So it's been 7 days since the big day, the day when I became Reverend Sally Dryden. Five of those days I have spent sitting by a pool in the Dordogne, in France having a well earned holiday with my family, five more days to go.
Some time to reflect on what an amazing culmination that day was to the seven years that led up to it.
Remembering the day in 2008 at Toddler Group when Kelly told me I should get ordained so I could baptise her children and she would wait for me to do just that; to the conversation we had last Saturday which went along the lines of "so shall we do this then" as I stool wearing my dog collar holding her new baby in my arms.
Recalling the heartache of being turned down at my first BAP, and feeling I had let God down; but the Bishop of Edmonton insisting I go back again, a year later, this time for what he felt was my correct calling to the Distinctive Diaconate.
First day at St Mellitus, meeting my cohort whom I was certain were more holy and deserving of their call that I was. They all had previously attained degrees, I had 6 GCEs. But finding that they too were just as scared by the challenge as I was and us all laughing our way through the ups and downs of the next three years. I will miss them all so much, but hope to stay in touch.
To almost throwing the towel in early this year as I struggled with tiredness, depression, the loss of my father the previous year, and of a friend this year. When so many of my wonderful family and friends walked with me and encouraged me to continue my studies as I couldn't make sense of much in my life at the time.
How God transported me through those last assignments, and despite everything I managed to finish them and hand them in two weeks before the deadline. Thank you LORD!
How He also managed to clear my head so I could hear his voice clearly about his plans for me to move to Golders Green Parish Church for my curacy. His plan orchestrated perfectly.
To the pre ordination retreat where I just sat, at times paralysed by fear; what was I doing and who was this Jesus I was committing my life to? And the rest of the time bursting with excitement, like I was a bride waiting for my wedding to happen after so many years of planning!
The morning of the big day, when we got to the Cathedral for the legal bit, the swearing, in a good way, in front of the Bishop of London and his legal team I was so excited. I took it as seriously as I could but inside I was bursting. I looked around at the other ordinands, so many of them with serious faces, but I just couldn't wipe the big grin off my face. There was a party going on in heaven and I wanted to join in!
So I did! As I walked up the aisle of St Paul's Cathedral I couldn't stop my joy from escaping, I waved to all my family and friends as I saw them, the smile on my face so big it overtook my whole body. So happy, so proud of myself, so relieved to have made it, so excited for the future and so hot, wool cassock and surplice not recommended for days when the temperature is in excess of 26 degrees! But I felt like I was walking on air. The whole day was so wonderful, never have I felt so loved or so sure of anything I have ever done.
The following day, my first services at GGPC, getting such a lovely welcome. Excited for the future with my new church family, getting to know them, having fun with them, working together to share the Gospel in Golders Green.
I love my job, I have the best job in the world. It's been a while since I've said that, but I am so pleased to be able to say it again. I guess this blog will contain not just the good bits, but the bad bits too, however recalling both the ups and downs remind you to look to God through all the seasons of your life. He promised us life to the full, but it doesn't say anywhere about it always being happy times; He does, however, say He will be with us at all times, through the good and the bad.
So here I go, into the unknown world that is curacy at GGPC. The best bit is God knows!