What is your signature? It’s your name written in your own characteristic way. A “Signature Collection” is a creation that has the name of the person who endorsed or made it, like a signature dish created by a famous chef or a signature clothing line to which a celebrity adds their name.
Think about it. When you sign something you’re communicating something pretty important. Perhaps you’re saying, “I’ll pay for this; marry this person; perform this service; abide by this contract; purchase this item; loan this money; endorse this product; agree to these terms; name this baby.” A signature is a powerful thing.
About ten years ago I had an interesting dream about signatures. I was lying on my bed in white clothing that was covered with black writing. Somehow in my dream I knew the writing was numerous signatures of people God has brought into my life. Each person had left their unique and characteristic mark on me. And I’m sure I have yet to meet some of them!
I rarely remember my dreams so when I do I reflect on them. Sometimes they mean nothing. But that dream meant something…special. I believe God was reminding me that night that I am the product of the love, example and influence of many people. Nothing I’ve done or accomplished has been the result of mere self-effort. More importantly, who I am is in large part due to the people He has brought into my life. From others I have learned everything I know how to do and lots about who to be.
Daddy taught me to love good music, serve in the church and that being his Princess made me one special little girl. Mom taught me to cook comfort food, laugh, love having people in my home and trust God through the worst of trials. A second grade teacher gave me a love for reading and my twelfth grade Creative Writing teacher encouraged me to pursue writing. Benny continues to teach me countless important things including to love Bible doctrines I didn’t think I could ever understand and how to patiently love a flawed spouse with consistently gospel-saturated grace. My kids taught me that nothing in the whole world I could have done with the past 35 years of my life could have been more fulfilling than being Mom to seven J’s. My grandchildren are teaching me that leaving a godly legacy for future generations is pretty much the best thing I can do with my senior years. And person after person God has brought into my life has taught me to serve; comfort; teach; encourage; listen intently (or try to!); forgive; care for my home; and endure suffering.
The older I get the more I realize that truth that God really does “cause all things to work together for good” (Roman 8:28). You see, every signature on my life has been left by a flawed and sinful person like me. Yet even the hardest and most painful things I’ve walked through, some due to the sins of others, have been used by Him to continue the often trying process of making me more like the One whose image I bear. So I can be thankful even for the signatures I would have prevented if I could.
I wish I could contact the signer of every one of those names today to say thank you. If I could I would say:
- Thank you for loving me. For making every flawed attempt to care for me — most especially when I wasn’t being lovable.
- Thank you for being patient with me. For persevering through my own sin-tainted attempts to love you back.
- Thank you for praying for me during hard times.
- Thank you for teaching me by your words and example to trust and follow Christ, especially when I was too weary to believe I could.
- Thank you for making me laugh!
- Thank you for believing in the power of God to change me and for not holding my sins and weaknesses against me.
- Thank you for reminding me that God is faithful, good and wise when I had trouble remembering.
All this makes me a Signature Collection! A collection of uniquely gifted people have left their mark on me. In fact, many of you who visit this little blog are among them. A very special thanks to you today.
Of course, there is one signature that was made not with ink but with blood. To You whose red-letter signature was left on a little girl’s life back in Greenbelt, Maryland in 1959, I look forward to looking into Your eyes on That Day to express my gratitude in person. But today, please accept my heartfelt thanks again for taking the wrath I deserved by hanging in my place on the cross. You have changed me forever and your signature is the one for which I am the most grateful.
But to those He has used I want to say thanks. For everything. The collection of your signatures are forever mine. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. Someday I hope you know how much your life has affected mine.