We lived in Louisiana when Katrina hit and saw first hand the devastation storms can bring, but we saw so much more! We saw communities unite, churches and Christians mobilize, and a blanket of love encompass the area. A short time after Katrina hit, when our city was full of storm refugees, the Billy Graham crusade came through. Storm victims were living in our cities’ churches, surrounded by Christ’s love, and our cities were filled with an influx of caring, serving, giving Christians coming to see the crusade. As I saw people actively demonstrate Christ’s love, I was reminded that even during the storm–especially during the storm–God was there.

Today’s post comes from multi-published author, Cara Putman. When a powerful tornado ravished Joplin, Missouri, God called her to be His hands and feet–to share His love with the hurting. Despite looming deadlines, family commitments, and all the other demands on her time, Cara accepted God’s call. Because of her obedience, many hurting families experienced the love of Christ.


At the end of May 2011 and beginning of June, I tackled a project that grew exponentially. A little idea that took on a force of its own with the help of local media. As a result massive amounts of time disappeared as I collected and sorted boxes and bags of items for Joplin.

After the tornados that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, last year, I’ve been burdened by their horrific paths of destruction. I first asked God what I could do when I saw the horrific images of Alabama. Then the weekend storms hit Joplin. A third of the town…gone.

It’s almost too much to fathom.

But the burden wouldn’t leave. So I kept praying. A donation didn’t seem like enough, though I did that, too. I wanted to do something tangible. Something the kids could participate in like giving of clothes and books to those who have lost everything.

I mentioned an idea to my pastor’s wife, and literally, in twenty-four hours God exploded it into something so much bigger. I love how He does that! Our church is a collection point for material goods to go to a church in Joplin where my pastor’s brother serves as a worship pastor. I sent out a facebook message to 41 friends (don’t you love social networking) and three local churches partnered with us. I worried about how we would transport the goods, and one of those churches had a box truck we used.

So what can we do?
• Pray. I absolutely believe prayer is key.
• Give. There are excellent organizations like Convoy of Hope and Samaritan’s Purse that are on the ground making a difference.
• If you want to help with physical items when a disaster strikes, make sure you work with a church or organization already on the ground there.
• In Joplin, we learned desperately needed items included:
o Baby food
o formula
o diapers
o kids’ clothes from infant on up
o toys and books are welcome too, but think small since we’ll have to transport everything.
o tarps in all shapes and sizes.
o hygiene products — everything from hotel sample sized to full sized

But those needs may change based on the disaster. I refuse to stand paralyzed in the face of disaster. Instead, I choose to do something and be the hands and feet of Christ to those in desperate need.


Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life.

An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy.

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey. Learn more at: http://www.caraputman.com, http://blog.caraputman.com, http://www.facebook.com/caraputman, http://www.twitter.com/cara_putman, and http://www.pinterest.com/caraputman.

A Wedding Transpires in Mackinac Island:

Attorney Alanna Stone vowed long ago to avoid Mackinac Island. Although it may seem the perfect place to heal, for Alanna it holds too many memories of a painful past.

But an exhausting high profile case and an urgent plea from her parents have brought Alanna home. Moving into the house next to Jonathan Covington doesn’t help her. Jonathan may have been her first love, but he was also her first lesson in betrayal. Now Alanna must protect her privacy and her heart. Then Secrets and a murder intersect, and she’s thrust into controversy again as tragedy turns public opinion against her and potentially her family.

For years, Jonathan has stubbornly resisted the urging of his family and friends to date, believing he’s already found the perfect woman. With Alanna’s return, he begins to wonder if he’s waited too long for someone who isn’t the right one after all.

We are to be Christ’s hands and feet, His instruments of love to a hurting world. Can you share a time when God called you to reach out to someone experiencing great loss or trial? Or perhaps you were the one struggling, and God loved you through others. Share your story here so we can all rejoice in God’s merciful, ever-reaching love.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free book, and submit your “Reach Out” story for a chance to win a gift basket.

April’s donors include Mary Ellis with An Amish Family Reunion, Deborah Raney with Almost Forever, Cara Putman with A  Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island, Vannetta Chapman with Falling to Pieces, Rebecca Lyles with Winds of Wyoming, and Gina Holmes with Dry as Rain. (Read more about all these great books here, and show your appreciating by clicking on their names to visit their websites.)

When we lived in Southern California, I attended a gym. Fitness facilities in this area are unique to say the least. I think many gym members came to find dates, others came to show off their plastic surgery, and others, well… I never could quite figure out their reasons. Surrounded by such superficiality masking such deep pain, I began to use this time to pray. As I did, I felt God calling me to pray with one of the members in particular. But surely not! I didn’t know this person! I must have heard God wrong. So instead of obeying, I delayed, asking for clarification. This went on for some time, me looking for that giant neon sign that said, “Yes, Jennifer, pray with my child.” And then we moved, and I regret not following through. 

