Category Archives: Offering Hope

So. Much. Pain.

I’m in the people business
Know people
Care for people
Feel for people

Because of this I have to be very aware of how I take in the emotions & pain of others. It can effect me not only emotionally, but physically as well.

Over the last few days a series of losses took my breathe away.

Death of a 26 year old friend of Leisha’s
Death of a 16 year old friend of a friend
Our friend’s 17 year old fighting for his life

Watching our parents process letting go of strength, while mourning each week the death of another friend or loved one.

Watching the girls navigate life and wondering what’s ahead for them and any future generations.

I’m not trying to take on all this pain but I’m struggling about what to do with my own emotions as I create a bigger picture for ministry I know I am part of
That involves more people
More stories
More pain.

Ah!
There it is!
The truth!

I fear feeling more.
Hurting more.

Then I reflected on the other messages
Continue reading So. Much. Pain.

Grateful for this Woman of Influence

This past weekend I received an email from this special lady pictured Linda Dillow- wrote forwardwith me in the photo. Her name is Linda Dillow.  The email is the forward she has written for the book, Lovely Traces of Hope.

Linda has been my mentor in life, marriage, and worship most of my adult life, though we have only met a dozen times or so.  I received her first book  as a wedding present in 1979.  I have read all of her books since.  (I’ll list my favorites at the end of this post.)

It has seemed that just when I needed to take a next step, she was putting out the next book.  When I was invited to lead a worship team to Ukraine, she was the speaker at that same conference.  No, we didn’t plan it.  When Rennie and I were on sabbatical, she invited us to stay in their home for 10 days while they were away.

For whatever reason God chose to place her in my life over and over again, I am eternally grateful.  She led me in a journey of contentment, worship, marriage, sex even.  She encouraged me to find contentment in my life and see my words, attitudes, work, and my waiting -even my pain – as an act of worship. She led me in worship, not in songs of worship, but in worship of two hearts bowed at the sofa, remembering who God is, recalling what he has done and praising him from the core of our beings.  She invited me to see that my marriage was a reflection to my world of God’s love for us.  She challenged me to want more for my relationship with Ren.

Linda is one of my heroes!  No, this is not hero worship.  This is gratitude.  I trust her.  I know she is a woman who pursues God and points others to him, because I have seen her do it.  Not to one or two women, but to thousands, perhaps more.  Not for a short time, but for her lifetime.  I know. I’ve been watching her for 37 years now. Linda is the real deal. She is a woman of influence!

That is why I am humbled and grateful that she has written this forward for the book.  I could make you wait to read it in the book, but I just had to share it.  Take a peek. Here’s what a woman you can trust has to say.

FORWARD for Lovely Traces of Hope.

What does a mom do when her beautiful, vibrant fifteen year old daughter is suddenly, harshly, instantly gone? Grieve? Of course. Go on a long journey of seeking God and healing? Yes. Kathy did these things but also did something very unusual.

After Leisha died, she opened her daughter’s journal and found Leisha’s “book.” If she flipped Leisha’s journal over and upside down and opened the cover, Kathy found her daughter had started to write her own story. She even included the title page.

Lovely Traces

So Kathy began writing to finish Leisha’s story.

The Burrus family: mom, dad and three girls came to have a vacation in our basement in Colorado Springs in 2002. It was a special time to get to know Kathy, Rennie and their three lovely daughters, Caitlin, Brielle and Leisha. A few short years later, Leisha was singing in heaven and Kathy was finishing her story. As I read Lovely Traces of Hope, I smiled, I cried and I wrote these words to Kathy about the book she and Leisha had written.

Thank you for walking through the dark tunnel to His Light

Thank you for writing so honestly and vulnerably for me and others about grief and pain and how to walk….believing that there is HIS Light somewhere ahead

Thank you for “taking your clothes off” and being real

Thank you for revealing the beauty of walking the Christ walk

Why do I think you should read this book? Let me use Leisha’s name to tell you.

L egacy

Both Leisha and Kathy have much to share about building your legacy. Kathy says, “When we intentionally NOTICE what really is happening, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we are learning from it. More importantly we see what God has been doing. We NOTICE His fingerprints, HIS HAND on our everyday, ordinary lives.”  That is especially true when we reckon with the painful areas that may leave us paralyzed in some way. Many times just “noticing” allows us to reframe the events and their effects on our future.

E ncouragement

As a mom, Kathy gave me hope, showed me how to face problems with teens, how to reach inside myself and be willing to look honestly at “me.”  We all face loss. Loss is not the defining moment of our lives, it is how we respond to loss that matters. Kathy helped me see in a new way that healing is a progression.

