When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through When You don’t give the answers As I cry out to You I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Yesterday was thinking about my dear little sister in Jesus, Dawn of drawingclosertochrist.com. She will have some changes in her life, which will be positive changes, but even positive ones can be stressful.
Jesus has impressed upon me that many of my fellow bloggers are experiencing seasons of change at this.time. Some are enduring difficult ones and some positive ones.
When change comes in our lives,.they are moments that stretch us. We can feel out of sorts, uncertain, and anxious. I love the lyrics in Lauren Daigle’s song-I Will Trust in You. The chorus I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you are an expression of trusting Jesus when answers don’t seem to come right away.
There are lyrics that remind me of a simple, yet profound and solid truth. Jesus already knows the future.
Your ways are always higher Your plans are always good There’s not a place where I’ll go You’ve not already stood
Think about it. Every place we will go in our lives, Jesus has already been there. Our steps of faith are steps of following his voice while he guides us.
So yes I am dedicating my post to my little sister Dawn. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do and you will be blessed.
But my post is for all of my fellow bloggers and my readers going through a season of changes. Jesus knows where the change is leading. I hope this song encourages you. 🙂
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
I love this quote by Mother Teresa. It is inspiring to think of a small woman who ended up becoming famous because of her life of showing love in small ways such as providing comfort to the poorest of the poor in India. It was in the every day moments of her life there that she showed love through giving someone a bowl of soup, a blanket and a bed etc. Her goal was not to become famous. Her goal was to show Christ’s love.
I was reminded of that this week when I was at the open house at the Elementary School where my Family Literacy Class meets. A Yazidi woman walked by with her American friend. She told her American friend, “He is the teacher who loves Yazidi people.”
After the genocide in August 2014, the Yazidis were on my mind and my prayers. I read a book in June 2015 titled They Say We Are Infidels by Mary Belz. In her book she shares about the oppression Christians have faced over the centuries in Iraq and the Middle East. She also shared about the oppression of the Yazidis and how the Christians and Yazidis helpd each other. When I read the book, I felt even more love for Yazidi people.
I learned how to say- Hello, how are you my friend- in their language. I have made it my practice to greet Yazidi students in their language as they sit in the lobby at the college where I teach in the evenings. I want them to feel welcome.
We can overlook how meaningful the small things done with love are to others. My desire has been to show my Yazidi friends and other refugee friends the love of Jesus. I want to help my friends from other countries feel welcome in my city. I haven’t thought about what reputation I am developing. I merely want to show love.
But the little things done consistently over a period of time add up to how others perceive us.
Another quote by Mother Teresa I love is:
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.“
In these days of turmoil around us, it is even more needed to spread love, the love of Jesus.
Let’s pray about, think about, and seek out the small things we can do with love. 🙂
My little sister in Jesus, Fay Ann Swearing, nominated me the Sunshine Blogger Award a while back, but then she needed to take a break from blogging, so I waited for her return. Her blog is The Inspirational Room at fayannswearing.wordpress.com where she shares about her faith.
Mrs. Holliman of GOD’S LOVE at godscourage.wordpress.com also nominated me a few weeks ago. She also shares about her faith in her blog.
And this week alimw of forhispurpose.blog nominated me. She is my fellow Nebraskan 🙂 She also shares about her life and faith in her blog.
I want to thank Fay Ann, Mrs. Holliman, and Alim for nominating me 🙂 I will answer the 11 questions from all 3.
The Rules for Sunshine Blogger
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him/her.
Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.
Fay Ann’s questions for me
Questions for my nominees:
What inspires your writing?
My faith in Jesus inspires me to write. Also my refugee and immigrant friends inspire me.
2.How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
My life is for Jesus and serving others, but I could say I am both a complex person and a simple person. If anyone wants clarification on that, let me know. 🙂
3.What are you most grateful for this moment?
I am most grateful for Jesus giving me strength as I live with chronic illness.
4. What is one thing you learned in childhood that totally changed your life?
That’s a long time ago lol. When I was in 7th grade, my best friend at school was the only African American kid at school. My grandfather was a racist. I chose my friend over my grandfather. I learned to value love over hate from that.
5. Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I tend to have an overactive imagination which helps me try different ideas.
6.What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Interacting with other bloggers helps a lot. But if you comment, say something meaningful if you want to get someone’s attention. Also using other social media like facebook, twitter, and instagram brings traffic to my blog
7. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
I first started my blog in 2009 to share bible stories with friends in other countries. I hit a huge down time with my blog due to foggy brain from Celiacs Disease. I got started again in March 2018 and my blog has grown from 30 followers to over 540.