Today’s post comes from a fellow ACFW author, Sandy Nadeau. As you read about how God nudged her to be His hands and feet, think about how He might be wanting to do the same through you. Because if we truly are His hands and feet, we need to get moving. 

When God nudges

Years ago while I was in a local store, I passed by an aisle noticing out of the corner of my eye, a young gal all goth’ed up. Beyond what most Goths did for makeup and dress. I got an overwhelming sense of….almost evil radiating from her. It stopped me in my tracks. I backed up, looked down the aisle at her and felt goose bumps rise up on my skin. My pulse and heart rate went up. I just felt so unsettled. I knew God was nudging me that I had to pray for her and do it now.

I made like I was looking at cards and began an earnest prayer for this young gal’s soul. To get out of whatever she was involved in. The prayer went directions I wouldn’t have known, so I knew the Holy Spirit was involved. But the feelings inside of me were of a true battle going on. The more I prayed, the more I felt a pulling trying to get me to move on, to stop. I did all I could to keep my feet planted where I was. My brow began to sweat. It was many strange sensations as I tried to stand in the gap for this girl.

The feelings that crawled all over me, felt consuming, eerie, I prayed harder. It was only minutes, but I felt like I was transported somewhere else as I prayed. Then it was over, I had no more words. I looked at her one last time then moved on. I’ve never forgotten her. I can trust that God did something for her that day. And I still pray for her.

 Sandy Nadeau is a writer of inspirational adventure fiction stories sprouting from her own adventures around Colorado. Sometimes she just has to write about true experiences however. Sandy has been writing for over twenty-five years with twelve years as a columnist for a local newspaper, a few articles have been published in national magazines; she does all the publicity for her church along with a self-published book about her church’s history. Her heart is for writing fiction now, but life’s experiences and adventures are on her blog. She’s been married to her best friend for thirty-five years, has one daughter and a great dog named Gus.

Visit her website, www.SandyNadeau.com, and blog, www.SandyNadeau.blogspot.com, to find out more about her and her writing.


Today Kimberly Zweygardt talks about the balance between being God’s hands and feet and sitting at His feet. For me, this is a daily struggle and one I’ll likely never master. In my life, the answer comes from awareness and intentional living.

Learning to Be-Do by Kimberly Zweygardt

For many, the lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are over and life is back to schedules. School schedules and homework and sporting events and did someone just send me a message with a countdown clock to Christmas? Can it be?

I wanted a summer where I kicked back in the recliner while the ceiling fan rifled the pages of a really good book. Instead my hubby injured his shoulder at the beginning of May. Our summer consisted of doctor’s visits and him being busier than a one-armed paper hanger in a wall paper factory trying to get everything done before his surgery on August 15th.  Not what I’d envisioned for the lazy days of summer.

And then there was the ever-changing Kansas weather. We had unprecedented rain causing a prolonged harvest and muggy temperatures clinging doggedly to the 100 degree mark for weeks. My dreams of frosty iced tea sipping and lazily flipping pages disappeared like the cool morning in the 100 degree heat as my hubby and I worked together to keep up with our very busy lives.

No time for reading a good book! And there are some great Christian fiction selections out there. So many books…..so little time for someone who loves to read, yet knows there are other more important things to do in life. It’s just all so serious, you know.

So how did you spend your summer? Are you someone who has a summer “to do” list of keeping up the house and summer projects or do you hit vacation mode as soon as the thermometer creeps up and you flip the calendar page to June?

I’m a little of both and this summer more than ever I struggled to find the balance between all I wanted to do and all I needed to do. As usual, I struggled with the “should’s”–all the things that a woman like me should do. I should schedule date nights with my husband. I should have a spotless house. I should set aside a time to connect with friends. I should lose 10 or 20 or 30 lbs and eat right and exercise every day. I should read my Bible at least 30 minutes a day and pray 30 minutes a day and ……you get the picture.

The common denominator in those things is they’re all about the doing and less about the being.

Have you asked yourself about that lately? What is it that Christ asks of us? Is it running around doing, doing, doing? Or is He calling us to come away to just be with Him?

Don’t get me wrong. I know we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to go and do likewise.  So what was it that Jesus did?

He healed the sick. Gave to the poor. Touched the lepers. Hugged the children. Spent time with His Father so He knew what the Father would have Him do at every moment. And He rested. His life was filled with love and laughter. He didn’t strive. He lived in the moment. He loved the Father and He loved people. He calls us to do likewise.

Quite different from my “to do” list where it is all about a religious life check list instead of time with the Father. God may want me to do some of the things on my list, but I’ll never know that if I don’t spend time with Him.

In my quiet time, He brought me back to Matthew 6:25: “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

I realized this summer that I spend a lot of time thinking about those things….”What should I fix for supper? What should we eat? Is it good for me? Is it fattening? Do these pants make me look fat?”

Wow. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Jesus goes on to say that idolaters seek those things even though the Father knows we need them. Instead He calls us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these things will be provided for us.

