My name is Heidi Austel. I am just a traveler on this road we call life. Every moment of the day I am joined by my best friend, Jesus, who is my personal Savior. He promises to never leave me or forsake me. I am blessed to be accompanied by several others: my wonderful husband of 35+ years, my three daughters and my son (all grown, married and with families of their own), my beautiful grandkids, and a few other faithful friends who have chosen to journey with us from time to time.
For the majority of our lives we have served full-time in some type of pastoral or teaching ministry. I have usually been the one behind the scenes (by choice), becoming more and more uncomfortable with public speaking and public ministry as the years go by. Both my husband and I grew up in Christian homes, deeply immersed in a life of ministry from the time we were babies. When we were married, not only did God call us personally to His work but it was natural for us to dedicate our own lives to a lifetime of service, too. We have never regretted it but it hasn’t always been an easy road to walk, either. There have been both incredible blessings and incredible hardships.
Currently, we are in a chapter in our lives without an active role in the leadership of a specific ministry. My husband has reminded me and others for years: “LIFE IS ministry!” Never has that resonated with me as much as in the last decade or so. While the intensity of public ministry has subsided, the ‘form’ of personal ministry to which God has been calling us has slowly been evolving.
The most difficult time in our lives was my twelve years chained to a severe depressive illness that nearly left me incapacitated. From 2003-2015, I suffered from clinical depression caused by numerous physiological issues that made me, that awful word we call, “mentally ill.”
While I was ill, it felt counter-productive in our finite minds (like trying to do ministry with our hands tied behind our backs) but like those who lose their sight or hearing, new senses were being heightened and awakened in us both to new passions and new avenues for ministry.
This blog is a partial journal of the insights I learned on my journey and am still learning. I will be trying to describe the sights and sounds I see along the roadway: the beauty and happiness as well as the roadblocks and sorrows. And just like two people who might take the same trip in the same car on the same road with the same people might describe the same journey completely differently, my story will be from my vantage point. They are my reflections, my questions, my lessons, and my insights.
I hope you will enter in, find a seat and experience your own journey. Consider your own questions prompting you to look for your own answers, those very specific lessons and insights God wants to show you. While I do not believe God ever contradicts Himself by His very character, I think we, being human, have a pretty diverse interpretation of His will and His calling on our lives. So, I fully recognize that my conclusions won’t be your conclusions every time. That’s ok; each one of us is personally and solely responsible to Him for the lessons and insights He entrusts to us. This is simply a journal of MY journey.
One of the most valuable pieces of equipment I have chosen to bring on my journey are my glasses, no, not my ‘granny glasses,’ my GRACE glasses. Just as my eyes have changed as I have aged (unfortunately), the new lenses I must use on MY journey are God’s Grace. For without His grace, I would be miserably lost. So, grab your own pair of ‘grace glasses’ and come along for the ride.