Let All That You Do Be Done In Love

Let All That You Do

“Let all that you do be done in love” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

I often need to be reminded of this verse.  If I’m being honest, sometimes I don’t feel like responding in love.  Especially to my family…and when I’m tired…and it’s raining…and I’m hungry…and I’ve already answered the same question a few times.  Sigh.  We’ve all been there right?  When the day seems never ending and it’s almost comical how many things have gone wrong.  It’s on days like that when I need to remember this verse and choose to respond in love.  If I’m going to respond in any way I might as well take a second to breathe and give a kinder response than I feel like giving.  Talking ugly doesn’t change the circumstances but it could crush my daughter’s spirits, make me feel crummier, or damage a relationship I’ve spent so long building.  I’ll never regret being kind but I always regret when I don’t.

I ran across this verse today, on a day that’s going particularly well actually, and I made the image above to help me remember to be kinder and show love on days that are bit harder to get through.

What ways do you do things in love?  Maybe it’s not just about how you respond to difficult circumstances.  Maybe it’s about going out of your way to show love to someone who could use it.  A friendly note or an email just because.  A frozen meal to a grieving family.  A bouquet of flowers and a pizza to a family that just moved in down the street.  A thank you card to someone who was there for you when you needed it.  There are endless ways to show love to others.  Let’s try and let all that we do be done in love.

Heaven Has My Heart

I want to introduce you to my sweet Bronner. He was only two-and-a-half when he went to Heaven. I never say “died” because I don’t feel that he has. I truly see him as going on to another place. Bronner didn’t cease to exist. He has been transported to another land, distant and mysterious in that I have never been there before nor can I go there right now and haven’t even the vaguest idea when I might be able to go there, but also the most assured of places in that I am certain of the way and long for it like no place on earth.

Heaven has my heart, my citizenship, my baby, and my God. It is the Land of the Living and the Kingdom of Light. In contrast, earth is the land of the lost and of the dying. Bronner has been found and taken to the truest place, the best place, a place many will never find even though the Lord God specifically said, “Seek and you will find.” Many people seek God in a way that is only palatable to their own desires. They want God to be who they want Him to be, not who He really is, and so they never find the real, true God. Many people find God’s ways offensive, harsh, arrogant even. But, when you seek God for whoHe truly is, you’ll find that He is magnificent.

In times of tragedy, grief, or despair, some people grow so angry with God that they turn away from Him completely, but in the turning away, they are showing faith. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV, Hebrews 11:1) They believe in God, but what they are doing in turning away from Him is saying, “I don’t like you. I don’t like your methods, and I don’t want anything to do with a God who would… fill in the blank.” What they are doing is REJECTING GOD.

When my life’s great test came to me, I already knew God in an intimate way. I called Him my father, my savior, my teacher, and my friend. He had walked me through many lesser trials before. This time He was going to have to carry me, and I trusted Him to do that. Why? Because… I knew Him to be good. God’s goodness and mercy had already been poured out by the bucketfuls upon this wretched creature called me. By the time I stood in that baptistery at Lakeview Baptist Church in Oxford, Alabama at the age of 25, I already had a quarter century’s worth of sins to wash away, but as I stood there wearing a robe of white, I felt God’s Spirit moving upon me with healing in His wings. And, as Brother Jerry lowered me down underneath the water, my former life was vanquished. “Buried with Christ.” Hidden. Covered. Washed and cleansed of the former life. “Rising to new life in Him.”

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

I was a new bride at that time, figuratively and literally, having married my husband, Rick, just two months prior. I was also a new mom of sorts. Rick had been married before, for a short time, but it had been long enough to produce two children, Brandi and Blake. They were there at my baptism. They were five and six years old on that day, April 21, 1996. They were there again at that same small church when their little brother, Brooks, was being dedicated to the Lord. We all stood together in a circle as Brother Jerry anointed him with oil and as we all promised to help raise him in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

It was in that little church in the small Alabama town where Rick spent most of his childhood and where he graduated from high school that God would anchor Himself to our family, holding us and keeping us close to His bright shores. It was there in a Bible study called “The Mind of Christ” that I had been amazed at the discovery that the Bible contains ALL the answers. As a child, I remember looking up into the sky and wondering, “Where are you, God?”

I found out just how much. And, as our family continued to grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord, adding Brody, and then Bronner, my heart began to overflow with the joy of the Lord. I was soaring on the wings of an eagle. I had tasted and had seen that the Lord was good. He was very, very good.

And, then came January 19, 2008 shooting me like a shotgun right out of the sky. No more soaring. I wasn’t even standing. I wasn’t even on ground level. I was in a pit, deep and dark, but I was still holding on to someone’s hand. It was the hand of the ONE who had lifted me up out of darkness once before, the hand of HE who had HIMSELF knit me together in my mother’s womb, the hand who had spoon fed me the truth of John 3:16 but who was now going to feed me the meat and the bread and the wine of 1 Peter 4:1-2.

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (ESV).

None of this was going to be easy. I had been torn from my baby. He was ripped away from me, and it wasn’t a clean break. After all that goodness, Lord, what are you doing? Why? We had been so happy! Our family was SO happy! And, we were doing all that you had asked of us! My goodness! Rick was speaking at a youth retreat when it happened! Weren’t we giving enough? Now, You’re going to take our baby?


MY baby.

I needed some answers, so I jumped in the ring and wrestled it all out with God. I wasn’t going to let go of Him until He answered me, until I could make some sense of this whole matter. Well, here I am, LORD, still standing in the ring, but instead of wrestling with You, I’m here to tell YOUR story. The story of how You took me deeper and higher and further with You than I ever thought possible.

