So our songsters (choir) led the morning meeting at a small Salvation Army corps (church!) in Springburn in Glasgow last Sunday morning. They only have a congregation of around 10 – despite having once been a large thriving church, as far as I am aware – and with no offence intended, the average age must be quite a high number. I do however have a huge amount of respect for what they do there – despite being few in number they run mothers and toddlers, a community choir, amongst various other weekly activities. The thing that struck me most on Sunday morning though was that yes, there were only ten of them, and they have no appointed officer (minister), but they all seemed so enthusiastic and passionate. It was evident that they were there for the right reason, and that they truly received blessing from being here. You don’t always (don’t always or don’t usually?!) get that impression from everyone in larger congregations, certainly not in my experience. Anyway as part of the meeting plan, I had been asked to give a personal testimony, and I thought I may as well share it. It’s nothing overly profound and probably doesn’t say anything I’ve not said on here before, but thought I’d post it anyway:
My name is Roslyn, and I somehow agreed to share some personal testimony this morning. I thought I’d start by sharing a bit about me…so I’m 23, I’m getting married in August, I’m in the middle of buying my first house, and I’m in my final few months of a degree in psychology at the university of Glasgow. I grew up in the Church of Scotland, then at around 13 started attending the Salvation Army in Hamilton with my grandparents, who have been soldiers in the corps there for the past 60 odd years. After a few months at the corps I got the chance to go to my first Salvation Army music school, and I decided to give it a go. I’ve always been quiet and shy, even more so when I was younger, so at 13, going to an event with around 100 people when I only knew one other person was terrifying, but I can only assume it was God guiding me in a certain direction. I’ve now been to 10 music schools, and it has had a huge impact on my life, both in general and spiritually. It led me to meeting my fiancé – which I presume was a good thing!! 😉 – but it also led me to start worshipping at Clydebank and brought me to where I am now.
The theme for last year’s music school was ‘Transform’, and we focused on people’s stories and testimonies, God’s plans, and how God can transform our lives for the better. Something that came up a lot during the week and that really struck me was the fact that God takes the lives of ordinary people just like every one of us, and transforms us. You don’t need an incredible background story or to be at your lowest or going down the wrong path, but God will transform us wherever we are.
Romans 12 verse 2 was mentioned a lot during the week and has stuck with me since, and I really like the way the New Living Translation puts it. It says:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
The message translation describes it as ‘taking your everyday, ordinary life’ and placing it in line with God. And I have to say I find this quite a challenge – i find it easier (though still very difficult at times!) to try and put myself in tune with God and listen to him when I’ve got a big decision to make or something significant is happening, but in terms of every day life – going to uni, interacting with people, even things like band or songster practice – i find it takes much more conscious effort to be in line with God and to let him shine through what I do and how I behave.
I have always found the idea of God having a plan for our lives a difficult one to take in or be comfortable with, particularly at the minute when I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do once I graduate from uni…whether I’ll be able to go on to further studying or get a job or build a career or anything like that. This verse however reminds me that as well as letting God transform me for the longer term picture, I need to try to rely fully on him for the present too. I need to listen to what he’s saying and focus on where I am just now, and remember that wherever I am, whatever my situation is, God is using me all the time without me even realizing it. In the small things just as much as in the big things. God is constantly working to transform our lives whether we’re aware of it or not, and I thank him for that. I pray that I’ll be able to listen and follow where he leads me, but also that he’ll use me and equip me to help transform others too.
– And I really do mean that last bit I wrote/spoke. I don’t have all the answers or have it all remotely figured out, but I do pray that I’ll be able to listen and follow God and what he has in store for me, however that works or whatever that really means!! I don’t know what I’m meant to do with this life, but I do know I’m passionate about helping people, supporting people, and experiencing this journey with other people. So I really do hope he uses me to help others figure it all out too.
“Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You; We turn to You
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You; We long for You
‘Cause when we see You we find strength to face the day
And in Your presence all our fears are washed away”