I’ve always dreamed about sitting in a café or coffee house with my laptop and working on the next bestselling American novel. Tonight, I took advantage of a couple hours to turn this into a reality. No, I didn’t work on the next best seller (or maybe I did, only God knows) but I did enjoy some DD with the buzz of chatter around me, the aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee, and the clickety-click of my fingers on the keyboard. Thankfully I didn’t set a word goal before starting, although I may in the future. With my notebook open, lap top warmed up, and coffee in a perpetual IV…the writing began.
In less than five minutes an elderly couple sat at the table right next to mine, not at any of the eight empty tables at Dunkin, but at the one directly next to me. It’s probably there table by the way the staff talked with them. I smiled, extended a “Hello, how are you?”. Let’s just say, I didn’t accomplish a stellar word count written and saved on my sequel BUT I did have my heart opened and humbled.
They asked if I was doing homework. I chuckled and explained I was taking advantage of some free time to write, working on the sequel to Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey. This opened the door to share my faith. Through our conversation, I learned the woman has a children’s book out, she is just starting her journey. I found this so inspiring. We talked about book signings and how I “beat the pavement” to get the word out. It was a wonderful conversation, it made me miss my own grandparents.
They commented on my hand written notes in my notebook. I explained I still like to hand write my chapters before typing. My elder smiled and shared why she types, because it’s easier. Talk about a little role reversal, or generation reversal anyway. Moments of silence between our conversations were common. They enjoyed talking with each other and then randomly pulled me in with thoughts, questions, and insight.
God opened my heart to hear their life’s greatest loss, their daughter was killed at the age of ten. The tremble in his voice as he went back to that day to share it with me brought tears to my eyes, and to each of their own eyes. More than thirty years later, and in an instant, both were back to the day their sweet ten year old was killed and taken from their lives…but not their hearts. Heidi will be missing twenty years on April 3, 2014. This couple showed me that regardless of how many years pass after a tragic loss, or any loss, the pain and grief are just as real decades later.
I fought back tears each time they shared and my heart broke for them, yet rejoiced with them too. Both believe in God and have a relationship with Jesus and shared how they KNOW they’ll see their daughter again, as they enter heaven. We talked about how encouraging it is to trust God, when the world and life would discourage us. What is getting them through each day, their hope and knowledge of seeing their daughter again one day.
They remember the woman who held their daughter while she breathed her last breath. With tears in their eyes, “She wasn’t alone when she passed, and she isn’t alone now.” They know without a shadow of doubt where there girl is. This still chokes me up. I’m glad I paused from my writing and enjoyed their conversation. I did return to my writing more often than I should but I used my writing to keep me from crying.
As they left I told the woman, “I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for sharing with me.” With tears in both eyes and drip marks down her cheeks, she smiled with a “Thank you.” And they turned and walked out the door.
Loss leaves a forever imprint on our hearts…one day, when we trust God…we will be reunited.
The best things happen over coffee...share an experience!
After a recent doctor's visit, we dropped off a prescription to be filled. The "yes" answers to prayer are abundant with this situation.
First and foremost, God provided a diagnosis and reason for the medical condition.
Second, He provided a team of doctors willing to use both a holistic and modern medicine approach at the same time.
Third, only four pharmacies in New York make this new prescription medication my loved one needs - one of which is the very pharmacy we use.
Fourth, As the first dose is administered tonight - we pray God uses this medicine to heal and release pain, pressure, and future health issues. God gave the wisdom to the developer of this medicine, to the doctors who prescribed it, and we pray there is no allergic reaction and our sweet loved one benefits from this dose the way nature intended.
God ANSWERS ALL PRAYERS - sometimes He says "yes", other times it is "no", and then there are the times He says "not yet". I'm thankful God is answering prayers for the health of a loved one. I pray the medicine He created is used to bless and bring comfort to her body. I pray He says yes.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
Did God say "yes", "no", or "not right now"
~ Friendship ~
Heidi and I, I can hear her saying, "See you later..."
~ Memories ~
Dad holding his girls
~ A Father's Love ~
The flower box made by my parents to remember Heidi throughout the spring and summer as new flowers bloom and grow.
