Wait For It Again

This is the second post in the “Ferocious” series. I hope you are enjoying my vacation!

I was fourteen. I had been a Christian for all of a year. It was Wednesday night Bible study and we were sharing prayer requests in groups of five or six and praying for one another.

I asked prayer for the salvation of my parents. The woman next to me began to talk about how frustrated she was with her own teen-ager, how she felt she was near the end of her rope.

I innocently offered, “I’ll pray for you that God would give you patience.”

The circle fell silent and the woman looked at me aghast as if I had just offered to murder her kid to relieve her misery.

Another woman in the circle said, “Dear, you must never pray for patience for others. It causes trials.”

For a long time after that I believed and repeated what I had been taught in that small prayer circle. Many times I said the same words to other Christians, as if in jest. But always there was some deep-set fear in my heart that praying for patience could release the destroying angel into people’s lives.

Then one day the Lord asked me “Is patience a fruit of my Holy Spirit?”

“Yes Lord” I replied.

”Do you have difficulty praying for joy or faith to grow in people’s lives?” He asked gently.

“No Lord I do not.” I returned.

“Is patience not needed as much as these other fruits?”

“Yes Lord.” I answered beginning to get chagrined.

“Then you should pray for people to grow in patience and let Me worry about how I choose to answer your request. For I always know the best way to answer.”

The fact of the matter is that praying for patience does not cause trials. Life causes trials. Further patience is not a cause of trials it is a response to trials. Even further than that, I do not believe that praying for a person to grow in patience causes more trials than normal. I do believe it releases the Holy Spirit to convict a person about how they respond to stress and that can make stress seem, well, more stressful to the impatient heart.

In truth though patience cannot be seen by the human eye without the fiery blaze of a trial to light its existence. When all is peaceful and at rest we cannot say a person is patient because you do not have to be very great in patience to sleep on a hammock. But put a guy in the midst of an angry board meeting and you will see how deep his patience runs.

If we are to walk the pathway of god’s ferocious love we must have patience running deep in our veins. Paul evidently thought it important enough to rank first in his defining list of love traits.

“Love is patient.” I Cor. 13:4 NIV

Now the writers of the New Testament used two Greek words to describe this quality we call patience:


1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance

a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

b) patiently, and steadfastly

2) a patient, steadfast waiting for

3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance



to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart

a) to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles

b) to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others

1) to be mild and slow in avenging

2) to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

** Definitions care of blueletterbible.com lexicon

Now both definitions are incredible to meditate upon. However when Paul wrote, “Love is patient”, he actually said, “love is makrothymeō”.

In other words “love persevere’s bravely in enduring misfortune.”

My great-grandmother had twenty-five pregnancies. Twenty of them were miscarriages. It had to be makrothymeō  that kept her going for her family.

It takes makrothymeō to “turn the other cheek” or to love your enemies, because you have to bear with the offenses of others.

Patience of this kind doesn’t yell at the telemarketer or the bill collector. Nor does it run and hide from them. It deals bravely and peacefully with every person in every situation.

You know, looking at it that way makes me want patience. I need it. So I do pray for it because I want to love the way God loves and if I have to go through a few ferocious trials to get there…well I think patience will be worth the price.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2,3 kjv

Let It be So!

Ferocious Again

I wrote the “Ferocious” series a while ago. I thought that it would be good to bring it back while I was on vacation. Let me know what you think!

Our worship team got into a discussion about “real love” a few weeks ago during our time of Bible study and prayer. We were looking at I Corinthians 13 :4-8 and trying to find one word we could boil  all these verses down  into.

You know the passage I’m referring to: “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails….” I Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

We tossed around several words but finally one of the altos on our vocal team, Betty, shot out a word that really seems to sum up God’s definition of love.

Betty said “Love is ferocious.”

Now that right there is powerful revelation. Look at the verses again and tell me what you think. If love were an animal would it be a kitten or a police dog? Would love be the zebra or the lion?

