Tag Archives: Purpose and passion

Secret of the Stairs

We might imagine our life as a sequence of stairs,  like climbing the mountain of God.

Each stair Includes a riser and a platform. We have to take action to ascend and step up the riser and onto the next platform of our life. Once on the platform of the next step, we are filled with new insight and understanding that changes how we view things. It’s like the difference between peering through the trees to see a marvelous landscape and rising above the trees for a better view.

But each step also requires action, leaving a place of comfort to a new level.  If we get stuck on one step, becoming too comfortable with our lot in life, we will not move forward/upward. Our view will remain the same, and a deeper and more fulfilling understanding will not be ours to claim…unless we step up.

What causes us to get stuck?

  • Contentment. Being satisfied with lesser things. CS Lewis observed we become  “too easily pleased” and so content with ordinary life that we lose sight of the extraordinary. “Content to make mud pies in the street when could be enjoying a vacation at the seashore.”
  • Attachment. We have such attachment to earthly things and endearing hobbies, we have no time for meaningful relationships. We like our little treasures but who in the end of their time really wishes more of them?
  • A small world view. We see life with blinders that shut out the rest of the world. With our vision restricted to our family and close friends, we fail to see others in whose hands God has carefully placed some of the pieces if our own life puzzle.
  • A small view of God. Is he a small and distant God unrelated to your life story or is he the powerful and loving main character? Is he a God of anticipated hope who delights in  bringing blessings to your every new day? Or do you find him a hard taskmaster you’d rather ignore?
  • A lack of heavenly vision and aspiration. Being so earthly minded we become of little heavenly good. Keeping the vision of heaven alive opens our eyes to our earthly purpose. We realize that in changing the world for just one person we change the world entire.

What are we to do if we find ourselves stuck in the stairway of life?

Ask God to search our heart, to reveal to us what is always true and forever good. Remove the veil from things of little value that only waste our life.

Seek God’s Word – Listen to how he speaks to you, nudges you, and guides you with his truth and grace. Discover the real purpose for your life and the power to live passionately and victoriously despite your present circumstance. Be who you were meant to be

Give Jesus a chance to speak healing to your wounded soul and peace to your anxious heart.

Look for opportunities in your normal (or chaotic) day to worship him, celebrate his goodness, give thanks, and be intentional in blessing to others.

Reevaluate your priorities and life goals while there is still time. One of the saddest sentences in the world begins with the words. “I should have.” Live life large and generously.

One  wants to save as big a pile of money as they can with a treasure hoard of comforting memories; the other wants to give as much away as possible, living a life of faith and love that really counts. It’s the same with our time and energies.  Who wins in the end?

The stairway of life continues, calling us ever upward. Just how beautiful of a view do you want to have?


A Time to Rest – Bryan’s medical update

The doctor appointment on Tuesday went quite sideways to expectation. It’s a bit like a “perfect storm” where we came to the top of the wave thinking we might just make it over the crest, only to have our hopes dashed by yet another crushing wave. Such has been this long journey through cancer.

The bottom line is, because fusarium never actually goes away completely, it rules out the possibility of a second transplant, my only small medical hope for a potential cure. In light of my recent test results the prospects of using hypomethylating agents (“soft chemo”) to hold the leukemia at bay makes the doctor “terrified” for the potential “disastrous” effects it could have on my health. In my complex situation, with two terminal illnesses, there is only a slim chance the treatment would give us a little more time and a very large probability that they could actually shorten life because it would present an environment that is more susceptible to infections, including the existing fusarium which continues to persist after nearly 7 months. Each treatment yields ever diminishing prospects and ever-increasing risks. In light of this, the doctor suggests that we might consider enjoying the time that remains, without treatment. Having discussed this and prayed overnight and into today, we are at peace with this.

imageWe’re not giving up. We’re leaving it up to God.

We have persistently and repeatedly pushed against doors that would not budge. We’ve both endured the devastating effects that 3 1/2 years of “treatment” have wreaked on my body. Together we both have fought the good fight and run the hard race. Now, it seems to us, a time to rest and let God do what is best in the grand scheme of things. It’s been in his hands from the beginning and we’ve endeavored to honor him each step of the way, asking only for his perfect will to be done.

