Tag Archives: New Year

You’re Not the Boss of Me

In the checkout line of a small local store, I had a few moments to observe the people around me— especially the man behind the counter. He was careful and attentive to the task before him and though it was only mid-morning, he wore an expression of exhaustion known well by anyone whose ever worked a retail job during the holiday season.

It’s not for the faint of heart I tell ya!

You're Not the Boss

Exchanging pleasantries, I complimented him on how neat and orderly everything was in spite of the obvious chaos this time of the year usually brings. “Thanks,” he sighed “It’s almost over.” I felt his pain but I wanted to leave him with something more. I tried to encourage him to fight the urge of pushing to get through or else possibly, like in many of my previous holiday seasons, he might get to the other side only to discover he’d missed it all… he might miss Jesus, again.  His face relaxed into an easy smile and agreeing, he thanked me for that reminder. “I really needed to hear that today.” He said. 

I did too.

I need to be reminded again and again that the whole point of the holiday experience… of daily living, is not simple basic survival. Of course, there are seasons, sorrows and situations… those moments when this survival mode of operation takes over for a time but it’s so necessary to refuse to stay there— refusing to push or be pushed through life lest we miss the moments and lose ourselves and our joy in the process.

My dearest friend and I shared this recently because it’s exactly what God has been showing her as well. She told me that this season, God was directing her to be intentional about “protecting her joy”. (She writes about it HERE)

Yes. So rational. So reasonable, loving and kind. She put words to what I’ve been feeling— this need to ferociously protect and guard my joy— every day— not so I can hoard and hold it close, but so I have more to really give away. All I can say is that it worked— but it didn’t happen easily.

You know, in some places right now, floodwaters are rising. Today I watched a video showing an entire house being lifted off it’s foundations and carried away downstream. It’s a terrible reality people are facing at this very moment. Spiritually, it’s one I fight every day. The holidays only make it worse.  And while those poor homeowners could do nothing to keep the volume and force of that water from destroying their house, I recognize I need to do whatever I can to keep the volume and forceful dictates of the world from moving me off my foundations.  Guarding my joy I must refuse to push through or be pushed along by an unnatural holiday ferver fueled  by this stuff-driven culture.

Altered life and heart

Because we all know it’s there. We feel it— that unseen force that wants to drive us along it’s track. I saw it today— in another store where, deeply-discounted Holiday items were lined up row after row and now, just one aisle over, the Valentine candy, cards and stuffed animals had taken up residence. Closer to the checkouts, exercise clothing, work out programs and equipment now replaced the space recently held by the exotic recipe ingredients and heavy foodstuffs. Are we this blind?!? Once upon a time, maybe I was. Just allowing myself to be pushed here and there, feeling completely driven inside and out by this horrible, crazy, guilt-laden “just get through it” mentality until there I was… on the other side and feeling like I had missed the point again.

Because mostly…I had.
Now I’m refusing.
I can’t undo what’s been done but I can refuse to be further undone by it all.

I can look at the calendar, the clock, the computer and potential commitments— look hard at this consumer and capital-driven culture and say, “You’re not the boss of me!” I can do this and really, for the sake of my sanity and Gospel witness,  I must.

God's Peace

What good can be done if during the holidays or the anydays I’m just as culture driven and frazzled as everyone else? How can I really see others if I’m just another cog in the same machine churning out day after day and intent on marketing the next thing to be possessed or celebrated from the ever-widening shallows?

I can’t. I won’t.
That machine is not the boss of me.
God is.
At least… that’s what I want.

Guarding my joy is the ultimate act of worship before a God who has commanded us to love Him above all and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s the ability to open wider into the space needed to love God and our neighbors well because we’ve learned how to love ourselves well.

It’s not about self-help and happiness— it’s self-care in full view of what God cares about most: holiness, which ultimately leads us to care about the things He does. Blocking out the noise and chaos so we can hear and see what He’s doing all around us and understand how He’s inviting us to join Him.

This isn’t a new idea of course. I don’t expect I’ll be changing the world with this radical act of revolution against the status quo. I am praying for revival  however, and maybe it can begin with me where it matters most: my heart, my marriage, family,  friends and neighbors. Maybe this way I can joy-FULLY be that small spark of God’s light in my community and eventually on the wider mission field if this is His will, simply because I know who is the boss of me: God.  And He is… so good….. to me.

