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What to say?

Today is my brother's birthday. October 26.

This pic was taken just weeks before my amazing brother died. He was on outreach with Youth With A Mission back in its early days when there were only 3 maybe 4 bases. I loved hat curly mop of blond hair. YWAM's founder, Loren Cunningham, passed away just a few weeks ago. I am still numb and haven't even been able to process it yet.

Jon loved Fall.

Jon loved people.

Jon loved children.

But most of all,

Jon loved Jesus.

At the age of 15, Jon died from a football injury. That was 50 years ago.

Earlier this week, my cousin called. She and I are the only remaining Davises of our family line. There are no boys left to carry on the name. We are it. It's an odd feeling.

Sylvia called, though, to tell me that an article had been written in The Dothan Eagle, my hometown newspaper. It was about Jon as an athlete, but mostly about Jon as a Jesus lover. Because of who he was when he lived, and how he died, there are pastors and believers because of him.

The article was beautiful and beautifully written. My parents' influence over these young men was also mentioned.

I was not mentioned at all.

Which, in its own way, made it more accurate. I was pretty much eclipsed by Jon as his younger sister.

My mom mentioned how hard it was to move away from our hometown to become part of Youth With A Mission Hawaii because no one knew Jon there. And I reflected on a YWAM newspaper article that was about Jon even there. The article focused on loss and serving Jesus even with loss.

I responded, "I think that move may have saved my life. I was in Jon's shadow while he was alive. Then I was always the girl who lost her brother. I was always defined in relationship to him."

The crazy thing is, I absolutely adored my brother. He truly was just that wonderful.

But it was not until last year that I have been truly able to grasp that Jesus loves me for me - not for who my family is, not for how well I've served him, not for who I married, not for how we raised our kids, not for even any step of obedience I have ever taken. He loves me because he loves me. period.

Did it sting to be eclipsed again 50 years later?

Of course it did. I'm a pretty normal human being.

But does it define me? A gentle "no" is my answer.

It may take me a minute, an hour, a day to come back around to the deep well of truth. But I know where the well is.

It's funny. At this season, Rich and I are being redefined. He has retired and now we face how we will fill our days. His decisions effect my life in every way and vice versa.

There are some choices available that make me feel incredibly insecure. But I have to ask myself some hard questions.

Does the thought of these choices produce anxiety because I'm afraid of what might happen? Or is their some wisdom waving a big red flag on them?

Do we trust each other? And deeper still do we trust God with each other?

How will these choices build our marriage? Build each other up?

I know it seems like I've totally derailed where this post seemed to be going. But really I haven't.

The bottom line is, do I know Jesus loves me? Am I willing to put my full weight on that? Even if we make a choice and the worst happens - the thing I worried could happen - do I trust Jesus to still be there?

These choices are not about immoral activities. In fact, they are rather neutral. Like money, we have gifts and talents. And with these talents that have been deposited into our lives, we get to choose where to spend this resource. We get to choose what to invest our gifts in. We get to consider how much time and talent to invest in any choice we make.

There are many, many good options.

We are so busy already. It's not a matter of getting up off the couch.

I recently said in a meeting with our pastors, "We're not looking to be busy. We're looking to be obedient."

I mean sheesh. We're in Bible study groups. We meet with friends. We take care of my mom. We have a small business together that needs a website investment of time. When that happens it will undoubtedly grow even more. I paint. I sell. We both are vested in The Loft. I couldn't do it without Rich. We are doing some live theater for Christmas with another theater couple. Our kids come home on December 16. We are only together once a year now for sure.

Rich's gifts are strongly in theater. He also can sing, play piano, dance, write and design in wood.

My strongest gifts are in painting. I can also act, sing, dance, write.

But in our decision making, I know this. If we don't use our strongest gifts somehow, we will dry up.

Sure, we might be incredibly successful at other things, but at what cost? Where is the actual living while we are "making a living?"

But again, it comes down to this one core question.

Do I really understand that Jesus loves me?

I know that there is no mistake or sin greater than his love for me. No horrible thing I do can make him love me less.

But the bottom line for me as a "good girl" is to realize this: No GOOD thing I do, no matter how awesome in the kingdom, can make Him love me MORE.

He already loves me with everything in Him and with all that He is!

This is also a facet of the gift of the cross. And the power of the resurrection we now live in.

Jesus loves me when I am in the spotlight. Jesus loves me when I am, even 50 years later, in the shadow of my brother who I ache for even all these years later.

Jesus loves me. This I know.

If I am looking for meaning, validation, acceptance or purpose apart from that beautiful and simple truth, I will never be satisfied.

But I AM satisfied this morning. Because I know He loves me. How can I be so sure? Because his love doesn't depend on my choices or my performance. It depends on HIS choices and HIS performance. And He IS love.

And to you, dear reader, may you hear his choice as he looks at you even now and says with eyes full of love,

"I choose you."

©2023 Lydia D Crouch

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