Thank God, It Is Completed

Two weeks ago, I typed some final words in a LibreOffice document. I scrolled through the 70+ pages, checking for gaps and obvious mistakes. Then I went back down to the bottom. The last words made me smile: “Thank God, it is completed.”

Those words were quoted from a song chosen by my great-grandmother Annie Frey Weber for her funeral. She lived a long life with humor and grace. It was not without its trials–which included the death of her husband after five years of marriage, separation from her children, and health problems. But she found her joy in the Author and Finisher of her faith.

During the last two years or so, I have spent countless hours researching Annie’s life, hunting up old letters she wrote, and writing her life story. I’ve talked with relatives: my grandfather, great-aunt, cousins-once-removed, and others. My friends and family helped keep me accountable to work at it when my motivation lagged. And now, two weeks ago, I finished the first draft.

I looked at the word count. 27,600+ words.

Really?

After all that time I put into it, that’s all?

And that was the sum of a life. I had chronicled almost every incident about great-grandma Annie that I could get my hands on. But still, only 27,600 words.

That night as I prepared for bed, I couldn’t help but ponder. Annie Weber lived only a few generations ago, and already this small account is all that remains on earth to testify to her life. Does a life have no more import than that?

But. I was only counting words.

That’s not the only measure of a life. What about the three children and many grandchildren and greatgrandchildren that her life paved the way for? What about the many people she inspired while she was on earth? What about the testimony that still lives on in the stories about her, the faith that moved me to tears as I looked over the extent of her life?

She lived her life in submission to God, and it was not in vain. I pray that the hours I have spent in writing Amen to Thy Will won’t be in vain either–that someday, a wider audience can also be inspired by the story of her life.

P.S. I’m currently working on book revisions and getting feedback. Stay tuned for updates, and to hear when the book becomes available to buy.

Conquered

Long have I fought to own my desperate dreams—
Rebellious serf in search of something more,
And sharpening my tongue, declaring war
And holy zeal against whatever seems
To block me. Sense and circumstance may roar,
But I have dreamed and I have fought before—
See, in the sunshine, how my armor gleams!

But who’s the enemy? My passions fade
As now at last I glimpse the Castle high
On misty hill. Why would I be afraid,
Or fight, when He has conquered all, and I
Need only yield to Him? Halt, dark crusade!
See one shy rainbow race across the sky.

Discombobulated: Portraits of a Lockdown

On Tuesday afternoon we teachers said good bye to our students as usual, and later we said, “See you tomorrow!” to each other. But we didn’t see each other the next day. Nova Scotia has entered a lockdown—two weeks, they say. So school as we knew it has ended for a time. I’m so thankful for how far we’ve been able to come this school term. Hopefully we can even come back to school again for a few days at the end of the term.

On Thursday the teachers all went to school to prepare their students’ books to be picked up and the work continued at home. Here are a few snapshots of that unusual morning.

Scenes:

  • rows of book stacks marked with yellow sticky notes
  • empty desks
  • crayons put back in boxes from the baskets they were in when they were being used
  • open file drawers
  • a bewildered teacher wearing a look of deep thought
  • rows of orange chairs awaiting the morning devotions that never came
  • books and papers strewn across my desk
  • parents arriving to pick up their children’s books for homeschooling
  • yellow, blue, and white paint collected for finishing an art project at home
  • scribbled questions for a Bible story I couldn’t read
  • left-behind socks arranged for parents to look through

Echoes:

  • teachers humming as they bustle about
  • binders clicking open and shut
  • clock ticking
  • footsteps on the stairs
  • jokes and questions thrown back and forth
  • copier clanking busily
  • drawers slamming
  • desk chair creaking
  • teacher discussion on yearbook and class photos
  • papers rustling
  • pens clicking
  • cellphone ringing

Feelings:

  • a dear co-teacher’s hug
  • a comfy desk chair I won’t use for a while
  • conversations with the moms of my students
  • heart-tugs while handing over books
  • lost looks at the irrelevant schedule in my planner
  • excitement that I still get to teach in private because it’s considered essential care for my student
  • afloat in a sea of papers: how to organize thoughts and methods and needs among them all?

The days since have settled into a new routine, and life goes on with its challenges and riches, loaded with the goodness of the Father.

According to my loose schedule, this should have been an inspirational post. So I’ll leave you with a thought that a close friend shared with me recently: “Praise God for the things He is doing in your life.” What inspired me about this was the reminder that God is at work right now, not just in some hazy future. I can praise Him for what He has done so far—as Samuel said in the Bible, “Hitherto has the Lord helped us.” Joy comes as we acknowledge and embrace the work God is doing for us, in us, and through us—today.