Four years ago I recognized that my life was taking a large turn. Exercising a long-held habit, I scheduled a day to reassess and set new goals for my next years. A splash of freezing reality hit my face that morning as I wrote the words: “My Ten Year Goals”
“I’ll be 80 in 10 years!” I realized. “I’m only promised three score and 10, right? I’m already living on borrowed time!” Maybe I should plan for just two or three-year goals? The reality was paralyzing. Why even do this?” But then the optimist in me started to take over.
“Well, you might live that long,” I argued with myself. “At any rate you’ve got to decide what you’re going to do with nearly 50 years of ministry experience? You don’t have to retire. You are still young-at-heart and loaded with inner energy. You need to add your experience to the wisdom you’ve gained and intentionally give it back. You’re doing that already.”
Still I argued: “But I could very well die before ten years were over! But then, I guess that’s better than dying not having any goals.” So I dared to write down the words.
My 10-Year Goal: Share with others all that God has given me. The ways to do that could be varied (with my personality always craving variety): speaking, teaching, writing, and mentoring, in person and online.
I want to challenge men and women to become all God’s intends them to be, not passive observers of life, but active engagers in kingdom work in today’s world. I want to challenge them to believe the influence they could have when grounded in truth and fully exercising their gifts.
I’ve been privileged with rich experiences: raised in an affirming home of spiritual opportunity and challenge: years spent in international evangelism; church planting in Europe; and myriad responsibilities as a pastor’s wife. I’ve had to lead as well as teach and mentor in the church and in higher education.
Knowing what it was to live as a single until age 34, I then experienced becoming a wife, a mother and a grandmother. And for the past 19 years, I’ve had to come to terms with a new form of singleness as a widow. A lot of living to share! It would be essential that I remain fresh and relevant. So I took on the promise in Jeremiah 17:7.8
“Blessed is the (wo)man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust IS the Lord. She is like a tree planted by water; that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. ”
Shortly after that day, my “jar of clay” started to crumble, requiring surgeries and new testing of my “trust in the Lord.” I moved back to my northern roots after fruitful years in the Carolinas and settled in New Jersey. Still in rehab, I returned to writing, continued mentoring relationships, and studied scripture in new ways as I battled “not to fear the heat as it came.” New opportunities arose. Now after speaking at two very encouraging retreats, I am ready to launch out once again to share what I have been given.
A new dose of reality hit me today. I’m already four years into those 10!