Thursday, April 28, 2011

I got your back, Mom!

In my last blog I mentioned some pictures that have impacted me lately. I forgot to include them.
I used to think this picture was her breathing down my neck because she was always ready to move faster than I was wanting her too. Now there are days, I can almost feel her warm breath enouraging me on.

I continue to hear her words and feel her presence in my life! Lord, I know her time with us was a gift! May the fact that she lived continue to spur us on to life and to influence the lives of others to see the face of God.

20 years ago today!

April 28, 1991

I can tell you what I was doing!
20 years ago today, I was experiencing the birth of our 3rd daughter.
Leisha Danae Burrus born to 12:16pm, weighing 8 lbs. 10 oz, measuring 20 1/2 inches long.
We announced her as the Major 3rd of the Burrus girls trio!

She was born on a Sunday- that just happened to be the Dedication Sunday of Calvary church's new auditorium. Her daddy was in charge of the worship team that morning- but had to leave before the service began to be present at her birth. As the people were closing the service by having a dedication of a next generation of children that will grow up in this new facility- Leisha was making her presence known to us.

Ren and I were just out there this month for a speaking engagement. We went by that church, and the hospital where Leisha & Brielle were both born. We spent time with friends that were part of our lives then and my sister and her family. When I booked that opportunity, I didn't even think about the fact that the Lord was taking me back to that place where she was born 20 years to the month earlier. I'm so grateful He knew I would need to be there- to remember- to celebrate and to grieve.

This August, it will be 5 years since she ran into heaven. As Ren said this morning, in some ways, it seems to get harder the longer it is. Our grief is more 'managable', but maybe that's part of the hard part. It seems to be every bit as strong.

But today is about celebrating her life! Because her life made a huge difference in our lives. I would love to hear if her life impacted yours! Make a comment to this blog, or send me an email.

My life was changed because since she was very young, she was clear on what she wanted. And even if it meant losing another privilege, she would do what was most important to her. For instance, she didn't like vegetable soup. We learned later that it was because all of the vegetables were touching. If we allowed her to pick out the vegetables, and seperate them on a plate- then she would eat them. But we didn't know that when she was three. She wouldn't eat it, and had already been at the kitchen counter long after the others had gone. Finally her dad, trying to teach her the importance of eating her vegetables, and partly because we ran out of options, told her he would have to spank her if she didn't finish her soup. She sat there quite a while longer, then finally got up and headed up stairs. Ren said, "Where are you going?" She calmly replied, "Upstairs to get ready for my spanking, cause I'm not going to eat that!" Ren just looked at me and said, "Now what!" I just smiled and reminded him that he made the deal. I don't think he ever used that with her again.

But I've been struck by several pictures recently. Ever since we redid her room, each of us have taken on some 'new' thing. Ren's grown his business, Cait & Brie both left for a semester abroad, and I started some course work to become certified as a life coach. Little did I know, within 4 four months, I would quit my part time job at the church and prepare to launch my own coaching practice. Ren, Caitlin and Brielle have been very support of my next step. They have been part of designing logo's & brochures and reading manuscripts, etc. But I have, from the very beginning of this venture, sensed that Leisha was part of it with me.

I'm sure I've told that story before, but she came running in one morning after worship team practice and said, "I just found out that my favorite color means my favorite word". Unsure of even her favorite color I asked what she meant. "Green means hope!" So often in the last 5 years I have grabbed up everything green I can find. I have green pens & highlighters, and calenders & mugs. I wear green alot now- never used to wear green at all. I even have a green Bible now. Haven't found the right handbag yet- but when I do, you can bet I'll be getting it. So it was quite natural for me to name my new practice, Green Hope Coaching.

This week, a coach I am working with, asked me what was pushing me to reach my dreams in my new business. I knew right away! It was Leisha's last reminder to me. That afternoon she died I was teasing her that she was so impatient to get her driver's license because she wanted 'power'. I could tell the wheels were turning behind those eyes as she pondered that. Then she said, "You know Mom, I don't want power. I want to influence. I want to say to people, 'I'm going! Come with me!" As I have pondered those words, I realize that I want to influence too! And you can't say to people, 'Come with me' if you aren't going. Not only were her words a huge push for me now in my business, but they were a dynamic influence in walking through my grief of losing her presence in my life.