~ Hope Renewed ~
A picture from my wedding day and angel gifted from one of our RMC family members
~ Extended Family ~
Mom holding my hands
~ A Mother's Love ~
From the 1st outdoor tree my parents decorated as a Christmas gift to me a couple years ago
~ Christmas Miracles ~
The last "Stations of the Cross Walk" I did with my mother-in-law, this is my sister-in-law, Rose, carrying the cross that day.
~ Faith ~
Skating with my cousins and Aunt Kit - a flooded field was heaven
~ Family ~
Other books by Lisa M Buske
Amazon.com carries all 4 books - Kindle versions available also
As part of the "Matchbook" feature - you can purchase the print copy and download the Kindle version for $.99
Click on cover photos for a direct link to Amazon.com for more information on each.
The River's End Bookstore
Corner of Route 104 and West 1st Street
19 West Bridge Street
Oswego, New York 13126
(signed copies of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey, When the Waves Subside:
There is Hope, and now No More Pain: I Can Fly)
Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/riversendbookstore
A Touch of Grace Gift Shop
171 West 1st Street
Oswego, NY 13126
(signed copies of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey )
Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Touch-of-Grace/537967486220029
Thank you for remembering Heidi ~ she is never forgotten.
Thank you for reading and sharing my books with others,
may everyone know there is hope!
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Or, maybe, you're thinking I've lost my mind because you've never had such a crummy day that you felt like the piece of wood above. Regardless of your personal experience with feeling beat up and put down, I challenge you to read this blog and act on it.
My parents heat their house with a wood stove, and there is nothing like wood stove heat. I like it hot, so in the winter I spend quality time helping to keep the stove stoked and burning. Ed stops after work and fills the wood rack so Dad doesn't have to be out in the cold doing it. We enjoy time at my parents, so the wood stove heat is just an excuse, lol, not that we need one.
This past weekend Ed brought in the wood and on the last load in, we just stared at the piece strategically placed on the top. It is split, mangled, and just an ugly piece of wood. It didn't stack well in Ed's arms. It needed to be placed on the floor because we couldn't fill the wood bin or get other pieces off around its awkward jigs and jags. BUT there is still much value to this piece of wood.
Similar to our challenging days, there is always something to be thankful for when we recognize there might be a lesson to learn, better days coming, or a purpose we can't see because we're too focused on the imperfection. Ed could of left this piece of wood in the shed until the end of winter when it was needed but instead, he recognized the value within the rough cut. It's a big piece of wood and will provide a couple hours of heat on this cold winter day.
God looks at us and sees the same thing. Instead of looking at yourself or your circumstances as split, mangled, and ugly...look UP and recognize this is only a season. Look within yourself or ahead to the goal. You have a purpose and God has a plan for your life but until you are looking up, with your eyes fixed on Him ~ you'll only see the current ick of life instead of the beauty and purpose within.
It is only when the whole heart is gripped with the passion of prayer that the life-giving fire descends, for none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God.
Author: E.M. Bounds
You are more than a misshaped piece of wood,
you are one of God's children and have a purpose.
Look beyond the brokenness and move forward,
don't avoid the fire. Face it and let your soul burn for God!
Is it one of rest or do you find yourself working through the lists that didn't get completed during the week? I'm not here to say if your use of time is right or wrong. I only write to encourage you to add a little something to your Sunday routine.
Sunday can be a mixture of work, rest, crossing off items on the list, or a family dinner but one thing that starts our day is a time of worship with our church family.
Do you have a church to call home?
Does your church share the Bible and how it still applies to your life today? I pray it does.
If you don't have a church to call home yet, I encourage you to ask your friends and neighbors where they go ~ the lists and busy schedule don't feel so overwhelming when it starts with a time of worship and teaching, rooted in the Word of God.
Have a great Sunday everyone and I hope you enjoy this song, "Faithful" by Chris Tomlin. Close your eyes and enjoy.
What is one thing you do as a family on Sunday?
Yet, after writing the blog, then posting it...I was released from the bondage of my author envy. Will I struggle with it again, probably, I am human after all BUT my focus and eyes are fixed on the One who blesses, encourages, humbles, loves, inspires, and leads me ~ so instead of living in the "what" and "why" questions, I'll continue to say thank you and lift praises.
