Editor’s Note: The Smith family recently moved to our church from the UK so Nathan could serve alongside our pastors in hopes of future deployment. In this interview, we’ll get to know his lovely wife, Clare.
Clare, tell us about yourself and your family, and what brought you to Covenant Fellowship Church.
I am married to Nathan, and we will be celebrating twenty-three adventure-packed years of marriage this June! Seven weeks after our wedding, Nathan and I moved from Christchurch in Newport to Gaithersburg, Maryland, so Nathan could attend the Sovereign Grace Pastors College (the same year as Doug and Rachel Hayes.) A year after returning to England, we were sent out to plant Grace Church Bristol, and that’s where we made our home until God led us here at the end of January to join Covenant Fellowship.
I am the mother to six wonderfully crazy children: triplet sons Ben, Jack and Ethan who are just about to turn 19; two girls, Maddy and Izzy aged 17 and 14; and my youngest, Devon who is now 9! I have had the stress, joy, and privilege of homeschooling them until the upper high school years, when we felt their educational needs exceeded my capabilities!
Believe it or not, it initially took us years to conceive our children, and I am extremely grateful for the gift that each of them is to our family.
What are some of the challenges and blessings you’ve encountered in your transition to the U.S.?
Packing up our large family to move here was no mean feat! We had lived in our Bristol home for 16 years and as you can imagine we had accumulated a lot of “stuff.” (Somehow we actually owned six different versions of Monopoly!) Unpacking the things we did choose to ship here has also been interesting. We’ve discovered that just because a box is labeled “Christmas Decorations” doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what you’ll find inside it!
Although we’re still very much in the process of adapting to the culture and setting up our lives here in the U.S., we’ve been absolutely amazed at the grace of God at work in each of us, and particularly in the lives of our children during this transition. Not everyone was as excited as we were to move here, but praise God, our children are all absolutely loving it here! Thank you so much for welcoming our family so warmly. We are so grateful for the way you and your families have embraced us all. It has made our transition so much easier.
What is something God has been showing you in the past year?
A verse that has repeatedly come back to me over this past year is Isaiah 26:3: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” And also Psalm 94:19: “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” When I’ve focused my attention on my circumstances over this past year, it has been very easy for me to feel anxious and completely overwhelmed. But I’ve repeatedly found that when I’ve fixed my eyes on Jesus and the innumerable consolations that I have in him, I’ve experienced real peace and been able to trust him.
What are some of your likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests?
I love reading, particularly out in the sunshine, preferably by a pool! I also enjoy listening to audiobooks and reading aloud to Devon (he’s the only one who lets me read to him now!) I love taking long walks, especially if there’s a lovely little coffee shop at the end of it! And whenever I have snippets of free time or a long car journey, I love to crochet.
Up until the end of last year I’ve also enjoyed studying several CCEF biblical counseling modules. I’ve found them to be extremely encouraging and helpful in my own walk with the Lord, and I’m excited to see how God will use all that I’ve learned and experienced to serve others in the future. If the opportunity arises I would definitely like to study more.
Are there any books you’ve read recently that you’d recommend to us?
That’s a hard question, as I think there are so many good books out there. One of my absolute favorites that I’ve read in the last couple of years is Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund. If you need to be refreshed in the gospel, in my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. I would read each chapter and think, this sounds too good to be true, and yet amazingly it is!
Other books that I’ve read recently that have challenged me and encouraged my faith are: True Life: Practical Wisdom from the Book of Ecclesiastes by Carolyn Mahayney; Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible Story Changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie; The Seed of a Woman: 30 Narratives that Point to Jesus by Nana Dolce; and Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl R. Trueman.
Thanks for spending this time with us Clare! Are there any ways we can be praying for you?
We would really appreciate your prayers as we continue to adjust as a family. Some days it can feel that there are still a million things we need to sort out. One of those things is enrolling (and funding) our triplet sons for college. Would you please pray that we would be able to get that sorted out for them soon. We are aware that our boys have sacrificed so much to move with us, and we would really like to see them settled into a college and enjoying their studies. Finally, we would really appreciate your prayers that God would continue to lead our family and make his purposes and plans clear.