Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Years Eve 2012 AHA Moments (Also Known As “God” Moments)

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I had an amazing few days recently. As this title suggests, I had some “AHA moments” this week. I have had the opportunity to dig a little deeper and seek the heart of God on many topics and areas of my life. I would like to share the personal aspects and thought processes I’ve gone through recently.

One such moment was with regards to serving / volunteering. I had an amusing reaction when I was sent a request to volunteer at church this past week. It wasn’t a bad response, as much as a “really!?” response. My thoughts went along a negative reasoning path. Meaning – I have just been missing out on worshipping lately…and sometimes just feel disconnected in a way.

I should also mention that I’d been having a pretty “not so fun” sort of time surrounding Christmas. To say depressed wouldn’t explain it fully. I had much on my mind, and then the things going on at home – it just wasn’t a good time. There were actually some pretty uncertain thoughts going on in my head. So, I saw the request to serve after having served a couple weeks in a row and at first I was worried. I was concerned that if I didn’t just have time to sit worship Him, that I might somehow drift or disconnect even more.

It was what happened next that rocked my world. Really, as plain as day – I was just mumbling – talking to God and it was as if I heard Him say “Is my arm to short? Do you not believe that I am able to take care of you? You’re my child – and when you serve in any capacity that allows others to come to know me – I can and will take care of you – physically and mentally.” In that moment, He helped me realize that what I tell others every day is true: He IS God, and He IS in control. It was as if He was asking if I even believed my own words.

It was also impressed on my heart to check my attitude – and that many things in life are a direct result of my own choices – mentally, in this case. Yes, there are evidently some chemical imbalances at work as well…but all in all, many things are within my ability to affect the outcome of. For instance, many many times in the past two days or so have popped up challenging my sanity. I have asked God to help me have His heart – to react to people and situations as He would. My children, and my husband alike – that I could have a soft heart, and make conscious decisions to do the right thing – even when it’s not fair, even when it may hurt, and even when I just plain don’t want to. If I aim to resemble and be the hands and feet of Jesus, life won’t always be this virtual bed of roses. However, in the midst of it all, He is – and always will remain – faithful…100% of the time.

I also had some more “aha moments” so to speak. Mostly, with relation to my health – mentally yes, but mostly physically in this case. Much of what’s going on in my body is out of my control. For those things, I put them in God’s hands. He knows exactly how to deal with me. For the things within my control, I have to act. Action is a requirement. To accept the status quo as a way of life, to just not care – that doesn’t end up working out in the end. I cannot eat whatever I want, and expect to look how I’d like. Conversely, I cannot refrain from exercise and expect my body to magically conform to my desires. When something pops up that irritates or hurts me with people I care about, it is my choice to harbor bitterness, or to forgive. Forgiving, however, sets me free – not just them. When I feel a bad mood approaching, or negative thoughts, etc – it is my choice to give them to God, or to try to battle on my own. I also have the ability to CHOOSE to think positively instead of dwelling on the negatives. If my house is a disaster (and I won’t lie – it is) – I can either choose to tackle it, even if that means starting with baby steps. I can do what I know to do, and allow that to make a difference. I can choose to be the wife and mom that God has called me to be…or, I can be self centered, and choose a selfish life of the status quo. I have to be the adult, and not allow things to just fly because I’m too lazy to deal with them. My children need guidance and direction, consequences to actions – and especially, consistency. Again, not going to end well if I’m content with the status quo.

It’s ultimately been a very deep and soul-searching sort of few days in my life. In so doing, I’ve also decided to get real with God, and with myself. I’ve chosen to make much different choices, to take proactive steps instead of sitting by, idle, expecting things to change on their own. And, I have to say, much of this was sparked by a conversation we had last week with someone unafraid to speak the truth, but in love. It made sense, and God touched my heart. It made me realize that I live much of my life for myself. Yes, I care and act on behalf of my friends and family, but I allow my own personal struggles and drama get in the way of doing the things I know need to be done. I’ve also made some changes with what I eat, and how active I am. Again, I can only affect the things within my power to do so – but I CAN affect those things. God gives us free will, but again, it is that free will that will either set us free and help us grow, or smother us and keep us trapped.