8. How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I love to write. I find inspiration in every day moments, interaction with people, memories, and my prayer time
9. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
My greatest failure. So many to choose from.
10. Tell me about your proudest achievement?
It is not my achievement. I am most proud of knowing Jesus because of who he is and what he has done for me.But that has nothing to do with anything I have done.
11. Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
I have learned from a variety of bloggers as far as style and ideas. The ones who have impacted me most are the ones who let me know they are praying for me.
Mrs. Holliman’s questions for me
My 11 questions to my nominees:
What is you favorite thing about life?
My favorite thing about life is knowing Jesus and sharing time with friends from other countries.
2. How do you feel about how the world is becoming?
I feel the world is getting worse which is a sign that Jesus might return soon.
3. Do you love the beach?
Yes, I love the beach.
4. Have your heart ever been broken before?
Yes, but that is a long story lol.
5. What makes you happy?
My faith in Jesus, time with friends, good food, movies, my little sister bloggers, church, being in class with my students………
6. What is your favorite movie?
Two favorites- Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit series and Star Wars.
7. If you had to choose between Hawaii and Bahamas! which one would you pick?why
Bahamas because I have fellow bloggers there that I could visit.
8. Are you an outdoor person or indoor person?why
Not so much anymore mostly because of allergies and I don’t like bugs. But I do like the park.
9. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
Answered in previous questions 🙂
10.If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you be?
Oh my gosh. No way. I would die lol.
11.What is one way you relieve stress at the end of the day?
Listen to worship music.
And here are my 11 questions for those I’ve nominated:
1) Why do you write?
I write for an audience of one hoping it blesses others. The one is Jesus. The others are anyone who reads my blog.
2) Who do you admire and why? (sorry I know I’m sneaking two questions)
I admire people who have been through a struggle and made it or are making it with the help of God.
3) What has been your best vacation?
Brazil in 2015- I went to teach English in the evenings for five weeks in a university there. I was the only American in the small city and I loved it.
4) Where would you love to visit one day?
I would love to go back to Brazil to see friend
5) Why is your best friend, your best friend?
Jesus is my best friend He died for me. He is everything to me.
6) What is your biggest concern (about anything)?
My health and finances which is like a broken record for anyone in ministry I think.
7) When did you last owe someone an apology?
This week I apologized for needing to change an appointment time.
8) What’s the best movie you’ve ever watch
LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS 🙂 🙂 🙂
9) What’s your most favorite childhood memory?
My dog Taffy
10) What do you love most about yourself?
I don’t love much about myself I love knowing Jesus.
11) If you could ask Jesus a question what would it be?
This week was rough with a flare up of my Fibromyalgia. Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday were particularly rough days with pain and fatigue. But there were blessings especially Thursday evening.
Living with chronic illness presents me with a choice. I can choose to focus on the chronic illnesses I have or I can focus on Jesus. By focusing on Jesus, it holds off the darkness of depression that can accompany chronic illness. I love the passage in Hebrews 12 that says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”.
The last part- so that you will not grow weary and lose heart- means so much to me. If we lose heart, we can lose so much more. The pain that accompanies Fibromyalgia varies from day to day but it is ALWAYS there. That would make it easy to lose heart, but Jesus is also ALWAYS there for us.
By pushing through the flare up and not letting it keep me down, I experienced wonderful blessings yesterday evening. I went to the school where my morning Family Literacy class meets for open house. I was able to meet new prospective students and see current and former students. Just seeing them gave me a huge boost. Seeing my colleagues at the school was encouraging too. 🙂
This a photo of me in my classroom in early April. 😉
Wednesday evening it was seeing my students in my evening class. I love the energy of a classroom with students who want to learn English.
But the greatest blessing was Tuesday evening. During some time with the Lord, I felt his presence so deeply. As I prayed, it was one of those moments that he showed me many things. It reminded me of the passage in John 15:
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus lets us know his business. He show us things. What a blessing to have Jesus call us friend and let us know things.
The choice is ours as to what we focus on. My desire is to focus on Jesus even in the midst of a flare up.
Several years ago, I helped a refugee family from Ukraine to have a wedding at my church. They could not use the church building their Ukranian church rented and they had no money to pay rent on a facility. So I arranged for them to have the wedding at my church and also stepped into the role of coordinator.
The bride had friends who had lived here long enough who knew where to get all of the wedding stuff like flowers etc, so my role was really only for them to ask me if they could do something, I would ask the building manager. he told me yes or no, and I would tell them yes or no. As a result, I thought being a wedding coordinator was super easy.
