Purpose and priority are rather foreign concepts to my basic nature. I’ve always been a bit undirected and distractible, not at all goal-oriented, and extremely prone to fads. There are times when "feral" would describe me well. I suspect that I’m not alone in this, and I’ve come think that these tendencies of our human nature are why God often likens us to sheep in the Bible. (We’re just not all that sharp.) I am happy to testify that the Lord, my faithful shepherd, has intervened with His crook to direct me into His purposes and priorities. I further note that His “crook” was used to direct me through the three Great Desperations of my life:
1975: Desperation #1 - I desperately wanted to have a clean heart, and God began to use this desire to drive me to His Word. The memory of my filth remains beyond humbling for me. God has miraculously changed my life’s old, ugly ways into an amazing tool that He often uses to help me perform supernatural feats, like forgiving other people and laughing at myself.
1976: Desperation #2 - When my first child was born, I desperately wanted to be the one to care for him and to rear him. My husband, on the other hand, was concerned about our little family living on one income, and he wanted me to go back to work. I began avidly searching the Bible for a proof text that would validate my desire to be a stay-at-home mom. Silly and immature motivation, certainly, but my God knows me and extended His grace to me. His heart just wants us to show up on the page for blessing. I found so much more than a "proof text" and was led into a deep, life-long interest in the theology of gender.
1976 - 2010: Desperation #3 - The “so much more” (from above) led to a desperate desire to be a godly wife and mother. Certain verses in I and II Kings haunted me. The biographical introduction to each of the kings of Israel and Judah begins, “And his mother was . . .” and then goes on from there to describe each particular king’s character, whether he was godly or did evil. I pictured Judgment Day and my children’s final destination. I knew by then that I couldn’t save them, but I also knew I didn’t need to be part of the problem. I started studying the Bible every afternoon after lunch. When my children would try to claim my time, I would tell them I needed to read what God had to tell me every day, or I wouldn’t be able to be a good mommy to them. Later, I started reading the Word to them, too.
Now that my children are grown, my purpose and priority have shifted. There are only two purposes now, and they are simple: 1) to encourage other women to love Jesus, and 2) to encourage other women to spend time listening to God by reading His Word.