I can only pray that God use it to touch others, and help them come to know Him in a more real way – to also know they aren’t alone, etc. Something just happened, that light went on in my head, and some sort of switch flipped…and I see things in very much a different light.

If you find yourself relating to any of these areas of life, please know – you are not alone in your thoughts or struggles. Never give up hope – look to God as your source….knowing that He will not let you down. He created you, and He knows exactly how to take care of you, and every situation you might face.

My Thoughts On Christmas Eve

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This morning, I was on Facebook and, where you can update you status, it asked what was on my mind. As My response, I said the following:

What’s on my mind, Facebook? Well, since you asked…on my mind are many things.

I’m quietly remembering that today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Even though she went to Heaven over a decade ago, I still miss her very much and cherish all the moments and time we did have together.

I’m also thinking about the other side of the family. I’m thinking about my grandmother, as she is celebrating several “firsts” without my granddaddy (her husband of 67 years) by her side. This is the first Christmas he won’t be there. I miss him also very much. Praying God’s loving arms hold and comfort her (and all who are missing him) today and always.

Today I’m also thinking about my friend Andrea who said goodbye to her precious Jonathan at this time last year. I’m praying for her entire family as they remember his short but beautifully meaningful life. May God’s arms of comfort surround them always.

More than all this, though, I’m thinking of another little baby – who would grow to be a Savior – the one who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords…the one the Christmas season is all about -Jesus…thinking of Him and His crazy, undying love for each and every one of us – no strings attached. Just love.

So, with that, I want to wish you all a very blessed Christmas, and a happy New Year. May 2013 be a year of blessing, and may each and every one of you see God’s hand in your life in a very real way.

If you are hurting or struggling this season, please know two things -you are not alone, and I’d be happy to talk, listen, and ultimately to pray for you. Feel free to post in comments, or to message me directly. Smile, friends – you are loved.

As I mentioned, this season can be an amazing and joyful time of the year. However, for many, it can be heartbreaking. On this Christmas Eve, the above are some of the thoughts that are in my head with specifics to this day. In the midst of any heartache, any situation or any turmoil – one thing remains constant…the little baby who grew be the King of Kings, the Lord of lords, and the Savior of all mankind. He is the constant. His love permeates each and every heartbreaking situation you or I may remember or find ourselves facing. Look to Him, knowing you are not alone.

I would like to extend the same thoughts I did earlier on Facebook. If you are celebrating, hurting, joyful or sad – I’d love to talk, listen and hear your story. If you are celebrating and want to share, awesome. If you are mourning and missing someone, not awesome – but, in either scenario, I’d love the opportunity to laugh or cry with you, but more than that – to pray for you. You, my friend, are loved.

With God As My GPS

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Last night, I had an enjoyable night out with a group of very special friends. It was an evening of some great food and priceless fellowship. (It’s different when you have no kids present, and to sit and talk with just adults…clearly, I need to get out more!)

After our dinner concluded, we all said our goodbyes. As I went to my car, I sat there momentarily – just trying to get my phone to work (the battery had died at the beginning of dinner) or my GPS to function. Neither was working well.  I find that I should mention that this was a place I’d never been before, and I was not familiar with the area – at all. So, I get my phone temporarily charging long enough to enable maps and get directions. It told me to go north on the street I was on. Great. Head north, then my phone dies again, this time – the charger not even pretending to be going to work.

Thinking I know where I’m going, I go on what became a pretty frustrating (but also amusing) quest just to find the highway again.  I’m glad I wasn’t familiar with the area, or I might have been more concerned to be traveling alone, lost at night.  But, whether you believe in them or not, God’s angels were all around. As I watched police swarming to a blocked up from where I was, I didn’t feel like sticking around to figure out what drama was unfolding.  So, I decided it was time to depart. (This wasn’t the first time I’d pulled over, realizing that I was lost and didn’t need to keep going in random directions…so I’d stop, in hopes of convincing my phone to charge.)