Anybody who chooses the cute cuddly critter or the helpless herbivore has never really tried to walk in kindness towards the bully whose taking your lunch money. Any body who said kitten has never had to walk with hope for the child who has fallen back into drugs for the fiftieth time.

Love is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. After all it is the conduit through which the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit operate. Anything that can channel gifts of such amazing power has to itself be pretty rugged don’t you think?

Over the next several posts I am going to be breaking down these verses so that we can get a clearer understanding about this ferocious thing called love. But before I do that I want to make a few observations about these verses together that will maybe help us to understand just how potent a pill love is to take.

First of all love is not just one of the items on the list.

It is not right to say “love is just being patient”.

It is not even right to say “love just always trusts”.

If we do that then love becomes patience or trust. But love is not love until it is all the things on the list. Take away just one item and you no longer have love. If you do everything on the list but you do it impatiently you have not loved. Conversely if you are patient but you are only patient with someone because you have already given up on them then you also have not loved. For love never fails or gives up.

You see love leaves us no quarter. It’s like the lion chasing down the zebra pouncing on its hind-end bringing it to ground. It is ferocious with us in that it never lets up. Love demands a ruthless perfection in us in order to manifest.

Further love is not a situational thing. If we are to love we cannot choose the conditions or the individuals we are to love. Love is not about the objects of our love it is about the inner condition of our heart.

I cannot choose when to love for love is an always things. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (ICor. 13:7 NIV). If I am to love I cannot say I will love on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Nor can I say I will love when somebody does something nice for me and makes me feel like being loving.

True love remains the same even when the objects of our love become themselves unlovely: When the child disobeys love disciplines with the hope of restoring truth for the purpose of rejoicing. When the spouse is hateful love does not retaliate or bring it up in the next time of tension. When the lady in line in front of you at Dunkin Donuts swears at you love remains kind.

You see love is ferocious not with other people. Love is ferocious with those of us who are trying to love. It is the power that takes away all our imperfection and submits us fully to God.

By this point most of us have given up and said “I now see I have never loved and surely I never will.”

Congratulations you have come to the knowledge that you cannot do that which is only doable by God in you. Love is a God thing and without Him actively participating in our loving we will never attain to the goal of I Corinthians 13.

Praise be that He does not leave us to our own devices. God and God alone will make us into real lovers. So let us now submit to Him as we go on to study the components of this ferocious love.

Pray with me.

Dear Jesus, I acknowledge that without your help I cannot love as you have called me to love. So I ask now dear Lord that as I study, first open my understanding so that I may know what love is. Then come and empower me by your grace to do that which I cannot do myself. Make me to love even as you love.

In Jesus name a-men.

Gotta Stand Pt. 7

     “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church…. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean…. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself….  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,  for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.  Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites. A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  “ Ephesians 5:21-6:10 NLT

     I suppose I hardly qualify as a relationship expert here. I’m divorced. I have one adopted son who doesn’t even speak to me. If you asked me where I went wrong I’m not even sure where I’d begin. My faults are many. That’s just being honest.

     What I do know, though, is that Christians are supposed to relate differently than non-Christians. Our motto in every relationship is supposed to be love and submission, grace and sacrifice. Those concepts aren’t just fluffy theology; They are hard-nosed, practical applications. A lot of everyday life is stuffed into the middle of Eph.5:21 and Ephesians 6:10: dishes, carpools, date nights and daily devotionals, dead-lines, chore charts, discipline and double shifts. In all these relationship driven items we are called to act out of love and submission, grace and sacrifice.

     If we are going to stand in the now we need to begin to live Christian in our relationships now. Our past can not be allowed to dictate how we relate in the present. Also, love and submission, grace and sacrifice have nothing to do with changing our relationships. Relating right is not about winning other people over; It’s about reverencing Christ. We don’t change our behavior to fix our lives. We change our behavior to please God. Then God fixes our lives to whatever degree He feels necessary.

We’ve gotta stand! What do you think is the greatest hindrance to Christian relationship?

