Celebrating a ‘God thing’

Tales from the front pew

‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Scottish poet Robert Burns opined this sentiment centuries ago in his poem “To A Mouse,” but the words still ring true today.

I’ve been thinking about plans lately; not mouse’s, but men’s. Or, in my case, women’s.

This month marks the 17th anniversary of this column, and since today is the 17th day of 2017, I thought it would be a good time to take a stroll down memory lane.

Every now and then someone asks me how I began writing for the newspaper. I tell them it was a “God thing,” because I never would have thought of it on my own. No sir, I had my own plans.

When I was a pre-teenager, I wanted to be a famous guitarist and singer. I’d gotten a Fender for my 13th birthday and totally immersed myself into learning to play.

I took lessons and spent hours in my room practicing. I knew I was getting annoying when mom came to my bedroom door and said “I’m just gonna pull this shut, honey, so we don’t disturb you.”

Once I realized that musical superstardom was likely beyond my grasp, I turned to more practical aspirations. I was going to be a doctor.

I’d always enjoyed medical dramas on TV, and I could picture myself zipping around in hospital scrubs saving lives right and left.

One problem: I was hopeless when it came to math and science — technically I guess that’s two problems. So much for medicine.

Over the next several years I considered various other career paths, but none of them were quite right.

After marrying my husband, Bob, at age 19, I settled into being a housewife and mother, which was fulfilling and certainly kept me busy. But, as it turned out, God had something more for me to do.

I’d always enjoyed writing, and throughout my school years I’d received positive feedback from teachers and fellow students. However, I’d never remotely considered it as a career option. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, an idea occurred to me.

“Bob,” I said, “I think I’m going to write a newspaper column. It’ll be about my life as a pastor’s wife. I even know what I’ll call it; ‘Tales From the Front Pew.’ You know, because I’m sort of on the front lines of the ministry. What do you think?”

“I think you should go for it,” he said.

And so I did. I sent a few samples to the editor of the religion section, assuming I’d never get a response.

One week later she called to tell me my columns were exactly what she had been looking for. I was hired and my very first column appeared in March, 2000.

Yep, it was definitely a “God thing.”

The best laid plans. …

I’m not touring the world accumulating gold records, or snatching people from the jaws of death. Every now and then, though, somebody tells me I’ve touched his or her life with my words and I know I’m exactly where God wants me.