Be That Act of Kindness

To the lady in Walgreen’s:

Thank you! You were so kind to me the other day. You probably don’t remember me, or maybe you do. I was the mother of two, with a two month old and a 2 year old clinging to my side and crying. You changed my day, for the better. I dropped off my prescription for my little girl’s ear infection and was told it would be 30 minutes. I was not upset that I was going to have to wait, I was a little dismayed it was going to be such a seemingly long time, but I wasn’t mad. But you noticed me, you saw me with my two young children and from the kindness in your heart, you expedited our prescription to being ready in 5 minutes!  That was such an amazing act of kindness, you have no idea how much I appreciated you! I wish I had remembered to get your name and not just hurriedly said thank you, though I hope my sincere thanks was apparent.

How extraordinary to be the recipient of such kindness!  I was not expecting it, was not even go to ask, but somehow she knew. Maybe it was the little baby fussing or the little girl clinging and crying on her mommy. Maybe it was my disheveled look (though I think I looked pretty put together under the circumstances 🙂  Or maybe you noticed the bags under my eyes from near chronic sleep deprivation. ( I am happy to say my baby appears to finally be sleeping through the night now!)  Whatever her reason, it felt amazing. Amazing to be noticed, amazing to be loved, even if just for that moment.

She was Jesus to me in that moment. She stopped to notice the little people and made a difference. How many times have we read stories of Jesus, stopping to talk to those culture deemed insignificant? (the woman at the well, little children, the boy with the few fish and bread that fed five thousand, the fishermen to become apostles) What he did for those people, at first glance, did not appear to be a big deal, but for those people, it made all the difference in the world.

It seems fitting, on the eve of Thanksgiving, for us to remember to be thankful for those seemingly insignificant moments that make all the difference. So, as you are doing your last minute shopping, or your early Black Friday shopping, as you sit down with your family or friends, remember to take notice. Take notice of the salesperson still being friendly after a full shift or having to work on Thanksgiving. Take notice of the nurses and doctors and other healthcare personnel for  caring for you or your loved one. Take notice of the loving hands preparing your food, whether at home or in a restaurant (one year it was just my sister and I for Thanksgiving, and yes, we did eat our Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant, and we were thankful there were restaurants willing to prepare a meal!) Take notice of the homeless guy asking for food or money. Take notice of the elderly who cannot walk or hear or see as well as they once could. Take notice of the young mothers or fathers who are juggling car seats, sticky fingers, diaper bags and temper tantrums (If you have no children, don’t judge. When and if you decide to have children, your day will come. It will be your child screaming in the grocery store or restaurant, and if you haven’t had this experience, then please share your secret with the rest of us!)  Take notice ,not just on and around the holidays, but all year round.  Be that act of kindness. Be somebody’s Jesus. You never know what a difference even the smallest of kind acts can do.  God will do the planting; you only need to do the sowing.

“So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity we should do good to everyone- especially to those in the family of faith” Galatians 6:9-10

In what ways have you shown kindness or received kindness? I would love for you to share in the comments!

P.s. For more inspiration, follow my blog, and if this post encouraged you, please share with others!

 

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Let Us Not Forget Our Value

Photo credit: blog.deutschinc.com

Recently, you may have heard about the tragic shootings in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN, where we lost some brave men.(http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/jul/22/fighting-our-fighters-erlanger-traumteam-call/315834/) It has shook the whole city. I work at the hospital that these victims were taken. I was not directly involved with any of the victims, but very well could have been with just a little change in timing. I do know the nurses and doctors and surgical techs who were involved. They are friends, mentors, teachers, and team members. I want you to know I am proud of my team members. They deserve to be recognized. We are at a level one trauma center, so I believe every day they deserved to be thanked. Not to downplay the merit deserved in handling of recent events, but we do see our share of “traumas”.  We see a great deal of shootings and stabbings, often gang related. We see head injuries, motor vehicle crashes and a fair amount of work related or alcohol related issues. My hospital  works just as hard for these cases. I am thankful to be a part of a community that takes value in all their patients’ lives, even the ones who do not always deserve it.  That being said, who are we to judge whether someone deserves to live or not? Our job is to save lives, not question the merits deserved.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. ” Matthew 7: 1-5

