The Saints in My Life
True Confession – Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I’m sorry to disappoint so many of you. My imagination still thrives, but not in this direction nearly as much as it used to do. One of my favorite holidays is today, All Saints Day.
All Saints Day kicks off the month of November, which in my mind is always a month of gratitude. I need this month of gratitude, because it reorients my perspective. Starting off with All Saints Day helps me really focus on what matters most.
Today I give thanks for the people in my life who have helped me grow in faith in Christ – the saints who have showed me how to live more like Christ bit by bit. Some of them are still alive; some are living in heaven with Jesus. They’ve all blessed my life in so many ways.
I start with family, with grandparents who always made faith and the church a priority, and who served each other, their family, their friends, and those beyond with grace, humility, and care. I’m blessed to still have my grandmothers with me. Parents, who had the tough conversations with me over and over again. My daughters, who have helped me grow in many ways as they’ve taught me the lessons of patience, determination, and strength which I didn’t realize I needed, until I did.
So many people I’ve met at church have shaped my faith and life, and I’ll never be able to say thank you because so many of them are already with Jesus. I didn’t know I was destined to be a pastor, but some of them may have guessed it, and they took the time to talk with me, teach me, guide me, listen, and love. From Charlie who anchored our Sunday services to Wilhelmina who left me her Bible, from Charlotte, my extra grandmother, to Jesse, who wisely tried to talk me out of ministry. To Henry and Sharon, Martin and Patti, Wayne, and David who anchored my time as a young person. From Ben, whose life was cut short on his path to being a pastor, and I always feel like I took his place, to Martha Bess and Joan and Carson – who mentored me in college. Susan and Drew who were great campus ministers at a time when I needed support and encouragement, and Frances, Ron, Gerry, Bill, and Graham who accompanied me through seminary. I know there were many more who haven’t made this list today, but not from lack of appreciation and care. My students at Westminster Presbyterian would be too many to remember and list!
Now, I’ve served four churches as a volunteer or lay staff/intern. I’ve served six churches as a pastor. In those ten churches and in friendships beyond, I’ve found more saints than I could possibly count. That just proves what I had already guessed…
SAINTS ARE AROUND EVERY CORNER.
You know a bunch. I know a bunch. You are one. I am one. Whenever we serve Christ and love others to the best of our abilities, we are one of the family of saints. We’ll never know how we’ve impacted others for good, but we have. We do have the chance to thank some of our saints that are still living. We have the chance to reach out and share how they made a difference in our lives – and that is gratitude in the best form.
I’m saying THANK YOU – to the saints named in this blog, to the many more who have touched my life, and to those who are already with Jesus. I wouldn’t be who I am without you. You heard and answered God’s call to be there for others, and you blessed me beyond my understanding.
May we all take some time to say thank you… and to consider if we’ve answered the call to be saints for someone else, so they can be grateful too. As long as there are saints, Christ’s Kingdom is alive and well, and there is hope abundant.