Balance and Our Sure Route to Peace — Guest Blog

sunset on a lake with text on surrendering our schedules to God

We weren’t meant to live stressed out, depleted lives. We all must manage difficult and demanding responsibilities on occasion, but our seasons of busyness should be precisely that–seasons. If we’re constantly rushing about, always checking and rearranging our to-do lists to squeeze one more task or one more minute in our days, and especially if this has become a lifestyle, we’ve likely taken on assignments God never intended. Not only will this hinder us from pursuing what He has, but, as my guest today reminds us, it’ll also rob us of peace and joy.

And make sure to read to the end, because she’s doing a crazy fun giveaway to celebrate her debut release!

The Elusiveness of Balance

By Jennifer Hallmark

Tired again. I trudged through the house with another load of laundry on one hip and a grand-young ‘un on the other. I didn’t feel as if I could make the effort to finish my day, take a shower, and fall in the bed. But I had to. A deadline approached and I had much to do the next morning.

How did I fall back into this trap of twirling a hundred plates? Again?

I needed balance, something I’ve pursued in the past. I’ve sought it in my relationships, schedule, and work. Without it, I burn out over and over. Yet somehow I found myself there again.

My last year has been unbelievably stressful but things are working out. My mental and emotional stability isn’t perfect but it’s beyond what I believed it could or should have been.

Through it all, I’m learning what balance is and isn’t.

It’s not:

  1. Me figuring out how to organize my work, play, and duty so I have time for it all.
  2. Meals, bedtime, and worktime at planned intervals every day.
  3. Everything going smoothly and without crisis.

I sought those things for years. Order. My introverted, melancholy, perfectionist world to run as I desired. Then I’d experience joy, happiness, and rest.

But I’ve experienced joy in difficult and stressful situations and have felt depressed when I should’ve been happy. Order is nice but provides no long-term, life-changing effects. I find satisfaction checking things off my to-do list satisfies but not to the degree I need.

True balance can only come from God—as we align our lives with Him and His will.

He is…

  1. Omnipotent: all powerful.
  2. Omnipresent: always present.
  3. Omniscient: all knowing.

These facets of God enable me to find true balance. Schedules, lists, and order are helpful but can be, in themselves, unsteady. I’ve studied the Bible, prayed, and gone to Surrender is acknowledging God is God and we are not--imagechurch. This helps gain wisdom but since I’m not any of the “omnis” above, my interpretation and control is limited.

The solution: I hand my plans to God. I draw closer to Him and remain in relationship with Him. I talk, listen, then talk and listen some more. Then I take a step, listen, and take another step. I stop merely “going through the motions” and surrender my control, which I have very little of anyway.

When I feel anxious, instead of attempting to solve whatever I’m facing in my wisdom and strength, Scripture encourages me to turn to God. Philippians 4:6-7 says:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (ESV).

In other words, when life feels stressful and demanding, we draw close to the Father, tell Him about our day, good and bad, love Him, and present our requests. We praise Him for all He’s done and provided. Then we sit and await His reply. When we sense His guidance, we move forward in faith. We believe He’ll give us enough light to follow.

Living this way leads to emotional and mental steadiness. God knows my energy level and the time I have. He’ll help me spend each wisely. He’ll help me manage all I must get done, whether that’s finishing the laundry or typing another article. Me taking time to breathe, pray, and listen, not checking off lists, makes all the difference.

Balance—and peace—rests in our relationship with God, one where we daily seek out our Father’s voice. Surrender can feel scary but it leads to deeper intimacy with God—and the peace and stability we all long for.

The old expression rings true.

Let go and let God.

He longs to take our hand and lead the way.

Will we let Him?

***

Let’s talk about this! What area is most difficult for you to surrender? How might remembering all God’s “omni” qualities help you to relinquish that area to your Savior? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

I also invite you to join me, in person or virtually, at Christ Community Church this evening to learn how to shift from orphan mentality (“Life, or this area, is all up to me; I must retain control”) to living deeply and wholly loved (“God’s got this and me; because He is fully trustworthy, I have no reason to fear and every reason to surrender”). Those who are local can register HERE. The rest of you can pop into Wholly Loved’s Facebook group to watch a live video then engage in discussion after. You can do that HERE. Please note, you’ll need to join our closed FB group first.)

Get to know Jennifer Hallmark!

