Notes from Jan

Testimonies and Stories

February 6, 2018

Friday evening, a baker’s dozen  gathered for “bible” study.  The hosts, Roger and Karen Green,  asked if I’d share my spiritual journey.

Part of me wanted to say,”No, thank you, I’m too busy journeying to talk.”

The rest of me said, “Yes.”

While most chatted beforehand, I thumbed through my Bible.

A friend leaned over and asked, “Still preparing?”

“Sorta. Hunting a life’s verse.”

After cobbling together stories, family photos and my parents’ Bibles, as exhibits A,B, C, we sang Blessed Assurance, emphasizing “This is my story, this is my song. Praising my  Savior all the day long.”

You and I know life’s not always the story we want to tell, a perennial praise song, or  one Bible verse. It’s tempting to rewrite history, scrub the story for testimony time.

The storyteller in me loves the happy ending,  life with scenic overlooks, a journey with fantastic twists and just enough mystery to hold the listener, or turn the page.  That’s good for storytelling, not testimonies.

Reflecting on my spiritual journey, reminded me life’s not simply retold. That which looks unspiritual may be what moves us  to hunt for God.  It’s the unfit, inconvenient parts of my story God’s chosen to fit me for life here and by Grace, the Life to come.

In Joan Chittister’s book, The Gift of Years, she writes, “Nothing weighs more heavily on age than time… Time is, suddenly, not for wasting.”

Neither is life without Jud.

Chittister suggests living alone as “the new monastery of the elderly.”


Age and circumstances peel away titles, responsibilities, limit usefulness,  but give gifts of time, wisdom and solitude.   “Solitude,where our real self lies waiting for attention.”(Chittister)

Christ give courage to be still,  tend my self, and entrust this unfinished story to You, who knows all, yet loves and to appreciate the journey, no longer measured in miles but steps.



















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  • Reply Dale Lefever February 6, 2018 at 12:25 am

    Thanks for sharing. I believe God wrote these stories on your heart long ago , but knew the world was not ready for them until now.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 6, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Stories take time, in the telling of or listening to. We’re probably most teachable, when open to both. Grateful for a God who writes on our hearts and our names on the palm of His hand.

  • Reply wendy lane February 6, 2018 at 3:08 am

    So thankful Christ DOES give us courage, does love us so, and gives us His joy too. Praying with you dear Jan! Love you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 7, 2018 at 12:49 am

      It’s never meant to be a journey of one. We’re in this together, Wendy.

  • Reply Marshall & Mary February 6, 2018 at 3:16 am

    I finally resubscribed to your site….so good to read your thoughts again. I’m grateful that God continues to write our stories and knows our beginnings and your ends. We both send lots of love to you, Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 7, 2018 at 12:51 am

      Thanks for resubscribing. Welcome back to the USA.

  • Reply Dan Russ February 6, 2018 at 4:29 am

    Gracias, Jan, for letting us tag along from time to time on your splendid journey and to share in your solitude.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 7, 2018 at 12:54 am

      It doesn’t always feel so splendid but it’s a worthwhile trek, climbing or crawling to the finish line, which, hopefully, isn’t just around the bend.

  • Reply Sara Sartori February 6, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Jan,
    Just this morning I finished reading a book of your mother’s that I hadn’t read before (“A Nail in a Sure Place”) and I wondered if there might be any You Tube videos of her speaking. I had seen you and her many years ago at Congress in Boston and enjoyed you both immensely. I couldn’t find her on You Tube, but I did find a few videos of you speaking at Gordon College events. Obviously you inherited and developed the family storytelling gift. What a blessed morning I have had, being taught and encouraged by both you and your mom. I am glad to find you writing here. Thank you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 7, 2018 at 12:57 am

      Thanks, Sara, for reading my Mom’s books and connecting through YouTube. Amazing technology. She was a super storyteller and an even better Mama. She probably has her own storytelling corner in heaven.

  • Reply Maggie February 6, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Jan, thanks for recommending the Chittister book. I am not familiar with it but plan to order it as quite suddenly (nothing to do with turning 65, ha!) I have a burning interest in the topic. 65 once sounded old, but now that I’m there it certainly does not feel it! I so appreciate your posts.

  • Reply Jan Carlberg February 7, 2018 at 1:02 am

    Joan’s a very good writer, thoughtful person. One of my favorite books by her is Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope.
    Both this and The gift of Years are worth your time and mind. Happy Birthday, whenever it was. 65 sounds so young. Enjoy!

  • Reply Margaret/maggie Gilmore February 23, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Jan, this is Maggie Gilmore from Pensacola, Florida. Grateful I discovered your blog and have sent one to my nephew Chris. He remembered you and your mom well and the fun of watching your mom in the waves at Pensacola beach.
    We have discovered relatives in Sweden and I will be taking several of your moms books with me on next trip.

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