I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but I keep coming back to the fingerprints. If my funeral was tomorrow, what would people say about me? What kind of fingerprints have I left on their lives? I hope they’d say I’ve left the fingerprints of Jesus, but I’m not too sure that’s what I’d hear, if I could hear the people speaking at my funeral.
I think about the past, and the many years I lived for myself, for my pleasures, chasing the lusts of my flesh. I encountered many people during that time who knew my dad was a preacher, who knew I was raised in church, but who also knew I was “promiscuous” and no different than any other “worldly” person. Those people don’t know me now; they only know the “me” of that time. I wonder what kind of fingerprint I left on their life about God, the Church, and Christianity. Sometimes the thought is more than I can bear.
And I think of my husband. I wonder what he would say. Would he describe me as the “Proverbs 31” wife? Would he say I left the fingerprints of faith on his life, or the fingerprints of a control freak that was selfish and an overbearing nag? Would he be able to say he understood a little more about the Jesus I always spoke of, because of my character, or that my character conflicted with the Jesus I preached?
My husband has seen me from the beginning to the end, from the best and the worst. He met me in my addiction/eating disorder days, he managed to stick with me through my crazy days of psychotherapeutic drug treatments, he even stuck around when I over-compensated for my failures and became a Pharisee beating him over the head with my Bible. He still stands by me as I serve in church, write, and pursue an education in counseling. He’s a quiet man, but supportive of me in all things. Sometimes I think he’s left more of a “Jesus” fingerprint on my life, despite our differences of faith perspectives. Certainly God has used my husband to speak truth to me in ways I haven’t always understood and sometimes even resented. God is good like that, and I am grateful for all He has taught me through my marriage. I love my husband more every day, and hope that if he were to speak at my funeral, he would say that his wife failed in some ways, but Jesus changed her life for the better, and through that, made her a better wife and better mother. But, if I were to die tomorrow, I’m not too sure that’s what he’d say.
I think about my friendships. I have a couple great ladies in my life who have been a huge support spiritually. Though we haven’t known each other long, we are spiritual soul-mates. They sharpen me as “iron sharpens iron” and draw me closer to God just through knowing them. They are leaving the “Jesus” fingerprint on my life. But would they say the same about me?
Without a doubt I know some of the friendships of the past two or three years did not turn out that way. I’m pretty sure some of those people would describe the fingerprint I’ve left on them like a crime scene photo. Ugly, bloody, brutal—selfish, argumentative, judgmental. Much like the people who knew me during my prodigal years, these people know the me of the Pharisee years. And sometimes the thought of that is indeed, more than I care to consider. I have tried to “fix” some of these bad encounters, but sometimes the hurts inflicted burn the bridges beyond what can be rebuilt, at least on this side of heaven.
And maybe most importantly, I wonder what kind of fingerprint I have left on my daughter’s life? Have I displayed the “Jesus” in the Bible verses she has memorized? Or have I displayed the version that says, “I only approve of you when your behavior is good.” If she were to stand at my casket, could she say her mother showed her Jesus? That her mother was real, honest, authentic, open, and also caring, compassionate, and ready to show grace and mercy?
Last weekend Pastor Pat delivered an excellent message (as usual) about “time”. Afterwards we received a sheet of paper to map out our life plan. It contained some key steps like identifying important relationships, our priorities, and how we want to be remembered. I haven’t been able to fill mine out yet. I’ve been somewhat paralyzed as I wait for the doctor to call me with the news. Perhaps the road I thought I would travel will not be what I envisioned even a few weeks ago.
Either way, I’m in a time of contemplation. No matter what happens, I know God has used this “illness” to get my attention and get me thinking about the fingerprints I am leaving on people’s lives, what I can do to possibly clean the messy fingerprints off the past and create new ones, and what I must surrender to God today so the new fingerprints reflect Jesus, not Rebecca.
Finally, I think of a message a great man of God and influential teacher in my life delivered a couple years ago in church. I’ll never forget these words, “The only thing that matters in life is your answer to this question: what have you done with Jesus? What have you done with Jesus?”
I’m not sure what’s in my future, but I know this: Jesus has set my heart free, and I hope and pray you have experienced that same peace and freedom that surpasses any human understanding. If you haven’t experienced this full life that Jesus wants for you, won’t you consider doing so today?
Having lived life “my” way I can say the end result is never worth the perceived freedom of making your own choices. God’s way is really better, really. It gives meaning to life, and a future beyond the few years we have here on earth. It makes all of this pain actually worth something. And even the happy times are more meaningful when God is present.
How do you want to be remembered? What kind of fingerprints are you leaving on the lives of others? What can you do to allow God to change that this very moment? We can’t change the past, but God promises that He will make even our ugly failures work for our greatest good if we would only choose to love Him today (see Romans 8:28). Today is the day to make new fingerprints. Friends, please don’t delay. You don’t know what tomorrow holds, but with Jesus, you can know that your tomorrow is safe and secure no matter what life throws at you. And that is the only place to be. His fingerprint of peace rests on my heart; I hope it rests on yours.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for your Word has given me life.” Psalm 119:50
Hello friend, I sent you my latest blog post for consideration for Servant Sisters. I also wanted to see if I could submit a blog post every Friday? Just let me know. Love you
Securely held, Cheryl Lutz http://www.securelyheld.com
Hi Cheryl, I sent you an email! 🙂 Let’s catch up soon!!!
This is the most soul-stirring message I’ve read in a long time. I was going to just scan it, but it grabbed my heart. You speak from the passion of your heart and I know it has changed others as it has me. I will continue to pray for you and I ask you to please pray for me—had knee surgery and other complications that have hindered me from writing much lately…but God knows my heart…I want to leave “fingerprints” on others.
There are no words to say how much your writings bless me.
Hello friend, I haven’t talked to you for a while. I’ve been super busy with church stuff, planning & carrying out a rehearsal dinner & wedding reception for my husbands brother, lots of family in town, a trip to Indiana. Updating my book proposal to present to publishers at She Speaks this month, and preparing a 5 minute talk for my speaker group, preparing for our oldest daughters graduation from college, etc. 🙂 So what is going on with your health?? What are you waiting to hear from the doctor about? Love & prayers!
Securely held, Cheryl Lutz http://www.securelyheld.com
Wow you’ve been busy, woman! Thanks for reminding me about the SheSpeaks conference, I will be praying for you! With all this down time, I’ve been spending epic amounts of time in prayer! Yes, I am awaiting some results from the doc. I will email you when I have something more definitive than theories, what ifs, and could be’s. 🙂
Hey Rebecca, hang in there and keep hanging onto Jesus. I know it can be very hard when times are tough to hang onto Him, but a quiet “Jesus” can change your perspective.
I think you’ve left some wonderful fingerprints regarding your online tribe. Your willingness to make yourself vulnerable & to seek the truth is inspiring.
Praying for you at this time…
Thank you for that reminder, Ian. I would not be handling this well at all without Jesus. He keeps me sane!!!
I’d say you have shown Jesus to many unknown to you through your diligence in writing your ‘keepin it real’ blog. I know you’ve touch my heart in many ways…..blessings, insights, convictions, and even some AHA! moments too.
God continue to use you and bless you as you walk your life’s road. I know I’ve been blessed taking a few steps with you and I thank you for that.
Holding you in prayer.
Thank you for your encouragement Kathi! And your prayers! 🙂