Gotta Stand Pt. 3

     As a gardener I am often called to take a plant from one location and move it to another. The task of transplanting is a necessary and painstaking ritual for the husbandman who wants to bring about a rich harvest.

     Simply put transplanting means taking a plant rooted in one place and causing it to take root in another. The danger of course is that in the process of transplanting the gardener runs the risk of harming the exposed root and losing his fruit or perhaps even the entire plant.    

     Paul paints us a picture of the Christian being transplanted and what the soil of our new life should produce in Ephesians Chapter 4.

“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:22-25NLT

     Paul says throwing off our old way of life means to stop being a deceiver.  Now we made the point yesterday that throwing off the old self or transplanting the roots of our lives starts with attitude and then leads to action. A problem with lying is rooted in a problem with fear. When we lie what we actually communicate is that we are afraid, if we tell the truth we will be hurt. The truth is, of course, sometimes we will be. But that doesn’t excuse lying. What God requires is that we address the world out of perfect love. As the Word says: ” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18 KJV

     I saw an episode of “Bones” the other night. The characters were involved in a group that espoused “radical honesty”which is, “a tell the truth no matter what it does to the other person” policy. throughout the episode, people cavorted across the screen insulting and denigrating others in the name of “truth”. This is not what Paul was talking about.

     The Christian who seeks to come out of the soil of falsehood needs to be transplanted first in the soil of love not the soil of confession. If a Christian struggles with lying his first step is not to become a radical confessor but a radical lover of God and man. When love is established trust will bloom, fear will wither and lying will stop. Confession in this atmosphere becomes safe, wholesome and redeeming.

    If we are going to stand through the upcoming storms we must be transplanted in truth surrounded by the soil of love. Then we will bring forth a great harvest!

 Ask Jesus to transplant you in the soil of perfect love.

Killing Judgy

     You have heard about my sarcasm bone, but have you met my alternate personality? I call him Judgy and every once in a while when my ire is up he comes out.

     For most of my life I was unaware of his existence. I really thought I was a sweet person. Then I started writing.

     I have come to know this Judgy character pretty well as I have reread my drafts. You may think my wit is a little biting in print…but you should see the things I don’t publish!

     The pieces that don’t make the cut have titles like “Sorry or Just Plain Sad”  or the piece I was working on today “Until It Happens To You”. I got the blog finished. Then I proof read  it and said “Oh surely not!” I trashed it realizing Judgy had struck again.

     It’s not that I totally disagree with him, mind you. Sometimes Judgy makes good points; It’s the way he makes them that leaves a little bit to be desired. Just an aside, anytime you read a blog and things around you begin to spontaneously combust, it’s probably not a good thing.

     So Judgy has to go. He must be assimilated and his more vitriolic qualities must be done away with. I want to speak the truth but with love alone. I suppose he’s not just going to keel over dead tomorrow though. So if everyone once in a while Judgy pops out please accept my apology in advance!

If you had an alternate personality what would it be called?

Passion: The General Manager

“For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.” John 17:2 NLT

        Before I came to work for the church in 1996, I worked in the business world to help support my family. I had various careers during those early years: waiter, short order cook, restaurant manager, Circulation District manager, Wal-Mart stock man, I even did a stint as a data entry specialist for the IRS. Each job came complete with a general manager. You know the guy or gal I’m talking about: first to work, last to leave, always barking orders, lots of responsibility, owns stock in Rolaids or Mylanta, and generally the crabbiest person in the building….Oh yeah and they are the go to person for virtually everything because they have the authority.

      Authority  is the right to exercise power to a desired end. The general managers all had authority to make decisions with millions of dollars of personnel and equipment. The owners had turned their concerns for the company over to these people. The owners trusted their general managers to act responsibly to bring about a profit for them. The problem was the general managers had no real power to ensure the end that the owners desired; So they daily bit their whitened knuckles and swallowed antacids hoping against hope that the balloon wouldn’t burst on their watch.

