It depended on the day as to what kind of answer you got from my mother about being the mother of 14 children. I am sure that a good day was looking back with satisfaction at a job well done. A bad day was probably the memories of utter exhaustion at all the work required to keep things moving. I was the twelfth child, and two more followed. Looking back, I see the good. Problem solving must have been a 24 hour a day job for my parents. My mother was the disciplinarian. She showed great wisdom. She was not a spiritual person, but I was. And at 16 I became a Christian. A new family came into my life. Learning to live around spiritual brothers and sisters was easy at first. They were all so nice. But the reality of church-family life is there, and must be negotiated, and skills had to be learned to live and grow together in the Lord. When problems came, some tried to wreck the church, others preferred a Mexican standoff, but the mature used the struggles to make things better.
I am eternally grateful for the irenic spirit that abides in the heart of Ian Mostert. Ian was my first preacher and remains my mentor to this day. During conflict, he always warned me the road of peace was God’s will. That lowering myself to the standards of those harming the church made me a participant by default. And if it’s good enough for Jesus to make us his family and claim us as his family (Heb.3:11), then it behoves us to act like his family. The Apostle John exclaims: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1Jn.3:1). We are brethren working together with God (2Cor.6:1) to create a spiritual household in which truth is that which keeps us together and focused. May all of us say with our brother, Paul: “For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy!” (1Thess.2:19-20). Yes, indeed!