My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Sunday, October 30, 2011


     Since Phillip--the children's dad--died in January, the question of how I will be remembered has lingered heavy on my heart. I've watched my children and those who loved him most deal with losing him by remembering him--each one remembering different and/or similar aspects of his character and nature. And remembering his words--those words that shaped who he was and how he influenced them. I remember still a whole different set of memories and words through our relationship as husband and wife...and mom and dad to our kids. Those memories have left an imprint on each one of us that will never fade. So especially as my children have remembered him, I've wondered how they will remember me... How others will remember me... Will their memories be positive? Will they leave a lasting imprint? Or will those memories be here today and gone tomorrow?
      I look back on my own life journey--and I realize I am not the same person I was five years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago... I'm certainly not the person I was 40 years ago... (Gee, I'm sounding old!) I remember those who have walked in and out of my life at different points along the way. If I never see them again, they will never know the person I am today and that hurts.     
     The truth of it has become evident in the last few weeks since my youngest son came to stay with me since he got out of the Marines. We haven't lived together since he was in junior high. I've realized we don't know each other very well. When we talk, he often relates and responds to the mom he knew as a boy. I'm not "her" anymore; he's not that little boy anymore either. So I'm not so sure how to relate to this man either... This man who went through much of his "becoming" years virtually without me... Who has served duty tours in Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of his country... Who has opinions, values, beliefs, strengths, and hurts that I'm just learning about. So I have to wonder: if I died today, who would he remember?
     Given the chance to return to "back then," I would have done many things differently. If I understood then what I know now, I would have lived differently. I would have been stronger, braver, kinder. I would have given more love and less anger... More hope and less hurt... More grace and less judgement... More of the Jesus-Me and less of the World-Me.
     But, in reality, I'm left with only today--being the best "me" I can be today. I can only hope that the person I am today makes a deeper imprint than who I was in my yesterdays. Today, I'm living in grace and by grace. Today, I seek to see the "me" that Christ sees...His workmanship, created for a purpose--those "good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (EPHESIANS 2:10 ESV) Today, I strive to walk in His purpose. And that purpose is what I hope people remember most... 
     It took me so long to even begin to see myself as Christ sees me. I saw a mess--ugly, scarred, and imperfect. I lost all hope in the "me" I used to see. But today, I have hope because the Christ IN me is my Hope of Glory (See COLOSSIANS 1:27). He shows me who I am and what He wants me to do. My purpose is to give others that same hope by helping them see themselves as His workmanship--His masterpieces. And to show them that He made something beautiful. I want them to KNOW Him as their "Hope of Glory" and to be changed.
     If people remember anything about me, I would hope that those memories would point to the Christ in me. If they remember love, compassion, grace, beauty, or hope in me at all, they would know that it's the "Hope of Glory" in me and that they would know HIM. Philip Yancey wrote, "You can gauge the size of a ship that has passed out of sight by the huge wake it leaves behind." The bigger the ship, the bigger the waves that follow. I hope that my life today is big enough to leave big waves--not because of anything I say or do so much as because of Him in me. I pray that the waves that follow me are waves of Hope bringing about change in the lives that touch mine. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011


"But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all..." - Philippians 2:17 NASB

