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Posts Tagged ‘women pastors’

Jo 12Our grandson has a wonderful way of keeping me humble—and this skill of his came to the fore recently when I tried to help him complete his Maths homework. He is only in Year 2, yet sadly I had great trouble understanding some of the questions he had to answer about shapes. What on earth were ‘cuboids’, ‘vertices’ and ‘edges’? I had no idea!

‘I don’t think you have that answer right,’ I told Zain at one stage, as I stared at the cube alongside the first question. ‘I think it has six edges.’

‘No,’ he told me firmly. ‘You’re counting the faces, not the edges!’

I was unconvinced, but decided to go along with him. We counted those edges together and somehow I came up with eight, while he found twelve—or was it sixteen? Another interesting discussion ensued but, in the end, he wrote down my answer of eight. Later, we wrote the same answer for a cuboid—which of course Zain knew straight away was a rectangular prism! Surely everyone knows that, his look implied.

We proceeded then to travel through what for me was the even rockier, more dangerous territory of cylinders and cones and square-based triangles. But when it came to answering an interesting question about whether cylindrical shapes could be stacked, we differed again. While Zain maintained they could not, if they were lying with their curved surfaces lengthwise, as they were on his homework sheet, I maintained they could if they were standing upright on their flat bases. In the end, I felt Zain worked out a clever answer to this one—‘Maybe!’

Eventually, I enlisted my mathematician husband’s help and asked him to check our work. And guess what his first comment was?

‘You have two answers wrong here!’

Yes, I had been wrong about those ‘edges’—and Zain had, I think, been right from the beginning. But, when I told Zain this, to add insult to injury, he responded: ‘Well, you’re just an old lady!’

Now that put me firmly in my place.

Later, as I pondered Zain’s words, I decided that, while I may be ‘just an old lady’ to him—and there is nothing wrong with being an ‘old lady’—I know I am more than that too. I have done many things in my life. I have two tertiary degrees and a couple of diplomas. I have worked in a variety of occupations, including high school teacher, editor and pastor. I have written eight books. I have spoken publicly well over two hundred times in recent years. Along with my pastor husband, I have raised three children. I have had an interesting and varied life and am grateful for that.

But the best thought that came to me was this. Even if I had done none of that in my life, I would still be of such worth in God’s eyes. Whatever my age, I am still God’s precious child. Through Jesus, I have been born again into God’s family. I belong to God. Jesus loves me, this I know.

That’s what really counts in the end, don’t you think?

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

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Don’t you love it when everything fits perfectly into place – when you put that last piece of the jigsaw puzzle together with a satisfying ‘click’ and the whole picture emerges, or when you plan that overseas trip where you’ll be moving from place to place and all the transport and accommodation arrangements work out exactly right? It makes us feel good, doesn’t it? We have actually done it – we are cleverer than we thought!

In the last few weeks in particular, I have realised again how good God is at putting things perfectly in place. Nothing is ever wasted with God, I believe – and that has certainly been true in my own life.

I began my working life as a high school teacher – apart from a regular holiday job in a music store. Many years later, after staying at home looking after our three children, I returned to teaching for a while, but then obtained a job as an assistant editor of teaching material for Christian schools. I could not have obtained that job without my high school teaching experience – and I could not have managed the role I took up after my editing job as office secretary for the community ministry arm of our local church without this editing experience. I needed to be able to use a computer for my secretarial role at a time when computers were just coming into their own – and I had learnt at least the basics of computing in that editorial job.

After a few years, I went to theological college, eventually obtaining my theology degree. Then I was appointed as one of the pastors at our church, a role I could not have undertaken without the experience gained in my teaching years of speaking in front of a large group or without the experience of working in our church office. When I left that role, I began my writing journey – something I could definitely not have done without my knowledge of the English language gained through teaching foreign languages. Also, without the experience gained in my ministry role in our church, I could never have spoken in churches and other places as I do today, promoting my books in the process.

Yet in recent weeks it has dawned on me that something else I learnt and practised in my college and ministry years is now bearing fruit in my writing career. I have always loved mentoring younger Christians. I have written and conducted mentoring courses and still mentor younger women leaders today who are doing amazing work for God. Now the time has come in my writing journey for me to take up the opportunity I have been given to mentor others in aspects of writing.

What an amazing dovetailing of all my skills, knowledge and experience gained to this point! What’s more, even as I mentor others in writing, God is still very much part of the picture in what we talk about and the way I approach this mentoring. Lately too I have been able to offer writing workshops, which for me bring together so much of who I am – a teacher, a pastor, an author, an editor.

Only God could do this, don’t you think? Only God could weave the threads of our lives together in this way and enable all the pieces to fit so perfectly. Only God, the perfect, loving Shepherd, could have led and enabled me to do what I’m doing today, gently guiding me, encouraging me, showing me the way forward.

As for God, his way is perfect, Psalm 18:30 tells us – and I believe that totally. How about you?

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