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What if you were the answer to someone else’s prayer?

What if your act of kindness was exactly what the other person needed?

So many of us including myself go through our day with our minds focused on our to do list and our problems. I think we miss opportunities in front of us when we are completely self-focused. What if we turned our focus more onto others? Imagine for a minute what our world would be like.

What do you see?

I see a stranger helping a young, sleep-deprived mom load her groceries in her car as her baby is crying and the mom is ready to break into tears herself.

I see a friend carrying a meal to her neighbor’s home. Their family recently lost their father to cancer and each day is an emotional and financial struggle.

I see a young child bringing a smile to a lonely, elderly women living in an assisted care facility. He is carrying a basket and delivering treats to each room.

These are all small ways to show love and kindness to others. They only require taking our eyes off of our own struggles and asking God to show us how we can help others.

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God has shaped you with special gifts that He wants to use to bring joy and kindness to others. Some of you have the gifts of words of encouragement. Others have the gift of cooking or baking that He wants you to bless others with. Perhaps you have the gift of organization or leadership, God wants to use you to impact others. Everyone has their unique gift they can offer to someone else.   I pray we will daily ask God to show us who.

Show us who needs our words of encouragement.

Show us who needs a listening ear.

Show us who needs our unique gifts that God has given us to support them in their time of need.

Sometimes God asks us to do bold, large things but sometimes God asks us to do simple, small things that are big for the person we are helping.

It is natural to think that it has to be these big grand acts of generosity and love. I want to encourage you to never underestimate how impactful our smalls acts of kindness and love are for the person who receives them. I recently heard this quote, “Kindness is like water coloring. Even the smallest drop of paint in the water turns the whole thing colorful.” I just love this image.

I truly believe God uses ordinary people like you and me to carry out his plans.  My hope is that we will be open to God’s promptings as He shows us who He wants us to help. Then in our own special God-given way, we will let out a drop of our unique gift and brighten that person’s day with love and kindness. Who knows, you just might be their answer to prayer.

God, I pray you give us eyes to see whom you have put in our path today that we can show your love. Please change our focus so we can see others in need and be their answer to prayer. God, we ask that you show us who needs our acts of kindness as we walk through our day. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

From My Heart To Yours

Grief comes in waves and another wave was hitting me.

My eyes were drawn to the beautiful bouquets of sunflowers on the stage. With a program in my hand, I signed the guest book. As I looked back onto the stage, once again, there was a picture of a young mom who was taken up to Heaven way too soon.   Sitting in the front row was her family: her husband and two children. My heart was breaking all over again.

Last Friday, I attended a memorial service for a friend who had passed away after her fight with cancer. All of the emotions of losing my dear friend Jeannie came flooding back to me as a sat in the same exact tent where we had her service almost 2 years before.

Grieving the loss of a friend is hard.

Grieving the loss of your mother is even harder.

Grieving the loss of your mom as a child or teenager is the hardest.

I had not known that this friend was diagnosed with cancer or that she had lost her battle after only 6 months. I only knew her because her son was in my past KSG class at church. He is the same age as my older son, only a freshman in high school.   As I sat there watching her life video, I just could not stop thinking about her two kids.

This drew my heart and mind to Jeannie’s sweet kids. Growing up the past couple years without her has not been easy.   I know this time of year is especially hard with Mother’s Day only weeks away.   I remember last year, Jeannie’s daughter said to me that you cannot walk into a store without seeing a reminder for Mother’s Day. Just look around, there are Mother’s Day signs everywhere, aisles full of cards in the stores, and emails to your inbox reminding you of gift ideas.

This is truly a hard time of year if you have recently lost your mom.   Grief around these special Holidays is always difficult especially the first couple years. I am reminded of a friend who also struggled with Mother’s Day but for different reasons. She desired to be a mom but was walking through years of infertility and each Mother’s Day was a reminder that she still did not have her baby yet.   Both of these women are grieving.   Let me start be saying that I am so sorry.  I know grief is not easy and I am praying that you feel God’s comfort as you walk through your pain.   My favorite verse to share during the hard times in life is Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

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I have found this verse to be very comforting and helpful. God never meant for us to walk through difficult times alone. He wants to be there with us, guiding us. He wants you to run to Him in our pain, not away from Him. It is easy to ask why questions during grief: Why did she have to die so young? Why do two young kids have to grown up without a mom? Why do some people with cancer get healed and others do not? All of these questions seem to arise when a loved one is lost.

Honestly, I don’t have all the answers this side of heaven. I actually pondered some of these questions this weekend as another wave of grief hit hard after going to the funeral on Friday.   All I know for certain is that God is Faithful! He is faithful to walk with you during your heartbreak. He is faithful to provide friends and family to support you, cry with you and help you with daily life like meals and childcare. He is faithful to show up in the smallest of details because He truly cares about you and what you are going through.

God also wants to help you as your process your emotions.   For me, journaling is one of the ways that I just let out all of my raw emotions and really talk with God. My pen gets writing and I find it freeing to let out the sadness, the anger, the disappointment, and the why questions. If I can be completely honest, you will even find some swear words intermixed in my writing as I just let out exactly how I am feeling the good, the bad and the ugly. I just write all of it. God can handle it! He wants to help you through the pain.   Allowing yourself to feel the hard emotions is an important step.

“It is okay not to be okay.” I have heard this phrase spoken in sermons and I have read it in many books.   I want to gently remind you that it is truly okay if you are not feeling okay. Sadly, many people want to hurry you along in your grief. Don’t worry about other people’s expectations. It is okay this mother’s day to not do your normal tradition if you are just not feeling up to it. It is okay to do nothing. It is okay to start a new tradition. Please give yourself lots of grace. I recommend you surround yourself with people who are understanding and will support you no matter what the day looks like.

Grief is not easy and it is not something you do once and you are through it. It is a process. It is commonly referred to as waves. At the beginning the waves are hitting you one right after another but over time, the waves are farther apart. But like me this past weekend, sometimes a wave will come out of nowhere and knock you down again.   Be honest with how you are feeling.   Share with loved ones what you need and how they can support you. Remember the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and lean into Him. Just wanted to share from my heart to yours.

Dear God, I pray right now for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I pray that you will wrap your loving arms around them and allow them to feel your love, comfort, and strength. On the extra hard days, surround them with friends and family who will help and support them. Give them your power and strength to get through each day and fill them with your peace. Thank you so much. We pray all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.