Jennifer Hallmark's author headshotJennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and has published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, released on June 17th, 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on her two blogs. She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Visit her online at:

www.jenniferhallmark.com

www.inspiredprompt.com 

Jennifer Hallmark, Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

Check out her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope!

Cover image for Jessie's HopeYears ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Buy it on:

Make sure to get in on her fun giveaways!

June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza

June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to her Rafflecopter Page (HERE) to enter the drawings for five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter from all the entries. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st.

Link to Rafflecopter found by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. Blog tour includes:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/Jennifer Slattery

June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction/Me

June 15thInspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens

June 17thAuthor Trish Perry/Trish Perry

June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine

June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma/Liz Tolsma

June 19thInspired Prompt/Betty Thomason Owens

June 21stSnark & Sensibility/Linda Rondeau

June 24thFear Warrior/Jerusha Agen

June 24thJune Foster/June Foster

June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays/Julie Arduini

June 26thSeriously Write/Sandra Ardoin

June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/Cynthia Herron

June 29thThe Write Conversation/Edie Melson

Jennifer Hallmark Launches Our Call to Praise Blog Hop

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Picture by Naypong, taken from freedigitalphotos.net

If you stare at something long enough, whatever it is, that thing will soon distort your vision. Everything, especially the peripheral, becomes blurry. Try it. Or maybe don’t. It might give you a headache. 🙂

Our problems are like that, aren’t they? Yes, they’re real. Yes, they’re hard, and for some of you, incredibly hard; harder than most. And yet, if we focus too long on the problem, the peripheral becomes blurry.

But if we focus on the good, the lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy, peace takes up residence deep in our heart. And this is the reason behind the Call to Praise Blog Hop. Well, that and Christ is absolutely worthy of our praise, regardless of our circumstances.

I’m so excited for this series and the opportunity it will provide to gain deeper insight, through the perspective of others, into what has quickly become one of my favorite Psalms–Psalm 103.

Kicking us off today is my very sweet, Christ-centered friend, Jennifer Hallmark.A Call to Praise icon 2

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

By Jennifer Hallmark

Winter will soon be over. Warm, sunny weather is peeking over the horizon, life and newness in its hands. The first months of this year have been good for me and my family in many ways. We received favorable reports on medical tests, job opportunities opened, and we’re all focusing on exercise and healthy eating. I have much to be grateful for, but I don’t always recognize it.

Why?

We all tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive. For me, I don’t recognize the good when…

 

  • I let fear and worry creep in. These attitudes point out every speck on an otherwise clean floor.
  • I expect the worst from people instead of the best. Scripture says to believe the best. (I Corinthians 13:7) I need to focus on the strengths of myself and others instead of the weaknesses.
  • I don’t balance work and rest. When I’m overtired, everything looks difficult and unbearable. When rested, gratitude has a place again.
  • I don’t keep my focus on God and the big picture. When I take my eyes off Him and put them on the problem, the good disappears. I can’t see past the detour or curve in the road. Prayers don’t often have instantaneous answers. I need to focus on Him and patiently wait.

It’s time for me to adopt an attitude of gratitude. My friend, Joyce, gave me a happy journal. I’m using it to write my blessings and things that make me happy. When life is tough, I can take a glimpse in my journal and remember.

And be grateful.

 

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Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines and been part of two book compilations, A Dozen Apologies, and Sweet Freedom A La Mode. She is currently shopping her contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide. She’s contributed to two compilations, one that will release in June with Write Integrity Press called Unlikely SF Front CoverMerger and a non-fiction compilation releasing in the summer called  Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. 

Visit her online at Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. Keep up to day with her and her writing by subscribing to her monthly newsletter at her author page. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. For fun, she loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! What are some ways you center yourself in praise? Have you done that when going through a particularly anxious or difficult time, and if so, how has it helped? There are countless ways to praise Christ, and today, Jennifer shared one–maintaining an attitude of gratitude. What are some things you are most grateful for?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

And make sure to visit our next stop in the Call to Praise Blog Hop on March 9 when Sarah Ruut will visit Carol McClain’s  to share her thoughts on what it means to praise God will ALL that we are.

