For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 NIV)
Is my life my own? That's something that turns again and again at the core of each person. And my natural inclination is to say, "Yes! I am my own person. My life, my rights." This verse reminds me that I am not my own. I belong to the Lord. He sought me, and bought me, as the old hymn goes. I am his.
But I belong to so many others, as well. And I believe that if I truly desire to honor God, then I will live to honor Him through these relationships, as well. I am His, and I am theirs.
- My wife, Amanda Jo Dunaway. She took my name over twelve years ago and pledged her life to me, and I my life to her. I belong to her physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Breanna Jo Dunaway. God gave her to me 10 years ago, and blessed me with the wonderful charge to be her father, and to be her daddy. I cannot say my life is my own, it belongs to her.
- Sophia Grace Dunaway. God saw fit almost nine years ago to grant me another daughter, to whom I belong. I am her father, her daddy.
- Gibson Eric Dunaway. God knew my heart and my desire to have a son, and he gave me this young man five years ago. He will spend his days watching me, observing me, and taking what he sees and hears as his very own lessons on manhood. I am his father, his daddy, and his model for becoming a man. If I ever believe I am my own, then I reject the truth that I belong to Gibson.
- Ellie Laine Dunaway. Two years ago I became the father and daddy to this surprise blessing of a young lady. My life is hers as much as it is mine, because I am her father and daddy, too.
- John and Ellen Dunaway. They gave me life, raised me in a nurturing and God-honoring home. My life bears the mark of that love, even in how I love my wife and my children. I am theirs, too.
- Bob and Shanna Chapman. They raised my wife, are grandparents to my children, and now my life is forever linked to theirs.
- Pathway Community Church. This is my community of Christ followers, where I lead, serve, worship...and at the end of the list, work. My life is woven into the lives of every single person who serves and attends there, as well.
And I'm sure the list could go on. My siblings, and Amanda's siblings. Our extended family. Our network of friends, both past and present. The older we get, the more people become part of our stories...and we belong to each one of them. How I live, how I love...it tells a truer story than what I say...and it impacts so many more than just myself.
I am His, and I am theirs.