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.

Reaching Out to the Broken

We’ve all had times when the world seems to be pressing down on us. When we receive tragic news and are in desperate need of comfort. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and rescues those whose spirits are crushed” (NLT).

God sees every tear we cry and, amidst our pain, reaches down to comfort us–most often through His children.  Today author Sandra Robbins shares a touching and courageous story of how God used her to bring comfort to a precious woman facing the unimaginable.

Reaching Out on an Airport Shuttle by Sandra Robbins

People who know me find it hard to believe that I am really a rather reserved person. I have never had trouble standing before an audience to speak or to sing. In college I received a degree in music with the piano as my major instrument, and I have never feared playing in front of large groups. The problem for me has always been the one-on-one experience when I must put myself out there to another person. I am very private and don’t share my thoughts easily even though I encourage others to do that with me.

So when it comes to reaching out to another individual I find myself out of my comfort zone. A few years ago, though, I had an experience where God urged me to respond to someone I didn’t even know but who was evidently suffering.

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.

A man sat beside her, his arm around her shoulder, and she shook with sobs as she stared at a picture in her hand. I was stunned to find someone in so much agony sitting in the midst of so much merriment. Although I tried to look away, something made me reach out and touch her knee. When she looked up, I said, “Is there something I can pray for you about?”

Fresh tears streamed down her face. “Yes, please,” she said. “My sixteen-year-old daughter was in a wreck on her way to school this morning when the car her boyfriend was driving skidded on some ice and hit a tree. She’s not expected to live, and I’m trying to get to her.” She held out her hand. “This is her picture.”

I stared down at the face of a beautiful young girl in a cheerleader uniform, and my heart broke for this mother. As I began to offer up my prayer for this young girl, we arrived at the terminal, and the mother was off the bus almost before it stopped. I caught a glimpse out the window of her running toward the terminal door.

I don’t know who she was, where she lived, or if her daughter did indeed die. The only thing I do know is that God nudged me to reach out to a stranger who needed comfort, and I obeyed. It was enough that she went with the knowledge that a stranger prayed for her in her time of need. I still think of her often and pray she has peace in her life.

My Book

            I’m really excited about my new historical romance Angel of the Cove, the first book in the Smoky Mountains Dreams Series, that released August 1. It’s 1894, and new opportunities are available for young women who want to become nurses. Anna Prentiss’s dream of becoming a student at Bellevue Hospital in New York and working in their maternity ward after graduation depends on the report concerning her abilities that her family gets from a legendary mountain midwife in the Smoky Mountains.

Anna is determined to prove herself as she travels to Cades Cove, Tennessee, a remote valley in the mountains, to assist a midwife who practices under primitive conditions, but she hasn’t counted on meeting Simon Martin, a mountain preacher who grieves his own lost dreams. She has withstood her family’s objections to going to New York, but she never expected her heart would also become her adversary.

As attraction between the two grows, Anna is determined nothing will keep her from her goal, and Simon fears he is losing his new dream of having Anna stay in the Cove with him. Will they continue to dwell on their personal desires, or can they surrender their futures to God and allow Him to make them one heart that is responsive to His will?

But it here!

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town where she grew up. Until a few years ago she was working as an elementary school principal, but God opened the door for her to become a full-time writer.  Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. Since Sandra is a Southerner by birth, she enjoys setting her historical romance and romantic suspense books in both the past and present-day South. To find out more about Sandra and her books go to http://sandrarobbins.net or send her an email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net

Thanks to August’s 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 Disclosure, and Ann Lee Miller with Kicking Eternity.
Do you have a Reach Out story to share? Send it to me at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com. Authors, agents, and publishers, if you have a book you’d like to donate to my Reach Out Campaign, shoot me an email at the same address.

Author Shout-out

One of these days I should post a list of my favorite books. There’s been plenty. Today I want to give a shout out to Sandra Robbins, highlighting one of her fabulous novels, Fatal Disclosure. Sandra has graciously donated to three of my Reach Out gift baskets, and due to my rather spacey spaciness (eloquent wording, I know), I failed to get her latest donation on my August donor’s page. When I became aware of this, I shot her an apology email, and of course, being the amazingly gracious woman she is, she wasn’t upset in the least. Which is why I felt compelled to highlight her novel here.

I hope you will join me in honoring this beautiful woman of Christ, not only for her continual generosity and grace, but also for her commitment to write Christ’s message, woven throughout her stories. You can do this by sharing a link to this page on FB or twitter, by popping by her blog and becoming a subscriber, or by buying her book. (Make sure to check out her other novels. You can find them listed on her website.)

 

 

 

Fatal Disclosure:

When a gunshot victim dies in front of Betsy Michaels, his last words make her a killer’s next target. The undercover agent investigating the murder is none other than Mark Webber, the man who’d broken her heart. Now she has to trust him with her life.

Mark feels duty bound to protect Betsy from the drug smugglers responsible for his partner’s death. Yet every time he looks at her, he’s reminded of the choices he made that hurt Betsy to the core. And despite their rekindled attraction, this time the danger isn’t just to their hearts.

 

 

 

 

Make sure to come back Monday to read about how God is using her to reach out to others.

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town where she grew up. Until a few years ago she was working as an elementary school principal, but God opened the door for her to become a full-time writer.  Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. Since Sandra is a Southerner by birth, she enjoys setting her historical romance and romantic suspense books in both the past and present-day South. To find out more about Sandra and her books go to http://sandrarobbins.net or send her an email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net