“Every step on your life-journey can be a step of faith. Baby steps of trust are simple for you; you can take them with almost unconscious ease. Giant steps are another matter altogether: leaping across chasms in semidarkeness, scaling cliffs of uncertainty, trudging through the the valley of the shadow of death.”

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (September 25)

A little more than two weeks ago, I logged into Skype and set up a call with Sara. For about 30 seconds, it was just the two of us – she on her bed in Iowa and me on the coast of South Carolina. I carried my laptop up the stairs to the deck of the beach house, the ocean wide and sparkling behind me. It was a beautiful day.

“It’s so beautiful!” she said, “and so are you! Look at you there…” She paused between the words, needing a breath just to finish that short sentence. I had never spoken with her before that, and I knew my friends who were with me were waiting for me to come back down so they could see her, too. I had a fleeting urge to carry that laptop back to my room and sit with her alone, just to know her and to hear her speak. Joy poured out from the screen and I didn’t expect it. I don’t know why I was surprised by it.

Sara has been sick for a very long time. Due to her illness, she has been homebound for years – even the outside air harmful to her. So she couldn’t come with us on our retreat – one of thousands of places Sara hasn’t been able to go. If anyone had grounds to choose sorrow or bitterness or anger or fear, Sara did.

But Sara chose joy.

And I will never forget her for that. Saturday night, Sara breathed out one last breath of this toxic earth air and breathed in the first sweet, clean, fresh air of heaven. She is free and healed. And she will be missed. Many have written about Sara – many who knew her much better than I did. I’m adding my small voice to the chorus this morning, celebrating her life and her final freedom.