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Mature-age MTS?

More By Marian Guthrie

I’m in my 50s but feel as though I’m living the life of a 20 something. What I mean is, I’ve made some decisions that traditionally are more in keeping with a 20 something. But I don’t mind breaking with tradition. And once-upon-a-time I did make those same decisions. You see, at 54 I’m studying part-time at Moore College while doing part-time MTS. It’s taken since 1990 to zig-zag my way here.

Zig

1990. I was planning, along with my husband, to go into ministry. We had a trajectory. We would work together to do God’s work wherever He took us, to be faithful ministers of God’s word, to grow the kingdom. I’d already changed trajectories once, and incurred my father’s wrath, by swapping my studies from accountancy to nursing so that I could be better equipped to be a missionary. But I faltered. I was scared. It had taken courage to tell my parents of my plans to become a missionary. Now it took greater courage to admit to my husband that I couldn’t go to theological college. I just couldn’t do it. I was comfortable in my life. And I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t trust that my Heavenly Father could or would provide all my needs. Fear was an impenetrable force.

I was planning, along with my husband, to go into ministry … But I faltered. I was scared.

Our plans no longer aligned. Without complaint, for my sake and for the sake of our marriage, my husband adjusted his plans. Our trajectory zig-zagged.

We continued to work and for years we served in our church: church treasurer, warden, parish councillor, Bible study leaders, creche helper, serving on the women’s committee, praying in church, reading the Bible in church, singing in church. In those years we raised our children and I dabbled with teachers’ aide-ing and at the age of 48 I undertook a BA.

The Pummelling

All the while, bit by bit, God was teaching me to trust him more and more.  Through the loss of our very first baby, he carried me. Through watching my husband struggle to extricate himself from a business, God carried us both.

The years 2013-14 slammed into me like a cyclone. I was battered, buffeted and beaten as our son wrestled with depression. It seemed that God was pummelling me—yet through it he was yelling, “TRUST ME!!”

He was my lifeline, and Psalm 62:8 became my solace:

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.

Through that time, God carried us all.

Zag

2018 came. It appeared that our trajectory was set on a course towards comfortable retirement in ten years’ time, on the south coast or in the Blue Mountains, either would do. 

Then: “I don’t want to be an accountant forever,” my husband said, “What if we moved somewhere regional to be useful in a church … somewhere, I’m not sure where, yet … I could work part-time.”

I time-travelled back to 1990. The desire to do God’s work wherever he took us; to be faithful ministers of God’s word—to grow the kingdom—rekindled. I knew now that I could trust God implicitly, and without hesitation I agreed.

Our trajectory zig-zagged.  Again.

By 2020 we’d decided that some theological study and ministry experience would be valuable before we embarked on our next zig-zag. But was our timing 30 years off?  I felt age-conscious and conspicuous as I started first on MTS, followed a month later by Moore College.

When I voiced my doubts to a very dear friend who’s witnessed my zig-zagging over the years, she said, “God doesn’t make mistakes and He’s very patient! God’s timing’s perfect, Marian. He’s taken that time to prepare you.”

At 54, I don’t have the vim and verve of a 20-something. But in 1990 I didn’t have the wisdom nor the depth of faith I now have.

At 54, I don’t have the vim and verve of a 20-something, and I’m not as much of an independent agent. Like any MTS-er there’ve been some wobbly moments. Yet, I’m starting to see that age is an advantage. Don’t hear me justifying my choice to disrupt our plans all those years ago, but in 1990, I didn’t have the wisdom nor the depth of faith I now have.

With my husband, I’m looking forward to the next zig-zag, another trajectory. That’s the beauty of trusting fully in my Heavenly Father. I’m excited.

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