I asked for God’s help. I jokingly (but was serious) told God that if my phone nor GPS were going to work, I needed Him to be my GPS. It was with that, that I felt the strong urge to pull out of where I was parked and leave my current location.  Not only was I supposed to leave, but as I began, I knew I had to do a u-turn just then.  So, I did exactly that. As I did, there were more emergency personnel showing up. I just wonder what has out was going on. But, not curious enough to stick around, I left. With God as my GPS, I felt at peace. I relied on Him, and fairly quickly after that, I found my way, as if is never gotten off track.  I’d already wasted enough time going too far in the wrong direction. I thanked God for keeping me safe, and for leading the way. Our God is faithful -in the big and little things alike.

Just as this situation unfolded and made my evening somewhat unpredictable, this entire experience draws many parallels to life.  How many times have we set out on whatever journey we’re on, heading down the street we believe to be correct, only to find that, in reality, we’re lost – beyond what we can hope to get out of one our own?  As you (collective “you” as I include myself in this) travel down this path, you look around and realize that you’re in unfamiliar (and potentially dangerous) territory.  For you, this “path” might be following a particular dream, goal, job opportunity, etc. – Just sure that you, in your own strength, are capable of getting to your final destination.  Whatever the case may be, you may find that things aren’t turning out as you envision. Sometimes we have very different visions than those that God has for us.  What’s sad is that you could save yourself tears, time and confusion if you’d learn that God is there, forever willing to help. He is faithful in the small and large things alike. He gives us free will though. We can choose to either listen to his directives, or go on about life in our own strength. If, however, we humble ourselves and ask for His direction – to get us back on the proper track – He is, and will remain faithful.

I hope you’ll read the little story of my eventful evening and maybe laugh a little.  More than that, though, I pray you’ll heed my little life lesson. I hope you’ll take away from it how very loved you are, and how much God cares about even the small details of your life. It’s up to you to invite Him in -to be a part of the path you’re on, and to be a part of your life in general.  When He leads, He will not ever steer you wrong.

Have peace today – knowing that it’s never too late to call out to God. He’s listening.

Returning To Life As Normal After Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

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I know many of you will read that title and wonder if I’m crazy – wondering just how life can ever be “normal” again. In many ways, even in other communities across these United States, life won’t ever be the same. However, there has to be moving forward. Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. Moving forward doesn’t mean not acknowledging a tragedy many would rather not even think about. Moving on doesn’t even mean that we continue on with life as if this never happens. Instead, moving on means trying to keep the pain and emotions present while working to remain resolved to make a difference in how America remains vigilant and does all we can – as a nation, and as individuals – to ensure our safety.

Truth be told, my heart continues to break with the community of Newtown, Connecticut. As I continue to follow different news reports, see stories / victim accounts, and even coverage of the funerals, the tears come, and my heart breaks. I find this tragedy one hard to read or talk about, and tears inevitably show up. The thing that gets to me isn’t just the accounts of the shooting itself, but of the love. The love of those teachers, staff and the principal who put their lives on the line – some even making that ultimate sacrifice for “their” children. Clearly, they love the children they were charged with each day. In spite of clearly imminent danger of death, they still acted on benefit of the children. Every time I read a synopsis of the events, I just imagine what it must have been like. Those teachers acted on instinct and training. They knew how to handle the situation to the best of their ability, and they did not hesitate. As such, many more lives were spared. From the janitor running through the halls with warnings, to the teachers protecting their children to the staff / principal who went beyond their call to duty, I am grateful.

The tragedy showed an evil side of humanity. It showed a broken person, with much anger. None of us have any idea the personal demons he was struggling with. I honestly don’t even want to think about it. There’s one side of me that wishes we could just know why. But, truth be told, I don’t think there is a plausible why here.

On the opposite side of the coin, the tragedy didn’t ONLY show the evil side of humanity. It also renewed faith in humanity at the same time. I’m not a teacher, and I never have been. I am grateful to have never been put in the position the heroes of that day were put in. However, if I ever was, I pray I’d react the same way. In the face of danger, I hope I’d react with courage, and would keep others safe in the midst of an unfolding tragedy.

No matter which side of the scenario you find yourself focusing on – the evil that exists in the world, or faith that humankind is full of good as well, I urge you to take a step back and just know that it’s okay to not be okay with this. No one should be okay. It’s okay to also move forward. Again, moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. It means remembering that it happened, not letting evil win, and moving forward with hope for brighter days ahead.

