Change Your Life in 40 Years

IMG_2980The phrase, “Changed My Life,” gets tossed around a lot. Like “The Beatles White Album changed my life” as I heard on the radio recently.

Midway through my sixth decade, I am mindful of a handful of people/events that definitely delivered life-changing results. Jesus, my husband Tom, the birth of my children and grandchildren, a move to Evanston, publishing a book, becoming a chaplain. It is somewhat of a short list although I can list many other honorable-mentions.

One other item on the list of life-changers is our involvement from Day One with Vineyard Christian Church of Evanston.

At twenty-five years old, I was full of dreams but none of them involved starting a church. When circumstances converged for that option to emerge, Tom and I jumped in the car for the ride of a lifetime.

Our small group of eleven was so young and radical but we shared an idea of what a church community could look like. We also had a strong sense that God was asking to push our limits, inviting us to do more than we ever thought we could. Yup, it all happened.

I remember one of the impressions we sensed was of the church being like a hospital where people would come for rest and healing. The early years felt like that hospital: long hours, lack of sleep and lots to learn. Not everyone got well.

Some seasons seemed like one big emergency room experience. We all took turns being the ER docs trying to sort out the traumas and then switched places with the patients as we learned how to do the stuff.

Open heart surgery is also a long-standing specialty of Jesus and some of the small groups have served as operating rooms over the years. Risk and vulnerability are the pre-requisites for this type of surgery.

I like the obstetrics wing of this hospital. When the church started there was ONE kid and now the children’s ministry fills multiple rooms.  Like mine, the third generation of families is showing up and individuals of all ages are still finding new life in Jesus.

You never know which badge you’ll wear around here, depends on the CEO. Might be O.R. assistant,  surgeon, midwife, or housekeeping (we’ve had a lot of clean-up needed over the years.) If you’re lucky, you get a turn as the patient and let Jesus love on you with more healing.

For me, I’ve been at this hospital a long time but retirement isn’t on my agenda. I’ve seen a lot of resident types come and go as people get their training and move on and a few of us from the original 40 individuals who showed up on January 11, 1976 are still here.

My current favorite role is of a founding mother looking around and reflecting on all God has done here with the thousands who have walked through the door. Remembering the fun, powerful, scary, wonderful, painful moments and wondering what’s next.

The church is gathering this Sunday evening to celebrate the forty-year milestone. Truly a life-changer. In fact, the term is part of the church’s mission statement crafted a long time ago:

To introduce people to the life-changing power of God’s mercy and truth.

I hope I bring enough Kleenex.

More about the Vineyard 40th and promo video 🙂

Hope for the best,



3 Responses to “Change Your Life in 40 Years”

  1. 1 Linda Sylvester March 10, 2016 at 4:19 PM

    Jesus and the Evanston Vineyard pastors and community have changed my life drastically, and continue to. I am so blessed and grateful, and for you too, Letitia. You have brought me so much encouragement. I’m so glad you and many of the original church leaders are still standing strong. Happy 40th anniversary, Evanston Vineyard! With love, Linda

  2. 2 Letitia Suk March 10, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Thanks Linda! You have brought so much to the church as well 🙂

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