Friday, January 25, 2019

Dress Rehearsal

Paul did not know how long he would be here when he wrote Philippians.  It didn’t matter. To live?  Christ;  to die?  Gain.  How long did it take him to figure that out?  ...most of his lifetime. 

I was eleven years old when the second World War broke out. ...on two fronts.  One of my brothers fought for our country in the Air Force in the South Pacific.  He was gone for three years.  We hovered at our mail box,  hoping to hear from him. ...tuning into radio for any news from that theater.   The other brother and his wife moved to our farm to help my dad.  My grandmother was dying, leg amputated from diabetes.  Young German soldiers from a nearby prison camp worked for us at harvest time.  Few American homes were unaffected,  drastically, by the hell of war.    

There was little time or energy for my parents to think about my future after high school. There were no scholarships available.  I so much wanted to go to college. My boyfriend, Ted left for the Navy;  the Shepherd/Collie puppy he had given me was killed in the road. I walked that country road in despair.  My farmer dad who worked so hard for every penny paid two hundred dollars for a year in business college.  That degree opened a door for a job on a college campus. In that college town I was invited to a little church where the "real-deal Christians" loved me to Christ.  A very young Billy Graham came to speak on a Sunday morning.  In a few months I would meet him again in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute's Flounder's Week where he would be the featured speaker.  (You knew I would drop his name. ...once more.  ...couldn't help myself.)  He invited me to his Christian school in Minneapolis.  Finally I was a student in college. Ted mustered out of the Navy, came to Christ and came to college, on to Dallas Seminary and into ministry. Many of you who read this blog are part of the rest of the story.  There would be no story worth telling without you.

For sixty years we served the Lord together.  My darling has been in Heaven for nine years.  I didn't think I could make it for nine DAYS without him, but the Lord, my family, my mission board and a host of supporters have come right along beside me to help me to the end.  When will that come?  I have no idea.  My body is shutting down but the "eyes of my understanding" seem to be opening wider. Again, I "walk a country road".  ...not in Kansas, but in Bear Valley Springs, California.  ...with my cats.  I am not in "despair" as once I was, at seventeen.  Now I am ninety years old.  Mine has been a rich, fulfilling life.  Apparently, it is not over. ... not quite.   I continue to feed a few sheep at a time.  Precious ones like you are scattered around the world, feeding more sheep.  Rarely a day goes by that I do not hear from some of you.  Keep telling me how He is using the Word of God through you.  I will pray for you. Never, ever compare your ministry to others. He is using you in a unique way with just the people He chooses to send to you.  

This last chapter of my life is much quieter, but it is very precious.  When it is time for a NEW BEGINNING,   He will come to fetch me and usher me into the "crowd of witnesses"  that is already there.  Will I see Ted and my son immediately?   I don't know.  It doesn't matter.  Many things do not "matter" as once they did. You know, don't you that this life is but a dress rehearsal?  The BEST is yet to come!

Count your blessings;  name them, one by one.
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. 

Love,  Jo