Brenda King is the Invercargill Community Ministries Coordinator, and she loves her job. Throughout her life, God has continually put Brenda in positions that stretch her, and she often finds herself wondering how she got there. But she knows it’s God directing her life.
I grew up in Waimate in a loving family, but had no experience of God at all as a child. I was very compliant, and repeatedly told that I was good and kind and nice. So I grew up with those words in my head, and never got into any real trouble.
When I was 17, I moved to Invercargill, where I met my husband Bruce, and we started a family. I found myself with two babies and was a little bit lost. I met a young woman and there was something about her that sparked interest in me. She had just become a Christian and was a very on fire, charismatic and chatty person. She shared the gospel with me repeatedly, and I recall her saying often that I was a sinner who needed to repent and accept Jesus as my Saviour. But I was quite indignant about the whole repentance issue because I was good—everyone had said so my whole life! I truly believed I had absolutely nothing to repent about. It was a real stumbling block for me.
I was going along to a Bible study with this young woman, and, to be honest, I thought they were all a bit mad most of the time—but I kept going anyway. One day I came across Isaiah 64:6, which says that ‘…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags [to the Lord]’. That cut me to the quick. It was like the scales fell off my eyes and I saw that actually my goodness was a fallacy and didn’t compare with God’s goodness—we are all sinners. Once I grasped that, I was able to truly repent and receive the peace I’d been searching for.
I used to drive past the Clifton Salvation Army on my way to church, until a neighbour and I were invited to go along and view a James Dobson video series on child rearing. It was a natural progression for me to start going to the Clifton Sallies, because it was made up of people mostly from my neighbourhood. It was a small fellowship and felt like a family. Everyone had something to do. I became a soldier and over the years served in various local officer roles, including corps sergeant major.
I’m the only Christian in my family, so getting the balance between church life and home life continues to be a challenge, but God is at work and he sees the big picture of my life. The day-to-day victories that might seem quite small are building towards something I can’t fully comprehend the impact of. But I do think about the legacy I’m leaving future generations. Have I walked the talk, lived with integrity and done what God’s required of me?
A Bible verse I love is Joshua 1:9, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’. This verse seems more and more appropriate in these difficult days we are living in—the world is changing rapidly. I don’t see myself as a particularly fearful person, but sometimes when I’m watching the news it can all be quite daunting. So that’s my go-to verse and I’m hanging on to it.
Throughout my journey, I’ve found that self-awareness is key. I think we condemn ourselves when we compare ourselves with others and feel like we come up short. But when we realise that no, God didn’t make a mistake when he put me together differently to the next person, he really does have a purpose for me—that’s really freeing!