One final thought – please continue to pray for the community in and around Newtown, Connecticut as they begin picking up the pieces and moving forward. As hard as it seems, I urge you to continue lifting up prayers on behalf of the shooter’s family. I cannot imagine their heartbreak – at losing a brother, son, relative, grandson, etc., but also living knowing what he did just prior to losing him. Continue, also, to pray for the hearts and minds of people all across the nation (and even the world) — that God’s hand of healing continues to bring peace and strength in places currently hurting – even broken. May God gather up all the pieces and put them back together in ways that only He can.

Personal Reflection and Prayer For America – Connecticut Elementary School Shooting

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Yesterday’s tragedy is very much still on the hearts of many people across America and the world…mine included. My heart breaks with the people of Newtown, CT. However, it also breaks with the rest of our nation. These were precious children and loving adults – precious lives cut short. So many people have asked why. A question to which there is no answer. Many people comment that it simply isn’t fair – and it’s not. It’s not okay, and it never should be. As I commented yesterday – I don’t want to be living the day that this sort of thing is commonplace, and when it becomes “just another day” in our lives. We SHOULD be outraged. We should hurt with those who are hurting. We should allow ourselves to be heartbroken with those who are grieving. And we are. Let’s continue to pray for the people in the community of Newtown, Ct – as well as those who are grieving alongside them. Let’s continue to show support and prayer for Newtown, CT – the victims and their families, the teachers and their students who witnessed this tragedy, the first responders and emergency personnel that are processing what they saw, and a nation that desperately needs it. Lives were forever changed, and will not ever be the same.

The personal reflection I am doing, however, tells another kind of story. Yes, we ARE outraged. However, I’d like to pose a question I’ve been asking myself. Where are all these prayer and emotions the other 364 days of the year? It shouldn’t take a tragedy of this magnitude to get us on our knees in prayer for this nation we call home. Along those lines, it should also not take a tragedy like this to make us give our kids hugs, to love on them just that much more. Yesterday, I said several times that (as I was holding one child and waiting for the others to get home from school) I couldn’t wait for them to get home so I could grab them up, hug them, hold them and just love on them. That’s something I should be doing every day. They need to know my love and how much I care about them, regardless of what is going on in the nation. Tragedy or no tragedy, my love for them remains.

My prayer for this nation is that we wake up. We should learn to love our families, our neighbors and yes – that stranger walking down the street. God calls us to love one another. He doesn’t say to love when it’s convenient, and he doesn’t say to love after an emergency happens. He has created us as community people. We need to link arms, and create a resolve that’s unable to be broken. Yes, our hearts SHOULD break when these kind of things happen. But, we should band together in unity during “life as normal” as well. America, Where is our passion? Don’t allow the passion you felt yesterday, and the heartbreak you feel today to disappear as the days go on. Allow God to soften your heart, and to keep it from hardening as life happens around us. Pray for your friends. Pray for your neighbors. Even pray for those you don’t feel worthy of prayer. Pray for the victims in CT, and especially pray for this nation.

May we, as a nation and through the world, never lose hope – and always know love!!!

Praying For Connecticut Shooting

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As there are more details, I will update this post. Right now, I’d like to make this post – lifting up the families of all those involved in an elementary school shooting this morning in Connecticut. Reading and watching news sources all over the country, there have so far been 27 confirmed dead, 18 20 of which are reported to be children. This is being noted as the worst school shooting in the history of our Nation. May God be with us.

I sit here in tears – with my heart breaking for all involved. Having children this age, I simply cannot imagine. All I want to do right now is grab them up, hug them, hold them and continue to pray. I’d like to ask you to join with me in prayer for this community, and all the nation that grieves with them.

As I browse any number of social media networks, there are numerous – too many to count – mentions of this shooting, accounts of the events unfolding, and broken hearts that accompany them. To see the love and compassion poured out from complete strangers all across the country. These lives have been touched and will never again be the same. May they see love from others, and may they know they are not alone during these dark hours.

My heart, thoughts and prayers are with all concerned – their community and also all those grieving alongside them as the healing process begins. May the God of all creation, with arms that hold the entire universe hold them today. I’m praying for their strength and comfort moving forward. Will you join me?

