There’s wisdom in this! ;)
There are some seasons in life when it seems that God escalates the growing and learning and maturing and developing… this last year has been one of these seasons. Seasons like these are uncomfortable, sometimes painful, certainly enlightening and thankfully graced-breathed.
Perspective is everything. Earlier on in this “season” I read an amazing book called “Heaven is for Real” about a sick kid who gets to visit Heaven. At first I was a little doubtful, but the account I read set to burning a spark that has always been there but is easily left to falter and flicker – an eternal perspective.
I want to share a little bit about my family… those who have gone before me and inspire me with their passion and focus on eternity.
A couple of weeks ago I visited my 88 year old Nana. I noticed old photographs on display and asked who they were of. One photo was of my great grandparents (my dad’s dad’s parents). My Nana began to describe to me a heritage of faith that was mine. My great grandmother had been a Salvation Army Officer in the early days of the Salvos and one of the first missionaries to some areas of Australia. She had a passion for God and people and because of this changed lives. She had that eternal perspective.
After marrying my great grandfather she had my Pa (my dad’s father) and a stand out attribute of his life was that he was passionate for people to know God. He spent so much time witnessing and he always talking with great excitement about Jesus coming back… He wanted to be ready and he wanted to make sure everyone he knew was ready too. His actions (good works) were not driven by a sense of duty but by an over-riding passion for people to spend eternity with their God. He had that eternal perspective.
Another picture showed my Nana’s parents. As we looked as this, my Nana told me about how when they were young they lived in a small outback town called Tinga. One of my Nana’s sisters went to The Salvation Army and had an encounter with Jesus. Through this conversion, all of the family (except for one sister) were saved and their lives were transformed.
My Nana (who we were visiting and is still alive) married my Pa and during this time she served for 60 years in children’s ministry in her local church. I’m talking camping, hiking, bible studies… everything you can think of. For 60 years! There are countless lives (who are not so young any more) who were changed because of her openness to serve and be used by God. She even opened her home and cared for a young girl as if she was her own (she already had her hands full with 6 kids of her own). And now I still see that same grace in action as she moves throughout her retirement home and makes some very sad and lost older people feel loved and welcomed. She has that eternal perspective.
Finding out these details about my dad’s side of the family made me want to know more about my mother’s side of the family and the heritage of faith those family members had carved and passed on.
My Poppy (mum’s dad) grew up in a very conservative and strict Christian home in Scotland. All of his siblings kept the faith, but my Poppy was the black sheep. Feeling the pressures of a legalistic religious experience rather than a grace filled life of freedom, he rebelled and got as far away as he could – to Australia. He eventually found God and grace through a program of The Salvation Army. Thank God for the Salvos!
Working for The Salvation Army at this time was my Grandma. Her mother got saved as a girl when there was a death in the family. In those days, if someone died, you tied a black cloth out the front of your house to let people know you were in mourning. A young and passionate member of the salvos was walking past and noticed the cloth. Wanting to make sure the family were okay she ventured inside and invited them to The Salvation Army (they already went to church… but in those days most people did… it was just a duty to be fulfilled). From here on in that family’s life was completely transformed. My Great Grandmother, who had this life transforming experience, married and had my Grandma.
Grandma was quite the pocket rocket for Jesus… as were her cousins who were also girls. She became a Salvation Army Officer and met my Poppy through her work as an officer. Poppy not only discovered the grace of Jesus, but met my grandma, whose name was Grace and married her. Up until she died Grandma served Jesus with a passion in her local church. She ran the women’s meetings and even, at the age of 76, ran the bible study for teenagers. The age difference meant nothing to these teenagers who shared at her memorial service just how impacted they were by my Grandma’s support, example and love for them. When your passion is for Jesus and you know you are His because of grace, then your life and testimony will always be relevant. Just another example of an eternal perspective.
My mum and dad are the products of this heritage of faith. As pastors in The Salvation Army they have served in whatever capacity asked of them for over 40 years and counting. I can’t even begin to describe how many lives they have impacted and changed throughout these many years of pastoring churches; preaching and ministering to many church members, working with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, helping the down and out through welfare and in men’s homes, working in schools and prison ministry, disaster relief and even touching lives for Jesus in local pubs. So many lives touched and transformed. Just the other day, on his birthday, my dad hosted a funeral for a man he had led to the Lord just before he died. This influence is a regular occurrence for my parents. Graced-filled and never giving up, they too share an eternal perspective.
