A Very Loud Silent Message

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

I went for a walk today, alone and social distancing, while I listened to music. It was an amazing, warm, sunny day, and the song Living Hope by Phil Wickham came on at the same time I saw a man with 5 little girls dressed in bright colors, all twirling around and laughing (the girls, not the man ūüėā). Such needed food for the soul during this time in our world. It reminded me that no matter what happens, no matter the state of our world, everything is going to be okay, because He is in control. ūüôŹūüíĖ

Listen and Enjoy.

 

Women’s History Month Spotlight – Katie Davis

Katie Davis2

Young? Only in actual years. This beautiful, amazing young lady has the servant’s heart of one who has lived a lifetime for Jesus. Her book, Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption,¬†is¬†on my bookshelf and travels with me everywhere I go as an audio book. I guarantee you’ll be forever changed after reading it.¬† Warning – Your life will gain new perspective and you will find a desire stirring in your heart to want to serve.

Katie was a popular teen in high school. She was the senior class president, Homecoming queen, she had the boyfriend of her dreams and college plans were in the making. When she talked her parents into allowing her to go to Uganda for a two-week mission trip over Christmas break to work in an orphanage, her life was turned upside down. No longer could Katie imagine living a life of comfort and convenience, with so many things, when there were so many who lived with little to nothing, who were dying from lack of food and medical care.

Katie moved to Uganda at age 18, adopted 13 girls, and has devoted her entire life to serving others. She began a non-profit, Amazima Ministries, and has been an angel sent from God to so many in need.

I have three sponsor children through Compassion International that I’ve talked about in the past – Alex from Tanzania, Amede from Togo, and Mamounata from Burkina Faso – among other causes I support. I have had people tell me that there are plenty of needs to be met in our own country and have gone on to ask why I feel the need to support those outside. Yes, I really have been asked that. And my heart breaks each time. I look at Katie and thank God for people like her. Not because she serves in another country, but because she serves. She serves where the Lord has sent her. We aren’t all called to serve in the same area, doing the same thing, which is a blessing in and of itself, since there are many needs to be met all over the world. I just ask -and challenge – you to look for a way to make the world a better place. To serve those in need. To be a light in the darkness, stillness in the chaos, peace in the midst of war. Be that someone to another. No matter where or to whom.

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That’s my challenge to you. Find someone – or a group of someones – that YOU can make a difference to. Whether it’s your time, money, talent, love…it’s free to love another. It doesn’t cost a cent. But it can potentially save the life of another and will make you the¬†wealthiest you have¬†ever been. Guaranteed.

‚ÄúLove is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.‚Ä̬† -Mother Teresa
 

Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mary, Mother of Jesus

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As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know back then, that role would far surpass any joy I’ve ever experienced. And that it would rocket my¬†capacity to worry past the moon. I’m pretty sure I¬†can count on one hand the number of nights of uninterrupted¬†sleep I’ve had since my boys were born. And this month they turn 24 and 27!

Mary, on the other hand, knew she was going to lose her son. She knew she was going to give birth to the Lord of heaven and earth, and knew from Jesus himself what was forthcoming. Could you imagine? I’m not sure–no, I am sure–I¬†would never¬†have been able to handle that with such grace, such trust in God, such beauty, as she did. She was the epitome of what a mother should be.

I’ve kept journals for each of my boys until they were 12 years old. I wrote in those journals every day when they were younger, a little less frequently as they got older, but even then, at least a few times a week. I tried to capture the miracle of everything life gave them every single¬†day – the joy, the hurts, the lessons. When I read those journals,¬†it’s like experiencing those magical days of motherhood again. What a miracle! My boys have taught me the definition of real and unconditional love. They’ve taught me how beautiful it is to see life through the eyes of a child. And through it all, they’ve taught me to trust Jesus.

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Another miracle of being a mother? I’m¬†a grandmother. And what a joy that is! ūüôā

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Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mother Teresa

mother teresa

Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows I’m completely in awe of Mother Teresa’s greatness. So my first “spotlight” woman for Women’s History Month isn’t a surprise.

Mother Teresa was the picture of humility, compassion, love, and service. She loved unconditionally, with no prejudice or judgement, leaving the world a much better place than when she entered it.

Mother Teresa described herself so eloquently: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

What a beautiful example of a woman. She has been both a blessing and a lesson to countless others.

Mother Teresa-2

Women’s History Month

There are countless people who deserve recognition, but since March is women’s history month in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, I’ve decided to spotlight one historical woman each¬†week that has made a difference in my life in one way or another. Until I mention the first¬†of four¬†next week, following is a list of the top ten women, past and present,¬†who have made, or continue to make, a difference in my life.

  1.  My Mom
  2. My Grandma Cielinski
  3. My Sponsors
  4. Mother Teresa
  5. Maya Angelou
  6. Mary, Mother of Jesus
  7. Ruth Bell Graham
  8. Barbara Bush
  9. Rahab (From the Old Testament)
  10. Ruth (Also from the Old Testament)

Women's Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is the woman who has made the greatest impact in your life?

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

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Top of My List for the Week:

3.)  Getting a letter in the mail from Mamounata, one of my sponsor children from Burkina Faso. She has such a passion for learning, for Jesus, and is so filled with gratitude. She inspires me.

2.)¬† Seeing my son and granddaughter come through the front door, he with that amazing, genuine smile I have always loved so much, and she with that energy and zest for life that melts this grandma’s heart. Seeing him be such an amazing daddy is such a gift.

