#TellHisStory: Be a Doris

January 27, 2015 | 17 comments

Doris was our pastor’s wife in the early ’80s.

When I called her house — often looking for my mom — it was from our old rotary phone in the kitchen. It was the kind of phone with a twirly cord that could stretch the length of a room.

She didn’t know who was calling, of course, because no one had caller ID back then. There was no such thing as “screening calls.” The pastor’s wife always answered the phone the same way — every time:

“God loves you! This is Doris.”

It didn’t matter who was on the other end, dialing into her house. That’s how she answered the phone.

The caller could have been her accountant, her hairdresser, an escaped convict, the next-door neighbor, an insurance salesman, or a politician running for office. She’d answer her phone with the same greeting because she wanted you to know that you’re loved. I can practically hear her sweet voice in my ears, and can feel that twisty cord wrapping around my finger.

I hadn’t thought about Doris’ greeting for years, but her words came back to me this week. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than the fact that a whole lot of people need to know that God loves them. I’ve seen the people. I’ll bet you’ve seen them, too. You’ve see them in Target, and in your Facebook feed, and across the aisle at church. Some of you have seen that love-hungry someone looking back at you in the mirror.

We all need someone to remind us what we matter. We all need someone to tell us we’re loved by people, and we’re loved by God.

Call me cheesy. I don’t care. But I feel like the whole world needs to get Doris-ized. We all need a great big group hug.

Where are you now, Doris? Because we need you. We need someone to turn the Grand Canyon into a megaphone, and then pipe your sweet voice over the earth, so it reaches into every corner of the world, and every corner of the Internet, every congressional hallway, every counseling office, every junior high locker room, every jail cell.  “God loves you!” you’d tell us.

Doris, tell us again that we’re loved. Tell us that God loves us. Tell us with your words, yes, but also tell us with your eyes, and your two hands on our shoulders, and your visit to our hospital bed, and that hand reaching across the political aisle. Tell us again, “God loves you!”

Doris, send your voice across on the Internet. It’s rough out here, in this age of cynicism. People are talking at each other, instead of with each other. We’re all screening our calls, and choosing sides.

The Internet plays host to “open letters” and verbal slams disguised as “thoughtful critique.” When we dial out into this noisy world, we need more Dorises to pick up the call. To let us know we’re loved. Out in this wild world, we don’t know who will reject us, fight us, criticize us, belittle us, ignore us, judge us. And some of us are so hard on ourselves, that we don’t need an outside critic. Our worst critic lives deep within.

Someone just… tell us that God loves us.

The world needs more people like you, Doris. The world needs more card-senders, and grace-spenders, and hand-extenders, and relationship-menders.

We need people who are living loved. We need people with hearts so sufficiently full of God’s grace that they can’t help but leak love onto the people around them.

We need people who make love part of their agenda, people who work it into their days, their routines, their phone calls. We need people who are reckless with love.

I want to be one of those people.

I read these words in the Message paraphrase of the Bible this morning:

“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Maybe we could live loved, and really run after love, and remember that our faith is supposed to express itself through love, not bitterness and vitriol.

Together, let’s tell the world know its loved — every last inch that we can. Maybe we could do that, as if our life depended on it. Because it does.

Be a Doris.  Choose love.


Your Turn

Who is a Doris in your life? Tell me about your Doris, your Michelle, your Kathy, your Christy. How do they live loved, and love well? How can we #BeADoris today?


Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. You’re welcome to link up below. If you would use the badge on your blog, that would be great. And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! You guys are the best.

Be sure to check the sidebar later this week. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Devi is last week’s featured writer.




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by | January 27, 2015 | 17 comments


  1. Jenni DeWitt

    There was a priest in our town over 15 years ago, and people still talk about him. He was a lot like Doris, always telling people, “Remember, Jesus loves you!” What a blessing those people are in our lives, and what a great example. I love that Doris shared her message of love before she even knew who the person on the other end was — so symbolic of how God shines His love on all His children equally. Thank you for this great post.
    Jenni @ http://genuflected.com

  2. Mary

    I love this and the fact of the matter is we need to show and share love. The best part of this story is that my mother-in-law’s name was Doris and she can be described like your Doris. Her door was always open, there was always food to be shared with whoever came over and she just loved in a big way. Blessings!