Her life and her passion continue to speaks into mine. So together we move forward!

Leisha, I celebrate the day you were born! Thank you for living so intensely, so out loud!

I love you!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reflections of a Good Friday!

I spent some time yesterday at my church, Crossroads, being led through a time of self-guided reflection through the stations of the cross- the last week of Christ's life. I must say that I was impacted deeply by those moments of pondering Christ's journey to the cross. I was struck by a number of things.

Have you ever considered the number of people that were in Christ's life that betrayed him in someway that last week? There was Judas, of course. That's who we often accuse of betrayal, because the scripture has written of his actions as a betrayal.

  • But there were his 3 disciples that kept falling asleep- not sensing the importance of this moment in the garden. I know there are times we just don't understand the pain in a friend's face. But if Christ was sweating blood, you think they would get that he was hurting?

  • And then there are the religious leaders. They were the ones that were working to set up the betrayal in the first place. Did they 'envy' Jesus? Did they resent his accomplishments, his following, especially after they worked so hard to 'do it right' all these years? Or maybe they really didn't like the fact that he was 'changing' how things were done. Change is hard- and messy! Religious leaders so often try to keep things neat! Everyone doing the 'right stuff' so that they can please...........who, God? I think not! We create these neat little boxes that our religious activity fits in so that we can please ourselves, or other people! I KNOW! I am ashamed to say, I have been one of those 'religious leaders." Would I have been, am I now- one of those who would have sought to betray Jesus?

  • Then there was Peter! Ah, Peter! Zealous, determined, speak before you think Peter! He had spoken so eloquently not so long before that he would die before letting anything happen to Jesus. Yet here he sits in the courtyard, and this Man's man Peter is brought down by the simple statement of a lowly servant girl, "You were with Jesus of Gallilee." I had to question, what is it that brings me down from my commitment to serve the Lord? Where do I become more focused on the protecting myself than on staying faithful to this ONE who gave his life for me?

  • And what about Pilate? Here was this man that could SEE that something was amiss in all of this. Scripture even says that Pilate was amazed by Jesus! AND he had the power to DO something about it? But Pilate was afraid! He was afraid of offending Tiberius. He was afraid of upsetting the people. He was afraid of the bitter chief priest. He was afraid of what it would mean for Pilate. Pilate let his FEAR dictate his actions. He condems a man he considered to be innocent to die- a cruel death.

What would have happened in this story if any one of them had responded differently? Would it have changed that fact that Jesus died on that cross for our sins? NOT! God provided this sinless lamb to be offered for the penalty for sin. I rejoice that Jesus was willing to take on the awful penalty, not just for my sins, but for yours too- and for the whole world.

But what would have been different in the lives of Peter- or Pilate- Judas, or any of the others, if they had chosen to truly do 'the right thing'? How would their journey have changed if they had not had THAT MOMENT in their memories?

Or even after making those choices, what is the difference in their responses to their failure.

In Pilate's case, it seems that one decision made out of fear, caused him to make another and another till he was paying soldiers to create a lie about Jesus in order to cover up the resurrection. You have to wonder what was really going on inside his head by now.

Judas was remorseful. He says, "I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood." His heart grieved deeply with what he had done. He was so overcome that he couldn't see that even then, Jesus's act of dying was to offer forgiveness to him. He responded by taking his own life.

Peter, after denying Christ not once, but three times, weeps bitterly. And I don't recall hearing much of him for a while after that until after the resurrection. I have often wondered if Peter had been able to stay true at that moment if he might have been the one to help carry the cross for Christ later on. A friend helping a friend in a bitter moment. Instead it was some stranger- a passer-by, that was compelled to do it. I've also wondered how Peter was impacted by Judas' death. They had been in the journey together for 3 years. It had to be a slap in the gut.

