Sherry at Semicolon commemorated 12/12/12 last year by posting about 12 themes of her life. Though it’s way past that particular unique date, her post got me to thinking about the themes of my own life. Here are some of them, and, as she said, they’re reflected in much of my blogging:
1. God. Even before I knew Him, I thought Him to be kind, loving, and wise, and I had something of an affection for Him. I came to know Him by believing on Jesus (“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3) when I was a teen-ager and have only grown in my appreciation and esteem for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. The Bible. I am so glad that the church God led me to when I was a teen-ager had an emphasis on reading the Bible through. That was a vulnerable time in my life, and I could so easily have drifted into who knows what, but God used His Word to ground me not only personally, but in the faith. I took it in like a thirsty man drinks water, like a hungry man eats food: it was my lifeline. It still is. And I am glad for the emphasis on reading all of it, because it is all inspired, and because it keeps one balanced spiritually to read it all and interpret it as it relates to the whole. So many false doctrines come from an emphasis on one part while neglecting or deemphasizing another or taking a text out of context. One of my passions is getting people into the Word of God for themselves: one such post along those lines is Reasons to Read the Bible.
3. Family. My mom was my best friend as I was growing up, and though my relationship with my father wasn’t as close, it was still devastating when my parents divorced. Even before that, in all of the aspirations of what I might want to be when I grew up, a wife and mom was always a part of it, and after I became a Christian I longed to have a Christian family. I’ve been so blessed with a close, loving family, and with my kids almost all grown now, I like to encourage younger moms along the way.
4. Homemaking. I ‘ve always felt that every woman is a homemaker whether she is single, married, whether she has children or not, whether she is working or not, because we all live in some kind of home, and God has given it to us partly as a refuge from the world and partly as a ministry to others. Being a homemaker has not been highly regarded in our culture in the last few decades, and I long to encourage women that homemaking is a high and honorable endeavor.
5. Ministry. Every Christian is given gifts with which to minister to others, and is “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10), whether we’re called to “the” ministry or not. This is probably the area where God has stretched and grown me the most in recent years, drawing me out of my comfort zone and teaching me to depend even more on Him to work through me.
6. Missions. I thought at one time that God might be calling me to be a missionary, but over time I realized my calling is more in assisting missionaries. I’ve gotten to know some of the dearest people through some of the ministries in our churches that have particularly ministered to them. Plus a love of reading missionary biographies and their impact on my life has encouraged me to minister to and learn from these fine folks on “the front lines.”
7. Church. I mentioned the Bible being a lifeline: a good church also was in my early days as a Christian. People who loved me and cared for me and were unwitting examples to me helped me so much. God made us to minister to one another. Though no church is perfect, and though the church at large is fraught with flaws, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25b-27). If He loved it that much, and we love Him, it follows that we should love the church as well.
8. Books. I’ve loved reading ever since I first learned how. I could write another whole post on why I love reading (maybe some day…), but books have been a major part of my whole life. I have to have one or two books I’m currently reading at any given time, and I have to take a handful when traveling (the Kindle app sure helps with that!) If I go too long without reading I feel like I’m starving. I wrote about the 98 books that have most enriched my life a couple of years ago — I probably need to update that with a few I’ve read since.
9. Music. I am not a musician, but I’ve loved music for years. Christian music was another lifeline in my early Christian life, and so many times God has ministered to my heart with a particular hymn or spiritual song at a particular time. But I also enjoy some classical music, Irish, English, and early American folk music, some songs from musicals, Emile Pandolfi’s piano-playing, and assorted other types. I quite often have music playing while my hands are busy or have a song going around in my head.
10. Beauty. Not the obsession with personal beauty prevalent these days, but the beauty that causes God’s hand to be seen and inspires worship and praise to Him, beauty that reflects truth, beauty manifest in nature, music, art, writing, color, even a lovely table setting.
11. Creativity. I used to think either a person was creative, or they were not, and I didn’t think I was. I used to associate creativity with artsy people. But over the years I came to realize that there are different kinds of creativity. A dear friend was a wiz at coming up with simple yet really neat lunch ideas or activities for her children. Another friend I used to do bulletin boards with used to say she could staple and pin and cut things out for it, but she didn’t want to come up with ideas — but often she’d have an idea while we were working or an adjustment that was just right. I really enjoy other people’s creativity (Pinterest has been a feast for that!) and love to have some type of craft or project going on the side.
12. Writing has been a lifelong outlet. As a child I wrote stories and poems. I don’t have much of that any more except a folder of poems I had written as a teen and one poem from my childhood. I kept a diary as a teen but, sadly, threw it away. I’ve written a few magazine articles, a few newspaper columns, and a few years’ worth of newsletters for the ladies’ group at church. And, of course, there is this blog. 🙂 I think things through by writing and like to encourage people through writing. I think I express myself better through writing than speaking. I don’t know how the Lord may use it in the future, but I am grateful for the outlets He has given so far.
13. Learning. I always loved school. Maybe not every single class or teacher, but I loved school in general. If college hadn’t been so expensive, I could have stayed on another couple of years just taking classes that sounded interesting. I still like to keep the brain percolating by learning new things.
As I was thinking about what to include in this list, I thought that, honestly, overarching themes of my life would have to include “besetting sins.” I try to keep things real here and not hold myself up as some kind of paragon of virtue: I’ve shared some of my faults and failings and struggles here. On the other hand, I don’t think it is necessary or even wise to lay it all out here, either. Let’s just say that most of them involved self in some way — self-indulgence, self-righteousness, self-promotion, self-protection. Be assured God is continually convicting and working on me!
What are some themes of your life?