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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

52 Twice Over

Updated: Oct 16, 2020

Photo credit to Simon Harmer on Unsplash

I am in my final weeks of being fifty-two—for the second straight year. LOL. But no kidding. A whole year I’d been aging myself until just before my fifty-second birthday, when my next-younger brother set the record straight. Number memory has never been my strength.

I’d decided there was a holy explanation. Because where numbers fail me, this apparently IS one of my Strengths:

People with the StrengthsFinder theme of Connectedness believe that everything happens for a reason. They have the unique ability to ‘connect the dots’ between what is happening in the here and now with deep personal meaning.

That said. I had concluded 52 was going to be significant, since God had allowed me to live it twice. Which has been true, no doubt. And yet I laugh, thinking, certainly even a person forgetful of numbers ought to be able to remember a date like twenty-twenty. And do the math. And remember.

Irony aside, the past two years have changed me profoundly. And I am happy to say it was (at least initially) entirely unrelated to a virus, or an election, or anything else in current events. It had to do with an epiphany of sorts, related to Jesus.

Jesus invited me to FOLLOW in my fifty-second year.

You might think this strange, if you know anything at all about my story.

Because. I can’t remember I time I wasn’t aware of Jesus. A pig-tailed girl singing his songs at church. A tween at Bible Camp, falling in love with His Gospel. A young mom, devouring scripture, seeing His Name in every story. Learning to commune with the heart of the Father—“I’m in God’s seminary, and He is my teacher.” One miracle after another, drinking deeply, seeking Him daily. Holy Spirit, Mystery-Friend.

JESUS—the Heart of my story. His name, for a lifetime, on my lips. Every season, every chapter. And yet. Just lately realizing (epiphany of this two-year journey)…in my communing…my most intimate relations…I have prayed to the Father…I have sought the Spirit…and I have believed in Jesus. Do you see the difference? If not. I’ll try to make the connection.

With a prayer.

Jesus. I want to KNOW YOU. Not just your story, but YOU, a person. You, my friend.

And everything changes.

Fifty-two years, twice over, and I tell you. JESUS. Has answered my prayer.

I am following Jesus, like I was there. There—here. His disciple-apprentice. Like Mary Magdalene, or one of the Twelve. I can see His eyes, sense His smile. I know His voice. And He invites me, daily, come and follow. I have been with Jesus…like one who is chosen…

Side Note. The Chosen is a TV series Kyle and I recently discovered. A kid in our youth group, thirty years ago, now a dad in his 40’s, is the writer-director. “I want to do what Dallas is doing. But smaller scale.” I said this to God, and then to my husband. I want to bring the Living Jesus to life, so others will know they can follow Him, too.

My personal journey has not happened in a vacuum. There have been others walking a similar path. Women who have sat on my dock, sharing their hearts over cups of coffee. Friends online who read my posts, and comment, “Me, too!” A west coast pastor, and fellow apprentice, who encourages me weekly to practice the Way of Jesus. And my own sons, their wives, each on a journey, pursuing a Person over politics or religion.

I will remember these things, too, from my fifty-second year. How a disciple becomes one who disciples. It was at camp this summer, with my flock of children. I was the teacher, surrounded by kids, each with a story. And after a while I realized, “I am just like Jesus!” Knowing, loving, instructing. Thoroughly enjoying every moment.

And this. Fifty-two, and having the courage to say, “He has made me a pastor.” Jesus—closing the gap, choosing the outcast, the least expected. Surrounding himself with sinners. With women. All are welcome, all included. And He chooses me.

Fifty-two twice over, has been a gift. A miracle, really. A year of so many things, but this is what I’ll remember. Being with Jesus—and how He answered my prayer.

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