Over the past few weeks, I have been flooded with memories of my time spent at Glasshouse Christian College as a child. It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since I walked these grounds as a student, and now I have the privilege of returning to a place I love as one of your Primary Pastors. Life has a way of unfolding in unexpected and unimaginable ways, and it is in these moments that we catch a glimpse of the amazing way God works in our lives.
I still vividly remember the day our small school was frozen in anticipation, waiting to hear the results of Saturday Disney’s Disney on Ice school competition. We, like many other school families, gathered around our family car radio in the school car park, hearts pounding with excitement and hope. “And the winner is… grade 2/3 from Glasshouse Country Christian College!” Cheers were heard throughout the school grounds, and my teachers’ voice crackled through the radio, a mix of disbelief, excitement and shock. Our class won 100-150 tickets to Disney on Ice! But what made this victory even more remarkable was that the prize was meant to cover just one class’s entry. However, for our unheard-of, small country school, it meant that the entire school, staff, and many parents got to experience the magic of Disney.
This story reminds me of a powerful truth found in the Bible. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we read,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s plans often surpass our own limited expectations. What seemed impossible became a reality for our school community that day, reminding us that God’s blessings can come to us in ways we never could have imagined. From a tiny school of 16 students to one of nearly 1200. God saw what was possible and He made it a reality. I have personally known this truth as it has been weaving the tapestry of my life, revealing itself in various chapters.
When I first left high school, I trained and worked as a hairdresser for several years. In the background, God opened doors for me to serve Him on short-term mission trips overseas through my love of travel. He used the paths I traversed to develop a heart for people, but more specifically, for children and youth. And He used the people I met and the challenges I faced to light a fire of desperation, to see hearts healed and lives transformed by His living hope. As a hairdresser, I attended Bible College, until I left hairdressing to pursue work in ministry. Since then I have worked as a Chaplain in both Christian and Public schools, and have spent the last three years working as a Children’s and Youth Pastor at a Baptist Church up north.
Whilst the plan and potential I saw for myself were limited, looking back, it’s clear that God was shaping me, moulding me, and guiding me. I have learned to trust that God’s ways are higher than my own, and His thoughts are far beyond my understanding. I pray the same for each of you. That you embrace the truth that God’s plans for your lives extend far beyond what you can imagine. He sees the potential within each of you, and He is working behind the scenes, orchestrating greatness even in the midst of the ordinary.
Jacqueline Newell, College Pastor