I nfluence

Not many fifteen year olds think about being an influence—they are too busy thinking about boys, clothes or the Friday night party. Leisha wanted to be MAD (Make a Difference)! At her tender age, she thought about being an influence and leaving a legacy. Teens need to read this book!

S incere

Kathy is honest. Listen to her sincere words. I hesitate to write these next pages. Offering them here is a risk. What will you think of me if I tell of the places in our lives we didn’t have it all together? What if I take off the mask enough for you to see me as I really am?

H oly

Leisha and Kathy’s book points you to the Lord God Almighty. In pain. In grief. When life is a dark tunnel, Kathy discovered that God is still Light. She says, I had to learn to NOTICE God showing up differently.

A dvance

This book is an advance. It takes you forward in your thinking, in your faith, in your personal journey toward the legacy you are creating. Books have been written on grief. Kathy achingly walks you through how she processed her grief. Books have been written on how to help your teen and whole family walk through trials, Kathy shows you how her family did it.

Leisha and Kathy’s combined story is for every mom, every teen….really for everyone. I highly recommend Lovely Traces of Hope to you. I promise you it will lead you to hope as it did me!

LINDA DILLOW
Author
Calm My Anxious Heart
Satisfy My Thirsty Soul
What’s It Like to Be Married to Me?

Co-Author
Intimate Issues
Passion Pursuit
Surprised by the Healer

Want to get updates or join the launch team for Lovely Traces of Hope? click here!

Friend of Influence

20150321_162126Yesterday I shared a post called THAT’s INFLUENCE.

Today I want to share with you a friend of influence.  Her name is Pat.

Pat is has been a long time friend, though recent years have brought us together more purposefully.  She has been my coach as I launched into business.   I was her matron of honor a couple of years ago at her wedding.  She has listened to me through so many transitions of life – and I to her.

Our favorite thing to do is grab a table at Touches of the Heart in Glandorf for lunch and stay till they close.  Julie, the Touches host, knows when she sees us to put on another pot of coffee.  We will be there a while.   Pat and I are never at a loss of words to fill an afternoon.

I have spent that last few weeks struggling with finding energy to do life- but more significantly returning to the grief tunnel as I processed some of the chapters for the manuscript I am writing.  The more I tried to get deeper into my story, the less strength I had to do it. I had spent 10 weeks grappling with the emotions and wondering if I could actually write them down.

I felt so alone. No one can do that except me!

Then Pat called- she connects with me in one way or another nearly every week.  This time she called.  We talked about my health, rejoiced over our families, shared what we are learning about ourselves, about God.  Like I said, we rarely run out of words.

Then she asked about the book.  I told her I haven’t written much for 10 weeks.  We talked about how my health and lack of energy seemed directly connected to the book. She said, “Kathy, do I just need to come and sit with you while you write?”

Ah!  There it is!  So many days I had wished for someone to be with me in this journey.  I had not said anything because I know that I am the only one who can write my story.

But Pat saw me!

She invited herself into my pain.

She asks the questions others are afraid to ask.

She listens to my ramblings as I come to find my own answers.

No, I don’t need her to come write with me.  But I did need to know someone saw what I needed and was willing to be an answer to my need.

That’s influence.

Pat, I am filled with gratitude for the influence you have had on my life. And just so you know, I’ve completed 5 chapters and rethinking 3 more. Thanks for spurring me to finish what my heart must do!

Love you friend!

FIVE Things I Know Now

Yesterday we celebrated the 5th anniversary of GHC.  I admitted that I’m not where I wanted to be in business and in life.  But during this journey I have learned a great deal.  Some things are brand new to me, others are things I am learning again for the first time.

FIVE things I know with more certainty:

Continue reading FIVE Things I Know Now

Hope in the Midst of the Storm

Rennie Burrus was asked to share his Leisha story through loss to hope at Cable Road Alliance Church on Sunday, August 2. Ren asked me to share a bit of mine as well. You can listen in at the link.

Hope in the Midst of the Storm –
Podcast by Rennie and Kathy Burrus

Cable Road Alliance Church’s Podcast

BUZZSPROUT.COM

Happy Birthday Leisha!

the trioTwenty-four years ago, our daughter Leisha appeared in our world.  She messed up all of our plans that day.

Rennie was supposed to be leading a huge dedication service of the new worship center at our church in Pennsylvania.  She was being born just as they ended the service with a dedication of the new generation that would grow up in this place. Others had to fill in for Rennie!

She messed up lots of days since then too!  Just like every baby does when they grow up in our family.  Days become messy and nights interrupted. Plans get changed and that is expected!  You know, or at least you realize quickly when you bring a child into your life they will forever change you.  All three of ours have left a mark on us so significant that we know we are better, stronger, even holier as we have spent many more hours on our knees. You have too if you are a parent.  It is what we do when we come to the end of ourselves and want more for our child.

