Ann Kiemel and Don Miller

1. Ann Kiemel Anderson died a couple days ago, and her funeral is Saturday. Dying in the Lord is not a tragedy, but it’s an enormous loss to her family and larger world. Ann is the girl who sang songs to her taxi driver and loved her neighborhood by baking cookies and buying ice cream cones. She inspired many people in several generations to say YES to God, and run to change the world. I heard a wise man say “The most gifted ones struggle the hardest,” and I think that was true for Ann. She fought a lot of personal demons, got addicted to fame and drugs and running, and hated herself for it, and failed often, but kept stumbling back to God for help. I think she fought well, cancer was her last enemy, and now she can rest well.

Related post: Yes, Lord 

2. I’m coming off such a good weekend that it deserves a whole big post all to itself but it would sound like I’m gushing. My good friend Janelle flew with me to San Diego for  the ’14 Storyline Conference. I knew it would be good, but it was way better than I was expecting. We were 1,700 people in the Point Loma Nazarene University chapel, focusing on how to live a good story. Donald Miller was the main speaker then there were many others, writers and visionaries, who told us their stories and life missions. It was authentic and honest, not glitzy or emotionally manipulative which is why I could respect it and take in what they were saying. Three recurring  points:

  • Life is going to be hard, very hard, either because of our own mistakes or just because life is unfair.
  • God is fathering us, and He’s a good father.
  • Every bad part of our story can be redeemed.

I heard and saw so much grace, love, and hope poured out, and it fed something deep inside me that had felt parched. I will never be the same for having witnessed people loving their world and equipping others to live well, stop being a victim, make wise choices, and stumble to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.  For anyone wanting to refocus and be refreshed, I recommend this conference. And if they have it in San Diego again, you will love Point Loma.  How can you beat bird-of-paradise and roses blooming in February?


9 thoughts on “Ann Kiemel and Don Miller

  1. “Life is going to be hard, very hard, either because of our own mistakes or just because life is unfair.” That resonates with me. I had this “discussion” with my friend on the subject of whether marriage makes one happier. She said she can’t say that marriage makes her happier because that would be saying that God gives some people better gifts than others. I said I think that God DOES give some people more gifts than others. For example, I have a car, a computer, all the food I could even want to eat, a huge collection of pretty scarves (when one would really suffice), nice warm leggings for winter weather, when other people are hungry from lack of food and don’t have enough clothing to keep them warm.

    Several ladies have told me that they are happier now that they are married. My argument is if marriage doesn’t make one happier and doesn’t improve the quality of your life, what is the point in getting married? Why should I even desire it? I liked how one friend said, “I am happier now that I’m married, and I wish someone for you, too.” That seemed so honest and real.

    Obviously, for some people, marriage makes their life more miserable. And it doesn’t mean, that even though I’m not married, I can’t be happy (although sometimes I have the sneaking suspicion that being happy would come a little more naturally and take a little less effort if I would be married). Or that God hasn’t given me good gifts, because He has! And I try to daily be grateful and mindful of those good gifts and not allow the lack of the one gift to blind me to beauty and joy and gifts that God has poured out on me.

    So yes, life is unfair sometimes, but that is what’s so amazing about the third point you learned from your conference: “Every bad part of our story can be redeemed.” Which is kind of like paraphrasing Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

    When I believe that, I trust God. I trust God that even though He so far hasn’t given me the gift of marriage, He is working things out for my good.

    I rarely go off on such rants on public places, but this time I couldn’t help myself :-).

    • I’m glad you felt safe enough to be honest here. I get what you’re saying! I really do. Recently a lady said married life is incredibly hard, and I wanted to ask if she has any idea how hard singleness is. Really, we don’t have a choice because everyone’s life just stinks sometimes.
      We can get hung up on the unfairness of things, but it goes both ways. I have far, far more than others have. How fair is that?

  2. Glad you could travel to San Diego. It sounds like good things happened. Ann Kiemel Anderson was one of my book heroes in my younger years. It felt she lived so authentically. Some nostalgia connected to seeing her name again.

  3. ANITA!!! I did not know you were going to Storyline. Boohoo! I wanted to go there with you! Oh well, God has something else for me in this chapter of the story. I had been following the announcements and information about this conference, even though I knew I couldn’t go, and had no idea you were. I’ve wanted to go ever since they had the first one!
    Oh well, I can honestly say that next to being able to go myself, there is no one else anywhere that I would so much have wished it for, as you. Please do gush about it to me. I’m interested in every teensy, weensy detail.

  4. Also. I just reread Ann Kiemel’s book “Yes” a few weeks ago, after having dug out her “I Gave God Time” to loan to a friend at the same time. I had no idea she was battling cancer, nor that she died. How do you stay current on EVERYTHING??!

  5. Delighted you could be part of Storyline conference. Sounds like something that I would enjoy doing sometime in the future. So many things to do and so little time to do some really good things. I think it is good to take in conferences like this. It can broaden our little Mennonite world and help us to see God at work in other Christian people. Keep writing.

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