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an unfading glory

We’ve rounded that sharp bend in the calendar, barreling straight into 2015 with images of 2014 quickly receding in the rearview of the mind. It’s been an unrealistically amazing year in my world with so many things I can point to and know:

THERE…those moments    right   there… they shaped my life.
Changed me deeply.
I’m marked and branded more eternally by them.

Although markings include the painful news regarding a loved one, a ministry opportunity taking me half way around the world and back— and the exciting addition of a new family member, one person has had more shaping influence on my life than most any other in this last year.

an unfading glory 2

She wouldn’t know me from Adam’s house cat.

We’ve never met and it’s doubtful….very doubtful, we will ever meet on this side of heaven.  Yet, without a smidge of exaggeration, I can tell you this woman has made an eternal impact on my life in ways I pray I’ll never forget.

Since discovering her story online, pieces of the Jesus in her have met me in my moments all throughout this past year, carrying me through many things frustrating and fantastic. They’ve met me in the months leading up to the holidays and all the typical calendar crazy, combined with the preparation for an out-of-state wedding. 

Additional pieces were gifted during quieter moments of recent holiday celebrations and I thought about her often while I worked through the final week leading up to my daughter’s wedding day. When that day came,  I smiled w i d e r.  I loved harder  and I danced in slow circles with my husband— all while her Jesus whispers settled in my soul.

I thought of her— and her daughters— a lot that night.  I was humbled.

She didn’t ask to be there in the ways she was there. I mean, I’d gladly have invited her to come,  but the way it has happened…the way it seems that it has to happen…. Well, I know I’m one of so many who wish …..  it could be different.


I’d want to be her friend in real life.

I want to imagine we could share all the things: flowers and tomatoes from our gardens, recipes and accessories. We’d swap stories and all those grubby nuggets and precious pearls of hard-won wisdom about how to live and love well.

We’d argue sometimes but make up easily. We’d cry a little and we’d pray and laugh a lot. I’d like a friend like that. She seems so real in these ways…even in her earnest and honest struggle with life, love, cancer and now dying— God’s love through her is so evident and real.

Without even trying, she causes me to ask myself the hard questions:

Could I do this?
What do I have to complain about?
Can I live the remainder of my life with this kind of love for others?
Serve selflessly?
Point always to Jesus?

Her real life friends are struggling too. 

They’ve sat by her in the long dark hours of chemo. They’ve held her hand, made her smoothies and loved her husband and children. They’ve laughed and listened and have possibly argued a little along the way. They supported her while she wrote and released her second book. They’ve watched her make up her mind to fight and live. They’ve stood by her decision now to love well and die with grace. 

With grace…. IN Grace.

The cup of life

I so grateful to know her in this pathetically small way I do.

It’s been her gift to us all— teaching us, leading us and guiding us as she is taught led and guided along the Isaiah 42:16 paths we can barely understand or know. She’s done her best to show us that God is here… now. With her husband right beside her, she’s given us the greatest gift:

the courage to live and die… well.

She’s also given the gift of perspective. Last night I read how she clearly remembers driving for the last time although then she didn’t realize it would be the last time. I thought of this tonight, as I drove myself to the grocery store and exercise class with my hands about frozen to the steering wheel from the bitter cold.

And I thanked God for the van and the cold and the privilege…the health I have to simply drive. Her legacy is a life of chosen gratitude. I want that to be mine too.

Not long ago, she also wrote about how she’s not a hero. I won’t argue with her. I understand. All the world loves a hero and there are plenty of media outlets willing to exploit and make a hero’s story out of many. But this woman– she’s not trying to be anyone’s hero.

As the most Pro-Life and Pro-Love person I’ve ever witnessed, she’s simply courageously spending her last days pointing us to the One who is THE Hero: Jesus. She’s invited us to draw closer to her story and as a result, she’s invited us to draw nearer with her to God, allowing Him to use her journey to teach us how to love Him and one another better and trust Him more.

Rekindling the fire

She knows time here is shortfor all of us really,  and though her story here on earth will soon come to a close, it  continues— on another page and in an unending chapter at Home in heaven.

Where someday, we will most definitely meet. I don’t know if there will be chairs in heaven but I’d like to think there are many. If so, then I’ll draw one up close beside her and there I’ll say,

“Thank you, Kara. Thank you for being my friend.”

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:24-26

**UPDATE Kara Tippetts went home to be with our Lord today, March 22, 2015. Well done dear Sister.

Grateful,Lorretta signature