Leisha also messed up our lives the day she died. That was eight and a half years ago. Another mark on all of us that have forced us to look at all of life from a new, yet broken perspective.

It is out of that perspective that I write today and ask for your prayers.

Days after Leisha died, we gathered every picture we could find of her and discovered her tapes and journals. It was in her most recent journal that we found ‘her book’.  If you flipped it over and upside down and opened the cover she had begun to write her own story.

Chapter One

Once Upon A Time…

By Leisha D. Burrus

How many stories do you know that begin with ‘once upon a time”?  Well this is one of them, or so I thought.  I was born April twenty-eighth, nineteen ninety one.  But wait!  I am getting ahead of myself.  I guess I should start where it all began.

My parents met in high school. …  she begins to tell the love story of her dad & I.

leisha As I sat there reading it for the first time, I could imagine this book was to be full of adventure and relationships and truth. Such truth! Because even in the short chapter that was written, she had spoken much truth to my heart. But just as Leisha had penned these few words to begin writing her story, she died.  Not only was her story unwritten, but her life unlived.

However her words “I should start where it all began” was a telling of my story and of the journey of her mother and father and all that was her heritage because she was born into this family.

I knew the moment I read her words that it was meant for me to finish.  Her story started mine. It was as if she knew I would need a jump start.  Earlier that morning I had picked up my Bible to continue reading where I had left off the day before. I read these words from Revelation 1:

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.

I felt as if Leisha was writing these words to me.
“Mom! When I saw him, I fell at his feet…and He put His hand on me and said…! Now Mom you’ve got to write!  Write down what you have seen- what’s happening right now and all the things are that going to happen. You can do it Mom!”

So I am!

Yes, I’m writing to finish the story Leisha started; her story and mine. I don’t know how this story will impact yours, but it is my prayer that it will give you hope. Because my primary goal is to write about the many ways this Living One who died showed up in our story. Click To Tweet

That’s the real story- in my life and yours!

So this birthday, I am asking for your prayers as I do just that! Will you pray as I finish the story! I have set my heart to finish writing, and publishing it by Leisha’s 25th birthday on April 28, 2016.  I have much to process, record and learn before that time.  But it is a thing I must do next.

Would you be willing to be on the prayer team for Lovely Traces of Hope! That’s her name for her book! Whether or not it is the final title, I don’t know yet.  But it seems fitting.

If you will join me, please sign up here.




I will add you to the group and send out periodic emails with updates and requests.

Whether you sign up or not, will you pray right now that I see this to completion.  My heart needs it done.

Thank you from a fledging author!

Kathy

Happy Birthday Leisha!

Words of Life or Death

The gift of a woman’s story is often what God uses to speak hope into the stories of others. My friend, Dr. Michelle Bengtson has told such a story.  It is my honor to share it with you today!

Feet (1)

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

We’ve all heard the childhood rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break by bones, but names will never hurt me.” I knew from a very young age that that was a lie. Even as I said them on the playground in response to a peer’s cruel taunts, I knew it wasn’t true.

Words hurt.

Scripture tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), but do we teach our children that? Or do we perpetuate ignorance by reciting simple rhymes?

Having worked in the field of psychology for over 20 years, it’s evident to me that children don’t realize the long-term significance of what they say.  They behave toward others in the very same way that’s been modeled to them.

As an adult who has been wounded by the words of others since early childhood, I probably err on the side of not saying enough—not wanting to draw any more attention to myself or risk further rejection.

Only three years old when I was stricken with an undiagnosable and life threatening illness, I was left to deal with the physical and emotional ramifications the rest of my life. Continue reading Words of Life or Death

The Artist Manifesto: Will You Create?

Reposting with permission of the author, Jeff Goins.  As we close the year, do we dare to  use the voice that God has given us, to pursue the dream that was planted in us. Here’s to being the prophet or the poet – and influencing  the world!

Continue reading The Artist Manifesto: Will You Create?

Living Open Handed: Pivot to See God

Open handedThis is the 4th and final post in the series Living Open Handed in a White Knuckle World. If you have missed the previous posts, it would be helpful to go back and read them in order to understand how we got to this post.  Links are provided below.

1. Living Open Handed in a White Knuckle World
2
. Living Open Handed: I have a need!
3
. Living Open Handed: Express Honestly

Through these posts,

  • we have identified our fears that cause us to create fist
  • then opened the little finger to admit or acknowledge we have a need.
  • Next we lifted the ring finger and wrote a psalm including those fears and needs.

Now we are ready to open the middle finger which stands for P: PIVOT. Continue reading Living Open Handed: Pivot to See God