When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered.”
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When Dave retired from the ministry in the summer of 2016, I had mixed feelings. I was relieved that he could lay down the stress and give his heart a rest, and I was sad because I loved our church and knew I’d miss our people. But I was also confused as we left the church that Sunday afternoon. I’d been a pastor’s wife for twenty years. Who was I supposed to be on Monday morning?
I remember thinking, I guess God’s done with us now. I guess we just slow down from here. Go out less. Start shopping for rocking chairs.
I mean, I was busy with real estate—really busy. And I loved it. But that feeling that my life counted for something eternal was gone. I’d met so many wonderful people and had been able to share Jesus with several of my clients, but it didn’t feel like full-time ministry. At least not the definition I’d held for all those years.
But then one night at an office gathering, I turned to my friend, Juli, and said—quite spontaneously—“Would you like to do a Bible study together?” She loved the idea and we made a plan to meet the following Wednesday after our weekly office meeting.
When I walked into our upstairs conference room that morning, Juli was there. And her daughter, Diana. And two other women from the office.
”I spread the word,” Juli said.
We started with the book of Ruth, and by the second week, another woman had joined our group. By the time we left Ruth and started Esther, we had eight women coming—including one lender and one title rep. I think we were up to nine when we started Jonah.
Of course, the obvious book after Ruth, Esther and Jonah is Revelation, right? I don’t know what I was thinking. But we spent almost a year digging into the first three chapters of Revelation. It was new to almost every woman in the room. Some had read it, but no one had studied it in earnest.
We’ve been in the book of John for the past year. We take it slowly, because none of the women have ever been in a church that taught verse-by-verse, so we stop to fill in gaps and study backstories whenever we need to. And sometimes we’re just so moved by the beauty of what we’re reading that we camp right there. More than once, I’ve prepared to teach half a chapter and only gotten through two or three verses, because we can’t bear to skim over those living words.
A few women have left our office. The title rep retired. But we’ve continued to add women who have a hunger to learn, and as we’ve grown closer to the Lord, we’ve grown closer to each other. I love our Wednesday Bible group—and can’t imagine not having those women as traveling companions.
So I guess God is not quite done with me yet. It seems that even though I’m “an old woman,” there’s still much land to be conquered. I’m amazed—and grateful.