Twenty-five years ago, when I was forty and married to a very public pastor, I entered an era of spiritual and emotional crisis. In the deep soils of my soul, the earth quaked; my life crumbled. Though the crumbling was quiet, it was agonizing. I could not imagine that anything could mend the fractures that split my soul.
But I was wrong. With my husband’s support and the guidance of deeply spiritual counselors, I spent the next decade discovering healing truths about myself and about God.
Along the way I stumbled into the sacred writings of poets and mystics. Their words led me into a healing silence where I experienced the greening of my soul and discovered a Christianity I had never known.
Although it was a painful and messy decade I can now look back and sum it up like this: I entered the places of my deepest brokenness and I found Jesus there, loving me. That changed everything. Divine love was a foundation I could build a life on.
By the time I moved from my forties into my fifties—though I was still aware of my own deep brokenness—I felt an undeniable call to follow Jesus deeper into the brokenness of the world.
I ended up in places like South Africa, Zambia, DR Congo, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq. I met children orphaned by AIDS and women raped in warzones. I met families destroyed by the despair of unsurmountable poverty. I met refugees who had crossed country borders in the middle of the night with bullets chasing them.
Such brokenness. Such pain.
But in the midst of what seemed hopeless I found hope. I found heroes on the ground: peacemakers and healers and pastors and diplomats and ordinary people who refused to do nothing. These men and women, by their wise and loving actions, humbled and inspired me. I’ve listed some of these heroes on my Partnership page because their stories deserve to be heard. If you’re looking for a hero of your own, feel free to claim some of mine!
I’ve long since left my fifties, but life is getting no less interesting. I don’t travel as much as I used to, but I seem to have developed a global soul that refuses to be ignored. My passport is still on the move.
My husband and I have been married for over four decades. As with many couples, there were times we couldn’t imagine making it through another year, let alone another decade or two. But here we are! One of the lovely rewards of perseverance is getting to celebrate the depth and beauty of a long-term partnership.
And what better way to celebrate that partnership than with our kids and grandkids? Wednesday evenings often find us gathered for a casual meal with our son, Todd Hybels, and our daughter and son-in-law, Shauna and Aaron Niequist, and their two sons—our grandsons, Henry and Mac. Usually Shauna has prepared an assortment of fresh finger foods we can eat standing around the counter in the kitchen or chasing the boys around the house. Often the boys are noisier than we wish and our conversations are more scattered than we intend. But there’s always laughter and authentic expressions of love, and I’d rank those weekly huddles in Shauna’s kitchen right up with the best life has to offer.
Clearly, I have much for which to be grateful!