The Bitter-Sweet Ministry of Saint Margaret
Saint Margaret was my Mother, though I only came to think of her as a saint sometime after she passed into heaven. If only I had appreciated her when she was here! For the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mum; and from her by extension, my three daughters, each of whom is a mother.
Motherhood is an incredible ministry . . . the majority of women take it on willingly, knowing what they’re in for—first the pregnancy, sometimes very difficult—then the actual birthing followed by years of nurturing her children. Then their leaving. Pain at every step, as kids find their way in life.
A minority of mothers abandon their children, and that’s when Grandmothers so often come into play for a second go-around. Bless them!
We won’t dwell on the millions of babies who have been sacrificed.
Margaret Frohawk Phillips, born in rural England into a middle class Christian family, was a natural athlete, and loved field hockey. Her parents were strict and protective, and when a young missionary on his first furlough from China came by and preached in their church, things became a little tense; he had started to show interest in Margaret. Horrors!
Her Mum & Dad quickly poured ice water on any possible thoughts of a long term relationship. Would they let their precious daughter marry this crazy young man who would take her halfway around the world to some uncivilized land? And maybe see their daughter only every five years? No way. Besides, this young man came from a ‘blue collar’ background! (England was very class-conscious back then (did you watch the TV series, Downton Abbey?)
Discouraged, the young man, whose name was Laurance, started back to China. Along the way, he realized he hadn’t even come close to proposing to Margaret, though he knew that he loved her and that she had shown interest in him. So boldly, he reversed course, went back and popped the question. I wasn’t there to see the fireworks, but she accepted him and a year later took a ship all the way to China, where the knot was tied and they settled into ministry.
I never met my grandparents, but I trust that they would have eventually approved of this relationship! I certainly did!
During that time in prison, Mother contracted cancer when I was 11 years of age. Since I was the youngest, it was decided that I should be excluded from such information. Upon liberation by US Armed Forces in 1945, Mum was whisked off to hospital in Shanghai where she underwent a double mastectomy, following which we returned to England late that year. I was never informed of the nature of her surgery until she died seven years later. Such was the secretiveness of my family. All I knew was that she had had an operation and was never really healthy again.
Mum saw me through high school, after which I immediately jumped on a ship and emigrated to my Promised Land. By then, my Dad was back in the Far East, serving in Taiwan, having been kicked out of mainland China by the Communists in 1949. We four siblings were scattered to the four winds, communicating little—and then only by letter mail.
Saint Margaret lived out the rest of her days in England, dying alone during the great London fog of December 1952. I was informed of this by mail, days after she passed away, with the funeral already having been held.
As you can imagine, contrition set in. Why was I so neglectful of her? Why didn’t I answer her yearning letters? Why couldn’t I express my love for her and appreciation of all she sacrificed for me? Here are some excerpts from her last letter to me, written just three weeks before she died . . .
My Darling Peter,
So glad to get your letter, but so very short . . . I seem to know less about you than anyone else in the family . . . I wonder if I should be happy about you if I could see you . . . Sorry to say I am not well; I can’t bend down . . . pray much for me . . . I know the Lord can heal me . . . Remember all your Christian ideals . . . You aren’t thinking too much about girls, are you? Please write to me at once when you receive this . . . Very much love dearest boy, Mother.
Don’t let that sort of letter be the last communication you get from your Mom. Great or not, she’s your mother and must have a special place in your heart. She bore you in great pain, thus deserves at least your admiration. And of course, your love, which when you get right down to it, is a choice.
May Mother’s Day take on an even greater meaning for you this year.
Wisdom From Somewhere
A Christian is never in a state of ‘completion’ but always in a process of ‘becoming.’ Martin Luther
If we take the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words” and apply it to our worship, it would be something like, “The life we live speaks louder than the songs we sing.” Unknown
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. [Hebrews 4:9-10]
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength. Corrie Ten Boom
(Thanks to our Kiwi friends George & Dianne, for passing along this wisdom)
Here’s an invitation from our beloved Tom Hallas . . .
“I’m sending this to you as a personal invitation. This Gathering welcomes the participation of former YWAMers, current staff and friends of YWAM. Please pass it on to those who you know would delight to be invited.” Register at ywamtogether.com
YWAM Together Gathering, Pattaya, Thailand, Sept 2-8, 2018
Walking And Talking With Jesus
I have been pondering and asking God about what it means to be His friend.