     Like the general managers, Jesus has been entrusted by God the Father with authority.

     “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. ” Ma 28:18 NLT

     In John 17 Jesus tells us what the authority is for. It is to grant eternal life to men and women!

    So Jesus, like the other general managers I have served under, has been given authority. Unlike them however He also has power to accomplish the work with 100% efficiency. Jesus never fails! He finds those who seek for God and He saves them every time! He has never lost a man or a woman who came calling for help…and He has never had to take Mylanta while doing the work! Thank you Jesus for being the best general manager I have ever had!  

Passion: The Comforter Bears Witness

     “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. ” John 15: 26,27 KJV

          My favorite game as a kid was “Superfriends”. Yep, no hide and seek for me, no baseball or football. I was a role player all the way. While other kids were learning to catch, I was pouring over the comic section at the local penny candy store and wishing I could be like Superman, Green Lantern, or The Flash. Truth is  I was the nerd who could read before he started kindergarten but always got picked last in gym. I think I liked imagination games because at least on that playing field I stood a chance of competing and winning.

     Real life, though, isn’t a role-playing game. I soon found out that being able to answer all the questions in class and running slower than the girls puts you on the bottom rung of the social ladder for the most part and keeps you there particularly if you never hit your stride.

     It’s not really a wonder that my childhood game turned into a preadolescent fascination with the supernatural. My penchant for comic books turned into a thirst for books about the New Age. I began trying to channel spirits and believed I could talk to the dead. By thirteen I was one weird, messed up kid.

     But then through a series of events God broke in on my life. I wasn’t seeking Him. I was looking to talk to the dead guy who owned my parents house in the fifties. But God was looking for me. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, sent a witness in the form of a godly teacher.

      When I told my mother that I wanted to go to my teacher’s church she said “No if you’re going to go to any church it will be your Uncle Tom’s.”

     That was strange because everyone in the family thought Uncle Tom was crazy. But the Holy Spirit knew what I needed; So He arranged it. I remember my first experience with the Pentecostal Church. It was wild! I heard people speaking in tongues and other people interpreting those tongues. Another guy spoke a  prophetic word  in the service. Then the pastor called people forward for divine healing. People fell over while he was praying for them and all the while the church was singing and rejoicing in the Lord. There was a lot of clapping and shouting and praising God…and I experienced the supernatural presence of God for the first time ! Right there in that little New England Assembly of God I found the Source of all power and somehow I knew I didn’t have to imagine being “super” any more. I realized if I could just tap into this Source I would never be the “weak one” again.

     A movement has grabbed our churches since those days. Some of us have become “seeker-sensitive” espousing a notion that supernatural displays of power in the public service will turn people off and send them packing out our doors. I’m here to testify that is a lie. I needed the supernatural presence of God. Other people need it too. The Holy Spirit and His demonstrations of power are indeed outlandish, wild, extreme, sometimes even a little frightening…but they prove God is powerful to a world that is craving empowerment.

      Maybe the Holy Spirit freaks out the people who have always been picked first for the gym class. Maybe He seems strange to those who already have it in their heads they can make it on their own steam. But I have to tell you this “wimpy kid”, lost in his own personal dungeons and dragons game, needed a Comforter who would testify about a Jesus who loved me even though I didn’t measure up. I still need that! Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit became that equalizing force I always craved.  

     How many I wonder are like me? Let’s open our eyes to the fact that we live in a nation increasingly disempowered seeking something.. anything that will fill the void of our weakness. It has always been the Spirit’s job to point the world to Jesus through displays of power that confirm the truth, that He alone can fill that void! The church has the responsibility to partner with him in that witness. We have been called to let His power flow!

Quench Not the Spirit. Happy Pentecost!

Love The Wounded

So I asked my son to guest post again. Here is what he said.


