Twenty years ago, if you had said, “Tell me about Jodie,” I probably would have said that my goal was to be a good wife and mother. I wrote books, did some speaking, and organized stuff like the Bazooka Blowout at the kids’ school, but the thing that made my toes tingle—the thing that gave me purpose and joy—was loving my family and pointing them toward Christ. Here we are, back in 2001:
Today, I’m still crazy in love with these people (and now, more than ever, I want them to press into Jesus!) but the field has been flipped. My kids are pretty much launched, with careers and families of their own, and my husband Robbie and I are LOVING the grandparent thing!
That’s granddaughter Noah in the family pic, and Annesley and Geoff (far right) welcomed a son named Grayson in October. We’re also been ringing the wedding bells, as Virginia (top pic) and Robbie followed in our footsteps and wed their University of Virginia sweethearts in 2021:
Bearing Fruit in Old Age
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after watching our kids grow up and head off on their own, it’s that you never stop being a parent. You never stop loving your kids. And you never stop praying, asking God to guide them, protect them, and accomplish his best purposes in their lives.
And not only that, but you never stop longing to live a life marked by purpose and joy. Which is a good thing, because that’s what God wants for us too—in every season. The Bible says that those who love the Lord will “still bear fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:14), and I can’t help but believe that every stage of life (including—and maybe especially—the empty nest years) is important and precious to God.
If that’s where you find yourself, too—longing to bear fruit, whether you’re up to your eyeballs in laundry, navigating the twists and turns of a career, or bouncing a grandchild on your knee—can I invite you to join me? “Whatever you do,” the Bible says, “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people.” (Colossians 3:23)
Let’s go at life with all our hearts. Let’s pursue joy (and trust me, I don’t always catch it), celebrate grace (because that’s God’s beautiful, every-day gift), and live on purpose, surrendering our plans and our agendas to God.
Oh—and one more thing. If you’re a sports fan and you don’t already have a team of your own, you’re welcome to join me in cheering for the ‘Hoos. Even our dog Minnie (short for Minneapolis, where U.Va. Men’s Basketball won the national championship in 2019) is a fan. Here she is, posing on the U.Va. Lawn:
P.S. If you want to know who’s who in the family pic, that’s Robbie Jr. and Mary on the far left…then Robbie Sr. and me…with our new son-in-law Christopher and Virginia in the center…and then baby Noah, Hillary and Charlie…and Annesley and Geoff on the far right.