I’m at that stage in life when “reflection” has taken on a new intensity – not for the purpose of dwelling on what has been, but to see how far I have progressed and how the past has prepared me for who I have become. This fills me with confidence to make the most of what is yet to be. A while back I wrote, “It’s important to remember where we came from, but vital to keep moving ahead!” (October 22, 2011) My desire is to keep on becoming.
I love to read and over the years I have immersed myself in biographies of many inspiring people. Some influenced me greatly and have left an indelible impression encouraging me on my life’s path. I also enjoy similarly themed movies such as “Anna and the King”, “Gandhi” and “The King’s Speech”.
As a child, my favorite books were about animals. My first kitty was named “Puff” after the feline in my first-grade reader. I have distinct memories of him curling his fluffy white body around my head at night. I read every animal story I could find, faithfully watched “Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo” (the theme song is playing in my head), “Lassie”, and “Flipper”. If you remember these, you are no doubt in my age bracket! Today I still love “Heartland”, National Geographic animal documentaries, “Animal Planet”, and movies like “Sea Biscuit” and “War Horse”. Animal-themed collector plates, throws, ornaments, and Chinese paintings of birds (thanks to the exquisite artistry of my mother-in-law) all adorn our home.
Source: Google Images
Most would be surprised, however, to discover that my youthful dream was to be a veterinarian. It still fascinates me, but God had other designs for my life. In high school, my mind and heart were gradually drawn in another direction. Wonderfully blessed with a rich spiritual heritage, I received invaluable support from my family, friends, and church community as I pursued God’s call on my life.
Along the way, the stories of several women have impacted my quest to discover my gifting and how it can best be used to make a difference in the world and in the lives of other people. They have also influenced the choices I make and the ministry paths I follow. I continue to be motivated to live my life in such a way that I might also encourage and inspire others.
Since my early twenties, my motto has been II Timothy 2:2 “Take the teachings [of Christ] that you heard me [Paul] proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also.” (GNT) The most rewarding joy in my life is to watch those whom I have taught, discipled, mentored, and trained to blossom and mature into tomorrow’s leaders.
This same principle is lived out by my parents as they continue to encourage me and my younger sister in our individual career and ministry choices. Their willingness to release my older sister, who went to be with the Lord in 1999, to follow her dream of becoming a missionary nurse in Africa is evidence of their love and submission to Him. They were role models as they served with their abilities and gifts in various teaching and leadership roles and on boards and committees, in extending hospitality, and by faithfully supporting missionaries. They still faithfully encourage others in their walk with God and uphold them in prayer. Many of my relatives also model the same values and are a significant influence on who I have become.
Source: Google Images
As Jill Briscoe asked one time, “How do I ‘be’ the Christian I’ve become?”[i]
I’ve been mulling that thought over for two weeks as it aroused my curiosity. Just how do we “be” what we have become? Why do some people seem to handle the present reality of their life with such strength and dignity while others are consumed with insecurity and victimization? What allows one person to endure despite devastating news while another crumbles in despair? Where does one go when their hopes and dreams dissipate like a fine mist?
Beginning next week, I will be sharing with you the stories of a few women who have been especially helpful in shaping who I have become today. I know you’ll find them inspiring as well, so stay tuned!
Until next time,
[i] Faith Enough to Finish, Jill Briscoe, 2003, 2007, Monarch Books, Oxford, England, pg. 43