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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday Sermonette - A Tribute to Janna

I searched diligently for a picture of Janna Adamson, but the only ones I have are fuzzy, in the background with other people, too distant to do any good, or all of the above. I'm sorry, folks, but this is the best I have. Janna is the pastor who married us, and this is the best picture of her that I have.

I met Janna when God dragged me kicking and screaming out of Phoenix, Arizona, and pointed me in the direction of Willows, California. I had been going to a church that I absolutely loved in Phoenix, Mission Bell Methodist, so I decided to do some church hopping in this new pint-sized burg beginning with the Methodist.

Janna was the pastor, so she was the first person I talked to there. I was on the way out the door, saying, "Hello, I enjoyed your sermon." I didn't get to say goodbye, because she snagged one of the people behind me, asking that person to show me where the coffee was and introduce me around. People were so welcoming that I came back a second time. And a third.

It wasn't long before I asked if there was a Bible study going, and Janna said no, but we could do one. We began meeting for lunch once a week and hurriedly went through a Bible study by Maxie Dunham. On disciplines, as I remember, but the title and author was unimportant. That was the beginning of a great friendship.

Janna and I didn't always see eye-to-eye on theology, but we were friends anyway. Her love for God was deep but questioning. There were a lot of things in the Bible she wanted answers for, so she mentioned a few times how much she was looking forward to that great theological discussion in the sky. The way I figure it, she wasn't 10 minutes in heaven before she joined--or maybe began--that discussion!

The things that made Janna so special?
1. She had bottomless love, the kind our heavenly Father has for us. When she was needed, she was there.
2. She listened--really listened. With both ears pointed right at you.
3. She mothered all the people she knew--encouraging, lifting, and occasionally questioning if what they were doing was best.
4. She had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and never, ever felt rested--yet if some other need came up, she'd skip that very necessary afternoon nap to do whatever was needed. Exhaustion never prevented her from being wherever called.
5. Another person's hurt could reduce her to tears.
6. She was a loving person, patient and kind to everyone (which I sorta said in No. 1), except--she'd jump to the defense of any one of her flock if someone said anything even a teensy bit derogatory about them!

The more I got to know her, the more I appreciated this always-tired and yet tireless woman. She demonstrated how to love, more than just with emotion--emotion is often worthless without action, and that's just what she did. Selfless action. Action in spite of being too busy already. Action even when it's unpopular. Action when her knees and feet hurt too bad to walk.

That was Janna Adamson. She always went the extra mile.

And I can see God now, welcoming her with, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Lord, thank You for lending us your servants for a time to enrich our lives and show us how You love us. Please tell Janna we love her and miss her. Amen.
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