However unjust it may seem at times, every person has value in God’s eyes. Even the drunkards, murderers, even those who seem to be our enemy. We live in a fallen world with fallen people all around us, including ourselves.  So much so, that even when good people get the merit they deserve, there are still those in the background muttering complaints and gripes.  “I work hard every day; I deserve to be recognized too”   Why aren’t we recognized like this for every “traumatic” case?  Those are some of the complaints I have heard.  Mostly things said have been good, but statements like that make me sad. Why can’t we just be happy for those who deserve recognition, for any reason? Their complaints are correct, they should be recognized and thanked, but let us not allow bitterness to hinder us when our own team members and friends are recognized.  Be happy for those in the moment and pray that we never have that kind of need to be recognized again. I don’t want to be recognized, for that only means that more grief and tragedy has come our way.  So as you are praying for our city and country, do remember to thank those who had to immediately respond to the events, for it took a whole community, not just the people you see on the media. It took a whole community, from the highest in command to the lowest paying assistants. Remember that God values every life. I know He is grieving with us, for He is a just and merciful God.  My heart breaks for the families of those fallen heroes, and it breaks for the people who worked tirelessly around the clock to save lives to no avail in this circumstance.  But although the loss of lives is a failure, it is not the ultimate failure.  God does bring good to all situations.  In our situation, it has brought a community together, if for but a brief few weeks. We can’t always see the end, but there is One who can. And he has given us grace and value by breathing life into us.

“If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have opportunity, we should do good to everyone-especially to those in the family of faith.”  Galatians 6:3-5; 9-10

Thank you for reading, and thank you for praying! Please share if you feel led to do so!

THERE WILL BE A PARTY FOR YOU!

dmpbjw_1366For my daughter’s birthday a few months ago we received a magnet book. It was just a two page book that came with 31 magnets.  Technically, it said the age range was above 3, so I was a little paranoid to use it at first. Being a nurse, I know just enough to make myself crazy about what could happen if a child swallows a magnet.  Finally, one day a few months after her birthday, we tried it out. Of course, my little girl loved it. (crazy what entertains them) I was being very astute and watching her very closely. Later it was time for lunch and she wanted to play with the book again.  I set it in front of her, turned my back for, literally, one second. Irony of ironies, she had a few in her mouth.  I quickly grabbed them out of her mouth, then proceeded to count all the magnets to ensure I had all of them. I was missing one.  I turned to my toddler and asked her if she had swallowed one, for which she proceeded to say yes. Now at that time her yes also sounded like no so it was very hard to tell if, she knew what I meant, and if she  actually swallowed it.  After that point, I quickly progressed to full panic mode including “googling” what could happen when a magnet is swallowed just to add to my hysteria.  I swept the floor two to three times,  mopped, looked under the couch, and counted again and again. I was starting to cry, thinking how could I have turned my back for one second, why did I even let her play with it and all other sorts of self deprecating thoughts, thinking of the worse possible scenario and end result.  Anyway, long story short, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office in which he basically said since it  was so small and thin of a magnet and my child appeared in no distress, he would advise just watching and waiting. Nothing happened, she was completely fine. Needless to say, I was very observant of the floors and her stool over the next few days. (On the positive note, my floors were cleaner than usual!)

Several months, later, after I had given up ever finding this magnet and assuming she had passed it unnoticed, I saw a black spot on the floor. I bent to look at it closer, and you guessed it, it was the magnet. I was elated! I knew at that point that our daughter was fine, but somehow it was reassuring to know I had found it.

My silly story reminds me of the following stories found in the Bible:

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and havent’ strayed away!” Luke 15: 3-7

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents”  Luke 15: 8-10

“for this son of mine was dead, and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the party began. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15: 24, 32

Can you imagine?  Every time one of God’s children comes home or he finds a lost soul, he rejoices with His angels. He basically has a party. He has a party for you. He spends all his resources and money for this party. Against all logic and reason, in spite of our sinfulness and rebelliousness, there will be a celebration for you! He will call over all His friends and neighbors, and celebrate as if you are the only person that matters!

