A Big One

On September 14, Michael greeted me with Happy Birthday! This is a milestone.” Without thinking I replied, “Thank you! It sure took a lot to get here!”  We laughed.

Throughout this week I have been musing on the words that tumbled out my mouth. It really HAS taken a lot to get here: 65 years; 780 months; 1,542,125 days! But how DID I get here? I reflected on how many seasons of life I’ve lived: growing up on a farm, singing my way through school, traveling the world as a soloist with Cru (26 countries), recording albums, dating and marrying Michael, writing and teaching young musicians in ministry, having babies, losing babies, home schooling curious minds, leading worship, moving across the country a few times, speaking at retreats, losing parents, teaching others how to develop and deliver their story, coaching others in communication, losing more parents and family, supporting Michael in grad school, extensive study in how to walk with others in grief, engaging a more contemplative life and becoming a spiritual director, developing and teaching grief care, becoming a Nana, ETC.

 Reflecting on these seasons, I am aware of how little I had to do with “getting here.” God divinely placed me in my family and small-town farming community to begin shaping my heart and character. I had absolutely nothing to do with the gifts God gave me. I watched him open doors I would have never thought to push open. I felt God guiding me from one season into the next, and he used oh so many people to pour into me and give wise counsel along the way. He connected me with others who had similar passions to partner together in ministry all these years.

Honestly, I have done very little on my own initiative. I feel I have only responded to life. Some are surprised to learn what a fearful creature I am. My heart is quite timid, but I also hate to miss out on opportunities or adventures. God mercifully provided courage for my feeble heart. I remember boarding many airplanes, or walking out on stage before thousands, whispering to God over and over, “I wouldn’t do this for anyone but you.” And some seasons I know the ONLY way I made it through was being carried by the love and gentle grace of God.

 How about you? What has it taken for YOU to get here? It is well worth pondering!

This month’s reflections are sobering because my dear friend Elizabeth barely made it to 64 before passing away Sep 1st. She played piano for me back in 1987-88. She lived in Amsterdam and we reconnected in person in 2015 amazed by how similar our life paths had been. After her terminal cancer diagnosis, she asked if I would accompany her in her grief journey. A sacred and delicate path to walk with such a dear friend.

Elizabeth had a beautiful and tender heart for Jesus and was passionate to help others grow deeper in their walks with God. Elizabeth, your legacy lives on through all the lives you touched, poured into, and loved.