It All Started With….

Standard
One little piece of candy, Starbursts to be exact.  A small piece of candy that would change the direction of their lives.
They were pegged as the troublesome kids.  The oldest one could not read and was angry because of it, the middle one liked to pull off her belt and whoop the other kids, and the third one, well, I still have not been able to wrap my arms around her outburts and attitude. 
But all it took was an act of kindess, a small one as a matter of fact, and that ignited a spark in their eyes I have never seen.  When I was asked to work with these kids, on one on, I was overwhelmed right from the start. 
I felt defeated.
But then I had to ask myself, what are they missing and what can I provide them?  It’s clear that they are missing love and attention and their emotional outbursts prove it.

I set out to establish trust and my means was candy and love.  I started with each session by giving them a piece of candy.  I informed them if they worked hard, there would be more to follow.  It’s amazing what one little piece of candy can do for a child.  That kindness has spread like wildfire through that afterschool program and every kid is dying to work with me.  I often feel like the Pied Piper with the difference being that I’m luring the children into the arms of Jesus and quite possibly, a better life. 

So, if you ever wonder if what you do really matters, remember this, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”~ Aesop.

How would you fill in the blank?

It all started with ___________.

Advertisements

The Roller Coaster

Standard

I love when I have the opportunity to take solo road trips. I can stop and use the facilities as many times as I need/want to, I can play whatever radio station on pandora that I want, or I can use the opportunity to listen to my Joyce Meyer teaching cds without hearing any complaints from other passengers.  On my latest trip, I did a little of all three and had no issues with it and my cd of choice was Alive~Freedom to Live Again.

Here is a brief overview of the teaching.

“So many of us are sick of the roller coaster of emotions that we experience on a daily basis—an endless ride driven by hurt, anger, frustration, misunderstandings, mistreatment, desperation….you name it. Many of these emotions are derived from things in our past—the way we were raised or treated or a devastating heartache we experienced. We try to hide it, to get over it, fake it and smile, when inside we’re screaming with frustration, striving to make it through the day without breaking down and showing our pain. But we can get off this ride. We’re not stuck here. Jesus gives us freedom from our burdens and promises us new life in HIM, full of joy and abundance.”

I relate the daily roller coster to this.  I think we all have had that boss that drives us crazy or makes impossible demands.  That co-worker that no matter how nice we try to be is still rude and condesending.  Maybe it’s that blunt friend that is lacking that filter over her mouth and says things that hurt our feelings. It also could be a random encounter with someone that says something that instantly triggers the pain of our past and sends us spiraling back down into a place we thought was long gone.

Joyce said this one time and quite possibly many times, “God is more interested in changing you than changing your circumstances.”  And until we fully comprehend this, we will keep taking this ride over and over and over until we erupt like a volcano and leave those affected to clean up the mess.

Here are a few quotes that can help decipher if you have truly gotten off the roller coaster ride or emotions.

“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispostions and not our circumstances.” ~ Martha Washington
 
” Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~ Unknown

“I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou

I realize that listening to a teaching cd or reading these quotes does not automatically heal us in this area, but it does provide a foundation and hopefully a realization that something has got to change.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (Amplified) says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.”

Have you reached spiritual maturity or are you still acting like a child?

The Joy Stealers

Standard

Little things rob of us our joy and the most powerful weapon can be our very own words.  I attended a womens’ retreat this weekend in Gatlinburg and the very topic of our lesson was just this.  We use words like, “I’m sick and tired”, “I can’t afford that”, “He drives me crazy!”.  Those words spoken are given life and our circumstances reflect that; in turn leaving us in turmoil and without joy.  Joyce Meyer, at her latest convention, also spoke on this topic.  I would like to share the video clip with you so you can get a full revelation.


Love Life Conference 2010 – Session 3 – Joyce Meyer from Joyce Meyer Ministries on Vimeo.

The Theme is Interruption

Standard

Interruption, as Merriam Webster dictionary would describe it, is to stop or hinder, to break the uniformity or continuity.  The synonyms even give it a negative connotation (in my eyes); break in, chime in, chip in, cut in, interpose, intrude


Interruptions are not just the annoying cut ins to your t.v program.  They also come in more serious forms such as betrayal by a loved one, loss of a job, another year of being single, an unexpected pregnancy, and the list could go on and on.  Priscilla Shirer said, “They shock us; they shake us; they compel us to change.  Sometimes they make us wonder if God even cares.”


Speaking of Priscilla Shirer, I just started her most recent Bible study titled Jonah~Navigating a Life Interrupted.  She describes the Interrupted Life as the Significant LifeThat part has not sunk in yet, unfortunately. 

To better understand, Priscilla provides the following equations:

Insignificant Person + Insignificant Task = Interruption
Significant Person + Significant Task = Divine Interruption

The reoccurring theme comes in all shapes and sizes, some very big ones leaving you barely able to survive and some little ones that simply annoy.  I am learning that each serve a mighty big purpose, but also leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated, and confused.  


I hope as I continue through this study, that I can fully wrap my arms around the fact that His interruptions will lead me to a place that is bigger and better and that I can fully embrace “Plan B“.


Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”


“When ours are interrupted, His are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) ‘toward the goal of true maturity’.”  ~ Elisabeth Eliot 

So, I am wondering, has your life been interrupted lately?  If so, what direction are you going and how are you handling the change?

Limitations of Life

Standard

Limitations are the boundaries, the caps that we put on our life.  They confine us and don’t allow us to reach true fulfillment.  Limitations take the form of health issues.  Some of us are overweight, therefore we tire easily.  We don’t have the energy or motivation to play in the game of life.  Work also is disguised as a limitation.  So many of us give more than 8 hours to our professions.  Some of us even take it home at night and it robs us of the rest we need to go about the next day.  We have limits on our finances (both in our control and out) and we hold back on our giving.  We have limits on our thinking.  We limit our expectations on people, situations, and our dreams. 

“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves.They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” ~ V. S. Naipaul

While we may not see it, these limitations serve as walls of protection.  We can control how people interact with our lives so we do not get hurt or inconvenienced.  We decline the invitation to life because we have to work, we are too tired, we have no money, etc.  We in turn get annoyed to people’s reactions to our limits, when in reality we should be annoyed with ourself.  After all, we created these boundaries or made the decisions that led to these limitations. 

“The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”  ~ Ernest Hemingway

So, are you putting a limit on your happiness and your journey in this life?  If so, maybe it’s time to remove the cap and experience a little overflow. 

National Day of Encouragement

Standard

I learned through the blog (In)Courage that today is the National Day of Encouragement.  It seems very fitting considering it follows 9/11.  (In)Courage, courtesy of DaySpring, gave away a 10 pack of encouraging cards to anyone wanting to spread some encouragement and they asked the willing participants to share a story about it. 

When I read through the pack of cards it was easy to figure out who I would send one too.  The cards were perfectly written for the person that came to my mind and heart.  I like to believe that is God’s way of winking at me.

Even though today is deemed as National Day of Encouragment, I believe it should be exercised everyday.  There are too many troubles in the world and we all need to be lifted up whether it be with words, a smile, or an embrace.  

“Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it.” ~ Jess Lair

So, who have you encouraged today?