Does the graphic give you a clue? This other area of envy is hard to convey without you misunderstanding my heart. If there is ever a time to excel at my writing, it is right now. In case I don't do a good job initially, please read the entire blog before you think ill of me.
On the news daily there are reports of "recovered body", "bones discovered", or "cold case solved". This is exciting stuff! Thanks to new DNA and technologies, cold cases are being solved and unidentified bodies are being identified and returned to their families. Each news heading sharing of a body or bones found heightens my prayers for Heidi, and the missing persons whose families I know personally - especially if its in the area of a loved ones last known whereabouts.
Sometimes I'm praying with the family before the news goes live to the public and others I learn of through news coverage online or the television. For those not directly affected by abduction or kidnapping, you may instantly pray for it to be the missing person the media suggests it could be. Yet as the family, the prayer is not this simple.
There is part of you praying with all your heart for it to be your loved one because this means the "search" aspect of your loved one's disappearance is over and the next part of the journey begins. Then there is the other aspect, praying with an equal amount of strength that it isn't your loved one because then there is still hope, even if it is ever so small, or next to nothing - it's still a hope they are alive. So what do we pray? I can't speak for others but I know personally, my prayer varies and is exhausting. I find myself praying the following Bible verse more often or not:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what
God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that
cannot be expressed in words.
Romans 8:26 NLT
On one level, based on the definition of "envy", I envy the families getting answers when we continue to wait, hope, pray, and wonder.
I envy the other siblings who won't have their parents last words to them be, "Tell your brother/sister we couldn't wait" or "We'll know where he/she is now", before they close their eyes for the last time on earth. I've heard these words from too many family members in the past few years, and the thought that these could be my parents' last words to me, rips at my heart. So yes, I envy the families getting answers.
BUT I also life joyful praises for the family getting the answer to their daily sorry and prayer...thanksgiving and praise for God bringing one of the missing home. I thank God more than I envy the family yet the "why not Heidi" creeps in.
I don't envy the families who have waited weeks before the media learned of the possible match because we too, know the difficulty of this time. There are times the Oswego County Sheriff's have contacted my parents because there is a possible match based on DNA or the age and sex of the bones found. The family is notified first in case there is a match because when there is, it'll be on the news or social medias quicker than the Sheriff could drive to my parent's home. We wait, and wait...and then learn it wasn't Heidi. I find myself thanking God for the family who got answers and then crying because it wasn't Heidi.
So do I envy families getting answers...you decide. Based on the definition, some could argue that I do envy the most precious answered prayer a family of the missing can receive from God yet on a deeper level - I'm thankful it wasn't Heidi because then maybe there is a slim, less than .1% chance I'll see my sister again. But then is that the better alternative? To live through nearly twenty years of torment and being held against her will? I don't know the answers to these questions.
The one thing I do know, I'm thankful God continues to bring our missing hone. Each day God is answering prayers when bodies are found and identified. God answers prayers with new technologies and DNA capabilities that are solving cold cases and connecting pieces missed 10, 20, and 30 years ago. God is answering prayers everyday.
To say I envy the family getting answers might be better worded, if I was to say "I mourn the loss of my only sister, Heidi M Allen, each time another family is blessed with answers. My heart grieves the time we lost, the memories never made, and the pain she must of endured. My heart breaks for each moment we don't know."
I don't envy the families starting the next part of their journey, instead I grieve not moving to the next part of our journey and having Heidi home with us.
Does this make sense? I pray you understand my heart - I thank God daily for each recovered or discovered missing person.
I thank God for the families of the missing I've met over the years, and the ones I've yet to meet. Some day we'll know where Heidi is...I pray for that day and I pray for all the families, friends, and communities of the missing who mourn the loss of those precious to them. May God bring all our missing home and stop future abductions.
Special prayers to the family of Matthew Straton for their loss.
Additional prayers to the other families, like ours,
who are watching the news as it unfolds.
No envy - hope, love, and prayers for our friends
who might be one of the one's waiting for the phone to ring today.
And double prayers for them when the phone does ring...
Maybe it's not envy...it's grief.
What do you think?
As you can see, I've released any inhibitions and am moving forward. Do you ever struggle with envy? What is envy? According to Dictionary.com - Envy is "a feeling of
discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc." So I'll ask again, have you ever experienced envy?