  3. Doug Spurling

    God loves Doris…and you. Thanks for this. Our Doris is Rachel. She’s 89 and folks that don’t know her call her “the hugger.” She sat on our couch yesterday and started to cry when she said, “God’s so good I can hardly stand it.”

  4. Anne Dahlhauser

    I love this post! The simplicity and yet the depth of it is beautiful. Will be sharing it today! God bless you.

  5. Devi Abraham Duerrmeier

    Thank you for this – what an encouragement. This is so much of the reason why I feel like turning of the internet in my life, so much arguing and fighting.. yes, we all just need someone to tell us that we are loved. I’m always amazed at how much more fruitful the conversation is when it begins with the assurance of love, thoughtfulness and friendship.

  6. Michelle Anderson

    Oh man what a great way to answer the phone! Love it!

  7. Jolene Underwood

    You know I love this. It’s funny, I’m reminded of how afraid I was to say “God” to anyone in my school years, though I was known to be a Christian. By speaking His names & His truths to others the enemy has lost his attempts to shut me up. Once timid, I now grow bolder the more I speak of Him.

  8. Lisa notes...

    Beautiful and needed message, Jennifer. Always. I also love your insight that we need to “live loved” in order to better let others know they are loved.

  9. Katie Reid

    Great post friend, so needed. Thinking of Kelly Balarie and how she is like a Doris ’round twitter as she speaks life into others with her #RaRaLinkup.

  10. Anita

    Amen! I want to #BeADoris today! I’m not bold enough to answer my phone like Doris did–but I don’t have to STAY timid. Now you’ve got me thinking about ways I can be bold and get the love message out there.

  11. Karrilee Aggett

    Oh my friend – you know I am all about this! I love this so so much! *And I love me a Hashtag, too!) #BeADoris …YES! I am blessed with many Doris friends online, yourself included… and in real life as well! Inrl – my #BeADoris friends and I just wrapped up a weekly Voxer Intercessory Prayer session… because, OF COURSE! My Sylvia and my Sheryl… my Kathy and my Amy… of course my Girlie and my Honey… yes, I am blessed! I love the invitation to tell our #BeADoris friends that they are just that for us… as well as the invitation to BE a Doris to those around us! Is this not just the answer that we are all looking for? At the very least, it will head us in the right direction, and shine a light along the way!

  12. Martha Orlando

    Oh, oh, oh, Jennifer! Count me into Doris’ rank! We do need so much more of God’s love in this hurting and, too often, hating world. I do try to share God’s love through my blog and on Facebook; now I need to hone my phone greeting skills. 🙂
    Thank you, as always, for your inspiration. Blessings!

  13. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    “We need people who are living loved.” That’s the heart of it, isn’t it?! Somehow it never feels like enough, but it always is. Thanks for hosting this gathering, Jennifer and sharing the love.

  14. Tiffany

    Such great words! I think we forget about making those authentic, loving connections in the crazy, social media, high speed life. To just STOP and speak love. To watch and look and listen for opportunity as well. I have a sweet friend who is so good about just dropping “I’m thinking of you” texts into my life. No matter where I’m at – its so good to know God has me on someones mind.

  15. Nancy Ruegg

    Inspiring post, Jennifer. I found this statement to be especially encouraging: “We need people with hearts so sufficiently full of God’s grace that they can’t help but leak love onto the people around them.” I’m excited about trying to fill Doris’s shoes!

  16. KristinHillTaylor

    I really love this. It especially spoke to my heart because my grandma, who we called Nanny but whose name was Doris, died in 2001. I miss her greatly, but I am so grateful for all the memories I have of her loving well. xoxo



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