by Larry Magnuson

Sometimes other people are better at expressing what is in your heart than you are. Marie Baldwin is a three-time alumni of SonScape Retreats. Her words written on the last day of her recent retreat are as powerful and beautiful as anything that I could have written. Please read it! It is worth a few minutes of your time.

(The following is being used with Marie Baldwin’s permission.)


by Marie Baldwin

I awaken slowly. It is the final morning of an amazing week at SonScape. With my eyes tightly closed, I hear my husband breathe deeply by my side. All is so peaceful, yet there is a sense of sadness in me. It’s now time to go home. I have savored the time to “be still and know that He is God.” I have been gently reminded that he has made me unique. And in my uniqueness, there is still much to know.

As I lie in that between state of sleep and awake, I envision myself in a coffin, still and at peace. I am no longer alive yet I am freer than ever before. Free to be that unique one who is lavishly loved by the Father. Loved for who I am and not for what I do. There is much the Lord would like to strip from me and leave buried here in the beautiful Adirondacks.

The constraints of living under the “shoulds” and “ought tos” can be seemingly multiplied a hundred-fold for the wife of a pastor. The self-imposed mental lashings of the cruel lie that “I’m not enough” has robbed me of precious emotional energy. That lie has stolen from the world the uniqueness only I can bring. It’s time to cast it away.

While at SonScape, I have learned I am gifted with a Temperament Type. I have learned how I best gather information, process it, and make countless decisions each day. My type is but one of a 16-piece “puzzle” that forms the body of Christ, never fully complete without the wonder of who I am. Yet my type, as the others, has weaknesses I descend to in moments of stress and overload. I spend far too much time in that place. It is there I often get stuck and punish myself for not being enough or for not being able to do life as effortlessly or as well as another.

Be still and know. To live in this place of self-doubt is not what I was created for. For any fruit to grow in my life, I must allow myself the grace to thrive in my rare and amazing type. There are no typos in God’s creation. He can only live his life through me when I am in tune to the beautiful song of my soul.

I feel firm hands caressing my back as my groom nestles up against me. His familiar touch draws me back to reality. I rise from the coffin and shake free all that has held me captive. The heavy chains of performance loosen and fall to the ground. The weight of expectations drop loudly beside them. I then hear the heart of the Lord woo me back to life and ministry as a woman dearly loved for who I am . . . temperament type and all. It is a uniqueness to be celebrated rather than achieved. And only because our good God makes no typos.

I rise and pack my bags. I hug new friends goodbye. As we drive away, I turn back for one last look. There I have left yet another surrender . . . this one in a grave in the Adirondacks.