A Short Autobiography
Impacted by a Christian family and a missions minded church, my life-long desire was to be a missionary. Although missions began at home with the nurses Christian Fellowship group while in nurses' training and later working as a Victorian Order Nurse in Forest Hill Village in Toronto, most of my "missionary" work was with children and later with youth and women, in the local church.
God blessed me with an amazing family! My parents and my in-laws supported my missionary ventures, but more importantly they modeled faith in Jesus Christ for our children. I was blessed to be a stay-at-home Mom and to see both my son and daughter following Jesus into marriage, as they raised children of their own.
Family is at the heart of ministry. Jesus tells us to begin in Jerusalem and then to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. My heart is blessed by the encouragement my adult grandkids give to me, even now that I am retired.
Many needs presented themselves while working with young people, so I started Bible College, majoring in counseling. When I finished God opened the door to Chaplaincy at Pearson International Airport. Jesus' quotation from Isaiah 61 became my calling to preach the good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted and to comfort all who mourn, providing a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!
He also made possible my return to seminary where I received further training in counseling while finishing my MTS. During this time I taught various courses in area churches: grieving, abuse, parenting. We also facilitated a recovery support group for women who had suffered sexual abuse.
Overlapping this period of time was my first overseas missions work, training pastors, doctors, nurses and lay people in Biblical counseling. We developed a five-year training program and were able to include Bible College students from Ontario in teaching under supervision.
For the next 15 years I worked with the mission M.A.T.E. (Mission for Advancing Theological Education) teaching young people about sexual purity and the dangers of HIV/AIDS , through an affiliation with ISCF in Trinidad and Guyana. We trained women to support one another during times of crisis, making the church an institution of healing emotionally, socially and spiritually. I became the coordinator of medical missions under M.A.T.E. At clinics we were able to stress the importance of holistic medicine, dealing with social and spiritual issues as well as physical health and well-being.
God bonded us together with wonderful teams of people, and sent us to Africa to begin the ministry there! It was thrilling to see His hand at work among poverty stricken people who eagerly longed for the Word of God! Both men and women wanted to know Biblical answers to the relational problems they face, so I began to write a collection of thoughts used over the years in teaching Biblical Counseling. Jesus said "Feed My Sheep," meaning nurture them in the things of God. Designed for relationship with Himself and our fellow-man, God intends us to work together to present a viable illustration of His love.
Although officially retired, I still continue to prepare Bible Studies to send to pastors and lay-leaders overseas, who need training in order to be grounded in their own faith and in what they teach others.
Hello Everyone! I am retired! It has taken me a few years to admit it, but I have learned during that period of time, that retirement is more a state of mind than an actual event!
When is one so free to do what God says one day at a time? When do the cares of employment become pure pleasure? Why have we resisted soliloquizing in solitude? This is when getting up in the morning is pure joy, rather than a duty! Our choices define who we are, rather than our job. We have time to see beauty, to reflect on greatness, to pursue goodness, to hear the truth and to worship God as He deserves to be worshiped! Peace and joy become our soul mates.
Now we really can dream dreams. We might make our world a better place through love and laughter because we have time! Those commodities that eluded us throughout pre-retirement are now available! We worked all our lives to amass fortunes of money and possessions, but now our fortunes look very different as we see the riches God has given to us of family, friends, ministries, hobbies and opportunity. Things are not so charming, as contentment earns its modest reward! Praise God for "retirement".
So what have I been doing? After a natural period of grieving for loss of energy and mobility, I am thankful for the wonderful contacts God keeps bringing across my path! In today's lingo - I am a communications engineer!
Communications! My dear little grandmother never saw her family again after leaving England as a young Mom. Letters took weeks to go and come. Today news is fresh. "How are you" has a very present meaning in our computer era! Family! What a precious concept invented in the heart of God! What joy to have time to spend with my adult kids and their children! Thrilling to sense their hearts beat with God's!
During retirement I have been encouraged by the presence of friends, both old and new. How rich we are to have deep, meaningful relationships that have lasted a life-time. I am learning from the questions new believers ask, as well as from the wisdom of life-experiences which make friends both enduring and endearing! I have been blessed by an abundance of love from friends around the world!
Even more importantly, I am quietly conscious of God in a much deeper way as He directs my path. Communication taking place in the heavenlies prepares me for relationships here on earth. Here I am called to be an ambassador by just letting the Spirit of God take over my attitudes, my responses, my plans, my thoughts, my heart and my vision. Now there is time to listen to the voice of Jesus coaching us to love as He loved, and to God's people when they hurt.
Retiring by definition means withdrawal. It is true - I have withdrawn from the frenetic busy-ness which so characterizes our society today, drawn into the tender arms of God where there is shelter and peace and awareness of the great heart-beat of God! Here I see more clearly what direction my prayers should take, humbled by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who leads me in a ministry of prayer.
Retirement is not to be feared. Rather it should be encouraged! Many deep thinkers have coined phrases about the battles we win on our knees. Striding forward into battle on foot doesn't present the same picture as the surrendered posture of a prayer warrior bowed upon his/her knees.
There are seasons in life which give room for both pictures. Thank God for the grace He bestows in retirement!