1.)¬† My youngest son stopping by to visit for the first time since he moved out,¬† getting to see and hear¬†how well he’s doing, and watching him as he walked through the house remembering so many things. And that same son calling me early the next morning to let me know he re-broke his arm at work, was on his way to ER, and could I meet him there. No matter how old¬†my children are, when they want or need me for anything, it’s such an honor to be able to be there for them.¬† The fact that it wasn’t broken at all, but a contusion over the old break, was a blessing in and of itself. ūüôā

What are you grateful for this week? What tops your list?

‚ÄúLet us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.‚Ä̬† -Marcel Proust
Carpe diem.

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Thankful

My top three for the week:

3.)¬† My faith giving me confidence that my dear friend Guy is home with Jesus after a long,¬†brutal struggle with liver cancer. He’s home and free.

2.)  Amazing friends who make the journey of life so much sweeter.

1.)¬† Unhurried time and conversation with each of my boys individually, talking about anything and everything, as laughter and hugs abound. I’m so blessed to have my boys! They are so good to their mama. ūüôā

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“The most beautiful necklace a mother can wear is not gold or gem, but her child’s arms around her neck.” –Author Unknown

What tops your list for the week?

 

“R” is for…

Rahab

One of my very dearest friends named her dog Rahab.  One day when we were out for a walk, she was telling me the story of how her son thought it was terrible that she named the dog Rahab.
“Why is it terrible?” asked my friend.

“Mom!” He looked at her as if she were dense.¬† “Rahab was a hooker.”

She knew he was talking about Rahab from the Bible. The same Rahab who was a prostitute¬†had also given a safe place to stay to the spies secretly sent by¬†Joshua¬†to scout out the fortified city of Jericho.¬† She risked her life for men she didn’t even know, putting their lives ahead of her own well-being out of loyalty and faithfulness to her God.

“Son,” she had told him, Rahab was a prostitute, yes, but she was a good person.”

While the fact that she was a prostitute remained in the forefront of her son’s memory, her goodness is what remained in my friend’s memory.¬† Though I can’t say that surprised me, because she saw the good in everyone.¬† It was she who taught me that just because someone does something unfavorable, it doesn’t mean that person isn’t redeemable by God’s grace.¬† When I was complaining about something my husband had done–or didn’t do–it was she who said, “Remember what he has done for you and given to you.”¬† And when she felt frustrated with her husband about something, she didn’t get angry.¬† She voiced her thoughts, smiled and said, “But he’s my husband and I love him.”

That friend was brought into my life by a loving God who knew I needed exactly her and her outlook on life.  He knew her words and wisdom would guide me long after she moved out of state to far away Tennessee.

The story she told me about her son’s reaction to naming her dog Rahab taught me two important lessons.¬† It’s wise to be careful what we do in life because they may be remembered for years afterward.¬† And the second is, when I see a person, do I choose to see the bad or the good?¬† I hope and pray that I show enough love and grace that the good I do is what will be remembered.

Peace

 

An Opportunity to Pray

Prayer
Last Saturday I worked an event for Compassion International in a for a movie showing of Son of God. My duties were to show up an hour early to set up the display and hand out information cards to all movie goers as they entered the theater and then display child sponsorship cards as they exited. During the movie, I was able to sit and watch with the rest of them, and it was the best portrayal of the story of Jesus I believe I’ve ever seen. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

But I digress…

As I was handing out the cards before the movie, one man looked at it and asked, “What is this?” After I gave him a very brief explanation, he handed the card back and said, “I can’t even afford my own kids. Thank God for the complimentary tickets.” Initially I was taken aback, but it quickly turned to compassion for this man. Thank God, indeed. His statement demonstrated such humility. And, yes, thank God he received a complimentary ticket so he would be able to share the story of Jesus with his children.

I had an opportunity to pray for that man, and for the others as they accepted the card I handed each of them. I prayed that God would speak to each individual heart in that theater as only He knows what each needs most.

I had another man tell me the people coming in behind him were atheist. My answer? “Wonderful!” with a broad smile. “Welcome!” And another prayer sent up to a loving Father who welcomes all.

After the movie, as I was displaying child sponsorship packets, I had an opportunity to speak with others who already sponsor a child. One woman told me of her trip to Tanzania to visit her sponsored child. As she spoke of the poverty, a level she admitted she was nowhere near able to comprehend or prepare for, her eyes lit up as she told me what a life-changing experience it was.

As I drove the 45-minute drive home, I had time to consider the opportunities that were given to me that evening to pray. As if I need an opportunity at all.

And it struck me that as I was praying for God to speak to each heart in that theater, he didn’t miss mine. He spoke to me in a way He knew I would hear.

He blessed me as I reached out to bless others.

He showed me that there are so many areas to serve, and no one way is the right way. As many people as there are, there are at least as many ways to serve.

The man who admitted he couldn’t afford his own children? He served by blessing me with gratitude for what I have. He reminded me to be grateful for what I have rather than want what I don’t.

The atheist? He served by giving me a chance to love without discriminating. To accept and not judge. And to be welcoming rather than drive him away. The fact that he was coming to see the movie Son of God? Beautiful.

The woman who spoke to me of her life-changing experience in Tanzania? She served by moving forward, if only an inch, the recent plea of one of my sponsor children of when I will come visit her. My sweet Mamounata in Burkina Faso. And that inch is one inch closer to making a child’s dream come true.

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Peace.