by. But Leah reminded me that with God there is always hope. Carrie, Bridget and Fincham’s Farm are all part of Leah’s story of hope although at the time they might not have realised it. God doesn't call us to cost-efficiency analysis. He calls us to give our lives completely to Him and to people who need to be shown His love. He does the rest. 

"As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14