I looked at this photo tonight and immediately burst into tears.

first plus lunch

This photo was taken in 1998.  I was either 19 or 20 years old.  These were a few coworkers of mine at the time and we went out to eat on our lunch hour at a Mexican restaurant who’s name has escaped me.

Gosh, I was so young.  So blonde.  So smiling.

I am torn between feeling like this picture was taken only yesterday and feeling like it was a lifetime ago.

And what immediately popped into my head was: in the time from then and until now, who have I been significant to?  And where are they now?  And who has been significant to me?  And where are they now?

I know better than to measure my life by possessions amassed, money earned, jobs held or cars driven.  But something in me wants to measure my life by people: people who have loved me and people whom I have loved.  And so, I sit here and think, who are those people… and are they still in my life or are they (merely?) someone that I used to know?

I got my feelings hurt this week when I saw a picture on Instagram that gave me the impression that I had been excluded from a gathering.  I truly believe that no slight was ever intended, but I still felt left out.

When the hospital called me this week to discuss payment arrangements for the forthcoming bills related to a surgery I’m having in a few days, I could feel an anger rooted in fear rising up in me.  Why bother?  What does my health matter?  I’m no child’s mother.  I’m no man’s wife.  I’m no person’s sister.  I’m not even anyone’s aunt or niece.

Is my value rooted in who I am to others?

. . .


Funny how I would never think me liking or befriending someone would assign value to them, but my mind can twist around and make me feel that my value is linked to who likes or loves me.

When I survey the seventeen years that have passed since that photo was taken, I think about who I invested my heart in and were those worthwhile investments.

It is altogether possible that these are the musings of a hormonally imbalanced version of myself. (The surgery should correct that.)  It is also definitely true that I am still grieving the death of my marriage.  I invested my heart unlike ever before and I have nothing to show for it but wounds.

Well, maybe not.

Maybe I’ve (by God’s grace) learned a few things.

And I just really sense that Jesus is beckoning me into a closer, significance establishing relationship with him.  I know that sounds like a canned answer, the right answer that all good Christians should arrive at… but I’m not saying it because it sounds right.  I’m saying it because that’s really what I think He’s saying to me.

I just wrote last night about my word for the year being establish / established.  But, as I process thru what I’m writing here, I see another dimension.  The more established I am in my personal relationship with Jesus: I’ll have greater discernment on who and how to invest myself relationally with others and my innate desire to know I’m valued will come from Him, therefore it can never be taken away.

Everything healthy flows out of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My head has known that for years.  I’ve even spoken that statement as an encouragement or admonition to other women before.  But I see now, even more clearly, that the right church, a thriving social life with Believers, ministry and missions activities are no substitute for that you & Him space.

Look at my face, I know the years are showing.  And look at my life, still don’t know where it’s going.  I don’t know much, but I know I love you, and that may be all I need to know.  //  Look at these eyes, they never see what matters.  And look at my dreams, so beat and so battered.  I don’t know much, but I know I love you, and that may be all I need to know.  //  So many questions, and still no answers.  I climb and climb but never get the view.  But when I know you’re near me, sometimes it feels so clearly, the only truth I’ll ever know is me and You.  //  I don’t know much, but I know I love you, and that may be all I need to know.  //  In my heart, you’re my inspiration.  And in my soul, I know, that Love is our salvation.  I don’t know much, but when I know You love me, that will be all I need to know.  I don’t know much, but when I know You love me, that will be all I need to know.  {All I Need to Know, Cynthia Clawson, 1990, Words Will Never Do}