I’m editing this to add that I’d also like to urge you all to pray for the parents and family of the shooter(s) as well. It’s certainly not the same, but their pain is and will be real – and their lives, also, forever changed.

I’m editing this once again to add that evidently the shooter shot and killed his father, and his mother was a teacher at this school. From the reports I’m hearing, his mother was amongst the casualties inside the school. It’s being reported that this individual set out to take away the things his mother loved most…her family and her (school) kids. My heart breaks for anyone that broken hearted themselves. I simply cannot imagine. Standing in prayer with all concerned.

Now being edited to include the report that it’s been confirmed that at least 20 of the 27 deaths are children. Any life lost is precious. Somehow, as a parent, I cannot fathom losing a child…especially like this.

My final thought on this for now. Earlier today, I posted this on a friends Facebook wall – in response to an on-air broadcast I’d heard:

My heart breaks with these people during this dark hour in their lives. I just don’t get it – and I think that’s okay…cause I don’t want to be living the day when this becomes something we just come to understand – when it becomes just another day. May our hearts always grieve with those who are hurting.

Trusting God Right Where You Are

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I wanted to share something that I thought you’d appreciate. Lately has been pretty difficult for me. No question there. However, I’m learning so many things — one is to be grateful for today. With that said, I am. Today was the first day in a while that I can honestly say that I’ve had a really good day. As such, I’m remembering to thank God for just giving me today – and especially being grateful for it being a really good day.

There is something beautiful in surrender – and trusting God in the midst of a storm. This situation is clearly beyond my control. Period. However, my new answer when people have been asking how I am is that “I’m doing okay…I don’t actually fear a diagnosis..and I serve a God larger than life…and I KNOW that he knows exactly how to take care of me.” Which is usually then followed by a “but of course I want to know…and I’m tired of not knowing, etc.” And, when I say people – I don’t limit my “God” replies to just church people or other Christians. It has become a unique opportunity to share His love with whoever, wherever…medical staff, friends, family, etc. I can tell you this. It has prompted some pretty interesting conversations.

I have been praying for God’s heart for people. To love them as He loves them…and to have a level of boldness to take His love into this community and beyond it. The thing I’m coming to realize is I’ve always been a voice of hope and “you’re not alone” etc to other people…but rarely have I ever allowed or reached out and asked others to be that same thing for me — as if I’m somehow not worthy of the same things I firmly believe for others….but I am. And so are you.

Along the lines of living life — I’ve also come to realize that life is just too short to be skin deep in our relationships. No matter what the situation, there is always capacity to love God, love people, and to make a difference. I was recently thinking about life and death. God forbid, if I were to die tomorrow – I would hope to be remembered by how I lived, and thus how I LOVED.

No matter the situation, no matter the storm, KNOW that God’s got this. His hands are holding you, and in Him you are safe. Reach out. You ARE worth it! Always remember that when times are dark, and you have trouble seeing the sun glistening through the rain, the storm is temporary. No matter how dark it looks now, there is a promise of brighter times ahead. Live life intentionally! Love God, love people, and make a difference!!

It’s Okay To Cry Sometimes

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***This post was written on December 12th, after a pretty disappointing day – but until today (December 14th) it has been kept private. It has been private because it’s pretty personal, and I just kept feeling like it wasn’t the time to post it. With respect to the school shooting this morning in Connecticut (see today’s blog post) – I am publishing this post below as public. The sentiments ring that much more true to me right now. It’s okay to cry.****
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It’s okay to have tears. It’s okay when they flow. God created our emotions, and they are not bad. Today, in fact, I had a really hard day. Truth be told, it’s really just a continuation of this ongoing saga of what all is going on in my body. I get to my awaited appointment, just to be told “we’re really sorry, but we need to reschedule your appointment.” Um, are you KIDDING me? With tears in my eyes, I just couldn’t believe it. Evidently the hospital here didn’t get the records to the place I was having my appointment – who, in turn, couldn’t continue with my appointment without them. So, another week. My appointment today was rescheduled for next week. And so this continues to be the appointment that will go on forever.

As I sat there at what should have been my appointment, I couldn’t convince the tears not to be present. As I thought more about it, I felt silly for the tears. Then, and ever-present truth was revealed to me. God created our emotions. He created the very tears we cry. I could write an entire series of blog posts on the various times tears and God’s response to them occurs in the Bible.

