With a mixed faith heritage, Wendy Glen’s journey to Christianity was a unique one.
I’ve spent my whole life in Box Hill (in Melbourne’s east): born in Box Hill Hospital, grew up in Box Hill and raised my own family in Box Hill, with no intention of moving anywhere in a rush.
I grew up in large, happy family of six brothers and one sister and plenty of involvement from my one lovely surviving grandma. Being the seventh child meant I was spoiled for company and love, and my childhood was filled with games, stories, gardening and cooking.
My family had no faith affiliation, with Mum coming from a Christian family and Dad a Jewish one: their two different faiths led them to choose to bring us kids up with no formal religion but a philosophy of tolerance and moral integrity.
I’d always felt in my life like something was missing. As a child, an often told family story had me ask ‘Why is the sky?’ and ‘Do you think we are so big and ants so small that they don’t even know we are here?’
I begged Dad to tell me about the synagogue and Mum to tell me stories from her going to Sunday School as a kid. I even walked myself to the local Uniting Church (our only one that was walking distance from home) but somehow didn’t find what I was looking for at their Sunday School.
When I was 18 I got my licence and a new set of freedoms and, between the Christian Union at uni and a couple of friends prepared to share their faith, I found my way to hearing about Jesus. I found what I’d been looking for since childhood, with an introduction to a faith of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control, as well as a hope and purpose.
Later again, after I was married with one baby (the other was yet to come) Box Hill Salvos was starting a new family-friendly 9.30 am service, where they offered a cuppa, a service specially aimed at people who hadn’t been to church before and an inspirational message to take into the week.
We went along to that very first 9.30 am
service and after a short while Box Hill Salvos became our church, where we got to go and grow in our faith. Since then we’ve really put down roots there. It’s now 20 years that we have been surrounded by, and contributed to, this community of people committed to living lives modelled on Jesus.
Running is now a big part of my life and I often look for glimpses of God while I run, a hobby I’ve discovered in the last few years. As well as a gorgeous community around me at church, there are also a number of us from Box Hill Salvos who like a walk or run at Westerfolds Park on Saturday morning. It’s a great time for sharing our lives with each other, celebrating achievements and connecting with our local community.
I often see glimpses of God as I share the park with my buddies, kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, tawny frog mouths and a host of parrots. The changing skyline, strong trees and peaceful grasslands, along with the Yarra River and its burbling rapids often speak to me of the glory of God.
So how has my life changed since I found my personal relationship with Jesus?
Well, the daily reality looks much the same as it ever did but my purpose, understanding of the meaning of life and hope for the future are now based in eternity.
I have a growing understanding of what it is to love God and love others and I try hard to share the goodness of God with those who cross my path in both my actions and with my words. I start most days praying that people might see the goodness of Jesus in their interactions with me and the world might see the ripples of his love from my living.