Twenty years ago, I became a pastoral care minister – someone who helps others when they are in crisis. After the moment was celebrated in front of the church congregation, my seven year old son (at that time) said, “When I grow up, I want to help people like you do.”

I had no idea that my little boy was even aware of what his mother was doing?  Yet, how wonderful that he did notice and wants to do the same. When I became a pastoral care minister, I was in crisis myself. But I wanted to stop focusing on myself and help someone else instead. Before and since that time in my life, it seems I have taken on many roles that have been in service of others, and without realizing it, it has become my life’s work. So when a friend recently asked what my goal was in life, it didn’t take me long to put the pieces together. I want to empower women to believe in themselves.


Calling my life purpose a goal, suggests that it’s something I planned on. It wasn’t. It was simply a response to a series of opportunities that came my way that have, over time, enabled me to build a body of experience to reach out on a larger scale — my education, if you will.

Over the years I have taught fitness classes for adults and children, ran a summer camp, been a volunteer in the school system, helped to organize and run a women’s weekend retreat, organized and run spiritual book studies, as well as a fiction book club, helped people in crisis, attended leadership courses, raised a strong independent daughter, and now write blog posts that share my life experiences with others, as well as writing my book River of the Stick Wavers, which is about a woman coming into her own after her husband dies. Note:  The theme of the book came out of all the things I have come to believe about women over the years. I have always been attracted to strong women – to learn from them and grow into myself – something I’m still doing.


All of the opportunities I’ve been given have unknowingly led me to this point in my life. Now, once again, I’ve been given an opportunity to take things to the next level. I’ve spoken often about a workshop I’ve been working on with some other people called A Woman’s Journey: The Different Phases of a Woman’s Life. It came out of my own experience of being a woman of 60 + who is heading into new territory and defining what it means to be a mature woman of the twenty first century, a time when men and women are living longer than ever before in history and breaking new ground around how we want to live the rest of our lives in a meaningful way.

It’s taken a long time for us to refine this idea to become something that includes men.  Because guess what, women aren’t the only ones struggling with their place in the world. We are all struggling to keep up in a busy world. If we are to survive, it’s vital that we learn to change and evolve. Its hard work, and we can all use some help and support to navigate our way through. And so we have put a program together that will help to guide men and women through this labyrinth called life.


According to Deepak Chopra, from his new book The Book of Secrets, “Your purpose in life is to help creation to expand and grow.” After so many years of simply responding to opportunities that came my way, it seems my life has been in sync with the universal intention of helping creation to expand and grow, which has become my life purpose without my even being aware of it. Just reading the above words makes it all seem very grandiose, and I don’t mean it to. I just think that we all have opportunities to help each other is so many ways every single day. From listening to a friend whose having a tough time to driving someone clear across the country because they can’t do it themselves. I bet if you can think back over your own life you can pinpoint many areas where you’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. Why not take a minute now to think back over your own life and come up with five areas where you’ve made a difference in someone life. I’m sure you have more, but five will do. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you are living your life purpose?



Categories: Life Reflections, Memoir


  • Linda Marshall

    I always knew that a for-profit corporate career was not for me. I just couldn’t see how it would be fulfilling enough. I was fortunate enough to have spent my career working in international relief and development. It was exhausting, and sometimes frustrating, but very rewarding. Now that I no longer work, I meet with some other extraordinary women to knit, crochet, and sew for various charities. We each have our own individual projects, but in the summer, we work on a group project making quilts for the homeless shelters. It seems like a small thing compared to the large projects I worked on before, but when it comes to helping people, I’ve learned that it’s the small things that can make the biggest difference in the lives of people who don’t have much. Somewhere this winter, a homeless person will have the warmth of a blanket that he/she didn’t have before because of something I did, and that’s a good thing.

    September 11, 2017 at 11:26 pm Reply
    • Gillian Andrews

      Hi Linda: I was very moved by your account of your life’s work. When it comes to helping others, there is no measure of importance. A kind word to someone can go a long way to making someone feel good about themselves, especially if no-one has ever done that for them before. Whether you’re working in big business or making quilts, you are doing important work. Thanks for taking the time, once again, to connect. I enjoy your comments. If you ever want to connect, please feel free to contact me through this blog.

      September 12, 2017 at 2:09 pm Reply

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