Now my husband and I’s wedding was a celebration. We had a blast! We dined and wined and danced. It did not matter what anyone else thought, because we were having fun and were blessed with celebrating with all of our family and friends. Not to brag, but people still say how much fun our wedding was that day five and half years ago. Can you imagine? God’s party will be so much better than any party that you have ever attended!

Think of how happy you are in the following moments: A lost coin. A dress  or piece of jewelry that has been missing for months found in the back of your closet.  Cash in your glove compartment that you had long since forgotten. The gift card lost in your wallet or pocket.  Your favorite pair of flip-flops that had been misplaced.  Think of the elation or the thoughts of good fortune that run through your mind in those seemingly trivial moments. You had even stopped looking  God rejoices so much more.  He continues to look and search, even in darkness.

HE NEVER STOPS SEARCHING!  AND WHEN HE FINDS YOU, THERE WILL BE A PARTY LIKE NONE OTHER!

All I Need is to Trust

{a95594f7-0dfd-4a22-b877-0531c3490ff2}_6BWRecently I have started trying to initiate a morning devotional time with my toddler. It is literally only a few minutes including reading or watching a short bible story, singing a song if I can think of an applicable one, maybe talk a few minutes, and a scripture. We are working on memorizing a short scripture. The first day I tried it, my daughter was focused and even repeated the verse after me. I was so excited! I did not think it was possible for a two year old! Of course, in typical toddler fashion, she has vehemently and passionately refused to partake in any sort of devotional time since then. I, of course, being a dedicated mom, continue to try anyway, in hopes that she may absorb some of what I am saying.   And while I know she is only two, I can’t help but irrationaly think she is doomed and will never learn to listen. Of course, I know this is just a phase. (that she will hopefully soon, but not too soon, pass.)

At any rate, it does not matter if she refuses to listen right now or not; the truth of the matter is I have learned more then anybody. It has caused me to memorize scripture (a habit I have long forgotten) and the particular one I am trying to enforce upon my poor daughter is actually very fitting in my life right now.

“Depend on the Lord, trust Him, and He will take care of you” Psalms 37:5

My husband and I are about to have another child in this scary, messed up world.  We have just lost another (the third in three years) family member to the ugly word that is cancer.  I have friends and family members going through so much hurt right now.  I suffer from my own lack of friendship making skills. I want to pay off school loans, but can’t seem to find a way.  Every time I think we are making progress, something else happens where that money needs to be allocated: an unexpected, but necessary trip, a car needing repair, clothes for my child and upcoming infant, and so on. I am struggling with the feeling of being overwhelmed and the daily mundane tasks seem ever daunting.  The security thing is what gets me the most.  I like to feel secure. I like to know where my bread is coming from, and I honestly have never really had to wonder. We have closets full of clothes. I know we have way more than we need. That’s where the trust gets me. I know God will take care of us, but will I choose to let him? To honestly give of myself and my finances? To know he will carry us through the hard times of recent losses and sorrows? To know that He is with me, to the very end?  I am reminded of a very simple story:

One day, while at summer camp in high school, we were having our Bible class time. It was sooo hot and humid. The air was completely flat, no breeze, nothing. If you have ever lived in the deep south, then you know what I am talking about. There is no relief from the raw humidity and heat. Well, we were all sitting on the grass or tree stumps, trying to focus on the devotion and not focus on the sweat blinding our eyes and drenching our clothing.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it must have been something to do with praying in faith, because I decided to pray for a breeze. Most importantly, I believed. I knew there would be relief. And there was!  It was just enough, even if for a moment. Now, I know in the large scheme of life how that must seem like a mundane, useless and trivial prayer. There are so many greater things to pray for: lost souls, the poor , the homeless, the list is insurmountable.  That is just the whole point though! God does care about the big things of course, but perhaps more importantly He cares about every thing, even the things that seem trivial. He cares about us!  That is where trust comes in.

So as I contemplate the aforementioned verse, I think of what that means in my life. To trust, that in spite of currently having no benefits with my upcoming maternity leave (my choice so to get paid more hourly), he will provide. He will provide what we need and if needed he will provide a job when I am able to go back to work.  To trust, that through the loss of loved ones, He will provide us comfort? To trust that God will work in my child’s heart and help us to show her God’s love? To trust that God will provide the friendships I need and help me overcome my personal obstacles? To trust that God will provide a way and not give us more than we can bear?   I dare you to trust. Trust that He will take care of us.

