Comforted by God to Comfort Others-The Voice of Peace

There are bloggers I enjoy following for personal enjoyment and then there are bloggers I follow because they inspire me. One blogger that inspires me is The Voice of Peace. She inspires me because she is willing to share about how God has helped her and continues to help her overcome trauma. Her vision is to help others who have been assaulted by sharing her story and encouraging others about how Jesus can help them heal.

In my blog I try to share different ways Jesus has helped me with various issues such as health problems, past abuse, personal failures etc.

I love 2 Corinthians 1:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

God comforts us so we can in turn comfort others with the comfort God has given us. It is a beautiful process. God brings healing and restoration to our lives and in so doing prepares us to be vehicles of comfort for others, so they may experience God’s healing and restoration.

So many blogs I follow are because of how they are willing to share how God has comforted them. I plan to continue sharing their blogs in coming weeks and months and shining a spotlight on them. I have done so and will continue to do so.

For today, I want to shine the spotlight on my little sister in Jesus and her blog The Voice of Peace. I want to share one of her videos with you. She has recently begun a youtube channel too, so I want to share her video- Just Like You. She shares about how just like other victims of trauma, she knows what it is like to be assaulted, but also knows the healing Jesus can bring. I am so proud of her. Please check out her video.

 

 

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Hope? What Is It?

“I have been where you are, but you have not been where I am. I will help you.” 

I will never forget those words spoken to me in my early twenties by a man who would become my mentor for a few years. He taught me a lot about practical life things and helped guide me in the early years of rising above my life circumstances. When he spoke those words to me it was like a small glimmer of hope.

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Hope is a word that is so watered down these days. People say things like, “I hope it doesn’t rain” or “I hope the test isn’t too hard”. The way the word hope is used these days with faint expressions like, “I hope so.” almost strips the word hope of its power.

There is such a strong contrast to how God views the word hope.

Think about it. God has all power. He is omniscient-all knowing. From his viewpoint hope for us is secured already if we will trust him.

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Hope is not something we wish for in vain. Hope is something that has a solid anchor. The anchor is Jesus, his love for us, and our guaranteed eternal future with him. Think about this- If Jesus can defeat death, what problem is greater than that? NOTHING!!!

A new blogger I follow wrote a beautiful post about hope and Jesus being the light Her name is Vanessa Lynn and her blog is Brave, Blessed, and Beautiful. The post that blessed me was Hope Stand Tall. You can read it by clicking on- Hope Stands Tall.

My life is one long series of situations that seemed hopeless to others, but then God intervened. Sometimes it is at what seems to be the last minute to build our faith or so others realize it could have only been God.

But ultimately if we only look at this life whether our circumstances are good or adverse, we will be sorely disappointed at some time. Our ultimate hope is in our eternal future as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied”

Until the time Jesus comes back or he takes us individually to heaven, the message of the old song Because He Lives rings so true for me. I want to share it with you in case you are from a generation younger than me and not familiar with it. 🙂 lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

Dedication- Shown by A Student Surprising Me

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I have been teaching long enough that one would think I can’t be surprised anymore. I have certainly had interesting experiences as a teacher such as the time I had to call 911 for a student. But each quarter brings a new group to me and it is my privilege to get to know them and teach them, Last night one of them actually surprised me.

 

One of my students began the quarter in October about six and half months pregnant. I told her not to worry we would figure it out for her to finish and be okay. So before Thanksgiving, I talked with her about what she could study to take the final test early. Her response was that she wanted to finish with the class not early. I told her it was up to her and we would do whatever she wished. I also told her if she changed her mind to let me know.

Well, last night we had our final class and she told me something I had not heard from a student before. She told me, “I will go to the hospital tomorrow morning at 8 for the doctor to induce my labor.” She told me this literally twelve hours before her appointment at the hospital.

So this morning I woke up and definitely prayed for her. There were already many reasons I am proud of her. I met her when she first came to America and was in a different program I teach in the mornings for beginning English learners. She couldn’t even say- My Name Is. She stayed with her studies all while having two babies the last five years. She has worked hard to now be at an intermediate level.

But then she drops the bombshell news- “tomorrow morning at 8 the doctor will induce labor.” SHE CAME TO CLASS THE NIGHT BEFORE BEING INDUCED!!!

That my friends is DEDICATION.

The rest of the story. She is a young Yazidi woman. The Yazidi people were victims of genocide in 2014 and were oppressed for centuries. My young student came here as a refugee.

I meet people like my young student with amazing stories all of the time. So much so it is my  normal but there is nothing normal about them. They are extraordinary stories and compel me to pray for them. I am blessed Jesus led me to reach out, help, and teach refugees.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Firm Foundation

In October 1999, I was in Romania. This photo is from outside Siniaa a mountain city. It is part of the grounds of the old summer palace from when Romania had a king. The palace grounds have been there through many changes for Romania from having a king, to having a dictator, to a revolution, to being part of the EU now.

