During our days in graduate school, my husband, Keith, and I often visited used bookstores. We spent hours perusing the shelves, looking through stacks on the floor, and occasionally finding a treasure. On one of those visits, we discovered a book by Dag Hammarskjöld titled Markings. I had no idea who this author was but was fascinated by the quotes I read. For more than thirty years now, I have returned again and again to this book for inspiration and encouragement.

I do now know who Hammarskjöld was. He a Swedish economist and diplomat who in 1953 was appointed as the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation lists his most notable achievements while serving as the world’s top international civil servant as “restructuring of the UN to make it more effective, creating the basis for UN peacekeeping operations, and successfully implementing his ‘preventive diplomacy’ in crises from the Middle East to China.”

Hammarskjöld died in 1961 a plane crash, while on a mission to mediate peace during the 1960’s Congo crisis. He was posthumously awarded the Noble Peace Prize.

Markings, Hammarskjöld’s only book, was published in 1963. It is a collection of his reflections taken from diaries he kept from age twenty in 1925 until his death in 1961. Over the years, the quote from Markings that has stayed with me is this one:

Baptist Women in Ministry will be using this quote as our theme for 2020. Our Wednesday blogs and our annual gathering in June will reflect these inspirational words.

As you move into this new year, take some time to remember all that has been–all that God has done in and among us and say “Thank you.” And in 2020 be ready to live into “Yes,” as God calls you to new adventures and to new ministry opportunities. Happy New Year!

Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.