    She was an unwelcome guest. She entered the room even as protesting servants tried to hold her back. It was all she could do to walk in there...unwanted and uninvited by the host. She risked ridicule, shame, and even self-respect for she was a sinful woman, but she had a purpose. She saw Him, the invited guest of honor. Her eyes met His for a moment as she fell at His feet. At the sight of Him, tear flowed unchecked down her cheeks. No,not tears of shame, sorrow, or fear but rather tears of love and gratitude, believing that this Man would see her heart not just her sin. This man Jesus spoke a different kind of love to her than any man had ever spoken before and her life was changed. Grace brought her to this room. 
    Under the glare of the disapproving host, she broke open her most precious possession--an alabaster box filled with a rare expensive perfume worth at least a year's wages--and poured it over Jesus' feet. The sweet aroma filled the room as she bathed His feet. Overwhelmed with love for Him, her tears rained down mixing with the perfume on His feet. As she kissed His feet, she loosened her hair so it fell long and dried His feet with her hair...
     She had nothing else to give so she gave Him all she had: her treasured alabaster box and her tears, symbols of an even more precious gift. Out of the grace He had so lovingly given her, she poured out her broken life as an offering to Him with all the love she had. Her heart spilled out for the sake of Him... "Broken and spilled out for the love of You, Jesus..." 
     Jesus understood what no other could, "I tell you, her sins--and they are many --have been forgiven so she has shown Me much love..." (Luke 7:47 NLT)
     Jesus, too gave all that He had...for the love of us. He poured out His life as an offering so that we can live eternally. By grace, He fills us up with His love. In all that has been broken in my own life, He makes me whole and fills me with love and grace again and again. With the love and grace He pours into me, I pour into others. Sacrifice sometimes, yes. Difficult, yes. And often so exhausting... But worth it? You bet! I empty myself into another with all He has given me. As I see His love and grace fill that other and empower her to pour herself into yet another, I am again filled to overflowing and ready to pour myself out to yet another...and another. In emptying myself into others, I pour my life out as an offering to Him for He has forgiven much in me too...
     "Broken and spilled out just for love of You, Jesus. My most precious treasure lavished on Thee. Broken and spilled out and poured at Your feet. In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for Thee." (Gloria Gaither)

"BROKEN AND SPILLED OUT" as performed by Steven Curtis Chapman. 
Lyrics by Gloria Gaither, music by Bill George. 1984 Gaither Music.

Friday, October 7, 2011


     I hear voices....No, not THOSE kinds of voices! (At least those aren't the ones I'm talking about today...) I hear voices--we all have them. Voices that speak truth and encouragement. Voices that lift up and push onward. Voices that impact our lives so strongly that we will never be the same. Whose voices are they? For me, they are the people in my life who matter most... Each one for the individual unique things they bring to my life and hopefully what I bring to theirs too somehow. Their voices stay with me, making me stronger, and laying my paths straight. And sometimes even holding me back or barring my way when I try to get ahead of myself...or God.
     I hear the voice of PERSISTENCE--Chad...One of the single most influential voices in my life. Why? Because he believed and persisted in reminding me, "There's a reason you are here." And he helped me find that reason.
     I hear voices of my PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE--my children: Brittany, Mikey, Andy, Elias, Zachary, and Kaci. And my newest plus-kids--Larry and Megan. Each of them fill my life and give me strength in different and unique ways, adding dimension with laughter, an unexplainable kind of love, so much joy, and blessed memories of good times and hard times. They remind me that through it all, they still need me...even when I'm not so perfect. And I need to be needed. I hope they realize how much I need them too.
      I hear voices of HOPE--women walking through their own struggles but making each other strong as they share their experiences, their encouragement, their laughter, and their tears. They are the living example of the strengthening strands in that 3-ply cord, each one making the other stronger together as they press on toward God's goal.
     I hear voices of WISDOM that have proven true to me again and again--Jeff M., Tom, Paul, Lori, Latimer, and Susan. Though they are not constant, their words rise up to remembrance when wisdom is needed most, pointing me in the way I should go.
     I hear voices of SURVIVAL both near and far--Geana, Amy, Emily, and Mary. Their perseverance in the midst of formidable circumstances amazes me. They are overcomers, reminding me that I can overcome too--I can make it. Their stories prove that God IS able and ready to stand in our defense. 
     All of these voices build me up, shape me, and give me purpose...So I'm not ashamed to shout it from the rooftops, "I HEAR VOICES!" And through each one of them, God also speaks...Telling me that I am His...That "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell... No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation can ever separate me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus..." (from Romans 8:38-39) The love of God that is revealed...HIS love revealed through each of these voices.