Friday, April 16, 2010
The first time I saw Cece Owens was at a women's retreat our church sponsored about 5 year ago. She was speaking on the topic of home schooling. I remember learning a lot from her and being easily drawn in by her warm and gentle words. The second half of the talk was given by her teenage daughter, Molly. I was completely captivated by Molly and her maturity. She stood in front of about 50 or so adult women and spoke from her heart. And I thought to myself, "This is the girl I want my children to be like!" I knew two things for sure: her mother was very proud and that she had to be an amazing woman to raise such a well poised girl.
Cece and her husband, Dutch, have 4 lovely children - 3 of which are college age and beyond. She has home schooled her children for 21 years and is finishing well with her blessed caboose Anna. You can see a picture of her beautiful family below.
Part of Cece's story that truly amazes me is that she and Dutch were married for 3 1/2 years without children, divorced, and separated for 2 years and then remarried for 27 years. Cece is real, transparent and the perfect person for our Friday Five Woman of Inspiration! I am honored that she would take the time to answer a few questions for us!
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I am third generation born in Orlando, Florida. I was born in Orange Memorial Hospital, now known as Orlando Regional Medical Center. I have lived in three houses my entire life and they are all within a one and a half mile radius of each other. To say Orlando is home sweet home would be an understatement.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?
I am reading Chip Ingram's book, Good to Great in God's Eyes. He speaks of ten practices that all great Christians have in common. With three of our four children either in college, married or living away, my sights are now set on the days God gives me and finishing well. For starters, I want to dream great dreams, pursue great people and take great risks. Some years ago I heard the statement, "The value of anything is the price it pays in eternity". My next "looking forward to" is just beginning to unfold but my desire is that it have the idelible mark of eternity.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE OR PASSAGE?
"Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth,
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert."
I believe we all have something in our lives that we need to leave behind. God's desire is that we no longer call it to mind or ponder the past. He longs to do something new as we ask! The last sentence of this scripture blows me away, "I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert". When is the last time you have seen rivers in the desert? Only God!
WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK THAT HAS IMPACTED YOU MOST OTHER THAN THE BIBLE?
I would have to say Oswald Chamber's devotional My Utmost for His Highest. I have devoured these daily devotions for years and without fail, God meets me in a new way, imparts a new thought or allows a new appropriation of scripture on any given day. One of my favorites is found on August 18th where it reads, "Discouragement is disenchanted self love and self love may be love of my devotion to Jesus--not love for Jesus Himself". When I feel discouraged I now ask myself if it is related to my love of self or God? Just a sampling of Oswald's words worth pondering.
WHO INSPIRES ME?
Transparent people inspire me! The older I get, the deeper my understanding of the truth that God is sovereign over my whole life. God is writing a story about each of us, a story to be read and told. Most books have many chapters, some encouraging and easy to read, others more difficult. Our journeys are full of mountains and valleys, successes and failures. Why are we more reluctant to speak of our failures as readily as we speak of our successes? Over 25 years ago, God impressed upon me the value of being transparent about a failure in my life. He taught me that it makes me real to people and gives other people permission to be real in return. As much as I resisted speaking about it, I now believe it to be the turning point in my Christian walk, It has been a process but I try to live my life caring more about God's reputation than my own. We are all insecure, afraid of letting people know who we fully are. I don't always win the battle with transparency but the masks I mastered many years ago are slowly being removed, allowing a life of authenticity and being real.