It’s an upside down Kingdom. He wants us to be His followers. He wants us to be holy. He wants us to be in His Kingdom. But we don’t get that through the doing of good works.  We get it through being adopted into the family of God through Jesus.

And then comes the doing. Out of the overflow of His love, we love others. Out of our gratitude for all He has done, we do for those He loves.

It is the perfect counterpoint for feeling like I didn’t get enough done during the not-so-lazy days of summer. So this fall, I’ve decided not to be a good Do-Be as Miss Fran asked us to be on Romper Room. Instead, I’m going to look for ways to love God and love people. I’ll be a Be-Do instead! Being His Beloved. Being His Child. And out of the overflow of that love where He first loved me, I’ll do some things that are good for me and my hubby and those He has given me to love in my world.

How about it? Want to Be-Do with me?



BIO: Kimberly Zweygardt is a Christ follower, wife, mother, writer, blogger, dramatist, worship leader, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, a fused glass artist and a taker of naps. She has been published in The Rocking Chair Reader anthology, the Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series on Heart Disease, and Rural Roads magazine as well as numerous blogs and Web-zines. She is the author of Stories from the Well and Ashes to Beauty: The Real Cinderella Story. For more information: www.kimzweygardt.com

BIO: Kimberly Zweygardt is founder of Lamplight Ministries whose purpose is to “illuminate Scripture through drama.” She has performed her first person accounts of the women who met Jesus throughout the United States.  Kim is the author of Stories from the Well: Splashes of Living Water in the Desert of Life and Ashes to Beauty: The Real Cinderella Story. She has been published in The Rocking Chair Reader anthology, the Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series on Heart Disease, and Rural Roads magazine as well as numerous blogs and Web-zines. For more information: www.kimzweygardt.com

What about you? How do you find that balance between offering your body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) and abiding in Christ (John 15:4)?

I don’t get much sleep in the spring. As a relative newbie to the midwest, when those thunderstorm warnings come, my mind jumps to tornadoes and I spend the night scanning weather sites. My husband, on the other hand, could sleep through anything. Most times, there’s no problem with this, but one spring when a rather tumultuous storm hit, there he lay, in bed, unmoving.

Me? I freaked, and nagged and prodded and pulled. Eventually I got my family down to the basement where we spent the rest of the night. Although on my husband’s end, I think he wanted to seek shelter from me more than the storm. He probably figured, this woman’s not going to leave me alone so if I want to sleep…

Imagine his surprise the next morning as we drove our daughter to school to see roofs torn off and windows shattered. Turns out, the tornado swept through an area ten miles from our home. “See!” I said, making sure my husband saw every bit of devastation. “That could have been us. Next time when the news says to seek shelter, will you please listen?”

He assured me he would…but then midnight, or one am or two am rolls around and he’s tucked in his comfortable bed. Clinging to dream-land, it’s easier to dismiss the warnings.

As Christians, we have this same tendency. It’s easy to stay in our cozy little areas of comfort, with the blankets tucked up under our chin. We know Jesus is returning, we know life is short, storms will come, wars will rage. Cognitively, we know many will pass into eternity today. We know they will go one of two places. We know the reality of eternity without Christ, yet still we lie in bed, believing the lie that we have all the time in the world.

A couple of weeks ago, funnel clouds swept through our area and the tornado sirens went off. I was in the basement exercising and listening to Pandora, pretty much clueless, until I received a text message from our daughter. “I’m in the locker room but I’m okay.” My heart raced and my stomach lurched. I ran upstairs and stood, in a darkened kitchen. If you’ve been in a storm, you know what I mean. It’s almost eerie how well thick clouds can block out the sun. After grabbing our two dogs and a container of water, I dashed back to the basement to pray. There’s nothing worse than being separated from your child during a potentially dangerous situation.

But as I prayed, for her and my husband’s protection, deep peace washed over me. If something were to happen, I knew where they’d go. Obviously, I prayed they’d stay on earth for as long as possible, but I received great comfort in knowing–not speculating, but knowing–their eternal destiny.

This was a very tangible reminder to me of the importance of sharing the gospel message–of living the gospel message–at every moment.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (NIV)

The Bible tells us today is the day of salvation. We are told to be awake and sober, ready to make the most of every opportunity for the days are evil. Live life in engaged mode. I have no idea when “the end” will come. Every generation since the time of Christ believed they were it, and yet here we are. But I do know the end will come for someone. I also know I have been given the message of reconciliation.

So what am I going to do today that will have an eternal impact? How can I be the hands and feet of Jesus today? 

The Bible tells us that God is sovereign. He chooses the time and place for each of us to live. There’s a reason you’re where you are right now, in this decade, in that neighborhood, working that job, participating in that club. Before you settle for the mundane, spend some time in God’s presence and ask Him what He’d like you to do in your sphere.

Then commit to obey. I can tell you, your life will be anything but boring. And if you really want to feel God’s love pulsating through you, then do His work.