Silver Streets

What a beautiful, glorious way to start a Monday morning. Today’s Reach Out story by Diana Brandmeyer brought tears to my eyes and tugged at my momma’s heart. Yesterday at church our pastor asked: What’s God asking you to risk?

Following Christ won’t always be easy. It won’t always be comfortable, and at times, it might not be safe. But oh, it will be glorious! And I think Diana would agree, when we say yes to God’s call, whatever it is, our hearts expand a few notches and our eyes open to see the beautiful men, women, and children all around us. And when we encounter those precious individuals, our perspectives begin to change. I also believe each time we say yes to God, we catch a fresh glimpse of His ever-reaching love. Priceless.

Silver Streets by Diana Brandmeyer

“Conner is restarting Silver Streets for his Eagle Scout Project. Want to sign up with me?”

My husband’s question jabs me with a finger of guilt and fear.

“I need to know so they’ll have a t-shirt for you.”

Bribery. Will it work? “No, I need to think about it.”

Of course I needed to think about it. Going to East St. Louis –not on my bucket list. Every newscast is broadcasting about someone murdered there, crying mothers, sisters and aunts all with the same message, “This has to stop. We can’t keep having our children killed.” My fear increased every time he asked me to go.

I came up with excuses, “I know they are providing a meal, and I won’t be able to eat there.” I’m gluten free. That should work.

“You could bring your own. The school has a fridge you could put it in or we can take a cooler.”

He’s always so logical.

“They need people to paint.”

Paint? I love to paint. “I can’t paint unless I have my ladder.”

“I’ll toss it on the truck.”

Foiled again. I’ve been asked to Silver Streets for many years and every time I find a reason not to. This time it wasn’t working. “I’ll go.”

“You will? You can have my t-shirt since you didn’t sign up on time.”

He’s a great husband.

Saturday came, as we drove through the city everywhere I looked there were houses in disrepair, people sitting on porches, and lots of trash. Everyone stared as we drove through. I was sure any minute we would get shot.

At the school I met a few other friends from church that wanted to paint. We started and as the day progressed people came and went. Funny thing, not everyone likes to paint. Others were cleaning the brush and building a front entrance garden. Ninety three people came to serve.

As I was painting one eighth grader came to help. She chose to follow behind a group of messy painters cleaning the floor. Not a glamorous job being the only one to volunteer it was a solitary chore. I asked her why she chose it.

“Because it’s my school, and I want don’t want to be embarrassed to come here.”

That’s when I knew why I was there. By putting my skills to work with others God used us to prepare the school for children living in an undeclared war zone. After five hours of outdoor clean-up, additions and hallway painting that day as God’s volunteers, we showed God’s love through our gifts.

If I hadn’t gone would it have made a difference? I’m sure God would have found a replacement but I would have missed out on giving my time. My heart is now open to going back next year.

And they had a shirt for me after all.

***

Christian author, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, writes historical and contemporary romances. Her historical, A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee is now available.

She’s also written We’re Not Blended-We’re Pureed, A Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.

Once widowed and now remarried she writes with humor and experience on the difficulty of joining two families be it fictional or real life.

Visit her online at:

http://www.dianabrandmeyer.com

http://www.pencildancer.com (blog)

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/dianalesirebrandmeyerauthor

Twitter @dianabrandmeyer

A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee:

Heaven’s Stolen His Heart

After witnessing the ravages of the Civil War, Travis Logan vowed to give up doctoring. But when fellow steamboat passenger Caleb Wharton collapses at his feet, Travis knows he must lend his aid. As the old man lies dying, he makes Travis promise to take care of his land and find Heaven. Travis can’t help but wonder what Heaven has to do with a real place, so he heads to Caleb’s farm to fulfill his promise.

Weeks of facing marauders and caring for her father’s home have finally taken their toll on Heaven Wharton. When an unknown young man charges the house, Heaven attempts to fire a warning shot but ends up shooting the man instead. Shocked, she and her sister, Angel, drag a semi-conscious Travis into the house and nurse him back to health.

As Travis and Heaven both struggle to control their destinies, will they learn that only a heart that follows God can ever find peace on earth?

After the Civil War, Travis Logan vowed to give up doctoring. But when fellow steamboat passenger Caleb Wharton collapses at his feet, Travis lends his aid. As the old man lies dying, he makes Travis promise to take care of his land and find Heaven. Travis can’t help but wonder what Heaven has to do with a real place.

