Little Women


1 Corinthians 2: 9 (NLT) ‘No mind has imagined what God has prepared …’

‘Little Women’, the novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, intrigued me as a child. The March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy – all different in character, talent, gifting – all with their own individual personality, strength(s). Meg fulfills all expectations, Jo, strong and wilful and at times struggling to subdue her strong personality. Beth, kind, gentle, shy and quiet with a passion for music.   Yet in her quiet unassuming manner displays such a quiet wisdom. Amy is the ‘proper’ young lady of all four girls.   The story is an amazing insight of the determination and survival of the March family.

Anthony Hanson reminds us: ‘The service the christian does is not his, but Christ’s’.

To each one has been given the power of choice – the ability to select direction for our lives. In all life-changing decisions, the Lord must write our agenda, leaving our hope, our purpose, in Higher Hands. Oh that we ‘Know Him’, ‘Know Him’ in our alone time(s) where He and He alone can speak to our hearts.

Friends form such an important part of our lives, especially those we characterise as ‘True Friends’. My thoughts turn to many ‘Women’ who have touched my life. My friend, Elizabeth, now gone to be with the Lord. I will never forget the Sunday Morning she made the journey from Saintfield to Monkstown Baptist Church to hear Dr. Moore preach. As we hugged, I can still hear her whisper in my ear: ‘Well my dear at 92 you must make the most of every opportunity’.   How I miss her letters, her Godly wisdom. Yet, so privileged to have known her, to hear her heart beat with mission – always concerned – always praying – always displaying a Godly character in her loving and kindly nature. I am so thankful the Lord sent Elizabeth ‘My Way’ if only for a short time! A Woman of Faith and Godly Wisdom who lived to be missed.

A somewhat younger Sister touches my life, just now:   Let me introduce you to Miriam Achim, Emanuel University, Oradea, she is the Beth of my ‘Little Women’ – kind, gentle, sweet, quietly shy.   Unlike Beth, her passion is painting – a clearly inspired Artist.   Although studying for her Masters, Miriam took time to paint ‘many’ works of art – all beautiful in their own right – so delicately, lovingly painted with such detail.

These were dedicated to the work of Child Life Romania. Her story reads:


I stop in front of a Painting, being amazed.

A cottage near the river, in the town of Alesd. It’s a painting that catches my curiosity. I let my imagination knock at the door of that house, discovering the image so quiet outside the door … completely opposite to the one that is now.

Noise! I am astonished by the number and whisper to myself: ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Wow! 7 girls and wait! A boy!’ But my surprise increases when I look at the two parents, simple people who have planted love in each of their little ones. Yes, it’s noisy but it’s great! That’s the family. The second numbered .. a girl with chestnut curls painted her own universe that moves around her!

I am amazed! I asked quickly … ‘Who is your teacher? Who trained you?’

She is surprised by my question but she answered: ‘They’ – and with dirty fingers pointed to those she called with so much love … ‘my family’. I gaze over the stack of paintings ….

-This is art … the art of colour, that’s the reality of fleeting moments that can be stored in the passing years … runaway. Word gets colour … Facts – rainbow- and ephemeral life a Painting!

-Well, Well, my little! But … .. a reward?

– A reward of a gift from above? The painter asks me astonished, then she continue meditating ..! There are things so simple – you do not understand? No art can be used for personal purposes related to glory or vanity. Creation is higher than the Creator- it surpasses him, absorbs him! Here’s what you need to ‘resist the temptation’ to refuse celebrity and celebrate only life!

This story becomes reality today …. The gift came ‘from nowhere,’ without preparation or high schools, this child saw the light for more than 23 years, yes, the girl with chestnut curls, transformed by time in a real young lady, presents her own art in colours … the art she chose not to be used for personal purposes ….

‘Resisting temptation’ refusing in front of the world – celebrity! Because she wants to enjoy life … with others! Together with her creations …..Stefana Miriam Achim

What can I say? ‘Thank You Lord for sending this gift to be part of the many who love and care for the Children of Romania’.

THREE other Beth’s: Silvia, Child Life Specialist, Oana, Librarian, Emanuel University, Maria, Music Scholarship, Italy. All gifted, creative, possessing such a beauty of holiness. I have come to love these girls, to admire their humble spirit, their hunger for the Word of God. On my return, we hope as a group study ‘Passion and Purity’ by Elisabeth Elliott. This will be a special time.

All four girls have the most amazing ‘SMILE’ – our friendship is treasured, they are precious to me. Pray for my four ‘Little Women’ – Miriam, Silvia, Oana and Maria, that they may grow and mature into Women of Faith.

 TEN days remaining before we return to Romania possibly until Christmas. These have been days filled to capacity yet so rewarding. We returned home to launch my husband’s publication on The Pastoral Epistles and look forward to the three Book Launches next week. Wednesday, 11th in Magherafelt B.C. / Thursday, 12th in Castlereagh B.C. / Saturday, 14th in Coleraine B.C. We leave early Monday 16th!

An amazing event that will live in my heart – Logans of Cloughmills. The air was filled with a ‘Buzz’ of excitement as all the ladies entered the building enhanced by the beautiful music ensemble of Rhoda Baxter (Violin) and Andrew Gibson ( Piano). Amidst all the ambiance, quality and Fashion Extravaganza there was a sweet aroma in the atmosphere. Our Unseen Guest graced the evening with His presence.

Mr. Ivor Boyd had the vision to host this evening of Fashion as unto the Lord for Child Life Romania. The female staff, headed by Frances Lennox, Manageress, made our time together – a night to be remembered. Jude, so gracious (as ever) in her welcome and Alan overseeing the welfare and comfort of all in attendance. Emails, Texts are still arriving complimenting the ‘Buffet Supper’ where again quality, presentation and excellence were appreciated by all who enjoyed the wonderful delicacies.

Friends who traveled from Belfast remarked: ‘Who are all these ladies? We don’t know any of them!’   Those of you who really know me – know that in my ‘Shirley Time’ an analysis will take place! Again, an overpowering sense of ‘Thankfulness’ filled my heart. Looking back, His love and mercy is clearly seen. Three years ago? Did I think, did I know, could I comprehend where I would be or who the Lord would bring into my life? I am so privileged to walk beside my husband, to leave behind the ‘comfort zone’ and go! Familiar … No.   Different … Yes!   A new land of adoption, home, church, friends(s).   But then I have the assurance that: ‘All my days were already written, fashioned for me!’ God has been faithful. I commenced this update highlighting the impact the novel ‘Little Women’ made upon me as a child. Today, I recognize the Hand of God, that we are here, sent, ‘FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS’. Friends, old or new – can go forward ‘together’ ‘In Him’.

ANALYSIS:   My days in Holywood. My days in Portstewart. My days in Romania. Many different pathway(s) – pathways of discovery, faith, assurance, peace, victory, His presence has always gone before me and I know the good times, the difficult times, were chosen by Higher Hands – yes for a season and certainly for a reason. All Seasons of Life and Learning.

‘I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved’

Psalm 16: 8

Shirley, 05 November, 2015

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