I’d like to take this one step further and encourage anyone taking the time to read. No matter what the day brings, no matter what you are facing, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to say that it’s not fair. It’s okay to not understand. And most importantly, it’s okay to not always be okay. There may be something in your life that you just cannot figure how you will get beyond. You may question if you’ll ever be able to pick up the pieces and move on. I’m here as living proof (not just as it relates to my current health issues) that life DOES go on. Sometimes, it will become necessary to take life one day at a time – sometimes even moment by moment. Even still, just know that it’s okay to have emotions. Tears aren’t always particularly fun, but they are necessary for healing sometimes.

Even if it’s just momentary, smile – knowing that your tears won’t last forever, and that it’s okay to cry sometimes.

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

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Bearing one another’s burdens…I’d like to dive right into this topic – right after a bit of background and catching up we have to do.

The past few days have been exhausting – both mentally as well as physically. I had a doctor’s appointment this past Thursday that was much less than fun. To recap, I left the doctor’s office with the necessity to have a tetanus shot, another referral to see cardiologist, and surgery scheduled for three weeks from then.

The tetanus shot was because a crafting (cutting) tool rolled right off of my desk, and into my leg. Since there was a puncture wound, the doctor thought it prudent.

The referral to cardiology is to see if they can rule out my heart as cause for some other medical concerns they cannot pinpoint the cause of.

The surgery scheduled is to remove a lump/mass from my back (and possibly one from my stomach) and then sending to pathology to determine what it’s made of. We are, of course, praying it is not cancerous, and nothing else to be concerned with.

I’m also semi-looking forward to the appointment with the breast surgeon to hopefully have answers on that front. All this waiting without having answers is bothering me.

I would like to stress something though. I do not fear a diagnosis, even of cancer. No, I do not WANT one – but nor do I live in fear of it. The absolute truth is that I serve a God larger than life, and He knows exactly how to take care of me – regardless of the outcome. It is His peace and strength that continues to sustain me. Even when there are days I feel like losing hope, I know that He is holding me. The God that holds this entire universe also holds me in the palm of His hand. What a loving and safe place to be!

What has truly made a difference, especially recently, is people. The people that God has in my life have really made a huge difference. As I keep saying, God created us to be community people. We all need other people, myself included. We are not meant to walk through life alone. Not me, and not you. This past week though, God has truly shown His love in such a real way through the compassion and love from friends. As I was discussing everything that is unraveling in my life of recent history, I remarked at how much I’m learning to reach out and connect with people. The reflective response made me think. “Imagine if this had all been going on a year ago, think of how different it would be” and that was so right. I was at a relatively dark place at times, and I cannot say how it would be different – other than really not good.

Another instance of God in action through the heart of friends was to hear a friend’s reaction to my most recent doctor’s appointment. A few days after having explained the situation, we were talking. Not sounding particularly chipper, I asked how the week had gone, or what was going on. The compassion that they probably didn’t even realize they spoke with really illuminated God’s love for me in a real way. It was shared that there was just a lot on their mind, a week full of life unfolding before their eyes, and that they also were struggling with me on the news and/or possibilities of these current medical concerns. At first, it made me sad because I had (especially without intending to) made another person upset or sad themselves. Not my goal. However, as I thought on it, I was appreciative that God has people in my life that are walking through life, and through this situation with me. I truly am NOT alone. This person and particular situation isn’t isolated. There are other people carrying this with me, and I am grateful. I don’t want them to have to, but blessed that they are.

Yesterday, in fact, I was out eating lunch with my children. As I stood up to leave, I was light headed, and spoke with my son about it briefly. Another couple who was nearby heard, and asked if I was alright. Complete strangers. They asked if it was a medical condition. I explained briefly that it was, but I’d been seen by doctors, so far with no answer to explain why this happens. I knew it would be over within minutes, so wasn’t worried too much. What happened next was a phenomenal display of God’s love in human form. The man asked my name. Not sure where this was going, I told him my first name. His response was that they would pray for me tomorrow when their small group Bible study meets before church. It didn’t stop there. They asked if there was anything else, and I felt a strange peace in sharing (very briefly) what’s going on with regards to the unknowns with me medically right now. With compassion they said they would pray, and would continue. They would pray for peace that only God can give. After we spoke, I asked where they went to church, said thank you, and we went on about our day. I was, however, blessed by such a small thing. No, it wasn’t earth-shattering. It was two complete strangers following the heart of God in a little way that made a huge difference.