At the end ofJob’s struggle with the LORD, he said, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you…”

Through suffering, Job learned. He grew. He saw God in a new way, the way of reverence and awe. When we come face to face with the POWER of the ONE who created all things and through Whom all have their life and breath and being, we begin to see things as they really are, not through those rose-colored glasses I threw away long ago.

TRUTH. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I got. That’s what I have to tell.

God has always taught us through stories, through the lives of ordinary human beings. Here’s mine. It isn’t tidy or fun or sweet or cute. But, it’s mine, and it’s Bronner’s. Someone might say he “died” for this story. I hope it will mean something to you.


photo compliments of Heather Durham

photo compliments of Heather Durham

Sherri Burgess is the wife of nationally syndicated radio host Rick Burgess of “The Rick and Bubba Show.” They are both sought-after ministry speakers and marriage conference hosts.


A former news anchor turned author, Burgess is also mother to two teenage sons at home and two adult children. She currently serves on the school board where her sons attend, leads a girls’ Bible study, and volunteers with various organizations. Her heart is deeply committed to living out God’s will for her life and helping others do the same. While her family may enjoy football, she enjoys her family. She also enjoys gardening and going on short-term missions trips. Her prayer is that the loss of her youngest son, Bronner, will continue to produce fruit for God for many years to come. The Burgess family calls Birmingham, AL, home.

Learn more about Burgess at burgessministries.com, and follow her on Facebook (SherriBurgessAuthor) and Twitter (SherriBBurgess).

In the depth of human suffering…

In the depth of human suffering
In the depth of human suffering we discover the reality of God.  It’s here we learn to cry Abba Father.  It’s the cry we make when we can make no other cry.  I’ve felt a little like this lately, okay, a lot like this.  Not so long ago I struggled with things.  Things that are hard to put into words.  Day in and day out I try to meld my internal struggles, eternal truth, and hopefully the product of that will be a life that is honoring to God.  Recently my thoughts became overwhelming.  Crushing.  They stole my happiness.

My to-do list became more than I could bear.  My morning sickness didn’t let up no matter what I tried.  I was tired.  Emotionally and physically exhausted.  The emails and calls of people who were counting on me for this or that slowly drowned in the background of a huge white static.  I don’t know where this static came from but it overpowered my thoughts and replaced them with a feeling that I can only describe as a numb feeling.  I distanced myself from my blogs, from email, and from most phone calls.  I lost a ridiculous amount of money because I didn’t follow through on several campaigns I had said that I would complete.  I wasn’t myself.  I wasn’t faithfully serving God.  I was barely providing food for my family.

I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.  I didn’t even cry because I was numb.  I think professionals might say that I was experiencing “burnout.”  I’ve been stressed out before but I’ve never been burntout at all.  Before experiencing it I thought burnout was just something someone said when they were over committed and decided to quit several things at once.

I went to the She Speaks conference just as I had planned to go even though my heart wasn’t in it.  My husband’s high school reunion was the same weekend so I tried to get out of it the conference and give my ticket to my pastor’s wife but my husband insisted that I go.  I packed my bags to meet a roommate I didn’t know, mentally prepared myself to kindly force myself in dozens of conversations because I didn’t know another lady there (except a few hosting the event which I thought were surely too busy for me this weekend), and braced myself to walk much more than my pregnant body wanted to.

The conference was lovely, well decorated, ran smoother than any conference I’ve ever been to, and had incredibly friendly staff to help out at every turn.  Before the conference was over God broke my heart and gave me my happiness back.  I don’t know what it was that changed my heart.  It was probably a combination of things that God perfectly orchestrated to bring me back to Him.  I’m thankful for God’s love and that He lifted the fog from around me.  I don’t know why God allowed me to go through that and maybe I’ll never know on this side of eternity.

Truthfully, I feel pretty foolish sharing this with you and pouring my heart out as tears stream down my face.  I’m not even sure this makes sense really but I was challenged at the conference to share with my readers the “real” side of me.  I don’t exactly put up a facade on any of my blogs, at least I try not too but I do avoid sharing the embarrassing, not so fabulous moments of my life.  I’ve always thought that if I could share happy things things then I would be uplifting you and encouraging you.  Almost as if I could protect you from the bad things in life.  Saying that now I can see how foolish that way of thinking was.  I don’t want to follow someone who is perfect or pretends to have it all together.  I would much rather follow someone who goes through tragedies and comes out on the other side more in love with their God than before.

I’ve thought a lot about sharing this post with you since the conference and the other day it dawned on me…How can I identify with those who are suffering when I want to put my best face on and pretend that I’m not suffering?  To do so is to violate what we find in the NT.  Multiple times Paul talked about how we can have joy in our trials.  Joy can exist contemporaneously with tears and with sadness.  It’s not a joy that says I’m so joyful that I don’t cry but  it’s the strange paradox that says even though tears are streaming down my face I know there is a joy that transcends what I’m experiencing.

I think one of the challenges we face, as those who profess to be followers of Jesus, is the challenge to show the world how to be sad.  At least I know I struggle with this.  I’ve never given this much thought until this until my recent circumstances and conversations with godly women who shared their struggles with me at the conference.  Christians seem to have it backwards when we think the way to be spiritual is to say that “Everything is okay, I’m not sad.”  If someone’s mom just died and they said that they weren’t sad but joyful because of where she is I would think they were either crazy or lying.  While joy may still be present, sadness is there too.  Sorrowing in the reality of joy isn’t a marginalized suffering.  Grief is grief.  Sadness is sadness.  Nicholas Wolterstorff once said, “Grief is existential testimony to the worth of the one loved.  That worth abides.”  Grief, sorrow, and tears are all things that we have to experience on this earth but I find it very comforting to know that The Comforter has experienced them too.  He loves me and can give me indescribable peace.  He loves you too!