Newsletter, March 2018

Shalom, friend!J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost”. I’d go one step further and say Jesus’ call to follow him is meant to make wanderers of every single one of us who respond with a ‘yes’ to his invitation.

In recent years, a rapidly-shifting culture has left many disoriented. That sense of disorientation has encouraged some believers to adopt an exile mindset that takes its cues from the longing for a past that seemed somehow simpler, safer, and more secure. I understand the very real temptation to want to hide from it all in order to preserve ourselves and our families.

The Bible demonstrates that exile can serve a redemptive purpose, but it is not a spiritual destination. Exile is meant to turn us into pilgrims. Let’s face it: the word “pilgrim” conjures images of unsmiling, black-garbed people who sailed to America on the Mayflower—or a lone backpacker with a walking stick, hiking to a distant holy site. While those capture the motion and intention of pilgrimage, the best image of a pilgrim is the one you see in the mirror every day.

I’m excited to share a book designed to help readers reclaim their pilgrim identity. Born To Wander: Recovering The Value of our Pilgrim Identity releases July 3, but you can pre-order your copy (or copies!) by clicking here:

Born to Wander Cover

I’m hoping to share the message of this book in a workshop format with small groups, Bible study groups, retreat gatherings, and churches. Many of us struggle to make sense of our wanderings, and it is my prayer that many will begin to see with fresh eyes how God has been at work in their lives, and discover afresh the wonder of wandering in his company. Contact me here if you’re interested in scheduling a Born To Wander event at your church next fall.

download-1A giant “THANK YOU” to the many of you who prayed for our family during the last year as we navigated my husband Bill’s unemployment, our uncertain housing situation, and my breast cancer scare, a fall resulting in broken bones in two places in my body, a blood clot, and my ongoing battle with a rare immune system disorder. So many offered support through prayer, financial assistance, and banana bread. I am humbled and so very grateful for every bit of it.

A few quick updates:

Are you planning to attend Festival of Faith & Writing April 12–14 in Grand Rapids, MI? This biennial event draws more than 2,000 readers and writers together to feast on the written word. I’m looking forward to participating on a panel about writing and reading at midlife called “Wisdom In The Shadows: Bringing Seasoned Women’s Voices To Light” with Anita Lustrea, Jennifer Grant, Kathy Khang, and Amanda Eastep Cleary. download 2If you’ll be at the Festival, let me know. I’d love to greet you in person.

At the Festival, a book entitled The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength will be released. Leslie Leyland Fields pulled together this collection of essays from writers including Luci Shaw, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Lauren Winner. I’m honored to have a piece in this book as well – and I’m looking forward to soaking up the oceans of wisdom of the others included in this volume.

We’re nearly a year into the new website I co-founded with fellow writer Amanda Eastep Cleary, The Perennial Generation. This website is aimed at those of us at midlife and beyond. We’ve explored a variety of topics ranging from faith shifts to empty nesting to cleaning out our closets, and have been gratified to feature a wonderful variety of writers with lots of wonderful insight to share. (Click here to learn how you can contribute.) You can follow ThePerGen on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

May God bless you, keep you, make his face shine on you, be gracious to you, turn toward you, and give you his peace.

You were born to wander.

In Him,
Michelle Van Loon
michellevanloon.comAuthor of If Only: Letting Go Of Regret and Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
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