Now at 36, married to an incredible man who is passionate to serve God, and with children of our own, I cannot help but be inspired and so incredibly grateful for the rich tapestry of faith woven by God himself throughout the generations that have gone before me and I pray that this heritage continues for generations beyond my own. So many of these family heroes of mine have now gone to be with Jesus, but I am still here, and because of their example and testimonies, and because of God’s promises in His Word I am completely certain of one thing:
Regardless of my circumstance, regardless of pain, regardless of atrocities in the world… God really is in control. He really is. I am so assured in knowing that as I run the race God has for me and fight the fight of faith for myself and others, I know that He has a plan that is good, and I truly can rest in His unfailing and amazing grace… grace that makes a way for me… grace that gives endurance… grace that enables victory. Because in the end, He wins… and because of this there is really nothing to be afraid of.
Collective nouns are words used to describe various groups… for example, a mischief of mice or a pack of crayons! The word “group” would suffice, but then the English language just wouldn’t be as crazy… or as fun!
Here’s quite a few to sink you teeth into.
actors - company, troupe
airplanes - fleet
ants - colony, swarm
antelopes - herd
apes - troop, shrewdness
arrows - quiver
asteroids - belt
bacteria - culture
bats - colony
bears - sloth
beauties - bevy
beavers - colony, lodge
bees - hive, swarm
bills - wad
birds - dissimulation, flock, volery
boars - sounder
books - library
camels - caravan
candidates - slate
caterpillars - army
cattle - drove, herd, kine
cats - clowder, cluster, ponce
chicks - clutch
circuits - bank
When I first got my licence, my first car was an old yellow Chrysler Lancer (and I mean old). In my first car, I felt like any other driver, I just blended in with the rest of the vehicles and didn’t gather much attention unless I made some silly driving error.
Then I upgraded! I sold that old yellow Chrysler and got myself a near new, little hatchback… it just happened to be bright PINK!
After driving that pink car around for a few days, I noticed a strange new phenomenon was happening to me… I seemed to be attracting quite a lot of attention from other road users, specifically, male road users!
The first time it happened I was quite flattered. A fun little “beep” caught my attention and was followed by a smile and wave sent my way. In all honesty, my initial reaction was, “Oh, I must look REALLY good today!”
Then I noticed that even when I looked like death warmed up (which is not hard since I am very pale and have a tendency to take on a bluish tinge when I am cold!) that even on these days I received just the same amount of male attention while out driving in my car.
It was really quite a boost to my self esteem… waves, friendly beeps, smiles, even signs with phone numbers held at me and attempts to converse through wound-down windows.
But I finally had to admit it to myself… it wasn’t me! It was the pink car.
I remember running a few errands with a co-worker over the course of a few days in my pink car. It was around our fourth car trip when she exclaimed, “Out of all of my friends, I get the most male attention when I am with you!”
I would have loved to have just nodded and agreed and told her that’s because I was just very, very good looking… but I knew the real reason… and I explained to her the allure of the pink car!
Just so you know, the theory of the allure of the pink car was confirmed when I upgraded again. I sold that pink car and bought myself a beautiful black Astra hatchback… Needless to say my driving experience for the first few weeks felt somewhat different and strangely lonely! ;)
So what’s the point of this story? Well the Bible says in James 1:17 that, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’.
Sometimes our successes blind us to the One who really provides the blessing and we think it is all our doing. We think that we are blessed because of who we are rather than who He is. We forget that it is ALL a gift from God, and although we have a part to play, every good and perfect thing we have in our lives is because He has blessed us with this.
Just as I experienced a season of flattering male attention brought about by a PINK coloured car, the blessings in our lives are brought about by a loving and gracious God. And I for one know I am blessed. There’s an old hymn that says, “count your blessings, name them one by one” and there is so much wisdom in this.
So, if you’re a girl and need a MAJOR injection to your self-esteem, make your next car a pink one! More importantly, of course, I will choose to remember that pink car’s allure and how I have a God who brings so much more blessing to my life every day than any pink car ever could! It really isn’t about me…
- To have an open heart.
- That no-one is perfect.
- To love even when I’m hated.
- That it’s not all about me.
- To appreciate how blessed I really am.
- That there’s no use in worrying.
- That God really will make things clear.
- To dream without wasting time.
- That there is a purpose… even when it doesn’t feel that way.
- That fulfilling destiny takes a huge amount of boldness, perseverance and tenacity.
You may be needing one of these now!