The (Astounding) End of My Pilgrimage & 10 Wonder Years Winners!


Congratulations to the winners of The Wonder Years! Please find your names at the end of the blog. Books are going out to you asap.)



How do you end a pilgrimage? Never. But this journey comes to an end this week. And how do you end a book that you have only lived, not yet written? And when you are tired from 7 months of travel, how do you keep seeing when your eyes are going dim? I don’t know the answers to any of this. But it seems maybe God does.

The last Sunday of my pilgrimage toward praise took me somewhere astonishing. To a particular church in Lyon, France. I went to this church because this is the church my French hosts attend. They have become dear friends so of course I will go with them.




It is a small church. Not many over 100. They meet in a rented space, a convent. It is an ordinary building, an ordinary room.  We sit on chairs so small they look like nursery school chairs. We face a cross that seems to be made of twigs. I like its fragility. 



The church is noisy with people in clusters, around babies, families, an elderly woman, teenage boys. It’s an “all-ages” service.

The announcements begin, spoken by an elderly woman from Scotland, I think, by her accent. The pastor is from the U.K.

I have come knowing something about this church already. I had lunch with the pastor yesterday and many of the women at the seminar were from this church. So I knew already. But it doesn’t hit me until we stand and begin singing.

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

You're the name above all names
You are worthy of our praise
And my heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

I look around me. At the couple from Nigeria with a baby snuggled into her mother’s chest. The elderly French man sitting 3 inches from me, whom I discover is teaching French to refugees in the church. The woman across the aisle from South Africa. The family from Iran, another from Pakistan. The woman from Malaysia, the couple from Korea.

Some hands are raised, including mine. Old hands. Middle-aged hands. A baby cries. A child complains. Our voices rise, I sway.


hands raised.jpg

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God


One woman, pregnant, walked from a Muslim country across a mountain range to get here, fleeing for her life. I sing next to a woman who emigrated from the middle east to the US. When they were settled in, her husband abandoned her and their children. Through a Bible study in Michigan, this muslim woman found Christ. I see to my left the Asian woman whose teenage son committed suicide. A tiny frail woman in her 90’s is behind me.  We are singing another song now:


Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

"Praise You in the heavens
Join with the angels
Praising You forever and a day
Praise You on the earth now
Join with creation
Calling all the nations to Your praise , , ,"


I think of those days in January I was on Patmos, Greece in the Cave of the Apocalypse. I sat in that cave for four mornings, for three hours each, reading aloud through the entire book of Revelations. “Revelation” comes from the Greek word apocalypsis, meaning “an unveiling, uncovering.” I was asking that this book unveiling Heaven would unveil my own eyes. Click to tweet

Cave of hte Apocalypse.jpg

It was quiet in that cave as I read verse after verse. I was alone nearly every hour of those readings, (except when the janitor came in to dust and vacuum the holy objects.) John saw the other world, the one waiting for us just beyond this fragile curtain,


 “You were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation . . .” 


But I saw nothing in that cave.

Three months later, standing now in this church, with a shudder, I know that God has given me the revelation I was seeking. I stand among people who have come across mountains, deserts and seas, from Buddhist temples and synagogues, from city streets and distant mosques, from far countries and next-door neighborhoods to this small church in France that doesn’t even own its own building. People who have fled for their lives, people who are rejected by their families because of Jesus; people of every color and tongue who have found Jesus. People who now are one family. 






On this last Sunday, out of all the places on earth I could have been, God has led me from Alaska through tens of thousands of miles across three continents to this one little church where I stand undone, silent, tears slipping, hands raised to this God who has led me too from rejection to love. Click to tweet

He has torn the curtain to show me what is coming and what is possible---now. That Jesus can break down every wall that divides us. That heaven begins now in the neighborhoods of the world. Click to tweet

Leslie in Lyon with church.jpg


And I know He has given me the ending of my book about praise.

And the ending to the book of my life.

The ending to the book of all our lives, we who have been rescued by Jesus.


 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:


To him who sits on the throne

      and to the Lamb

 be praise and honor and glory and power,

for ever and ever!


hand raised worship--bright light.jpg



 It is nearly Mother's Day! I intended to send out only 5 books (because I have to pay for them too!) but---SO many responded here, I'm sending out 10.  (See names below.) It's my HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY present to you!


Wonder Years cover 2.jpg


For all who didn't win a book, I hope you're able to order one? They're $12 on amazon and other sellers. (And if you absolutely can't---and you NEED this book, please let me know:

with love to you all,


**Kim Jurney

**Deb Peabody

**Cherie Grunke

**Dianne Lami

Barb Winters

Carole Sparks


**Sherry Fisher

Colleen van Nieuwkerk


**Send me your email address please!