My husband was good at reading a roadmap and I was not. Before the days of GPS we had a plan: I would drive and he would tell me when and where to turn.
We worked well together as a team in travel and for 45-plus years in pastoral ministry; mostly in Illinois. He was the pastor, church builder, leading in the construction of three church buildings — Clinton, Rockford, and Mahomet. I always trusted that he was following the road that God had mapped out for us and I just road along. I loved the ride!
A few years before we retired, I began to feel a strong desire to be credentialed, though I’m not sure why. My heart was always in ministry and I could do what I did under my husband’s covering. My ministry was in music and with the women of the church. I loved leading Bible studies. Why did I need to be credentialed to do any of those things?
But the urging wouldn’t go away. I followed through and was credentialed. Just not ordained.
Retirement from full-time pastoral ministry came in 2002.
After retirement I began feeling an urging to take the steps required to be ordained. I couldn’t fully explain why, but as before, the urging wouldn’t go away. I followed through and was ordained in 2015. I was 84 years old.
My husband’s ministry time was over and now I had to find the right road for myself. I thought my ministry life was over. I had depended on my husband to follow God’s will for us for almost 66 years, letting us know when to move and when to stay put, when to speak and when to be silent.
We moved to an assisted living home, Bridle Brook, in Mahomet, Illinois.
My husband passed away and I found myself alone, having to learn how to follow the road God had for me to travel.
I had no choice in which apartment I would be living in at the Home — just what was available! However, it was just across the hall from the open room where church is held every Sunday, with visiting ministers doing the preaching.
I brought my piano with me. Another resident had heard me playing. One Sunday when a pianist didn’t show up, I was asked to play for the service. I now play every third Sunday.
Another Sunday no minister came. It became known that I was an ordained minister. I was asked to bring a devotion.
Then Covid came and no ministers could come in for the services. I was asked to lead the services and bring the message each Sunday. I did that for almost the entire year. I would not have been asked to do that had I not been an ordained minister.
I was also asked to take the leadership of a Bible study. I continue to lead it.
I was learning how to follow the road God had designed for me. I look back on it all and now see clearly why I felt an urging, deep desire to be credentialed. It was from the Holy Spirit. His timing was and is perfect. He knew the road God had designed for me long before Covid.
There are about 70 residents here who are in the leftover years of their lives and need to hear that Jesus loves them. I am here for such a time as this. (See footnote.) I am now over 90 years old, the road before me is still being planned, and I am learning to listen for the Holy Spirit to show me and guide me.
But best of all, the same Holy Spirit that revealed His will to me is ready to make His will known to each person. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6, MEV).
Footnote: Psalm 90:10 says the length of our days is 70 years — or 80 if we have the strength. Jesus told the disciples, after feeding the five thousand, to “pick up the leftovers, that nothing be wasted.” There are about 70 residents here who are in the leftover years of their lives, past 80, and they need to hear that Jesus loves them. I am here for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, NIV).