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Pathway to Purpose for Women Copyright 2005 by Katherine F. Brazelton This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product. Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Brazelton, Katie, 1950--
Pathway to purpose for women : connecting your to-do list, your passions, and God's purposes for your life / Katie Brazelton ; foreword by Kay Warren.---1st ed.
p. cm. --- (Pathway to purpose series)
Includes bibliographical references.
Summary: 'This book uses true personal stories to provide stepping stones for discovering purpose in life. With discussion guide'---Provided by the publisher.
ISBN-10: 0-310-25649-6 (hardcover)
1. Christian women---Religious life. 2. Vocation---Christianity. I. Title. II. Series.
This edition printed on acid-free paper.
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Part One Step toward the Pathway Chapter 1
IS YOUR LIFE OUT OF SYNC?
My life flies by---day after hopeless day.
(JOB 7:6, TLB)
Do you remember George Bailey, the main character in the classic movie,
It's a Wonderful Life? He sinks into a serious depression and even considers ending his life because of his unrealized dreams and feelings of uselessness. With the help of Clarence, an angel, George is shown the impact of the specific relational assignments in which he has been critically needed over the years. He comes to realize that there has been a clear purpose in his life all along. He discovers that his life has mattered and still matters a great deal.
Like George, we each have purposes to fulfill, many of which are linked to our relationships, passions, talents, experiences, dreams, hopes,
and longings. Living a larger, more fulfilling and dynamic life than you may currently be living is possible when you catch God's vision for your life. It is a transformational experience. I'm no angel, but I experienced a remarkable transformation as I journeyed on the pathway to purpose.
And, I am eager to share lessons I have learned along the way.
At age thirty-five, I unexpectedly found myself divorced. Gary and I had started dating during college. We got married, built a life together,
had children. Then, in the flash of a conversation that lasted only a few minutes, it was over. All of a sudden I had no husband to tend to, my two children were often visiting their dad, and many of the family responsibilities that for years had defined my life were nearly nonexistent.
I was far more fortunate than many divorced women with young children. I was not financially abandoned and forced into survival mode.
Quite the opposite. My ex-husband adored our children. He couldn't get enough of them or do enough to make our lives easier. So when the kids came home to me, they were fed, often newly clothed, and happily exhausted. I had less laundry, cooking, shopping, and homework assistance to worry about than when we were together as a family.
I lived like a divorced princess.
But deep inside, I was not well. The ease of my life did nothing to lessen the immeasurable sadness of the divorce. My heart was broken and I was lonely. Fewer neighborhood kids visited our new, tiny house,
and no couples invited me to join their outings. After a few bad experiences,
I chose not to date. So I lived a quiet and simple life shared with several faithful friends, my Bible, and my new best companion, TV Guide.
With no pressing roles to fulfill, I felt enormously dispirited and useless.
Everything I had crowded into my life to bring it some semblance of meaning had been yanked away or grown stagnant. My casual friends noticed that I seemed lost, but those who knew me best realized that I was crashing into hopelessness.
The pain of that transition and my lack of purpose was made worse by the fact that for five years I had begged God to give me a Joan of Arc--type cause or a unique purpose to champion, but he had not seen fit to do so. I felt confused. At times I wondered if the only logical life purpose I had left was shopping for new clothes because my weight spiraled downward as my depression deepened.
A LONGING FOR PURPOSE It has been more than a decade and a half since those difficult days,
and God has given me more meaning in life than I ever could have imagined. In the midst of that purposeless desert, I began an intense spiritual journey through which God slowly revealed to me his multifaceted reasons for my existence. Today, my service as a licensed minister at Saddleback Church and as a Certified Christian LifePlan Facilitator1 allow me the privilege of walking alongside other women who are crying out for purpose in their lives.
I will share a bit more of my journey on the pathway to purpose shortly, but now, let me ask about you. How are you doing in the area of personal validity and life significance? Are you crying out to the Lord for clarity regarding his purposes for your life?
Through my own faltering steps and my interaction with thousands of other women, I have come to realize that countless good,
Christian women barely function because they feel alone, disillusioned, or trapped by vague dissatisfaction. They feel that they have no critically important reason to exist, and they are guiltridden about their dark secret of borderline despair.
The fact is, most women have felt this void at one time or another,
even if just mildly. At some transition point in life, they have experienced a let-down feeling. This unexplainable melancholy may manifest itself in many ways---from the baby blues to a midlife crisis. It may be prompted by a job loss, a home relocation, or divorce. It may also occur after reaching a cherished goal such as completing a race, building a house, graduating from school, planning a wedding, or retiring from a career.
If you find yourself in this perplexing place, you may feel bored and confused. Perhaps you hunger for something challenging to which to give your life.
Table of ContentsCONTENTS How to Use the Pathway to Purpose Series . . . . 9
Series Foreword by Kay Warren. . . . . 13
Part One STEP TOWARD THE PATHWAY CHAPTER 1 Is Your Life Out of Sync?. . . . . 17
CHAPTER 2 Leave Your Past Behi nd. . . . . 29
Part Two NEVER WALK ALONE God's Fellowship Purpose for You: To Connect with Others CHAPTER 3 Do What Matters Today. . . . . 45
CHAPTER 4 Love Others as Jesus Loves You. . . . . 63
Part Three FOLLOW IN JESUS' FOOTSTEPS God's Discipleship Purpose for You: To Know Christ and Become Like Him CHAPTER 5 Pursue Peace. . . . . 79
CHAPTER 6 Repent of All Your Offenses. . . . 97
Part Four GO THE EXTRA MILE God's Ministry Purpose for You: To Serve Others CHAPTER 7 Wash One Another's Feet. . . . 117
CHAPTER 8 Walk with Integrity. . . . . 131
Part Five RUN TO JESUS God's Worship Purpose for You: To Magnify Him with Your Life CHAPTER 9 Expect the Desires of Your Heart. . . . . 149
CHAPTER 10 Surrender Your Daily Life to God. . . . . 165
Part Six POINT OTHERS TOWARD THE PATHWAY God's Evangelism Purpose for You: To Complete His Mission for Your Life CHAPTER 11 Anticipate God's Vision. . . . . 183
CHAPTER 12 Take Courage. . . . . 203
CHAPTER 13 Bring Glory to God. . . . . 219
APPENDIXES Group Discussion Guide. . . . . 233
Fresh Start with Jesus. . . . . 249
Acknowledgments. . . . . 251
How to Contact the Author. . . . . 253