There have been many people I have reached out to, and who have reached back to me – in prayer and friendship. I could tell you story after story about the people who God has used to bless me in small and large ways. God is faithful – 100% of the time.

The title of this blog post is what I set out to write about here — how, as Christians, we are called (Galations 6:2) to bear/carry one another’s burdens. This passage of scripture may not be directly speaking of carrying situations such as my own, but God used it to speak directly to my heart, to show His love in a real way through the body of Christ, and through such a variety of friends who care. I strive to be that person that people lean on when times are happy, and when times are tough. I’m not, however, used to being that person needing the same.

The entire point I am trying to point out through this entire post is that God loves us with a crazy love. It doesn’t always make sense, but it is real. He calls us to walk through life together. Just as I am finding how not alone I am, you are also not alone. No matter what situation you are facing, you are not alone. You are loved. The God who holds the universe has you safely in His hands. Trust Him with your life, and don’t be shocked when He acts on your behalf – when He shows you love in ways generally unfamiliar. He is a God of love, and a God who cares about even the most minute detail of your life. Allow God to be God, and watch how He takes care of you!!

The Little Things – Hope Is Real!!

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The little things is a campaign my church (Skyline) is practicing it’s motto of loving God, loving others and making a difference. As a church, we are striving to reach out within this community and beyond to make a lasting impact. It acts on the premise that little things and big things alike can make a lifetime of difference. Sometimes, a person might just need a momentary reminder that someone cares – that they aren’t alone in this world – and that even a stranger would care enough to share kindness. Our pastor has encouraged creativity with this, and wants to see love spreading like wildfire. It is with this fire and passion that we will see a difference and watch life change happen.

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Today I did not actually intentionally set out to do anything in particular with The Little Things. As has become my custom, however, I carried plenty with me everywhere I went – just in case the need arose. As I was driving to pick up dinner, I felt a huge urge to pull into a place I already go from time to time. I didn’t think of it on my own, of that I’m now convinced. I drove up, and quickly became aware of my purpose there this evening.

To rewind a little bit, earlier this afternoon I put on a shirt that reads: Hope is Real (from the organization To Write Love On Her Arms AKA TWLOHA). This organization, and the message of hope they share is beautiful. I felt like today was a day, if only via a printed t-shirt, to share hope with the world.

Fast forward back to this evening. After I paid for my items, I felt led to pay a small amount towards someone else’s next transaction. Since no one was around, or behind me at the time, I asked the cashier to pass this (the Little Things card and a small amount of cash) along to the next person who needed it. She was visibly touched. She asked questions about the campaign, and also about the shirt I was wearing. Being familiar with TWLOHA, she asked if I had a personal reason behind the shirt. I explained that yes, I have had personal struggles but, as well as have lost people to suicide. I also very briefly explained some of the volunteering work I have done with crisis intervention and people hurting in such a real way.

Not wanting to pry, but wanting her to know she was not alone, I simply asked her if she had a story as it related to this. She proceeded to tell me about her brother, who had committed suicide just three months prior, actually on her birthday. My heart broke with her. Partially because I’ve experienced losing people close to suicide, partially because I’ve struggled with some pretty real pain at times, and mostly because she was hurting. Her pain was very real. Her life had been forever changed by and with this loss.

I’m sure my talking with her may had an impact on her – but the impact it had on me cannot be summed up in words. Like I said, it broke my heart to hear her story, but was an honor to share hope and His love in a real life practical way. I was able to pray for her, and just be a friend how He led.

I encourage you to listen to that nudge, or that urge you might otherwise ignore. You may have no idea why, and feel the need to go somewhere you otherwise wouldn’t have at that time – but God can and will use something such as The Little Things campaign to spark conversation and open dialog to allow God to work on another persons heart – as well as your own. Just keep an open mind, and an open heart – and be willing to follow where He leads. You never know how much impact the little things really can have.