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Giving Grace

If there’s one thing this last month has taught me it’s to give more grace to others. When someone speaks to you in an angry tone, give grace. When someone lets you down again, give grace. When someone does something that you think is weird or odd, (mind your own business and) give grace. Why? Because EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. is going through something that you know nothing about. You have no idea what is going on in their life or what just happened that may be affecting their behavior.

Speaking for myself, (for better or worse), I’m one of the best fakers out there. My head could be about to explode, but I can still smile and ask how you are doing. And I’m willing to bet a lot of us are like that. Much of our suffering, whether it’s physical or emotional, isn’t seen by others. Now, we could probably save ourselves a little bit of trouble and tell a few certain people how we are feeling but you certainly can’t tell everybody.

Maybe we could all try to give others a little more grace. Maybe instead of whispering about that frustrated and overwhelmed mom in the grocery store, you could walk up and tell her she’s doing a great job and ask if you could help carry her groceries? Maybe if someone leaves early from a party, they aren’t really being a party-pooper, but it took all their strength and energy to make it as long as they did? Maybe that person eating a granola bar in church is trying to keep herself from throwing up because of meds and it was a struggle for her to come to church at all? In these circumstances, will you (will I?) be the compassionate person or will you stoop to judging and mocking?

I’ve just come to realize through my own situations that I really only see a very little bit of everyone else’s lives. I want to be the person who assumes the best of people and shares God’s grace freely and abundantly.

Whether or not it’s deserved doesn’t matter because I certainly didn’t deserve it and neither did you. So why not look for some opportunities to give grace and show compassion?

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in encouragment

 

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Summer Debrief: Part 2

This July, God placed an amazing opportunity before me: to go on my first international mission trip! Some friends of mine went with our church to Trinidad last summer and I was blessed to be able to go this year. God provided for the trip in amazing ways! I was planning on paying for most of the trip myself but through family, friends, and church members the Lord provided for all of the financial needs!

We left early on Saturday morning. I was a little nervous about flying especially since I had the flu bug the day before and was still a little dizzy but I had no troubles. We arrived safe and sound Saturday evening in Port of Spain and were whisked off to Famous Trinidad KFC. They will proudly tell you theirs is the best in all the land. It was pretty good.

Monday – Wednesday we taught VBS in two locations. One in the morning and the second in the afternoon, as well as a women’s ministry at the second location.

The Morning VBS was the same place the group had shared at last year in a town called McBean, with approximately 23 children. These children have a basic knowledge of the Word of God, were very well behaved and they were so happy to see us.

Our Afternoon VBS was in a town called Carlsen Field. We had 30+ children. This was a much poorer, drug infested location where one of the members of the church down there lives. She and her family are trying to minister to the people there and the VBS was held on their home property. This was a much more challenging VBS because there seems to be very little knowledge of the Word of God and they did not pay attention very well. But when God sets before you a challenge, he also gives you the grace to complete it!

While the VBS was going on in the driveway of this home two of our ladies were meeting with the women of Carlson Field on the patio of the house right beside where VBS was taking place. There were two women that they were able to minister to. One, who’s husband is an alcoholic, another who’s husband is a Cocaine addict and lives mostly at the local drug house and only comes home to steal from his wife and children and abuse them. Her 8 year-old son refuses to live at home and says he will kill his dad when he is older because of what he sees his dad do to his mom. This mother does not sleep at night because of fear. It was very hard to hear these stories and to feel helpless to aid these families. All we could do was proclaim Christ to them, knowing that THAT was what they truly needed anyway.

Tuesday evening we all loaded up in the van to go see the Leather Back Turtles that are 200 or more who come up on the shore and lay eggs OR to watch baby turtles hatch. Once again, God had another plan for us. There was a young woman walking toward us on the road. Pastor Bickram (the pastor who’s house we were staying at and a good friend) asked if she knew where we might see some Turtles and she said she would take us to them and got in the van with us. She said she was going to a town and we were headed in that direction but she was on foot. Now this is 15 miles of pitch black darkness of night with woods, tall grass on both sides of the road and she was 26 years old. Bickram pulled over under lights of the town to ask her some more questions and we ended up taking her to the police station and even that was a hard decision to make because often times they are as corrupt as the criminal. However, they were very helpful and were concerned for the girl’s safety. The bottom line is that she had run away from home and was headed for a drug house, apparently to meet someone she didn’t really know. The police told Bickram we saved her life that night. I have been praying for this girl ever since.

