When You Feel Just Plain Ordinary

When You Feel Just Plain Ordinary

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

She could not have been more ordinary.

Gladys, was also a poor student and had quit school by age fourteen. She grew up to be a London parlor maid with few prospects. But then God got a hold of her heart and after hearing about the needs in China, she was determined to serve Him there.      

Only no mission board would accept her.

In 1929 China Inland Mission declared she was not qualified and her educational background was too limited. So Gladys Aylward decided to reserve a one-way train ticket to China and every month made a small payment to the travel agency. By age thirty, she was on her way, not knowing where, what or with whom she would minister, but determined to serve God there.

gladys-aylwardThrough a miraculous journey across Russia and many war zones, Gladys arrived in this very foreign country, ready to take on the world. Years later she said: “I had two childhood heartaches: 1. Everyone else had golden curls and I had short dark hair 2. Everyone else kept growing but I stopped at four foot ten inches. I always wished things were different. But when I got off the train in China I was shocked to discover that everyone else around me was short with dark hair. I was home.

Do you ever feel just plain ordinary? Do you ever wonder if God can use you in His radical Kingdom work in the world?conversefield

Gladys’ first mission was at “The Inn of the Eight Happinesses” where she watched over orphans and had a government job of inspecting feet to help educate women on the new law banning foot binding. This gave her an ‘in’ with the community and from then on she became one of them.

By the time war came, she had adopted several children and bravely escorted hundreds of orphans safely across the mountains and the Yellow River. Throughout the Shanxi Province there were churches and believers when she finally left China.

An ordinary woman living an ordinary life? Perhaps. But her story became a bestselling biography by Alan Burgess – “The Small Woman.” And none other than screen star Ingrid Bergman (who was definitely not short) played Gladys Aylward in the Hollywood movie “Inn of the Sixth Happiness.”

glays aylwardMost important was her spiritual legacy, of course.

Our God takes an ordinary person and does extraordinary things through them.

Peter and John, for instance. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.Acts 4.13 NIV

What was the deciding factor that catapulted them into the extraordinary?

“These men had been with Jesus.” And it showed.

What could an ordinary person like you (or me) do if we spent more time with Jesus? Short, dark haired parlor maid Gladys gives us one answer.

What will your story reveal?

under the mercy, Cindy

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
dwellingplacescoverabingdonMy new book Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell arrives June 2016 from the good folks at Abingdon Press. Available in Paperback and Hardcover. 
Preorder from Amazon HERE
Preorder from ChristianBook HERE
Preorder from AbingdonPress HERE
Website/Blog www.EncouragingWords.net
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5 Responses to When You Feel Just Plain Ordinary

  1. Betsy West says:

    I have always been enamored with the story of Gladys Alyward. So glad you used her story to encourage all of us!! Sent from my iPhone


  2. Cherrilynn Bisbano says:

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder that God uses the ordinary for the extraordinary.

  3. Lucinda R Peeples says:

    Thank you for this extraordinary encouragement. In the business of our daily life, , we forget “why” we are here and what we can do with ‘ God’s help’.

  4. Mary J Renneckar says:

    Thank you, Cindy. I praise God as I see Him using you fully. I thank God for sustaining and inspiring you each day. I praise God as I see your beautiful clan of adult children grow. Amen!

  5. Julia distelhurst says:

    Using the ordinary folks is the best and only choice that could have been made. It is the day to day struggles and musing of ordinary people that exemplify living at it’s best. For those that forge ahead believing in God as theit strength, their behaviour and content of their life serve as rememders that we really need nothing but our reliance on God to move ahead from day to day. If a person is struggling, but can see a “likeminded” neighbor or friend “making” life work; herein lies the opportunities to share strengths, bear witness, and show love to each other.

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