Soon it will be Bryce’s birthday. That means I’m in party-planning mode.

I imagine what it would be like if my wife, Jill, was planning his party. (Jill passed away three months after Bryce was born.) I can see her organizational skills going to work –the “invite list” would have been a mile long and everyone would have received a card in the mail, an e-vite, and a personal phone call! I wish she were here to have this special day with Bryce.

But then, the thought occurred to me that in a way, Jill is here. She has been here every step of the way.

Jill invested in the life of many women over the years. After she died, many of those women began to “stand in” for Jill. They changed diapers, babysat –even put up Christmas decorations that first year without Jill. It is as if Bryce went from having one mom to 100 moms! I feel like Bryce is blessed because as each lady ministers to him, he sees a little reflection of the impact Jill made in their lives.

It is the natural effect of discipleship. Once somebody pours into you, you want to pour into others. And when a person who has influenced you is in need, the natural reaction is to “stand in their place” for them. That’s not just being a disciple; it’s being a true friend.

The Bible says that, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Christ is the ultimate friend because he “stood in my place” on the cross.

In Jill’s case, she lives beyond the grave through the influence she had on others. This is only possible because Christ conquered the grave. His life is now residing in his Children –and that’s the ultimate influence!

It causes me to ponder:

  • How am I allowing the life of Christ in me to influence others?
  • How will my legacy live beyond my lifetime?
  • Am I faithfully pouring into others in a way that faithfully reflects Christ’s life in me?