As someone who will be a regular contributor to this column, I felt it would be helpful if I introduced myself.
And then I ran into a real problem: which part of me do I introduce?
Which part of you? What does that mean? How many “parts” do you have?
Honest question. Honest answer? Many. Just like you. Some are easier than others to reveal.
Great-grandmother. (Yep. Trust me, I’m old enough to be one.) Business Administrator at my church. Women’s ministry leader. Prayer ministry leader. Serious Bible student and teacher. Board member of Care Net Pregnancy Services . Member of the leadership team of Women’s Ministry Council. Avid reader. Writer. Former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor. Theologically Reformed. Some call me a miracle after God pulled me back from near death a couple of years ago. Some (who may not know me as well as they think they do) label me as “wise; discerning; outgoing; compassionate.”
So. Are you perhaps just a tad impressed? Hmmph. Don’t be. Here are some other labels that have defined me: preacher’s daughter who spent a lot of years telling God to go away and leave me alone; that I’d do things my way, thank you very much. Didn’t much like him, or at the very least, didn’t understand how he worked in human lives.
And I certainly didn’t like his people. Hurtful hypocrites, every one of them. Some of them even chased me out of a church when a pastor felt it was necessary to share my confessed, sinful past (key word: “past”) with his wife, who felt it beneficial to pass along a “prayer request” to her best friends, who found it juicy enough to pass it along to other acquaintances – well, you can guess how that turned out.
A more difficult label: sexually promiscuous – before, during and after marriage. Hurting, lonely, rejected, looking for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. My great ambition when I was young was to be a wife and mother, and I had always wanted four children. I miscarried one; aborted two; gave birth to one. Four babies – four fathers.
Consummate actress (in other words, “hypocrite”) and liar, controller and manipulator. Loner. Lots of acquaintances; no close friends. Glutton. Critical and mean-spirited. Two-pack-a-day smoker for over 30 years. (I’ve been known to teach a home study with a Bible in one hand and a cigarette in the other.)
What’s the point of all that self-revelation? So I can more effectively introduce the real me. Trish Jones: redeemed, justified, beloved and reconciled by and to a Holy God. In union with his Son and my King, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s a mouthful – of Grace. As the Apostle Paul hammers home in his letters to the scattered churches of his day, I am in Christ – and he is in me. Extraordinary grace – and truth.
I am passionate about Jesus and making him known; deeply concerned about the lack of Biblical literacy in our western churches and individual lives; and painfully aware of the hurts, fears and questions that so many of us women hide behind our smiling faces on a Sunday morning.
Thus the reason behind my rather blunt self-introduction: I’m a real person, just like you. I have a broken, sinful past – just like you. I battle besetting sins; I struggle with the ongoing tension between God’s amazing grace and God’s requirement for holy living; I have personal concerns about finances and health; I have painful and fractured family relationships; and I have an absolutely guaranteed and glorious future that gets closer every day.
So. In coming columns, as you (hopefully) read my writings about (at least part of) what God is teaching me through his Word, you will know you are sharing the thoughts of a real person. Not a woman perched on some ivory tower somewhere, but a woman down in the trenches of this daily, difficult, nitty-gritty life, right alongside you. I’ve probably been in those trenches longer than most of you, so perhaps our Lord can use me to both encourage and exhort you in your own hand-to-hand combat with the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2:2,3).
That’s my prayer – and my purpose. Discipleship. Coming along beside other women to lend a listening ear, an understanding heart, and a helping hand through walking in the Spirit and the Word – together.
The next time we are together in this column (if I haven’t totally scared you off) we will be looking at Colossians 1:27-29 – a few declarations of the Apostle Paul that lay out the purpose, ways and means of discipleship. I hope you’ll join me. In the meantime – Abide.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact me at TRISH JONES.