 

Like a Moth to a Flame…

IMG_7480Pause to consider your circle. Have you surrounded yourself with others who are just like you? When was the last time you reached out to a nonbelieving neighbor or initiated conversation with a stranger? Sound frightening? Maybe. But remember, Christ has not given us a spirit of fear! Today my sweet friend, Jennifer Hallmark, shares her thoughts on what it means to walk as children of light.

A Candle in the Dark

By Jennifer Hallmark

photo by photoexplorer

photo by photoexplorer

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children…For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” Ephesians 5:1,8 NKJV

Are we imitators of God? To walk as children of light means to radiate a positive, Christ-like attitude toward people in your family, community, and world. One former pastor preached several sermons on being a light in the dark, not in a room already lit by many candles.

Every Sunday and Wednesday at churches all over the world, buildings are lit with many lights. While it is important to fellowship with other believers, our ministry should extend beyond this. My candle is a nice addition to our church, but when I take my candle out into a dark area, it becomes much more important. Our light is Christ’s love and grace revealed in us. We need to point people to the ultimate light, Jesus Christ.

People are drawn to light. Notice the way cars congregate under the only street light near a store. Light attracts and the light given to us when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior should attract interest, at least.

Why do we seek jobs and neighborhoods among Christians? We’re much more comfortable and less fearful being a light in a room full of lights. Are we afraid of the dark? God calls us to be light where there is little to no light. Volunteering at local shelters or soup kitchen is one way to shine in the darkness. St. Francis of Assisi said ‘All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.’ Are we willing to love people where they are, even if we are the only candle in sight? We can ask God to help us to be willing and fight through any fear we might have.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (NKJV).

No more hiding our light under baskets or among other lights. It’s time to toss our comfort level to one side and step out. We needn’t fear anymore, for the Holy Spirit will strengthen us to do whatever God calls us to do. Someone is walking on a dark path in your world. They need the comfort we can bring and the true light to their path; Jesus. Will you be the one to shine and point the way?

***

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines and been part of two book compilations, A Dozen Apologies, and Sweet Freedom A La Mode. She is currently shopping her contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide. She’s contributed to two compilations, one that will release in June with Write Integrity Press called Unlikely Merger and a non-fiction compilation releasing in the summer called  Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. 

Visit her online at Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. Keep up to day with her and her writing by subscribing to her monthly newsletter at her author page. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. For fun, she loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! What are you doing to share the light of Christ? What is one thing you can do today to bring light into a dark situation? Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Red Lights, Detours, and Closed Roads

Ispontaneous I’m not. To put it mildly. I love lists and ten-to-twenty year plans with each step of the journey mapped out. Funny how life has a way of turning my game plan upside down. Or should I say, it’s glorious how God has a way of turning my best-laid plans upside down, because from red light to detour, He’s continually reminding me, it’s not up to me. Praise God for that!

JenHToday my very dear friend, Jennifer Hallmark, shares her thoughts on closed roads and detours, reminding us to keep our eyes above the smog.

Red Lights, Detours, and Closed Roads by Jennifer Hallmark

 

Have you ever been late for an appointment? Me too. At times, I haven’t given myself time to drive the distance, but this wasn’t my fault. I ran into red lights, detours, and closed roads.

My daughter had a follow-up doctor appointment after an ER visit. We left in time to arrive at the specialist, an hour and ten minute trip.

We drove through Decatur, getting stopped at every red light. Then came road construction and we were detoured into one lane. Twenty minutes to drive two miles. My daughter called the doctor to mention we’d be late. The receptionist told her if we were more than fifteen minutes late, we’d have to reschedule. I hurried when I could, and made up for lost time on the interstate. We were at exit seven when I saw the sign. Exit closed. Mandy called her husband and he said take exit nine. We could still make it.

After we took exit nine, we had no idea how to get to the doctor’s office. As I drove the main strip, nothing appeared familiar. Three calls to the receptionist later, we found the office, twenty minutes late. They let us keep our appointment. Whew!

As we sat in the waiting room, I penned this article. My daughter rolled her eyes, but hey, why waste a stressful moment when you can write about it?

How many times have we been headed in the right direction, but ran into red lights, detours, and closed roads? Red road-closed-sign-2-1003255-mlights are times when we try to push through, only to stop. Go. Stop. Go.

You sign up to volunteer in the nursery on Sunday. The first day, you and the children are blessed. The next day you’re on the schedule, you wake up with the stomach virus, stay home and battle guilt. The next time your own child has the stomach virus. You ponder. Am I supposed to volunteer? The doubts begin. This is a red light, not a closed road. Go ahead and pray, but stay committed. Don’t quit the nursery because it’s too hard.

