(Written to honour my 90 year old spiritual mentor, May 2022.)
The first time I met Edna, she came to my office door when I was first hired on as a pastor. I don’t believe she even said, “Hi, my name is Edna.” She came to the door and took up 1/10 of the door frame and out of her mouth came, “If you need someone to pray for you – I’m your woman.”
It was absolute seriousness. She meant business. She was ready to go to war alongside me. She knew better than me the fire I would later walk through as a leader.
So began years of prayer partnering together. She would listen to the Lord and at times share specific words and verses. I remember her giving me Psalm 27. “Wait patiently on the Lord.” It was timely. She had no idea the difficult decision I was trying to make when she sent it.
Edna helped me understand the spiritual realm.
She had served in Indonesia and Philippines where things were in your face including head hunting. Her stories were incredible. She was 43 years older than me and full of wisdom.
It was from her that I think I really learned how to effectively pray. She helped put language to the things I was experiencing and felt in the spiritual realm. We would prayer walk laps around the church building – every Monday morning. The front office staff would cheer us on and remark to us with wonder if the walls were going to fall down.
There was one season I remember deeply. The church was going through a difficult time. We sensed the Lord invite us to pray for repentance on behalf of the church; it’s people and it’s history.
I remember in one month; 13 people came forward to me personally, not knowing what we were doing. They confessed sin or shared deep wounds. I would pray with them and refer many of them to a local counsellor. It got such that the counsellor emailed me. “Who are you and what are you doing over there?”
We prayer walked for families. We prayed for the Kids Soccer Camps we ran and we saw incredible things happen.
She was my spiritual mom for years.
One day she asked me, “Do you know how to fight a bull?” Again, she said this in absolute seriousness. Her dad had a bull in the field growing up. She said to me: “When you come face to face with a bull, you take that ring in its nose and you twist.” At first, I thought she had lost her mind. But, I felt like the Lord said to me, “Take note of this.” I realize I have used that lesson so often, not in the natural but in the supernatural.
Today, I minister to missionaries, pastors, and various ministry leaders all over the world. They are often on the verge of burnout or in deep spiritual oppression. I enjoy walking with them to lead them through it and take the enemy to task.
Yes, Edna was probably the first person who effectively taught me about the spiritual realm. We are seated in the heavenlies. In Christ, we have authority over the evil one. But, we give away our authority when we live in fear.
Because of her, I have multiplied what she has taught me. Her impact is far reaching today as I coach people on the mission field, often in countries like she was once in.
Our friendship was such that we would often joke; if we had grown up together, we would have gotten in so much trouble.
Years ago, she was told she was dying already back then. The news hit me hard. I went to a local retreat centre and spent a day weeping. She asked me to do her funeral back then. She was always a huge supporter of me and my leadership.
We met and prayed and looked forward to riding a motorcycle together in the airstrip of heaven. In her earlier years she had often hopped on a motorcycle after her kids were in bed, and road it up and down the local airstrip for stress relief and prayer. She was my kind of woman. When I pastored, I rode a Honda Ruckus myself and found it great therapy.
Together, we prayed for Edna. Lo and behold, she was healed. The funeral plans were off.
Edna and I enjoyed years of visiting together after that. I would go to her home and ask her what the Lord was telling her and hear her reflections on the Word or her stories. When I would phone her and she’d answer, I would greet her with: “Hello, my friend!” Her response was always so life giving.
Edna passed quietly in her sleep at 90 years of age. She was singing about heaven in the weeks leading up to it. She knew she was getting ready for heaven. I write this having recently experienced her celebration of life. She was a woman ahead of her time. Stories of her life were shared of hiding fugitives in a dangerous country, chasing away thieves, guarding women in the local prison, leading women through 12 step recovery programs, preaching sermons in a day before women really did, hosting the local police for meals in order to minister to them, and speaking at the Bible Camp that I have spoken at for years myself. This is only some of what she did and reminds me why we hit it off.
I miss her deeply as I write this. I lost contact with her in the final years due to my own health crash in 2016-2017, then her Parkinson’s making it hard for long emotional visits and then Covid 19.
I hope we will be riding some kind of joy ride vehicle together up in heaven. I’m sure it’s going to be far beyond all of our dreams.
Edna has left a huge legacy and impact on my life and I can see how what I do in coaching ministry leaders is flavoured by her.
I pray that my life will impact at least 1/10 of what her life has on her family, friends, and those she cared for.