What will you trust God with today?

My Daddy is Awesome

DSC_0655My little girl is the epitome of a daddy’s girl. Now she is only two, so perhaps it will change. Right now, she has him (and her uncles and grandfathers) so tightly wrapped around her little finger, she pretty much just has to blink or pout. She may only be two, but she knows she can get away with murder when it comes to most, if not all, of the men in her life. Now to my husband’s merit, he does discipline, but sometimes it is just too much for even him, especially when she pouts or asks so sweetly for him to sing just one more song, read one more book and then plunges the final dagger in his heart with a kiss or hug. He falls for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Daddy is the first thing she asks about in the morning. She adores him!  The other day I was putting her to bed. As per our usual bedtime routine, we read a book, sing two songs, and say a prayer (not necessarily in that order). I asked her what song she wanted to sing. She replies, the “dada” song.  Not having a clue what she was talking about, I made up a song. It went something like this. “My daddy is so awesome, because he loves me so, He is so awesome, he jumps me high in the sky, and he loves me too. My daddy is so awesome and I love him too.”  I change the actions (and the key) pretty much everytime because I don’t remember what words I sang before; it’s not a real song!  Anyway, while I still don’t know what song to which she was originally referring, it was a hit and now she asks me to sing “The Dada Song” almost every night, over and over and over and over….   Just the same, it is pretty cute (and he is pretty awesome).

As part of our bedtime routine, I have also been asking what she would like to thank God for today as a way to get her to think about what prayer means. Her response is always the same (so far). She may think a minute about it, but she always says, “Dada”. She asks about her daddy pretty much throughout the entire day, and of course when mommy is being too mean, she screams for daddy. All of this daddy love (and in honor of Father’s day) inspired me to think of a real song or at least our own words to the tune of another song.  I don’t have the tune down, so feel free to comment. 🙂 This is my attempt (please don’t laugh, I am not a songwriter):

My daddy is so awesome,

He catches fireflies

My daddy is so awesome,

he tosses me in the skies,

My daddy is so awesome,

He watches my cartoon.

My daddy is so awesome,

He thinks I have hung the moon.

My daddy is so awesome,

He loves me all the time.

My daddy is so awesome,

He will always be mine.

All this talk does remind me of one of my favorite devotional songs in college and high school. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smZwG-auxC8)

“Our God is an awesome God,

He reigns,from heaven above,

with wisdom, power, and love,

our God is an awesome God.”

It is a very simple, but powerful song. It encompasses how we should love our heavenly “daddy” with childlike fervor. God’s love is unconditional. He is the true model for how all fathers should strive to be. I know there are so many women out there, who have not been so lucky to have this type of model. But we do have a heavenly dad, who utterly adores and loves us. He loves us so much, that he sacrificed his own son so that we could spend the rest of our lives with our heavenly Father.

“For this is how God loved the world: He have his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

Perhaps you did not have the father who attempted to model heavenly fatherhood. I am truly sorry for your loss. Know, however, that you do have a father who loves and respects you as you deserve.  He wants you to come to him and put your faith in him. He would love for you to trust him to the extent that you can leap in the air and know he will catch you.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

My husband and little girl share a mutual adoration and bond, one that I pray will never be broken. She needs her earthly daddy, as much as we all need a strong father figure throughout our lives. It does not matter how old you are. If you have a good father, you know he will always be there for you. I have an earthly father who attempted to model that very love. More importantly though I have a heavenly father. Even if our earthly dads disappoint us (and they will as they are human after all), know that we have a Father who will never disappoint and will always take care of you.

“Depend on the Lord, trust in him, and he will take care of you”. Psalms 37:5

Thank you for reading!

HE WILL CATCH YOU

“Depend on the Lord, trust him, and he will take care of you.”

Psalms 37:5

My daughter had her first swim lesson today for the summer. She did just that, she trusted and jumped into the water to waiting, loving arms. We have that same promise. We can jump in the water and depend on God to catch us. He will not let you drown.

