I am blessed to have the greatest son-in-law. He is just like a son to us. His full given name is Philip Julian Maucieri Jr. but we just call him Phil. Rachel and Phil will have been married 5 years May 2016. He is the brother Lance never had and the second son we never had. Obviously, he is the husband Rachel never had. The great thing is, he is also the friend we all loved from around 2003. We knew him without Christ and we loved him. We saw him come to Christ and we rejoiced with him. I started praying for the person our children would marry when they were just babies. It was always you, Phil, for our Rachel.
We recently had our home movies put onto DVD, and it has been fun to watch them, actually, for the first time since living them. I found one that was such a treasure. Our son, Lance, is playing guitar for the coffee shop opening at our church in Texas. We are recording it … and as it pans the group sitting around, there’s Rachel and Phil, sitting together talking, laughing and singing. This was 6 or 7 years before they ever dated. With knowing eyes I watched their eyes in this video. I realized they each had no idea that one day they would share a life.
Phil is gifted, brilliant, winsome, handsome, thoughtful, a truly deep well, creative, edgy, considerate, and funny. He always motivates and inspires me in the most endearing ways. We have meaty, meaningful conversations and our hearts are simpatico. He is an amazing husband to our daughter and a loving father to our grandchildren. The best thing about Phil is his authentic love for the Lord and his service to follow Him freshly each day. He leads his family strongly and confidently along with him on His way to Christ.
I was privileged to be with them for a few weeks after they brought Jude home from the hospital after her birth. I got to watch them establish the most beautiful nighttime routine I have ever witnessed. Day 1- Rachel held Jude and Phil held the special Bible they had gotten. They read the story, discussed it and prayed and sang for the first time as a little new family unit. It was priceless, and I will never forget that image I cherish. I saw the moment that Jude, not only, started her journey to see the love of her earthly mother and father, but also, her heavenly father. Reading the Bible and praying daily are as much a part of her life as talking, eating and sleeping (her three favorite things). Each story, each prayer demonstrating to her that Jesus lives on every page of the Bible, and in her life too. Now with Sam, they continue this pattern and it’s a beautiful thing to watch and even take part in at times.
For Christmas this year Phil bought me a book that is a “game changer!” It is called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. He has written many books. The subtitle is telling: “Break Though the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.” It isn’t just for writers but for creatives or anyone who struggles with even taking the first step in starting the thing you are most passionate about.
Listen to these first few paragraphs from his book, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a class, bailed on a spiritual practice, dedicated yourself to a humanitarian calling; committed your life to the service of others? Ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, advocate for the weak? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you should accomplish, the realized being of who you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is. Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? Look in your heart. Right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You think Resistance isn’t real? It will bury you!”
I couldn’t put this book down. God has used Phil and this book to exhort and then push me to continue my journey back to the real me — the me God intended for me to be. I use the word, “back,” not so much in referring to the past in years but, instead, to the person I was as a young adult — a somewhat blank but broken but redeemed canvas, free of all the burdens and ready to embark on the exciting journey God had prepared for me. The person I was before seeing the heartbreak of sin in God’s people and myself … the disappointment in realizing the people I thought were flawless were deeply flawed … the years of fighting the good fight and getting beat up pretty bad in the process … the pain of regret over lost opportunities and the time that had escaped me … the life before I turned into someone I always promised myself and the Lord I’d never become — done before I was finished.
I’m challenged by my son in law to keep keeping up. To not stop at where I was but to move forward adapting to the where I will be. To find what makes me uniquely Sheri again. I’m on a journey to find the place where I got lost and make the correction. Someday I long to say these words. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
Join me in the Journey