“All the way home, Jill; all the way, all the way home!”
I first heard these words from Jill Briscoe, one of my spiritual heroes, six years ago when a friend and I were invited to Wisconsin to attend an event where Jill would be teaching. (I wrote about it here.) A modern-day apostle, Jill had been an inspiration to me for decades. Jill’s wisdom, wit and warmth first captured my heart as a new Christian, when I sat under her teaching in my first ever women’s conference.
The author of more than 40 books on faith, Jill has shared a vibrant ministry with her husband, Stuart Briscoe. Both were born in England and pastored a church in the United States for 30 years. They also traveled around the world with a passion to preach Christ and “see to it that no one misses the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15).
“All the way home” became Jill’s promise to God during a season when she was weary and ready to step away from service to Him. An excerpt from her poem All the Way Home:
Time for prayers of dedication,
I was tired, so late at night,
Shut my eyes and wished it over,
When a picture sprang to sight!
Saw a cross alone, discarded
Laid at rest against a wall,
Who’d laid down such holy symbol?
Who’d abandoned life’s “faith call”?
Now 85 and a widow, Jill carries on the ministry she and her husband began together. She continues to impact women around the world through her online ministry Telling the Truth and through the magazine she founded, Just Between Us.
My own “ministry” takes place at a table in the corner of my farmhouse. It’s where I write essays on “faith, community and the lasting value of the stories we live and tell”. Sometimes I’m asked to speak to other women about what God has done in my life, another form of ministry. After 12 years of writing essays and sharing them online and of speaking into the lives of other women as a speaker, teacher and leader, I have considered that it may be my time to just peck away at my novel and step away from life’s “faith call”.
But not today. Oh, I’m not giving up on that novel, but I am also still here sharing my heart with you. So, to remind myself why I carry on I have quoted Jill’s words as the tagline to my newly-remodeled website:
“I’m no hero—special woman
Just a lady, old and gray,
But my cross, Lord, I will carry,
Home, Lord, home, Lord—ALL THE WAY!”