Belonging to the Body

Dear Zipporah

Today your Dad preached on the Body of Christ. I have been thinking of you and how important it is, at this time of life particularly, to belong and commit to a local church.

The local church represents the body of Christ and all Christians should belong to a church. We, individually, with our own special giftings, make up the body. Some giftings are very visible (like preaching) while others not so much (like cleaning the toilets) but we all have a place in the church. We all have something we can bring to enrich other peoples lives within the church community. We all have some act of service God has called us to do.

Before you settle into ‘the rest of your life’, it can feel like a very transient time in your life. When you are not sure where home is, and everything is very temporary. It can be a time when it can often be too easy to cruise when it comes to church attendance. Visiting here or there as the mood takes you. Not being accountable to anyone and never in a place long enough so that people will miss you if you don’t turn up. Being a bit busy with study to go to a service.

Resist this and make it a habit to meet regularly with a local church.

Many young people say, “but no-one talks to me.” Usually they haven’t gotten off their butts, in the back row, and talked to anyone either. Talk to people. Introduce yourself, be interested in other people. Look for people sitting/standing on their own. Often people are too shy or feel inadequate themselves or don’t know how to start a conversation. Ok, some people are hard work. You can still have short, chatty conversations with such people. I call them the short, often and sweet types. Others, you’ll get their whole life story and wonder how on earth you are going to get out of there alive. Some will offer you dinner (always welcome if you are a student I am sure) but most will not. Some will give you the cold shoulder but most will not. Persevere. Be friendly. Smile. A LOT. Talk to the old people. They often complain that no-one talks to them either. And, usually, they have had really interesting lives. And everyone appreciates a smile.

Find ways to serve others. Offer to be on the coffee roster (a great way to meet everyone in the church), offer to babysit for a young family, offer to tutor high school students in whatever? Offer to clean the toilets. Everyone is happy not to do that job. If you see something that needs doing, do it. Like opening the door for a small child. Helping an oldie with their coffee or hymn book. Picking up the left-behind bulletins after church. Be hospitable, as far as your student income will allow. You already know how to make a fantastic pizza and a good cup of coffee. God will bless you as you serve others.

Commit to a local church. Be an active part of church life. Even if during exams when you don’t have much time, pray for the church and the individuals in it. Ask others to pray for you too. Help them to share your burdens as you look for ways to carry their loads.

Pray that the Lord will give you strength and wisdom in this.

I continue to pray for the Lord’s strength and guidance for you.

Love

Mum

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An Open Letter to my Daughter Zipporah

I am writing this letter to you, not just a chatty family letter, but one where I want you to know my hearts desire for you. As you are currently travelling on the other side of the world and then will return to study away from home, I thought this is a time in your life when I should pass on some of the wisdom that I have had to learn the hard way.

My prayer for you is that you will love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. Don’t ever think that family is more important to me than my desire for all my children to love the Lord and follow Him. I am blessed to know that you already love Him and I marvel at how you are becoming the strong woman of God we have prayed that you would become.

I don’t know the plans that the Lord has for you (and don’t ever be tempted to want to know the future. You would probably run a mile. I know I would have if I had known that when I met your father, we would have 7 children, and Dad would become a minister. I would never had dreamed such a future for two sinners such as us, and yet we have blessed so much.) What I do know is that the Lord’s plans are marvelous and wonderful. He doesn’t promise us an easy life, but He does promise to be with us, to never leave us and to be our strength as we face the mundane and the impossible.

The Lord may have chosen you to be single for the rest of your life, to serve Him wholeheartedly in furthering His Kingdom. He may have chosen a path of marriage and maybe the blessing of children. If this is the path that He has chosen for you, I hope that you have a marriage that is as loving and as life-changing as my marriage to your father. I hope that if you blessed with children you will have the wisdom to bring them up in the ways of the Lord, for they will be a blessing to you.

What are you going to do between now and the rest of your life?

Now is a very special time in your life. You have left your younger years, when you were under our direct care and protection and are about to embark on the “rest of your life”. You are on the brink of doing whatever it is that you have been called to do. This is exciting and yet can be more than a little scary. I cannot encourage you enough to seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added to you. As you pray, read God’s Word, listen the preaching of His Word two things happen. First, you will have His peace and courage and wisdom to carry forward no matter what the circumstance you find yourself in. Second, He will make His will for your life clear. I would never have thought of you doing a Science degree in Marine Biology and yet, here you are. We need more Christian marine biologists, just as we need more Christian midwives, mothers and wives, artists, fashion designers, engineers, mechanics, composers and the list goes on. We need strong Christians in all walks of life.

Being single is a marvellous gift. You are not hampered by another person. You can do what you want to do, without taking another person into account. At Family Camp this year, I travelled up with the 3 younger children while Dad stayed at home, studying. I talked to whom I wanted to, I sat whoever I wanted to at meal times, I roamed around camp doing what I wanted and yet I felt like half of me was missing. When Dad arrived halfway through camp, I felt complete again, but then I spent half my time looking for him or wondering who he wanted to sit with at meal times (or he was taking me off on another walk). I love your Dad but there was a freedom in being “single”. You need to guard against being selfish, thinking only of yourself, but seek to serve others at a time when you are free to do so. Look after yourself, eat well, exercise and be diligent in your work. You need to be self-controlled (NOT to over indulge in our natural desires – like movie watching or eating too much) and self-disciplined (to DO the things we should do – like study and eating healthily). You no longer have us to impose limits and restrictions on you, nor do you have anyone else to do this for you either. It is a time for you to implement these things for yourself. Pray for God’s strength and ability. He will surely grant it to you.

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Look what I found today. The photo of your very first scuba dive off the Great Barrier Reef. I still remember how excited you were. Who would have thought you would end up studying Marine Biology?

Love,

Mama

The Lord’s glorious plan for Women

In the Christian church today, so many women feel helpless, unloved and uncherished. They are feel that only they are going through problems because everyone else looks like they have it together. This blog is to help Christian women help other Christian women. 

I have denied that I am an older woman (as in Titus 2) because I had young children and I didn’t “feel” old! How wrong could I have been? I believe God is calling Christian women to help and mentor younger Christian women. Younger in the faith and/or age. As we share our lives with other women, encourage them, embolden them, and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice, we, in turn, by God’s magnificent grace, are encouraged and built up in our faith.

The Lord has put this plan in place for women so that His purposes will be fulfilled and His name will be glorified.