Who or What is Your Everything?

Gold Brush Stroke

Saturday promised to be an encouraging day. I was driving to Cresco, Iowa, to attend the first-ever ReNEWed Life Women’s Event featuring nationally known author and speaker, Lisa Whittle.

A new friend I met at the She Speaks conference, Jill Beran, helped organize this gathering. I was excited to see her again and to be inspired anew.

A Sobbing Mess

However on the way to ReNEWed, in the van alone, I made the mistake (or not) of putting in a CD, “The Best of David Phelps.” I was in a rather sensitive emotional state because my oldest would be going 450 miles away to college in 10 days.

Thoughts of him leaving combined with limited sleep and beautiful, soul-moving music put me over the edge. I dissolved into a mass of tears.

So here I am tooling down the highway, heading to what should be a fabulous, uplifting day, David Phelps’ gorgeous tenor voice booming through the van, and I’m a sobbing heap of a mama. Thoughts of turning around and going home crossed my mind.

I was a mess. My emotions were raw. Every two minutes I’d melt into another cry-fest. I didn’t feel I belonged at a women’s conference in the state I was in.

But I continued to the event anyway, which happened to be a wise decision.

Listening to speaker Lisa Whittle discuss wholeness (based on her latest book, {w}hole: An Honest Look at the Holes in Your Life and How to Let God Fill Them) helped me process my messy brokenness in several areas, including my son’s impending departure.Hole

From Holes

She spoke about how we often develop “holes” or voids in our heart because we let something or someone become more important than God. We don’t usually realize the problem it causes until we begin losing the very thing or person we made central.

Only the Lord’s presence is forever; only He will never be lost.

Only the Lord's presence is forever; only He will never be lost. #priorities Share on X

Lisa led us to explore the holes in our lives. Throughout her three sessions, I felt compelled to examine whether I have made my children my everything. Has my role as stay-at-home mom (SAHM) taken on too much prominence?

I spent years cultivating and enjoying my role as a SAHM. Could it be that in so doing, I placed my children in a position they didn’t belong?

Perhaps some of my anxiety is because as the older boys begin separating and making lives of their own, I fear losing that role—my identity?

I denied the possibility at first, certain it was just emotional backlash, but as I analyzed the depth of my feelings concerning Danny leaving, I couldn’t hide from the possibility: Perhaps I made my children central in my life.

It is understandable and normal to miss our children when they leave the house, but does my misery run deeper than that because I’ve let them become my everything?

To Wholeness

There are many areas I need to examine and re-prioritize on my journey to wholeness. ReNEWed inspired me to embrace the process.

To be all God created us to be, we need to be whole: a continual process of renewal.

To be all God created us to be, we need to be whole: a continual process of renewal. Share on X

To examine who or what we need to re-prioritize.

To stop making other people or other things our everything by defining ourselves instead in Christ Jesus.

To embrace the freedom and joy of living a life unimpeded by the trappings of this temporal world.

It will be a difficult process, no doubt, and I have a long way to go to wholeness, but God doesn’t need me whole to use me. I just need to be willing to be used, to surrender my will to His. To redefine my life as one in Christ—in all its messiness.

Now that’s a beautiful gift.

Will you pray for me?

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1–3 ESV).

I will leave you with a masterpiece sung by David Phelps. I pray it moves you as much as it does me.


Reflections: Is their something or someone you need to displace as central in your life to make room for Jesus? How can I pray for you in this area?

Linking with Ann Voskamp for the Joy Dare (#885–906, view all my 1000 Gifts posts here):

  • The Savior’s willingness to fill my life, to be my everything
  • Working alongside fellow scout parents to serve Belgian waffles; Conviction; Playing Pass the Pigs & Sequence
  • ReNEWed Life Event Women’s Event featuring Lisa Whittle; 2 mama deer & 2 fawns this morning; My life = God’s story
  • Freshly dug potatoes; One batch of shimmering wild plum jelly canned; Continuous renewal–He never gives up on me
  • Playing badminton with the boys; Time reconnecting with family at our barn getaway; Picking apples
  • Windows open—rain coming down as I go to bed; Wild plum juice for jellies and syrups; 2013 Writer’s Market Guide
  • Time spent with old friends; Shimmering, calm lake; Immensity of the universe as evidenced in the stars
  • Enjoying BLT’s; Fresh garden produce; A child’s perspective

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By His Grace,



  1. Linda Smith on August 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    “We often develop “holes” or voids in our heart because we let something or someone become more important than God. We don’t usually realize the problem it causes until we begin losing the very thing or person we made central. Only the Lord’s presence is forever; only He will never be lost.” ~ Lisa Whittle

    Julie – Lisa Whittle may had said this – but I had to “hear” it from you ~ thanks for throwing that BIG bite my way ~ just what I needed for today!… You bless me ~ and I thank God for fb and you!

    • juliesunne on August 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      And as always, you bless me with your sweet words, Linda. Thanks. You’ve pinpointed the very reason each of our stories and messages are important: The same truth may have been spoken a million times, but someone out their may not hear it until it comes from your words. Enjoy this blessed week.

  2. Natasha Metzler on August 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Oh, my. Thank for you this. So, so important to remember. He has to be all– always.

    • juliesunne on August 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      So important–but easy to usurp His rightful place with “other.” Blessings, Friend.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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