Love the Wounded

by Joseph Lillie on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 1:28am

       So I know my new blog name on wordpress (which I am still trying to figure out) is LovExpressed, and I know I often write on the topic of love. I was contemplating today, however, do I even love? My answer as all humans is not nearly enough. This makes my life very paradoxical. I will explain what I mean. My heart has been burdened by this thought for quite some time. Now I am not merely be a social reform activist but this world is also a paradox in the sense that people are living without purpose, and hope when that hope and purpose are right in front of them. I see myself as a paradox because in the very core of my being I have hope I can share but I let fear, and my individualistic self hold it in as do many of us. Quite frankly who can say they pray for the world every day? Week? Month? There is a battle brewing and our greatest weapon is not our knowledge, but our love, and humility expressed through prayer.

I see the homeless man who has worn the same clothes for six months without a bath. Despite this fact I worry about next months rent, as I watch my big screen TV. I see the child in Mexico who has no food, or clean water, and drinks the bacteria infested water and I worry that the number 5 in my left hand, and my large coke in my right is not enough. I see the woman who is about to lose her childhood because her parents are being decieved, and I complain about my paycheck being to small. I see the widow who lost her husband, the woman with the misscariage, the teen who has lost everything to live for and still I have the hope but I refuse to share, as if it is some gift given to me only for me. I see the world in its most dire situation, and I can not even take 5 minutes out of my day to pray for it. I worry about this I worry about that. Sometimes WE spend so much time worrying that we do not spend enough time praying, and loving.

As I said a battle is brewing, the greatest weapon we have is not guns, but rather our greatest weapon to bring down the foe is our love and prayer. If we don’t make enough to give, or don’t have the resources to go, we have time to pray, and love. Pray for those you encounter, and love those you see. For this is where every battle begins and ends. It starts on your knees drinking from the river of His mercy, and it ends on our knees praising Him for bringing us through.

Fight for those who are wounded

Love and Prayers,

Care bear

Passion : Remaining=Love=Obedience

     “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.John 15:9,10 (NIV)

      I have had much opportunity to stand upon the promises of God lately. I am learning the wonder of walking by faith and not by sight and discovering how the promise of John 15:7 works.

     “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. “

     Now that’s a heady thing…anything I want huh? New car? New plane? Money in the bank? Instant healing of every sickness? Greater success in my career? Well… yes if I can remain in Him and have those things.

     So it all hinges on this “remaining” or “abiding” thing. What’s that exactly? Well Jesus elaborates on the subject in the second half of John 15.

    Remaining in Him means remaining in His love. What’s that mean? It means obeying his commands. What commands? Well Jesus doesn’t leave us guessing:

     “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.( John 15: 12,13 NIV)

     OH SNAP!

     If we follow John 15 to its logical conclusion we can ask anything we want of God and He will absolutely answer  if we are loving as Jesus Christ  loved. If however we are not loving as Jesus Christ loved then we have absolutely no right to expect anything from God ever.

    This being the case I can no longer wonder why God doesn’t answer more of my prayers. Instead I should be wondering why He answers any of my prayers at all!

     Have you looked at how Jesus loved recently? The man was abandoned by his best friends, pushed through a kangaroo court tried and sentenced unjustly in a day, was spit upon, beaten to within an inch of his life, was sentenced to death because the official in charge couldn’t be bothered to stand up for justice, and was crucified. Yet he still said “Father forgive them.”!

     Meanwhile I get all defensive when I get criticized about my preaching!     

     But I am learning about this “remaining”. I am learning it’s not in me to remain. But it is in Him to help me remain. If I set myself before Him in prayer and in His word somehow His love flows into me. I can love as He loves. When I am in this place of “His love” my prayers are directed. I know what he wants…and I can tell you it has little to do with new cars, planes, money, jobs or many times even my health. What He wants is the world restored to Him… to His love. When I am in “His love” I am finding my heart is broken for the world. I don’t crave its treasures. I pity the world because its treasures are strangling it to death.

