Word of the Week

What Life Well Lived Birthed: A Guest Post by Dolly Youssef

Do you believe you're living a life well lived now?

For most of us it's so easy to ignore, try to skip over or plow through the hard chapters of our lives and not learn the lessons they have for us. But today, Dolly-- a friend I met through my pastorate last summer at North Chevy Chase Christian in Maryland has a testimony to share as she looks back over the key stories of her life. And ultimately her word is that God's goodness has prevailed. You'll want to read her words-

My life has been good. God has been good to me. It’s hard, now, for me to see any of it as being difficult. Although, at times, it surely was. 

My father died my senior year in college.

My mother called saying, “Dad has had a stroke, come home quickly.” He was unconscious when I got there and never regained consciousness. He died the next day. We didn’t get to say goodbye. That was hard. But life goes on. I went back to college, finished my final exams. I graduated. God was with me. 

My first child was stillborn.

I was very sick with toxemia during the pregnancy and lost 20 pounds. I was so weak they didn’t bring the baby to me in the hospital. Maybe they thought it would be too much for me to deal with, holding my dead baby. So I never got to see him. I only have my memories of my relationship with him while he was in the womb. I talked to him all the time while he was inside me. I knew him. But I never got to see him or hold him. That was hard. But life goes on. I was young, my husband was supportive. I survived. God was with me.

Twenty-some-odd years went by, my marriage failed, I struggled with getting a divorce.

I prayed about it, knowing what the Bible says about divorce. Always I have tried to be obedient to God. I made my decision and trusted that God would forgive me. I survived. Life went on. And it was good. God was with me.

When Bread for the World relocated from New York City to Washington, DC in 1982 I applied for a job opening as assistant to the director. Lo and behold, I got it. We moved from Bloomington, Indiana, to Washington, DC. And I spent the next 27 ½ years using my talent for organization for a worthwhile organization that accomplished great things for hungry people. Being a Christian organization, the staff nurtured each other with weekly prayers on Friday and with ongoing loving support of one another. Now retired, Bread is still close to my heart and I keep the staff and the mission of the organization in my prayers. And it was good. God was with me.

But then my mother died, at a ripe old age, I felt like an orphan.

Both father and mother dead. No brothers or sisters. But life went on. I spent time talking to her as I drove to work each morning. And then one morning, I got to work and realized I hadn’t thought of her once. And that is the way life is. It goes on, and so do we. God was with me.

Despite the times of loss and change, God has always been good to me. The difficult times strengthened my relationship with Him. He has always been with me, guiding me, comforting me, forgiving me, loving me. The Bible text that I try to live my life by has long been these words from Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I am blessed. 

Dolly was born in Indiana and now lives in Maryland with her husband. She has an B.S. in Music, Indiana University. She loves her family, friends & neighbors. Now as a retired woman she especially appreciates her animals, nature, music, books, and lots of peace and quiet.