On Thursday, we did some sightseeing in Tobago before flying back on Friday. It was a great trip. God gave all of us the grace we needed to push through our tiredness and to love on kids that were not always obedient. The culture down there is so rough. The last day of VBS, I was sitting on the grass at Carlsen Field and suddenly there were about 10 kids around me, all wanting attention. They were pulling my hair, pinching me, and kicking me: just to try to get my attention. I told one of the guys in our group that it felt like in movies where people are attacked by birds! I had bruises on my arms from it! I was glad to be able to show Christ’s love to the kids.

The situation down there was very eye-opening. The thing is: it was eye-opening about OUR country. I’ve heard stories of kidnapping and drugs, but to see that first hand in Trinidad made me realize that this happens in America as well. It may not be as public here, but it happens all the time. I have a friend who works in the Family and Children First Council around here and I hear stories from her that shock me. Our country desperately needs the Gospel. This trip has made me more committed to living out the gospel every day.

I don’t usually post a lot of pictures but thought I would share some with you.

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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Trinidad

 

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Big Sister Mode

I used that term one time during a conversation and I got funny looks for it. Obviously, the person I was talking to was NOT a big sister.  However, the phrase could use some explanation I suppose.

Big Sister mode is when God gives Big Sisters an essential extra supply of grace just when they need it. 

Big Sister Mode is when your parents think your mom just had a miscarriage and is going to the hospital and you keep it to yourself so as not to upset your siblings.

Big Sister Mode is when your little brother has a life threatening seizure and you are bawling your eyes out but then your parents leave in the ambulance and you instantly collect yourself.

Big Sister Mode is when your younger sister almost drowns in a lake and you don’t scream or cry.

Big Sister Mode is when you find yourself in scary situations but know that you are the oldest and if you panic then so will your younger siblings.  It’s when you put your emotions aside to deal with the emotions of others. It’s when you stop seeking someone to comfort you and you start to comfort others. You don’t have to be the oldest sister to have it; you simply have to be an older sister. (I suppose you could have big brother mode, but I’m not a brother so I’m not sure. 🙂 ) A friend of mine calls it survival mode.

I’ve thought a lot about those situations since that conversation. Why do I respond that way? I don’t think about it during those moments. I never THINK about going into Big Sister Mode. It just happens.

The more I think about it, the more I realize: it really is just by God’s grace. He provides strength at those times when it is most needed and mine is gone.  He gives hope to me so I can share it. He comforts me so I can comfort others.

It reminds me of these verses.

Isaiah 40:29-31

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in encouragment

 

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Growth at Camp

I’m back!  It is so nice to be home again! I had an AMAZING summer!  I’ve been greatly blessed and grown by God this summer and I don’t even know where to start.  Sooooo….where should I start?

Camp is a unique environment.  It’s a place where you are on duty 24 hours a day/almost 7days a week.  The campers get to see you all the time.  They will without fail pick up on your attitudes and actions.  We have this saying at camp:  what you do in moderation, campers will do in excess.   How true that is!  So here is what I learned at camp:

1.  Every moment is an opportunity to learn.  During staff training, we learned to bring teachable moments into the daily routine.  It’s so true- many things around us point us to God and display his glory!  My campers would often say, “You bring everything we talk about back to the Bible!”

 

2. Saving is God’s job, not ours.  Our job is to be obedient and share the gospel and leave the rest up to God.  No matter what you say, if the Holy Spirit is not working in a person’s life, then they will reject the gospel. The opposite is also true- if the Holy Spirit is working in a person’s heart, then that person will believe in spite of what you say! 

 

3. It’s okay to be wet.  Rain does not stop camp activity and you get used to living like a duck- it was a wet summer!  There was one time it rained all week and I was taking the younger boys cabin to their next activity.  We were all soaking wet so we went puddle stomping!  We (yes, me too)  had so much fun!

 

4. I can’t be the shy person.  I’ve always been one of those people who wait for others to introduce themselves and initiate things. However, at camp it’s very important to step out and be that person.  You have to introduce yourself to so many people and be outgoing with everyone.

 

5. I learned to be spontaneous.  I’m one of those people who stick to the schedule above all else.  I learned that it’s okay to deviate from that schedule sometimes and do something crazy fun!

Above all else, I learned to have such a heart for kids.  To be excited to share the gospel with them and to pray fervently for their salvation.

 

I learned to see God’s grace better and to share that grace with others.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in camp

 

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