Detours happen. A lane is closed. You are pointed to an unfamiliar road around the construction. I don’t like unfamiliar roads, so my reaction can be fear. Should I turn around and go home?

The co-worker you carpool with changes jobs, so you need a new rider. She mentions another lady, but you don’t know her. A detour. Don’t let fear keep you from making a new friend and the possibility of sharing your faith.

A closed road can cause you to re-evaluate your destination. Can I still get there? We can’t imagine another way, so we quit and head home. Stop. The new way could lead to something better. Remember exit nine? On traveling this way, I noticed the place we hold our writer’s meetings and a new avenue to arrive there. The closed exit became an unexpected blessing.

I wrote a story for a Christian magazine, then it shut down. I held onto the story until a new door opened through a compilation of short stories. The projected magazine story would become part of a book.

The next time you encounter a red light, detour, or closed road, don’t despair. It might be God’s way of leading you to His purpose and plan for you.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9, NKJV).

A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVERA Dozen Apologies:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job than she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

The twelve authors contributing to this project are: Elizabeth Noyes, Fay Lamb, Marji Laine, Jerusha Agen, Theresa Anderson, Patricia M. Dyer, Jennifer Hallmark, Paulette Harris, Betty Owens, Phee Paradise, Debbie Roome, Debra Ullrick.

A Dozen Apologies also includes fun bonus materials that give readers an inside glimpse of the heroes, Mara, and the process of writing a collaborative novel.

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Tammy, Don and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! When has a detour or road block turned into a blessing? How might remembering that moment help you during times of struggle or stress? Perhaps your locked in unmoving, bumper to bumper traffic now. If so, what might God be trying to tell you? How might your “stagnation” be a blessing? How might remembering His nature–His love, grace, wisdom, and power–give you peace during chaotic or discouraging times?

Join the conversation here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Don’t Be Discouraged!

Strength in the Struggle

Endurance Training

 

 

Support Sisters

This morning, I’m honored to share a touching story from my sweet sister, Jennifer Hallmark. Parenting is tough. Parenting alone is even harder. There are so many days when faced with a situation I don’t know how to handle, I wait anxiously for my husband to return home so we can prayerfully determine a solution together. And when our daughter was young, I’d wait for my husband to return home so I could have a moment of respite or someone to communicate–on an adult level–with. As you read Jennifer’s story, pause to consider the men and women you know. Might any of them be lonely? In need of support, an encouraging word, or a moment of pampering?

Support Sisters by Jennifer Hallmark

Christmas presents, plates of hotdogs with all the fixings, and children playing and laughing abounded through the small cul-de-sac of a sub-division. Adults and children alike opened presents, excited at newly found treasure. Our church celebrated Christmas with this lane of two-apartment brick homes, occupied mostly with single mothers and their children, and widows. The ladies and their children found a place in our hearts after the initial visit, so our women’s ministry group brainstormed on ways to further help. How could we connect with these ladies to extend the outreach past New Years and the lifespan of the gifts?

Support Sisters. In the past, our church ladies participated in Secret Sisters, where we would draw each other’s names and secretly send cards and gifts for an extended period of time. Support Sisters was a play on this concept. This time we would reach outside the church walls. Our sisters would be the precious ladies in the sub-division.

Our first step was to garner support from the ladies in the church, then go door-to-door within the cul-de-sac and find who was interested. If a lady showed interest, she filled out an informational sheet so her Support Sister from church could send cards, pay a visit, or phone to see how she was doing. We invited all the Support Sisters to church functions and especially to all women’s events. Ten ladies from the complex signed up and we paired ladies, considering their age and common interests. An initial visit ensued where the new friends took time to meet, which led to visits, calls, and several of these special ladies attending women’s events and even regular church services. We found several women to be Christians who’d lost connection with any church and needed a friend who wouldn’t judge them.

A favorite event that many of our new friends attended was a day spa specifically for single women we offered one Saturday. The women in the women’s ministry provided haircuts, [my daughter and a fellow cosmetologist volunteered their services], manicures, and pedicures. It took the concept of “foot washing” to a new level! We offered snacks and ended the day with makeovers and pictures.

