Happy birthday, Madeleine L’Engle.

You know why I like birthdays? I like celebrating the idea that one day people I loved were not on this earth, but then the next day they were. That is the best part about birthdays. My favorite birthday sentiment, and I say it often but out of sincerity and not routine, is “celebrating your life today and always.”

Today is a “today and always” celebration of the life Madeleine L’Engle lived, and the influence she’s had on me.

Here is the strange part about encountering great people. Great people are people you want to be more like, but the greatest people don’t want you to become more like them. They just want you to be yourself. So for as often as I think or say that I would like to be just like Madeleine L’Engle, I cannot in good faith say that I consider myself to be mentored by Madeleine and in the same thought that I want to be just like her. The two don’t sit well in my soul.


Instead I will say that I want to be more of myself, but continue to be a Stephanie that is greatly influenced and shaped by the life and writings of Madeleine L’Engle.

You know those days when you don’t have the strength to pray or look to Jesus, when your back is turned and you have no intention of swallowing your pride and allowing for reconciliation? Those are the days and the moments when Madeleine has meant the most to me. Her writing has often been a kick in the behind to humbly turn to God and seek his companionship at once.

I could write for a long time about Madeleine, her life, her love, her writing; could tell you stories about the first time I heard her voice or held a book she had signed; how reading her book is like planting a garden in my soul where flowers spring up at the least expected moment. But if you search my blog for “Madeleine L’Engle” you will find that I do that often enough as it is.

This is all I want to say: Happy birthday, Madeleine. Celebrating your life today and always.

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4 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Madeleine L’Engle.

  1. Well… I think that’s God’s purpose for each of our lives is so unique and contextual to our circumstances, which is why I appreciate the stories of saints, martyrs, and other Christian witnesses. They were able to re-imagine the gospel message and make it applicable to their own generation. I think you are right in saying that Madeleine L’Engle makes you want to be a better version of yourself and I believe that this is true even with God. But what do you think?

  2. Well I think that it’s the difference between trying to be Jesus and trying to be like Jesus. For the longest time I’d grow frustrated when people would say “well, what would Jesus do about it?” because I could frequently find two completely different reactions from him, because he wasn’t really predictable.

    Pastor Matt once said “few things will be more destructive to your spiritual life than comparison and competition with other followers of Jesus.” When we try to become someone else, I think we are rejecting or overlooking or neglecting the things and gifts God has given us to forge our own little path.

    but back to the part about with God. How does one even be Jesus? Who would even want to be Jesus? I’ll just stick to being that diseased woman with the faith that the hem of his garment can heal me. I’ll try to understand the mysteries of the majesty held in his clothes and try to do what he said to do and not what he did. Jesus never asked me to be him, and there is no point in me trying to be him. It’s a waste of my life and my gifts and my talents. Jesus told me to love the Lord and to love my neighbor and to forgive and to give all. If God wanted a whole bunch of Jesus duplicates he would have just made them. There’s a reason I am not Jesus, and I’ll trust it. Which makes me feel better when I have to pray for forgiveness or ask for forgiveness or admit my unbelief or struggle to understand that God flooded the earth.

    Lots of words. sorry 🙂

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