We experience many changes in our lives. Changes are inevitable. The question is how will we handle and come out from those changes.

Jesus taught about building on the rock so wind and storms of life do not knock us down. Jesus is that rock. He is our firm foundation.

When I think back over my life, I am so grateful Jesus has been there with me through the changes of autoimmune problems, following him to discover the ministry he has called me to, in The Valley of depression and back, learning languages and meeting people from all over the world. Jesus has been that firm foundation in my life. A firmer foundation than the mountain the palace sits on in Romania.

Whatever situation we are in, sickness, depression, financial difficulty, family problems, career change, Jesus is that firm foundation we can rely on.

Thank you for reading. God Bless

I can’t, but God can

Yesterday I had lunch with a refugee friend and had the opportunity to share a little about Jesus. One message I like to share with people is how Christianity is distinct from religions and then share why. A great example is that in religions it is up to the individual to work for, to earn, going to heaven through their owns good works, but in Christianity and only in Christianity God says, “You can’t do it. It is not possible to do enough good works to deserve heaven, but I love you and will do it for you.”

Following Jesus is a series of I can’t but God can moments that start with.

I can’t merit heaven, but God did it for me when Jesus died on the cross.

There have been so many I can’t, but God can moments in my life.

I can’t get out of the pit of depression, but God can lift me out.

I can’t figure out what to do for the future, but God knows my future already.

I can’t solve a problem, but God can.

Knowing Jesus, having a relationship with him. means that many I can’ts turn into I cans because of the truth of Philippians 4:

“I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.”

For me it has been I can’t ___________________ because of my autoimmune issues, but God can for me.

This is a shorter post meant to encourage today. Think about the situation that seems impossible, seems overwhelming, and fill in the blanks.

I can’t ____________________

and then say

But God can

or

I can ______________________ because of Jesus..

Give your I can’ts to Jesus. He has all power and loves us deeply.

Thank you for reading. God Bless

Leave the Past Behind and Look Forward

In the sports world, the best players excel for many reasons. One of the reasons is that they have the ability to not let prior bad plays stop them from trying again. In the business world, successful entrepreneurs often have failures before the have success. They don’t let past failures stop them from trying again.

Paul understood the importance of looking forward and leaving the past behind. He was a success before he knew Jesus. He was a religious leader, but in that role he had persecuted Christians before his first encounter with  Jesus. That day that Paul met Jesus transformed him to become to foremost apostle for sharing Jesus with the world.

Paul wrote about focusing on the Jesus and our future in Philippians 3:

“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.”

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This can help us to move on from past failures. Jesus is always willing and more than able to help us start again. In Jesus we have solid hope for our future.

If we mess up, we can come to Jesus and start fresh.

If we have been through a crisis in our lives, we can come to Jesus for the help to recover and move on.

If we have struggled with depression, addiction, or an eating disorder, we can come to Jesus for healing and power to move on.

If we have been bullied, hurt by those around us, or abused, the arms of Jesus are open for us to run to.

The past is always there to remind us of our failures or suffering. But that voice is not from Jesus. Jesus says to us:

You are my child.

You are loved.

You can do all things with Jesus.

Jesus has all power to help you.

Jesus is standing there ready and more than able to help us move on. We simply need to ask him. Don’t give up. Ask Jesus to help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless. I have shared this song before and want to share it again. You’re Gonna Be Ok by Jenn Johnson

Best Tip Ever Playing Pizza Delivery Guy

Many years ago I delivered pizza while I was just trying to survive while I was struggling with my second autoimmune problem that took a while to diagnose. Delivering pizzas was easy work, and many nights I made good tips especially in bad weather. Many times the tips added up to more than my hourly wage.

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Yesterday I received the best tip for delivering pizza that I ever received. My church has a respite night 4 times a year for families with children with special needs. We have volunteers who are nurses, teachers, and church members. They always have pizzas to serve. Friday evening we had respite night and there were some pizzas left over in the refrigerator.

I took three pizzas to give to friends of mine from Iran. They are Mandean and a lot of fun to spend time with. The father, mother and one daughter live in one duplex and the oldest daughter, her husband and children live in another duplex close by. I dropped off two pizzas at the oldest daughter’s house and then took one to the father and mother.

We sat down and drank coffee together and had a wonderful time. We talked about many things as we practiced conversational English together. I call the mother my little sister and the youngest daughter my niece in their language. The oldest daughter is also my little sister. I love visiting them and spending time with them. It was the kind of spontaneous afternoon that makes me grateful God has led  me to be friends with refugees.

The best tip ever for me? Seeing my friends smile when I surprised them with the pizza and seeing my little sister laugh as I told stories.