We continued the outreach for a year. Apartments like these have a large turnover as ladies married or were able to move to better housing. Still, lives were affected for the good in the short time, not only for our new friends, but ourselves. We learned to push past our comfort zone and share the love of Christ with others.

Can a year make a difference? Women’s lives were changed by a group of ladies willing to push past the limits of a normal outreach activity…

Jennifer Hallmark is a writer of southern fiction and women’s ministry consultant. She has a website, http://www.jenniferhallmark.com and shares a writer’s reference blog, http://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.blogspot.com. Her first novel in the trilogy, Journey of Grace: A New Beginning is currently searching for a good home. Jennifer resides with husband Danny in Alabama and loves her family, dog Max and coffee shops, in no particular order.

You can read her previous post on revolutionizing our world with the love of Christ here.

Reach Out Recap–Five Months of Love

Today I close the fifth month of Reach Out stories–of reading how God’s children across the nation are actively sharing the love of Christ. You’re at park benches, on subways, reaching out to the homeless, the orphan, and the felon. With each encounter, each authentic display of love, you are revealing the nature of Christ. In today’s world with so many political battle lines and carelessly spoken words, Christ’s image often gets tainted. But life by life, as each one of us reaches out to someone else and allows God to love them through us, we help others see Christ as He truly is–filled with a passionate, initiating love–a love that drew Him to the cross.

I loved this month’s reach out stories, each one for different reasons.

I loved Vona Elkins Bankson’s story because it demonstrated an important truth–one we must not only remember but actively live out. Our church is our family. We’re a unit. When one member hurts, every member hurts. It is important that we reach out to one another within our church body as much, if not more, than we reach out to those outside it. When we sit in the pews and watch the others sit around us, may we always remember they are our sisters, our brothers, fathers and mothers.

Here’s a snippet of her story, Lives Intertwined.

“Recently the Young Adult men’s Sunday school class led by Rodger Nix, heard of a young couple with many needs who had moved into the community. The father was battling cancer; the mother was working alongside him in a tree grinding business trying to eke out a living for them and their four-year old daughter. …” (Read more here.)

I loved Jennifer Hallmark’s story for two reasons. First, it reminded me that the church body exists beyond our church walls as well and includes all who love Jesus Christ. It also reminded me we can serve where ever we are. Often we think we have to wait until our church starts a program or ministry, but if God’s laid something on your heart, follow through. There are countless ways to serve each day. Find one and jump in! And like Jennifer says, become a revolutionary–someone who inspires others to love and greatness.

Here’s a portion of her story, Be a Revolutionary:

“Are you a revolutionary? Encarta Dictionary has two definitions I like: “causing, supporting, or advocating revolution” and “so new and different as to cause a major change in something.” We can start a “revolution” in our circle of influence through outreach.” (Read the rest here.)

Sandra Robbin’s testimony of a time when she reached out to a broken woman on the subway touched me deeply because I’ve been that woman. I’ve never feared losing a child, but I’ve had times where I’ve been broken, longing for support or comfort. (I suspect we all have at some point.) I’ve also been on the other end. I’ve been in a crowded area–the airport, the grocery store, a restaurant–and have seen others distraught. Most often, I’ve walked away, not knowing what to do. Sandra reminded me sometimes the best thing we can do is offer to pray with that person.

Here’s a portion of her story, Reaching Out to the Broken:

“I was excited that day as I arrived at the airport to fly to Texas for a visit with my daughter’s family. But I wasn’t as excited as were the men on the packed shuttle bus that picked me up in parking lot. Since this was during March Madness, I knew right away from their clothing and their boisterous voices that they were on their way to a basketball game. I squeezed past the ones standing in the aisle and reached a bench that ran along the side of the bus. I sat down, my knees almost touching a woman sitting on the bench facing me. …” (Read more here.)

I’d love to hear from you. What did God say to you through these posts? Which one impacted you most, and why? Tell us about it in the comments. Would you like to read more Reach Out stories? Or is there perhaps another topic you’d like to see addressed? Let me know. 🙂

And again, I want to give a huge shout out of thanks to all my August Reach Out donors:

Eddie Snipes with I Called Him Dancera novel quite fitting for this campaignJoAnn Durgin with Second Time AroundEileen Rife with Second Chanceanother novel with an outreach focus; Sandra Robbins with Fatal Disclosureand Ann Lee Miller with Kicking Eternity.