Yet as I study the scripture passages, I get the sense that Peter retreated back into the 'family' of the disciples- and there he experienced healing and forgiveness.

I'm amazed at the Resurrection, when the angel is announcing to the women at the tomb that "Jesus in not here. He is risen! " The angel goes on to say, "Go, tell the disciples and Peter." AND PETER! This one who denied Jesus- tell him. Peter runs to the tomb to see what happened.

Peter is among the 11 as Jesus appears to them and issues the command, "Go into all the world and preach the good news." God used this same man, mightily, to proclaim the message of Christ's death and his resurrection. I can only imagine that it was that one terrible moment of failure that became the impetus to propel Peter to do the work of spreading this message with even more zeal- fully aware of it's power in his own life.

However, these stories of these people, their failures, and their responses to those failures are part of the story of redemption. They are here for us to read, and learn from. They are there to remind us- in our own moments of complete failure- that there is hope! HOPE that came from the life, death and resurrection of ONE who was without failure. HOPE that I so look forward to celebrating this Easter weekend!

How about you?

If you aren't sure where your hope comes from- I'd love to talk with you! I, like Peter, have found God's grace in the healing and forgiveness of my own story. I would love to point you to that source of hope- Jesus!

Here's to CELEBRATING his resurrection - and our hope- this Easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

For YOU I am Grateful!

This week we finished up the group study we started- in many ways last fall. It started with a journey to look at our stories and see what they are telling us. It went from there to a process of 'rewriting our emotional scripts'. It ended with a realness and sweetness that I've rarely found in a study group. For that I am grateful!

Was it the study we did? Oh the book, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, by Becky Harling, definitely challenged & directed our/ my thinking. It was harder than we anticipated but richer than we ever dreamed. Becky led us trough a journey of the BEATITUDES that caused us to realize our desperation for God, to grieve our losses, to let go of control and set our affection on God. In my mind, if I had quit then, I would have been changed forever. But as we continued through the beatitudes, I gained an understanding of the value of the process. I know about week 7 I told Becky how inspired the order was. She laughed and said, "Kathy, it's scripture!" Duh! (my word). She shared the journey the Lord took her on- right from scripture. Once again, God's word did it's work in our heart! For Becky and this book, straight from God's Word, I am grateful!

Was it the women who attended the group? Oh they were wonderful! None of us could really envision what this particular group of women who gathered together would mean to us over these weeks. Our personalities were unique, and our stories were varied - but where they intersected was powerful! We realized we weren't alone! We noticed where our authentic sharing was impacting someone else in ways we never would have believed. We saw how our stories are not ours to hide away, but to share- not with everyone, but with those God places in our world that need to hear it. And we grew in our willingness to share it honestly. The community that resulted was a gift! For you my dear Kairos friends, I am so grateful!

So take this 'powerful study' and add to it "honest, authentic women with courage to look at some of the hard places in life', what made this study so impacting was an awareness that God was breaking into our stories once again. And as He did- we were changed! I was changed!

For that, Lord, I am grateful!

For those who live in the area: we will be offering another group study of this book this summer, begining in June. I you are interested contact me- we have a few places left.

For those who live elsewhere:you may do this on your own- but if there was enough interest, I will do a 'telegroup' and meet on a conference call (from whereever you live) to talk through what we are all learning as we go through it this summer. Let me know if you have an interest in this by May 15. We only have 8 spots open for this.

I know you have a lot of options to study! But this is one that we all should do at one time in our lives. Now is as good as any! Join me!

CBD book description: Women with troubled past are often poor in spirit and mourning. They carry years of emotional baggages that keeps them in bondage to a time, event or person in their lives. Becky Harling understands, and says that you can be free from the bondage. Using the blessings in the Beatitudes, Becky shows how to erase negative emotional messages of the past. Learn how to rewrite your emotional script by adopting the positive attitudes of the Beatitudes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

color my world

Green HOPE Coaching would love to be part of coloring your world with life giving GREEN! You may contact me at or on Facebook at Green Hope Coaching, Kathy Burrus, Life & Relationship Coach. Watch my 30 second commercial by clicking color my world.