Several years ago, I was speaking for the first time in a church, in Victoria, British Columbia. The pastor got up to introduce me and said, ”Donna speaks in the nations, teaches on Listening to God, has spoken across Canada on TV a couple of times, written a manual . . .”
I wanted to cry, and said to God, “I don’t want to be known as a woman who does all those things.” He responded in that quiet voice that touches you deeply, and said, “You no longer have to be known as that woman, you can be known as My friend.”
I stood up in front of the church, and with tears running down my cheeks I said, “Don’t be impressed with what I’ve done, what I’ve said or where I’ve been, because Jesus isn’t. I’ve simply done what He has asked me to do; and He told me that I could be known as His friend. Is there anyone else here that would like to be known by God as His friend? It will cost you everything, because to be His friend you need to be willing to leave everything and follow Him, trusting Him
Not easy, it’s a daily walking and talking with Him and learning what it means to be His friend.
Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” [John 15:14-15]
“Abraham BELIEVED God and it was credited to him as righteousness and he was called God’s friend.” [James 2:23. See also Is 41:8 & 2 Chron 20:7]
I know friendship is a daily walk with Him and it has has been so much my heart’s desire; I make mistakes, but He sees my heart. I asked God, “What do you look for in a friend?” Have you ever asked Him that?
I sensed Him say: “Someone who I can trust and who trusts Me, and will walk by faith, not by fear.” [Heb 11] And, “They love Me above all else because I first loved them.” [1 John 4] And, “The heart’s desire of a friend is to be an answer to My prayers in John 17: for the unity WE have.
“A friend is someone with whom I can share My secrets and in whom I can confide. [Ps 25:14, Deut.29:29] . . . Someone who, when I do miracles through them, won’t take the glory, but give it all to Me . . . Someone who will walk and talk with Me, including Me in all they do . . . Someone who hates what I hate (that’s walking in the fear of the Lord) . . . and Someone who loves what I love—that which I have created for them.”
At the beginning of this year I sensed the Lord say, “Pray, don’t Say,” meaning that I am to include Him in my conversations; instead of reacting to criticisms, responding to Him, and trusting Him to take care of things. I’m still learning through my mistakes, but trying.
That wonderful old hymn, “What a Friend we have in Jesus,” tells us we can give Him all our sins and grief . . . What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer (communication with Him). We become anxious and fearful when we do not give everything to Him.
Prayer and trust are often beyond our understanding but the picture I have is of me as a little child, holding Jesus’ hand and walking along the path of life. I can only see things from a child’s perspective but I trust my heavenly Father and so want to be His friend. Jesus said unless you become like children, you’ll never understand the Kingdom [Mark 10:15]
Friendship with God is for eternity. Let’s continue to walk and talk with Him, trusting Him, until we see Him face to face.
LISTEN to God, have FAITH to believe what He says and walk in OBEDIENCE. He is the only friend we have who can see our hearts.
Love and Blessings,
Camps in Europe this Summer
July 8-14 – YWAM Restenäs, Sweden
Speaker Carolyn Ros “Becoming deeply rooted in God”
Click here for more information
July 15-21 – Sighisoara, Romania
Speakers Kim & Cindy Hunt
July 29-Aug 4 – YWAM Champagne, France
Speaker Richard Jones “The Way to the Father”
Click here for more information
Click here for updates on all Camps!
We all have one; and James tells us that this small but important part of the body is like a bit in a horse’s mouth, like the rudder on a huge ship. It steers us. It’s just a small organ, but oh boy! its influence is enormous. The tongue is a fire! [Read James 3:1-12]
The tongue is an igniter and can spark little fires that can kick off little feuds that break personal relationships; and it can also start great wars. But it’s evil in the heart that starts the ‘snowball’ of wickedness rolling down the mountainside, picking up even more evil thoughts that can so easily lead to the evil words that the tongue blurts out. [Mark 7:21]
While thinking is the beginning of wickedness, it is also the fountain of loving and encouraging words and actions. David wrote,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” [Ps 19:14 NASB]
Till next time, blessings first upon your good and kind thoughts. Then upon your tongue. And mine.
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