We have no real definitive timeline. It could be “weeks or months”. Or, God could still work a miracle. Thanks to those of you who have been praying and fasting to this effect.

Our intent is, as it has been all along, to celebrate the life God has given us, thankful for so very many blessings, and to live with the great purpose to which he has called us. Death is not defeat. For us, death is a graduation from this phase of life to the one in heaven that lasts forever in peace.

We intend to continue to live life fully with purpose and passion. We encourage you to do the same. Trust God. Ask for his very Spirit to teach, guide, comfort, and strengthen you, to follow Jesus daily. After all is accomplished and all is experienced, all that remains and all that counts, is faith, expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)

Know how very much we appreciate your ongoing prayers and support. They are a treasure to us.
Bryan and Marcia


The deeper life -2


In some ways our lives are rather shallow from a spiritual viewpoint. They include some religious behavior and perhaps genuine worship, but largely they are filled to the brim with all kinds of things that don’t add to our deeper goals. We have ambitions that have nothing to do with God and quite frankly, sometimes our passions for them exceeds our passion to draw closer to God. It’s like we think we have two lives to live, a sacred one and a secular one.


Those who choose the “deeper” life realize we have but one life to live – for God. One life whose consistent thread of devotion to God is woven through the fabrics of their everyday lives: their work, house chores, recreation … they seek to make everything they do an extension of God’s love and his will. More than that, they strive to BE the same man or woman of God regardless of their activity. They seek to bear the mark of Jesus in every setting.


They are marked by a keen sense of passion and purpose. Life goals and daily activities are evaluated against criterion that examine if they contribute toward those goals or distract from them. It’s not unlike living on a budget and battling impulse buying. The deeper life is a disciplined one. The runner who fixes their eyes on the goal wins the race. The ones who look behind them and into the crowds are more concerned with the thoughts of others than the prize before them. What type of runner do you want to be?


Of course, there are some seasons of life that are busier than others. One of my nurses was talking with Marcia and me about the busy season of her life, raising children, being a devoted wife, working a tough job, managing a household. “There just doesn’t seem to be enough balance,” she exclaimed. And while some seasons do offer more opportunity for reflection and pursuit of deeper things, all seasons offer some time and benefit from a purpose filled life.


We are, each of us, very much a work in progress. It’s a deeper walk and journey, not an earthly destination. It’s a journey marked by patience with yourself and daily surrender to God. The desire for the deeper walk is heightened when we finally come to the end of ourselves and we’ve been convicted enough is enough. For me, getting rid of anger and bitterness was not just brokenness but more of a breakdown. I was so disgusted at who I was becoming, I had to give it ALL to Jesus, with no take backs. Recently, we put our move to the Bolivian mission field on “Abraham’s altar” determined to be content if this is a delay or a permanent prohibition.


Are there things in your life that need to be surrendered? offer them to God with open hands. He may take them or let you keep them. What’s important to him is the genuineness of our hearts. Jesus said we can only follow him if we deny ourselves.


So let’s keep praying with David, “search my heart our Lord. See if there are any iniquities,” anything that stands between me and God. Help me release them forever in the power and name of Jesus, the cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back.


Finding peace where you are

We live in a world that provides no end of advice on self-help and self-improvement, on increasing productivity, and doing more -better-with less. We are taught to multitask, though I think research is starting to demonstrate that too much multitasking actually decreases productivity and quality of life. Overall, it seems we are wired to do more whether at work or in our hobbies, in keeping up with an endless supply of emails and Facebook updates, or making sure our children don’t miss out on an opportunity to participate in yet one more activity.

Such a world of go-go-go reminds me that I need to guard my heart and mind by purposefully inserting moments of quiet meditation into each day; times to reflect on where I am going so and how I am getting there.

These moments of reflection bring us to a point of inner peace. They restore our trust in who we are becoming.
They remind us of our faith and the gifts and love we’ve been given to share with others.
They teach us the power of contentment and the wisdom of finding perspective in stepping back from constant activity.
They free us from the tyranny of the urgent and allow us to refocus on the truly important.
They allow us to live each day with purpose and passion.

The busier you are, the more hectic your day, the more you need to stop the go-go-go and simply rest, breathe, and thank God for who he is and what he’s done. At what cost do we deny ourselves this instantly available and gracious gift from God?

Find peace wherever you are today.