I went to 2 funerals in 4 days. Funerals for strong people of faith, people that touched lives and became Jesus to others. We call them funerals, but they were truly celebrations of lives well lived.
As always happens during these occasions, my thoughts turn inward, and I wonder, “What will people say about me when I die?” Sure, lots of people will probably talk about the funny posts I make on Facebook or Instagram, or they’ll talk about my willingness to volunteer for everything under the sun, but what will they have to say about what matters most?
What will people say about my faith?
I wasn’t raised a Christian, wasn’t raised with an example of living a life focused on God. I became a Christian in my teens, and I swore that when I had kids they would grow up knowing Jesus and learning how to live a God-centered life.
It’s funny how things don’t always turn out the way you plan.
I don’t know if my kids have ever seen me read my bible. We always prayed together at mealtime, but I can’t remember when our schedules lined up for us to all eat at the same time. CJ and I used to pray with the kids at night when we tucked them in, but, again, it’s been years since they hit high school and that sort of faded away. I knew I had failed when, as I was dropping my daughter off at a girls’ devo where she was set to lead the discussion and I asked to pray over her, she looked at me like I had grown horns. In my head, of COURSE I would pray over her. But obviously the idea of me doing so was not something I had modeled enough for Libby to think it commonplace. How sad is that?
I send up prayers and have little discussions with God all the time. Privately. Quietly. I have a very strong belief in God and I know that he is at the center of all things. But apparently I don’t show it. My faith doesn’t seem to come through in my dealings with my kids.
I know for a fact my faith doesn’t come through at work. In the workplace, I am the worst version of myself. I gossip, I complain, I resent having to be there. Instead of being thankful to have a low-stress job that pays my medical insurance and is flexible if I have to take time off, I very vocally count down the minutes until the end of the day and grumble about every aspect of the job. I am not Jesus to my co-workers.
I am not Jesus to my friends either.
We don’t spend money on entertainment or going out so I never invite anyone along to do anything with me; we never do anything. I’m a terrible housekeeper with a territorial dog and a cat who likes to pee on the stairs; I’m too embarrassed to invite anyone over. My friends don’t know that I pray for them often because I don’t do it WITH them. They don’t know that I think of them every time I hear their favorites songs or see something they’d like. When I see giraffes, I think of Dolores and Amy (even though I don’t know if Amy still collects giraffes). When I hear Travis Tritt, see WWE, or Robin Hood, I think of Laure–and I have since high school. Cats make me think of Rachel, clowns make me think of Angela because she hates them, smocked dresses and little girls pants with ruffles make me think of Kristina. But none of that matters because I don’t let them know I’ve been thinking of them and I don’t check in.
If someone I know called me up at 3am and needed something–anything–I’d be there in a heartbeat, no questions asked. But when there’s sickness or cancer involved, I get torn between wanting to help and the fear of being in the way to the point that I freeze up and do nothing.
However, I hope that in the sharing that I do on my blog, with ladies groups, on my podcast, wherever it may be that I get open and honest about the hard things…I hope that in those moments of vulnerability, I hope I make it clear that I can still smile and still laugh and still find joy only because of Jesus.
If I’ve ever shared anything that you related to, anything that made you realize you’re not the only one in crisis, anything that made you smile or laugh, know that connection was made possible because I put Jesus first. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to see how God has always taken care of me no matter the circumstance. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have realized that I’ve been given a unique ability to share this faith with others. If I hadn’t, I would never have put myself out there–good, bad, and ugly, warts and all–and opened myself up to judgment and criticism.
If I were to die today, I don’t think I’d be lauded as a great pillar of faith. But the foundation is there. And I’m going to keep building on it and growing and sharing. I may never be the person known for showing up at your door to pray when you’re sick or for bringing souls to Jesus, but who knows?
God’s not done with me yet.
This life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving process, and I know that God can do amazing things. Even with an ordinary someone like me.