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You Are a Purpose Wrapped in a Person

You Are a Purpose Wrapped in a Person

Once upon a time, I was a stay-at-home mom. I loved being the one to cheer my children on as they drooled their first grins, stumbled over their first steps, and attempted their first somersaults.

Those kiddos grew into teenagers and our parenting objectives changed up a bit. We wanted our home to be a place where they enjoyed hanging out with their friends. It turns out, we never wondered where they were on a Friday night. They were at our place with all their friends—playing their guitars, and playing the piano, and playing video games all at the same time. Gallons of milk would disappear in an afternoon. And if I turned my back to answer the phone during a cookie-baking spree,  trays of cookies—sometimes entire bowls of cookie dough—would vanish into thin air.

Our kids now have munchkins of their own. And morphing from motherly purpose to grandmotherly purpose is certainly different—more entertaining, less demanding, less expensive—but it wasn’t a great leap.

A God-Sized Dream with My Husband

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Here’s what was a rather large and overwhelming leap, though: Once upon a time, I had a husband. Gary. I loved being the wife of this good man and making our home a sanctuary for him and our kids. But then Gary was diagnosed with cancer, and our purpose changed. We established a non-profit, wrote for grant funding, and booked speaking engagements in all regions of the country. And we shared what we were doing to live proactively with late-stage disease. Gary and I also had a vision of someday owning a place in the country where we could host cancer-survivor-and-caregiver retreats—providing tips on how to thrive despite cancer. And although Gary lived much longer than the experts originally projected, he didn’t live nearly long enough.

Here’s where the large and overwhelming leap comes in: How am I supposed to do this alone because I still carry some of those same dreams and goals? What would a retreat look like, for example, for people who have faced significant loss and are ready to get back into a flourishing life?

God Walks Beside You in Your Purpose

How I’m going to pursue my God-infused purpose alone is one step at a time, moving forward into unfamiliar places, knowing I’m not really alone because God walks beside me and opens doors and gives me favor.

With changing seasons, it can be much more comfortable to settle into the couch, reading about or watching other people’s purposeful adventures. But until we stop seeking comfort and start embracing new and unfamiliar places, the things we are meant to do with our one, available, passionate life won’t happen. The Habitat for Humanity houses we were meant to help build… The songs we were meant to write… The babies we were meant to rock in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit… The students we were meant to coach… The gardens we were meant to grow, and the people we were meant to feed… The résumé-building or computer skills we were meant to teach at the community center…

These things don’t happen from our comfortable couches.

When seasons of our lives change, can we determine to change—gracefully and full of grit—with them? Is it possible to find a new purpose that we’ll love just as much as the old purpose we didn’t want to lose?

Speaking from experience, yes. And yes.

There was a guy—Paul—who used to throw Christ-followers into prison until he was thrown down by Christ and became a follower himself. To the believers in ancient Ephesus, Paul wrote these beautiful words of promise and purpose: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

Is it possible to find a new purpose that we’ll love just as much as the old purpose we didn’t want to lose?

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Seek the Life God Has Planned For You

Embracing new purpose as seasons change can be scary. And risky. And overwhelming. But there’s something even scarier: Not being willing to change. And not living the life God intended for us as we turn the page to the next chapter of our stories.

I love this thought from author Bo Stern: “I am convinced that our purpose is the truest thing about us. It’s truer than our height and weight. Truer than our successes and failures. Truer than our misgivings about our own abilities. You, my beautiful friend, are a purpose wrapped in a person.”

With the passing of my husband, it has been more deeply impressed upon me that we’re not going to live forever. I already knew this, but now I know it. And I want the remaining days of my life on earth to fit into God’s grand design.

In his book Love Does, Bob Goff writes about finding a more purposeful life: “I bet it involves choosing something that already lights you up. Something you already think is beautiful or lasting and meaningful. Pick something you aren’t just able to do; instead, pick something you feel like you were made to do and then do lots of that.”

So this is me, throwing aside the fear and uncertainty of doing life alone. This is me, stepping out in God’s courage and faith toward being His purpose wrapped in the life He’s given me.


Looking to find your purpose? Start here:

Now You Can Find Purpose in the Midst of Your Troubles
Unsure of Your Purpose? Discover It With These 5 Steps
What My Faith Says About My Purpose
How to Find Purpose in All That You Do
Dream Big Dreams While Living in the Present

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Marlys is a Chai tea snob who would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping.

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