When an unknown young man charges the house, Heaven Wharton attempts to fire a warning shot but ends up shooting the man. Shocked, she and her sister, Angel, drag a semi-conscious Travis into the house and nurse him back to health.

As Travis and Heaven both struggle to control their destinies, will they learn that only a heart that follows God can ever find peace on earth?

Diana didn’t want to go. It scared her. It cost her something. But she went anyway, trusting the God who called her had a reason for sending her. The results? I believe she’d tell you what she gained in return by far outweighed the cost, and I imagine this experience–and the memory of that sweet girl, will remain with her for some time. Perhaps one day she will even meet that girl in heaven. A glorious thought indeed!

I am greatly enjoying each of these Reach Out posts. Reading these stories, it is easy to focus on the individual reaching out, but may we never forget, it is God who moves us to act. Each story revealed here is a retelling of God’s immense love and grace.

I want to give a shout-out to September’s Reach Out Donors:

Simple Faith by Eddie Snipesthe Road to Mercy by Kathy HarrisThe Other Side of Darkness by Linda Rondeau, and Love Turns the Tide by Gail Pallotta. Kathy Harris, is also donating Karyn Williams’ musical CD entitled Only You.

Here’s a question for you. When was the last time you paused to chat with a child from the inner city? A single mom? A lonely Alzheimer’s patient or orphaned child? A homeless man? Remember, God spent time with “the least of these,” and He wants us to do the same. Chances are, they won’t come to you. But God’s love–agape love–is an initiating love. So let’s get initiating. 🙂

Do you have a Reach Out story to share? We’d love to read about it! Shoot me an email at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail.com.

Finally, I leave you with one question–a repeat of the one my pastor asked my church family: What is God asking you to risk? Life is too short to play it safe, my friend.

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18 thoughts on “Silver Streets

  1. Ah–one of my wonderful friends hosted by another wonderful friend. Diana and Jennifer, I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

    What’s God asking me to risk? In a nutshell: my independence. Seems as if I keep needing to surrender what I dream about as my preferred life and bravely accept what He wants me to have, and stop the fretting about why He wants me to have a certain lifestyle that for all my life seems to be a variant of the “typical American.”

    • Oh, that’s a hard one, Elaine! But what a model of obedience and surrender you portray! And I’m not sure about what is the “typical American” but I suspect God’s ways are often quite untypical. 🙂 Hugs my sweet sister!

    • Elaine! Nice to see you here dear friend. Have you considered that “typical American Normal” doesn’t really exist? If it did we would all be living in Pleasantville. God made each of us unique and a lifestyle to go with it. Embrace the difference. Why? Because you are amazing!

    • Absolutely! I am a strong believer in community, in Cyber-space as well, and believe we can all grow from one another. 🙂 I love it when we can all share what God is doing in our lives. Shoot me an email. 🙂

  2. Ah Jennifer…you really are a conduit for God’s word…sometimes the words are yours and sometimes the words come from a guest writer…but the words that come through your blog move me again and again. Today, this blog is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you.

  3. Audrey, I love hearing how you’re deciding to put action to the way God is nudging you! And I love your focus on obedience and trying not to get lost in the “big picture.”

    I’d also add, small steps are great, but I think it is the very act of obedience that leads to success. We only see one part of the picture, but God sees deep into the heart. He also sees well down the road. We may give up a thousand mornings sitting with a single mom struggling to raise her kids.

    Perhaps at the end of those thousand mornings she moves, and we’ve never seen “progress” or change. But what we don’t know is, perhaps our thousand mornings did great work inside that ladies heart, a work that God will send someone else to build on. Then perhaps He’ll send someone else to build on that, until one day the sweet woman is connects all those mornings and people to Jesus and opens wide her heart to His salvation and grace.

    That, I believe, is when obedience can be hard–when we don’t really “see” the impact or results. And that’s when, like you said, we need to keep taking those steps. 🙂

    I must say, Audrey, your series of comments blessed me beyond measure this evening.

    So I can pray *with* you via cyber-space. 😉 ..

    Holy Father, I thank you for Audrey’s tender heart toward You and the things of You. I pray that You keep her in the palm of Your hand and show her, each day, what You would have her do. And for each step of obedience she takes, I pray You would bless her abundantly. In the name of Your precious and victorious Son, Amen.

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