Sharing God’s love does not have to be big things. Often it is time spent with people and sharing the little things in life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

 

Voice

One of my favorite TV shows began last week. I like how on The Voice the four coaches do not see the person auditioning until they decide they want the person on their team and push the I Want You button and their chair turns around. The coaches make their decision by listening to the person’s voice.

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Jesus talked about his voice and us in John 10:

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

and

 “They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

There are many competing voices in life. Some try to tell us it won’t work, that we aren’t good enough, there is no hope, and remind us of our past.

Jesus came to give us life not to cast us down. His voice is gentle to those who follow him. His voice says with him all things are possible. His voice tells us we are loved. He voice tells us there is always hope with him. His voice tells us our past is forgiven.

My hope is to reflect the voice of Jesus to those who don’t know him. That is why I try to learn greetings in the languages of my refugee and immigrant friends. They have been through things we can’t imagine.

My Yazidi friends have endured unimaginable things. They lived under oppression for centuries. The genocide in 2014 was the most recent, but there have been other times. They were discriminated against for centuries. They never felt welcome anywhere they went except among themselves.

That is why I walk around the small lobby area outside the classrooms and greet them with ‘Choney Havalemah’, (attempt at phonetic spelling), which means Hi how are you my friend. I do that because I want them to feel welcome.

By listening to them share their experiences, I give them the respect of being heard. I try to give them a voice, a right, to share.

We can use our voices to build up or to tear down. By choosing to build up others, we can reflect the love of Jesus and his voice to those around us.

Do you know of someone being bullied? Reach out to build them up.

Do you know of someone who has been abused? Reach out to build them up.

Do you know of someone struggling with an illness? Reach out to encourage them and let them know you are there.

Do you know of someone struggling with memories of the past? Remind them Jesus forgives and gives new starts in life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Empowering Others

I hadn’t planned on posting today because with my evening classes finishing up last night, it feels like time to relax, unwind and just be for a day. But I had a wonderful conversation with a young woman from Iran that got my mind to kick in, so here we go.

My young friend is from Iran and from a minority group that did not have rights because they are not part of the majority group religion. She came here three years ago speaking little English. She worked hard in high school, graduated and now is in college. That in itself is impressive considering she is studying in her 3rd language.

I know her parents, grandparents, sister, and  brother. In a way I feel her family is family for me. I have helped a few times to study for her Spanish class, her 4th language, and we talk about college. I already admired her before today, but watching her today gave me even more respect for her.

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She needed to get a financial aid situation taken care of with the school. I offered to go with her, but she was hesitant. Then she called to check if she should make an appointment. She had the phone on speaker, so I could hear the other end of the conversation. She was able to get the problem taken care of. I listened as she took care of the problem. She handled it perfectly with the right amount of assertiveness while also showing respect to the person she was talking with.

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When she finished her phone conversation, I told her how proud I am of her. I told her she handled it well and that I believe she can handle things well and if she ever needs my help to let me know.

This scenario today is a good example of how I have learned to step back and empower but not try to enable people to stay dependent on me. Empowering others means to help them have the ability to handle things without me, to teach them how to handle things or offer advice, but to step back and let them handle it.

The only person we should ever be totally dependent on is God. Yet God empowers us. There are so many wonderful examples of Jesus teaching and training his followers to empower them.

At the end of our time together, I shared with my young friend that I am proud of her and admire her for the person she is. I encouraged her to never let anyone take her power away from her and reminded her that she has rights here. I told her that I hope she continues to be the confident young woman she is, and will be a confident woman all her life. I also shared with her that if she ever needed me, just let me know.

I am not sure how many others will read this today, but I am writing for small audience, my young friend and her mom.  My young friend knows who she is, so let me say again- I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

 

Never Give Up

My evening classes will finish up this week as the quarter comes to an end. I am always aware of what many of my students have been through before coming to America. Some have had to flee because of greater danger. Some have been oppressed because of being from a minority group in their country. All of them have experienced obstacles here in their new country.

Last night I showed them a video of a teenage girl with MS who ran track called Catching Kayla.  At the end of each race, her coach catches her before she falls to the ground. Her body overheats which triggers her MS symptoms until they get her cooled down. In the video she shares why she runs. She wants to fight the disease.

I asked my students what they thought of Kayla and many said she is brave. I asked what we can learn from her and one said, “never give up.” That was shared by a young man who left Iran because of religious oppression. He works full-time here and takes English classes in the evening with hopes of going to college in the future.

“Never give up”

When we who profess to know Jesus face difficulties, how much more should never give up be our attitude. Jesus is the one who has all power. Jesus is the one who defeated death for us.

Jesus, the one who has all power, is always with us. He is the one who said in John 16:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Whether we are living with a chronic illness, facing family problems, experiencing financial problems, or recovering from an addiction, we  can get up each morning to face the day knowing Jesus is with us. Jesus is with us, so we should never give up.

Thank you for reading. God Bless. Here is the video Catching Kayla.