Living with Purpose

purposeOver the past fifteen plus years of raising our children, we’ve had a lot of time to accumulate gaming systems in our home. We started off with a Nintendo 64, and then we added in the GameCube and the Wii, then the PlayStation; and then they each have personal game playing devices and ways to connect them to one another, so they can not be personal devices, and then they have computer games and phones, I-Pods and Touches and a collection of the things we have available to us today. Our kids are at no shortage of electriconical fun, I can tell you that much.

But with everything amazing that our kids have, when the latest, greatest, newest gaming system comes out they are convinced that that new one is going to be THE ONE… The one to be the answer to all of their gaming needs, that’s going to bring them more joy, more fulfillment, more satisfaction than any of the other ones combined. It’s as if they think all the others will pale in comparison to this new one they just have to have.

And this past Christmas they proved that to be true yet again when they had conspired together at Best Buy and tried to talk us into getting the new Wii U. David and I have learned that all systems grow old to them in time, and we don’t want or need to spend money on any new one. There is no gaming system that’s going to be this epic AAAAHHHHH crescendo moment of all gaming systems that really is going to be the answer to everything they long for in life.

Probably most of us can’t really relate to my kids love of gaming. But what we can relate to is this search in life for the one thing that is going to fulfill everything that we long for in life. What is the one thing that is the answer to the question, “What on earth am I here for?” What is “that thing”!

That search is not new to us today. In the Old Testament, we can look at the book of Ecclesiastes for a long standing example. King Solomon, the author of the book, was the wisest man who ever lived and he had everything his heart could possibly desire. He had fame, he had fortune, he had women (Can you imagine being one of 700 wives or 300 concubines?) and he looked at it all and he said so much of it is meaningless, it’s chasing after the wind. And he gives us this amazing nugget in Chapter 3:11. He says something profound, “He(God) has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

I love that verse because what that tells us is that after looking at everything, what he realized is that there is no one thing that can satisfy that epic question, “What on earth am I living for?” For God has put eternity in the hearts of all of us. What we truly long for in life, that void that we are really trying to fill, is Heaven, basking in the beauty of God’s glory and love, where all is made right… that is our destiny. But so often, when we ponder the question, What is our purpose? I believe what we often do, is believe that our purpose is our destiny, and it’s our destination. But our destination and our destiny are Heaven. Our purpose is what we walk out, day to day, amidst all we do, to get to our destiny.

I’ve always been a pretty goal oriented chick. I’m a pretty type A girl. What I have learned in my goal setting is to lay everything out before God. I do it in the beginning of every prayer journal, and I pray over it and ask Him to prune away everything that is not for me, and to keep the desire in my heart for everything that is for me, that is from him. And then I put them in His hands and write out Jeremiah 29:11, “ For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.” As much as I love that time of setting my goals, I know none of the things I am praying and hoping for are going to be THE ONE thing that fills my life with total fulfillment and unending joy. Not any one of them is ever going to be the one thing that defines who I am. Because what I am here for, my purpose, comes from the core of who I am.

As I looked at all of that in the midst of my goal setting and really seeking the answer to that question, “what is my purpose?” ( and my husband was doing the same thing, we did this together a couple of years ago), we decided that what we needed to do was write a family mission statement, much like businesses have vision or mission statements. What we decided on still stands for us today. Our mission statement for our family and ourselves personally, is “We, the O’Donnell’s, seek to unveil God’s love and glorify him in our everyday lives.”

That’s our vision, that’s our mission, that’s our purpose that fuels us. So as a wife, as a mom, as a leader, as a minister, as a sister, as a friend… in all that I do and all the hats I wear; I seek to walk this out.

Do you have a personal mission statement, or a family mission statement, and if so, what is it? If you do not have one, take time to think through what you’d like it to be, write it down, and then share it with someone, you can even share it with me! I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Live big, Love big, Bask in God’s love for you!

Amy O’Donnell


From Loyalty to Destiny

Friendships and key relationships can have a huge impact on our lives. We often can’t see in the moment where a relationship or a decision regarding one may lead us down the road.

One great example of this from the Bible is the story of Naomi and Ruth. Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law who was determined to return back to Naomi’s homeland, Bethlehem, with Naomi; rather than stay in Moab where she was from, after both of their husbands and Naomi’s other son passed away. As the two women arrived in Bethlehem, everyone ran out to greet and welcome Naomi back. As they called out to her by name, she corrected them and told them to call her Mara, which means bitter, rather than Naomi. This request shows Naomi was in a pretty dark place. Despite the sadness of the situation and of her mother in law, Ruth remained faithful. She set out to work to bring in food, and just happened to end up working in a field that belonged to one of Naomi’s relatives, Boaz. Being a relative provided him an opportunity to marry Ruth and serve as a kinsmen redeemer, which gave the women the ability to maintain their land, be provided for and protected. Ruth acted on Naomi’s advice to bring this to Boaz’s attention, and he acted on it and took her as his wife.

After marrying, Ruth and Boaz had a son, who was placed in Naomi’s arms to be raised as her own look after her in her old age. That son’s name was Obed, the Father of Jesse, the Father of David, in the line of Christ.

One relationship lead Ruth to her destiny and provided healing and hope for Naomi. One decision to stay loyal through thick and thin kept Ruth on track for God’s plan to unfold.

Just as this story is a great example for us in our relationships, it is also an example of God’s faithfulness to us. Just as he brought beauty of the ashes of this story, He is faithful to redeem our hurts and bring us out of our darkness into light, just as it says in Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”

Remember God is faithful to complete what He begins! Stay the course, stay connected, stay faithful to those God has placed in your life and allow your story to unfold in a way that brings God glory!!