I need this verse everyday, especially in this season of taking care of young children. I am not only responsible for myself, but a little being (and soon to be another) who is completely dependent on me and my husband. That’s just the whole point of the verse though, we don’t have to do it alone. God will take care of you, we just have to trust.

P.S. I have decided (for now) to reduce my number of posts. I am at a very busy season of life right now (toddler, working part-time, and in my third trimester of pregnancy).  I hope to increase my posts after the new baby arrives. For now, I would like to focus on delivering quality over quantity.  My plan is to still have a weekly post on things that have inspired me throughout the week published on Saturday or Sunday.  For the midweek post, I plan on publishing a new devotional post every other Wednesday.  I would also like to work on developing some studies on Biblical women and work on presenting you with real life extraordinary stories from ordinary women like you and I. I hope that you will continue to join me on this venture.  Thank you for reading!

When You Share Your Umbrella

College was hard for me. Especially since I had no problems in high school. I was valedictorian and truth be told, I probably could have been much more challenged. That is not against my school or my parents, I just remember not really having to work that hard to get straight A’s. I only mention that to explain how much harder college was for me. My first semester, I received a B for the first time since elementary school. I was outraged! Especially, since it was in my best subject (English) and I did not think I deserved a B. I even approached my professor about it and requested a second opinion. How is that for brazen and arrogant? I still received a B. And then there was speech class, which was not my best subject. There is a reason I prefer writing to speaking. Then, I decided to obtain my degree in nursing. Now that was a challenge. Science had never been a favorite subject and I don’t think I realized how much science was involved in the nursing program (Bear in mind that I was very young and naïve; don’t judge me) . Then came the onslaught of organic chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology.  Now, fortunately. I am great at memorizing things, which served me well in anatomy and physiology. (did I fully understand, no, but I got the answers right!) When it came to chemistry, micro, and pathophysiology… Well, let’s just say my eyes were opened and I had met my challenge. I managed to swing an A in micro or organic (I can’t remember which now) by busting my butt off and becoming antisocial. But I got a B in the other two subjects. I was more proud of those B’s then any grade I had ever received up to that point. I may have even received a C in pathophysiology as that teacher was challenging! I doubt if anybody got higher than a B. (though a few of my brilliant friends probably did).  I studied constantly, I worried constantly, I did not sleep. In short, at some point I reached my breaking point.

I don’t remember what semester the following story happened or what subject I was studying, but all I remember is sobbing and wanting to quit so much! I remember thinking I did not know what kind of mess I had put myself.

It was pouring rain this night, I had no umbrella, no rain jacket, but I had to walk., maybe I had a destination, maybe I just needed to clear my head. Either way, I was soaked to my very bones. Even more, my heart was soaked with worries and anxiety, and disappointment in myself.

As I was walking, all of a sudden, this girl appears out of nowhere. I had never met her, never seen her, never saw her again after that day to my recollection.  She extended kindness and offered to share her umbrella. What I left with was far more than an umbrella. She saw my tears, in spite of having just dried my eyes, and gave me comfort and encouragement when I had nothing left to give in response. I don’t remember her exact words, but I do remember leaving her presence and feeling renewed. I felt I could go on, could continue to press toward my goal and know that at least, at that moment, my calling was to become a nurse and to serve others as Jesus had served the sick and the lonely.  I knew in that moment that I could do this; I could do this college thing. I could become a nurse.  It would be hard and challenging, and I had other times when I wanted to quit, but  I could do it. Whoever that girl was, she was my rescuer.

I would like to think that she was an angel sent just for me. Maybe she was, or maybe she was just a friend in a brief moment God sent to encourage me and show me He loved me.

Wherever you are in your phase of life, just know that God is there and that you are not alone. Don’t give up.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Phlippians 3: 12-14

Maybe you are at the same point that I as in college, maybe you are raising young children like I am at the moment, battling tantrums, sleepless nights, and constant challenges. Perhaps you have lost a loved one or are struggling with health yourself. Just know that you are not alone. Perhaps God can use you be the person who shares an umbrella.  If you need prayers, I would love to pray for you. I ask that you continue to pray for me. That I will patiently learn the art of being a parent so that I may be able to guide my children to a  love that only God can bestow.

Thank you for reading!