'I love that our doors are always open. We try to love people and not judge them'
Marg’s story | An ‘ordinary’ person empowered to do extraordinary things
“My dad was a Presbyterian minister from Scotland. He and Eric Liddell were in the same Bible classes. They were friends. Dad and a few others came out to Australia in 1930 to help the Presbyterian Church in Queensland. He had a very simple faith, but it had a profound impact on me.”
“He met my mum in one of the churches and they married and had three kids. We moved around a bit as a family because he was the minister in five different places. It was a poor but loving home and I heard plenty of Scripture. Dad kept saying that we were to love God, and love people. That was it. He was strict as well and I was a bit of a cheeky monster. But he kept saying the same thing … and after he died, I put his sermons in a basket and I kept them.
“I feel like I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary. I’m 80 now, and I’ve always been part of a church. For the last 50 years, I’ve been part of our church in Turramurra (Sydney). I love that our doors are always open. We try to love people and not judge them. I help with the playgroup and also a group that supports the older women. Twice a year, we run a flea market and we raise about $22,000. We give it all away. We’ve been doing it for decades. I also trained as a teacher and I worked at Roseville College (Sydney) for 27 years. That was after taking 15 years off to raise our four children.
“In 2015, a beautiful friend asked me to come on her Kairos ‘outside’ team. It’s a group that supports women who have family members or friends inside the prisons. It breaks my heart listening to their stories. We help them by inviting them as guests on weekends away and we really listen to them and accept them. We all weep together. We never judge them. And every week, I make a few follow up phone calls to keep in touch with them. I think God has taught me a lot by getting me outside my comfort zone. If only we could realise that all people are humans, just like us.
“I feel like I’ve changed in the last half of my life. I’m more relaxed now. I did have a problem with flying off the handle when the kids were little. I don’t think I had enough time to immerse myself in Scripture. But recently, that’s changed again. I’m finding more time. I’m becoming closer to God again. I often feel like the two disciples who were walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They said, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ (Luke 24:32) That’s how it’s been for me. Scripture is so heart-warming!
“Lately, I’ve also been thinking about how I can share the truth with my eleven blessings (my grandchildren). How can I tell them that loving God is the most important thing? Then just this week, I was reminded again. We were cleaning out our house, because we’re about to sell it (after 49 years), and I found the basket of my dad’s old sermons.
“I sat down and started reading them again. I’ve been using them as my devotional material. They’re so precious! It’s the same truth. Just love. Love God first, then love others. It’s the way to true happiness. Maybe I’ll show that to my grandchildren by keeping on doing what I’m doing …”
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)