(Senior Pastor, Dundonald Light 'n' Life Tabernacle, Belfast)
"Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
This was the promise my parents received from the Lord when I was born. As I grew up, I had my own plans of the way I should go, despite being brought up in a Christian home and attending church and every organisation available! I thought I knew all about God but I didn't know Him personally. The world and things of the world attracted me, which gradually led me into a life of sin and searching for happiness, for something to fill the void within my restless heart. After years of living life my own way, with all the consequential mistakes, hurts, broken relationships and disappointments, I began to be very aware of sin and to have a guilt complex about the way I was living. I started to think about God so I read some scripture and said a prayer or two, thinking that might keep God happy! My parents continued to pray for me.
In 1985 a dear friend of mine died suddenly, aged 37. This shattered me. God spoke to me at his funeral saying, "What if that had been you? Where would you have been?" I'd heard the gospel message faithfully preached for years and knew that I needed to be "born again," but I still resisted and said, "One day."
Over the next two years the Lord continued to hound me. Gradually, the love of the world waned, old friends were no longer attractive. I attempted to put things right in my life, but still in my own way! At this time I was buying a new car and the thought of being killed on the road and of going to a Christless eternity haunted me. Every time I listened to the news there were reports of fatal accidents. What if I was to die without Jesus? Finally on the 16th August 1987, one week after purchasing the car, I went to a gospel service where I met with God and surrendered my life to Him. I was overwhelmed at His love, grace and forgiveness. What a joy it was to know that all my sins had been dealt with at the Cross through the precious blood of Jesus. I was a "new creation." My life turned around immediately and radically in a new direction. Jesus became, and still is, the Love of my life. From that crisis hour my deepest desire was to know Him, serve Him and win others for Him. The Lord challenged me to come out of the teaching profession to serve Him in "Women Take Five Ministries International," a prayer movement for revival. The Principal of my school told me the only way I could leave would be through a redundancy which was very unlikely as our pupil intake was increasing but I held on to the Lord's promise, "For you shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace."
God worked a miracle for me. Suddenly, there was a serious financial crisis in the local educational area board, there would have to be teacher redundancies. Our school management team agreed to a transferred redundancy. A teacher from another school, who was going to lose her job, was appointed to replace me! At the end of term finance was pumped back into the board to terminate redundancies but it was too late, the appointment contract had to be honoured!
The Lord fulfilled His word to me. Now that I have been appointed Pastor of Dundonald Free Methodist Church I can see just how the Lord was preparing His way for me in releasing me from my job but also in training me through teaching children and ministering in Take Five, giving me skills and abilities which I can now use in church for His glory and in the extension of His Kingdom. As the Lord continues to sanctify me, to "squeeze me out" until there is only room for Jesus, I am believing Him for fulfilment of promises concerning revival which He gave us through our prayer ministry. Praise Him!
"Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is