It’s strange how life goes.

You grow up thinking you want to be this or do that.

You imagine all the places you might live.

You dream of having a family.

And then you commit yourself to God’s leading………………..

you throw away your own ideas of what an adventurous life might look like in exchange for an adventure with Him.

You lay it all down

— every dream, every hope, every wish —

and you hold on tight.

Because God’s idea of a big life never seems to look like the one you envisioned.

And God’s thoughts about what will bring the deepest joy never match the things on your humanly-created list.

I’m 52 years old now.

I’ve lived nearly all of my 32 years of married life in a tiny town in Kentucky.

I’ve finished three degrees by taking classes online or walking from my house to the college where my husband teaches or driving weekly over 100 miles from my home.

I’ve babysat to help pay our bills, taught elementary, middle, and high school, and written a book on grief after the loss of two of our children.

I’m now a therapist in our small town,

and through all of my “working” journeys my husband has kept our home stable with his steady passion for being a Bible college professor and tax preparer for ministers across the United States.

None of this was part of our plan as we dated and walked the campus of Cincinnati Bible College in the early 80s.

We had no idea where God would take us as we sat in Larosa’s on dates or played intramural volleyball with other young married couples.

We just knew we loved each other and most of all loved God.


Many years have passed since we said, “I do,”

and we’ve now watched all of our children “fly away” to pursue their own life dreams.

And if I could say just one thing to each of them,

I would say,

“Never stop dreaming or working or living big…………………

but let go of your own idea of what a fulfilling, adventurous life looks like.”

I read recently in John Ortberg’s book,

The Me I Want To Be,

that “the Spirit is the river………….not us.”

And you can’t push a river,

you can only move with it.

Monday night I told my class of college students to never get so caught up in trying to answer the question, “What do I want to be?” that they miss the importance of correctly answering the question, “Who do I want to be as I do this or I do that?”

WHO is so much more important than WHAT.

I think I’m finally figuring that out.

Who am I?  isn’t so much a question about careers or titles –

it’s a question that needs to be answered as we look in the mirror and see every blemish and flaw in light of His mercy and grace.

We are children of the King.

Sons and daughters placed on this planet for such a short time………………

to have a relationship with Him as we stumble through all sorts of roles,

trying to bring Him glory with each faltering step.

That’s what I want to say to my kids.

Don’t worry about tripping or falling as you travel through life,

because the One who guides your steps is ahead of you.

He’s already smoothing rough roads,

and He’s already working out ways to provide just what you need as you face successes, failures, gains, and losses.

He’s got this.

You don’t have to have it all figured out.


Because the minute we think we’ve figured out life,

we’ve taken over the role of Him who created it.

And that’s a dangerous place to be.

So let go.

Trust Him.

Enjoy the flow of the river no matter where it leads,

because when the Spirit is our river it never leads us where we shouldn’t go or be.

Last month, our daughter and her fiance’ became husband and wife.

As my husband and I left the wedding ceremony arm in arm,

my heart overflowed with joy even as it ached for the presence of our two children in Heaven at this very special family occasion.

And that’s how God works.

He fills up every empty place in our heart with His love and His joy……………….

when we surrender our lives completely to Him.

This life passes by so quickly.

So soak up every memory.

The amazingly joy-filled ones and the ones that hurt more deeply than you ever thought you could bear.

Because one day this world will wash away and the only question that will matter will have nothing to do with “what you were” but it will have everything to do with “who you were” along the way.

And the only way to really answer that question is by answering the only question that truly matters,

and that question is this…………….

“Whose are you?”