The following year a young woman from China wanted to have a wedding. I told her I could help. I arranged for her to have it at my church. When I went to meet with her and her fiance, I realized that due to being a graduate student and her friends also being graduate students all of whom had been here a short time, that none of them knew where to go to get wedding stuff.
So I called my friend Kathy from church. Kathy and her husband Greg had helped me with other things in my ministry. Kathy answered her phone and I asked her, “What are you doing tomorrow at 2:30?”
Kathy’s reply was, “Why, what have you got yourself into this time?”
I explained to her that I was trying to help a young woman from China plan her wedding and Kathy interrupted me saying, :I will be there.” She took care of all of the help planning. It ended up being a wonderful ceremony and we used skype for her parents to watch from China.
Kathy’s question about what had I gotten myself into was perhaps warranted. That is because I have been willing to step out and try things even if they did not fit with my normal ministry. Sometimes I think that maybe God gets a smile out of watching me step out and try things that perhaps I should not such as coordinating weddings.
I would rather take a risk and step out and try than to stand idly by and let things pass me by. But it is not blind faith on my part. I have experienced God coming through for me in so many different ways that I know if he has called me to try to do something, he will fill in the blanks for me.
The church is the body of Christ. The church is a family. I know there is a whole church for me to network with. God can connect me with the people who can help fill in the blanks.
Hope you enjoyed my story time. Please let me know if you like my story time posts. I am thinking about making them a regular part of my blog.
Feeling inadequate and doubting ourselves is something many of us do especially for those of us who have struggled. If we have struggled with difficulties in life, the experience can leave feeling not worthy of serving God.
Perhaps those difficulties have been personal struggles with health. One blogger I follow is Jennifer of Beauty from Ashes beautyfromashes613.com. She shared a wonderful post about how she felt called to write a book about her experience/struggle to have a child. Her post is Hello My Name Is Moses.
Perhaps feelings of being inadequate come from a past of having messed up in life. Well, Jesus called a tax collector and turned him into a disciple. Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene from being possessed by seven demons and turned her into a faithful follower which included appearing to her first after his resurrection.
Perhaps struggling with physical difficulties leave one feeling not able. Well, Paul had a physical impairment and God used him greatly. Paul started churches all over the Mediterranean being empowered by Jesus.
The bottom line is that God is not concerned about our weaknesses when he calls us to do something. He is only focused on what he can do through us.
Jennifer’s post is a beautiful reminder of how God views what we feel inadequate about. I highly suggest reading it.
Remember- God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called. He does not look around to see who has the natural ability so they can go out and do it on their own. He chooses people based on what he can do. All God needs is a willing heart even if that heart is hesitant like Moses’s was.
Maybe it is a weakness I have. My mind wanders when I get bored and it can lead to humorous situations. For example, it can happen in stores when I go shopping.
It happened the other day. I was in a store and feeling bored after maybe three minutes of being in the store. My mind wandered to pondering what to me could be an important matter. What was it? I was wondering if a team of Elves from Lord of the Rings played a team of Vulcans from Star Trek in soccer, which team would win.
As I was pondering this deep consideration and staring blankly at the items on the shelf, a young store clerk walked up and ever so nicely asked, “Do you need help sir?” I smiled and thanked her and said I was just looking.
To her I looked like someone who needed help. That might be true but I digress. My appearance said to her that I needed help. Appearances can be deceiving.
Fortunately for us, God does not look at outward appearances when he calls us to do something.
For example, consider Saul and David in the bible. Saul had the appearance of a King. He was tall and good looking. But God told the prophet Samuel in in 1 Samuel 16:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God looked at Saul’s heart and rejected him. Instead God chose a shepherd boy David to be the future King of Israel because of David’s heart and faith.
It is encouraging for me to remember that God does not look at what others look for. God looks for a heart willing to follow him. God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called
We might feel insignificant, but no one is insignificant to God. He does not look at our circumstances. He only considers what he knows which is what he can do. He does not consider our ability but rather what he can do through us.
By the way, I think I would give the Elves from Lord of the Rings the edge over the Vulcans from Start Trek. 🙂
You made a way When our backs were against the wall And it looked as if it was over You made a way And we’re standing here Only because You made a way You made a way
The song really spoke to me. So many times in my life it seemed that my back was against the wall, but God made a way. The reason I am standing here or should I say writing here is because God made a way for me.
As I look back over my life of more valleys than mountain tops, I can see how God has worked in my life.
When I was sick and dying, God made a way and I recovered.
When I struggle with chronic illness, God makes a way for me to carry on.
When I was in the valley of depression, God made a way.
When it seemed that there was no hope, God made a way.
As I write this, I am waiting for God to make a way for me. This song really spoke to me. I hope it blesses you as it did me.