     Loving as Jesus love always involves sacrifice. He said, “This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. ” John 15: 17-21 (NIV)

     Remaining then is never going to be a painless activity. The world order won’t stand for our remaining. The world does not value our prayers. The world does not value our Scriptures. The world will not tolerate our obedience to them. The world will consider our love as weakness. Yet only by these things do we remain. Only by these things can we obtain the promises Jesus made to us.

     This all requires our meditation. The Scripture here is very deep. It has many sides. Remaining in Him requires a lifetime of careful attention. But I am willing to give my life to remaining.

How about you?



Making the Markers Matter

       I like Saturday morning sunlight better than week day sunlight.     You see, I used to spend Friday nights at my Grandparent’s camp.  I remember every Saturday I would wake up and savor for just a few moments the yellow light that poured through the chintz curtains onto the bedspreads around me.  

      Saturday mornings were always the same. Eggs and toast with orange juice followed by grocery shopping and a historic tour of Athol MA.

     On those morning drives I wrote my first poetry and I memorized the locations of Sentinel Elm, and the homesteads of the Tandys, and the Lillies. I saw almost weekly the three houses my great- great-grandfather built for his daughters and sister. I can still point out the cellar hole of the house my great-grandmother burned down while drying her sons’ clothing over the wood stove.

      On certain special Saturdays my grandparents would take a little longer to complete my education. On those Saturdays Grampa would skip his candlepin bowling and we would make the drive to Erving Where the “first Joseph” was buried.

      I can still hear Gramp’s  gravelly voice litanizing our family history. “You are Joseph Elon Lillie V but we call you the III because your mother didn’t want you to be likened to whiskey…The first Joseph was a wood cutter…father Caleb Elon… his father Caleb senior…all the way back to the revolution…Joseph’s mother-in-law was Susannah Clark they called her “Little Grandmother”…Shay’s rebellion.”

    At least that’s the way I heard it as I phased in and out of consciousness without my grandparents even knowing.

     I didn’t realize it at the time but Gram and Gramps were training me for a job that would become mine in the fullness of time. When they passed, watching over the family grave markers fell to my Aunt Joan and Uncle Walt. Now that they have moved to Seattle to live with their kids I may be the only Lillie who remembers where everyone is!

          This year I took my sister with me to check on the graves. We didn’t stay long. Talking to the dead isn’t our thing (at least not since we came to Jesus) but that really wasn’t the point. I wasn’t there to grieve. I went to make sure the markers still stood, could still be read, to show that the lives they represented still mattered.

     Maybe it’s because I am now on the edge of that phase called middle age, maybe it’s because all my kids are grown and out of the house but I find myself wanting to make things count more than ever. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “Well that was certainly a waste!”

     My desire to leave a legacy that matters got me thinking about what those who went before left to me:

     As I stood before my father’s marker I could still hear him chiding me “Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Give me an answer you can live with.”

     What can I live with? I feel like I am just learning the answer to that now twenty years after his death.


     As I visited the cemeteries this year I realized that these people effected who I am, some of them without ever knowing me. One of them spoke a name that would echo down the generations to their grandson’s grandson. A “little grandmother” lost somewhere in the folds of history has birthed a family that stands for freedom and personal responsibility. Gosh, a couple of these folks have even influenced the way I look at sunlight. They mattered…at least if my life does!

     What will the markers I leave behind matter to those who come after? I want to be more than a potted geranium some grandson I never know buys at his generation’s version of Wal-Mart.

     I’ve been thinking about what I want on my tombstone should Jesus tarry (the way things look that ain’t likely but just say I get hit by a bus or something). I think I want people to say of me “He was someone who really knew how to love. Not the gushy, fake, T.V. romance, messed up love but the real Jesus type of love.”

    I want them to write this in the dash between my years.

      I want people to say “He did it. so can I!”

      As I stood at the graves of my ancestors I realized it’s not the size of the rock that matters but the making of the marker that can only be done by the living of a life.

    I am writing my gravestone as I live each day not so that people will come and leave me pretty plants but so that lives that come behind mine will be changed.

What legacy are you choosing to leave?