Friday, June 11, 2010

DEVOTION: Share Your Story (Ray Hawkins)

My grandmother, whom we called Dorrie, was born in the closing third of the nineteenth century in a country town in New South Wales. From snippets gained across the years we learnt of her family’s poverty, loneliness, fear of Indigenous tribes on their walkabouts and an occasional bushranger. Dorrie was resilient, strong minded, loving but not always wise.
The problem I have with her and it can never be remedied, is the fact that she would never really talk about her history. The problem I have now with myself is that sisters, brother and I were either too naïve or self interested to prod her into telling. We are the poorer for not having a better idea about our heritage and history.
Living as we do in a World addicted to immediate information, we can become blasé about recording our own journey of life and faith. When our children or other relatives are young they will not be overly interested in our story. When they are older and we have possibly left the scene, they will be disappointed at the gaps in their understanding of you and the previous generations. Matters of how you became a Christian, the high and low points in your commitment and the mercy of God in your life, may seem uniquely yours. However, they are spiritual life and light to be shared with others. This awareness seems to be underlined by the Psalmist when he wrote, ‘Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.’ (Ps. 145:3, 4 NIV) He said he would proclaim the Lord’s great deeds. This might be beyond some of us, but we can write about them.
If you are similar to me, it is difficult to tell your faith experiences to family and friends. Some may be hostile, sceptical or simply indifferent. However, they need to know. They can escape your presence, but the written word can catch them, trap them and arouse their curiosity. What happens between the words and their minds and the working of the Holy Spirit is outside your responsibility and power.
Being a preacher I’ve shared some of my experiences, and my growing children have heard them. However, memories fade, the written word doesn’t. So, I’m putting facets of my life in small chunks for their interest when that desire arises or when it is aroused after I’m dead. Our testimony and its influence and gratitude to the Lord Jesus need not end at our last breath.

A Writer’s motivation. Jude 1-3, 20-25.

Take heart. The written word remains God’s seed. Let us plant it in someone’s heart.

Prayer. Father, you know there are times when my mouth seems to jumble up what I want to say about Jesus to others. I’m sorry about that. However I want to thank you for the ability to write, hone, polish words that express my heart and desire about you to others. I pray that your Holy Spirit will use them as a ‘sword’ to pierce or ‘balm’ to heal and even ‘bread and milk’ to nourish. Amen!

Raymond N Hawkins (Tasmania) is a retired Churches of Christ (Australia) minister. He is married to Mary, a multi-published author. They are parents to three children and ‘spoilers’ of 5 grandchildren. Ray still preaches at a newly formed Baptist Church and as other opportunities arise. He helps at their son and daughter-in-law’s sea horse and fresh-water fish farm. He and Mary have experienced three short-term mission trips to African countries as well as ministered in the U.K.


  1. Thanks for the challenge to get our memories down in writing before it's too late, Ray.
    Before my mother died, she gave me a huge box bursting with photographs. She wanted me to have them while she still "had her memory" and could tell me who everyone was. Sad thing is - she'd lost her sight, so couldn't see them to identify them.

  2. Long ago I had a aunt who realized the importance of family heritage. She created a booklet (mimeographed, no computers then0 called "One Block of the Pattern" in which she documented my grandparent's lives. Each of the ten children was given a copy and told to complete their own "block of the Pattern" over time. I have one of those books, and regret to admit, I haven't added to it. My husband keeps prodding me. So, today, I'll write down one of my family stories and add it to the quilt.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Ray, insightful and challenging post! Thanks for sharing with us today :-)

  4. Great post, Ray. On one visit to my Finnish maternal grandmother, I brought my camcorder and set it up on a side table in her small apartment. For the next couple hours, she braided her rag rugs, served us coffee, and answered my questions. I wanted to know about her childhood in Finland and her life as a young mother eking out a living on a farm in the wilderness of Northern Ontario. She told me how she raised 6 kids in a one room log house, of lugging cream cans the 7 miles to town, and how she lost her 16 yr old son in an accident between their small tractor and a tractor-trailer (18 wheeler/lorry). And she testified her faith in Christ. That tape is all I have left of her and serves its purpose well, especially to my sons who were too young to remember her.

    Ray, thank you for reminding me of it. I think it's time for another home movie night. :)

  5. I reminder my grandmother-in-law with love and awe. Was just about to write my scheduled post for the blog and as I started to comment here decided there was too much to say about my memories of dear Gram - or Dorrie as her great-grandchildren cheekily called their great grandmother-in-law! Gram would simply be one of the most awesome women I have ever met.