If you are honest, I believe most, if not everyone, has battled this issue at one point or another in their lifetime. Some of you might find this a daily battle and decided to read this blog because you just want to know why I would make such a statement. Regardless of your level of envy, the first step to deal with it...is to admit you have it.
I had & sometimes still do, author envy!
While I celebrated the success of other Indie authors, deep within my heart, there was a terrible green monster living - envy. This led to the pointless questions of "Why them and not me?" "When is it my turn?" and so on. In case you didn't know, if you let all this ick and envious thinking infiltrate your brain and heart, it only leads to discontent and more negative thinking.
The reason I didn't post this blog initially was because instead of running to all of you for help, support, guidance, encouragement, and hope ~ I went to the One we should all run to when we face any troubles, battles, stress, or joys in life...God.
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 14:30 NIV
Some of you might have noticed the root of the issue right away, the "me", "I", and "self" statements. To look back at 2013, I'm humbled and amazed at the way God worked through me and used me to share Heidi, hope, and Him with others.
I didn't publish Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey to make money, this was never the goal. The prayer was to hopefully break even at the end of the year. Goals are good and necessary, yet we need to set realistic ones in order to achieve them. So what do goals have to do with envy and running out of extension cords? A little...and nothing!
Did I achieve this one goal, to break even? No we didn't...BUT (remember the word "but" negates whatever is said before it, just something to think about) lives were changed in ways I never dreamed. Another goal I had was for "One sibling to have hope and not live in the darkness of despair any longer after the loss of their brother or sister." This was my spiritual goal, holy cow, God wowed me in the ways He answered this prayer with "yes" and people opened their hearts, eyes, and lives to trust and love again.
People came to know how much God loves them because of the words written in this book. Siblings reconciled and are making conscious choices to live for today, and not in the past because of the way God used my writing and speaking. One family took their Christmas decorations out after more than a decade because of how God touched their hearts through the message I shared while in Texas. One sister who didn't think she could go on and continue the search efforts for her missing sister, found hope and encouragement in this book.
Mother-daughter bonds were strengthened. Misunderstandings cleared up. Hurts healed. Hope restored. Tears shed in grief followed by tears of joy and anticipation for tomorrow.
Heidi's picture, story, and case have been shared across the United States and over 75 countries through this blog and the Where's Heidi? Facebook page. I did live radio and television interviews about the book, each revisited Heidi's case and shared how people could contact the police with information they may have not thought were important at the time, but looking at twenty years later - your little piece of information might be the puzzle piece to finding Heidi - pick up the phone and call it in.
1-888-349-3411, 1-800-724-8477 or 315-349-3411.
"Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Proverbs 4:25; Ephesians 2:10; James 5:16
Did I plan to use so many extension cords? No
Did I plan to run out of extension cords to the One who saved me and only be plugged into myself? No
Did it happen? Yes
Some may have recognized the signs while most didn't notice anything was different. Sadly, I didn't realize it until I started this blog months ago. Oh my gosh, I shed some tears on my knees once God helped me recognize the root of the envy. Is it normal to say, "Why not me?", I think so. It becomes a problem when we dwell on it.
As we struggle to pay bills, instead of shouts of author envy for the Indie authors making a living at writing, I should be thanking God for all the amazing and wonderful things He has done through my writing and speaking. I need to thank God for the way He blesses my heart and brings tears to my eyes weekly for the changed lives because of the words He guided me to write in my books or to share when I speak.
I want to challenge you to lift thanks and praise to God when you are tempted to ooze envy in your thoughts, hearts, and words. Thanks and praise are the opposite of envy, and I think they have the power to erase the negative thinking and selfish goal setting. I admit, I would love to have my writing and speaking income be profitable, but not to the point I lose sight of Who made this all possible and Who I do this for. If and when God choses to bless us financially, I pray to be the steward He's called us to be in the Bible.
I'm grateful God chose me to write and speak for Him. I'm thankful for the places I've traveled, the people I've met, and for the hearts opened to hear the message God gives me each time I meet someone. God has blessed us like Ephesians 3:20-21 in 2013. We battled illness, financial difficulties, and loss of friends and family yet the entire time...God was and is there!
Instead of focusing on my friends' books winning awards or sharing how their incomes have multiplied because of their book's success...I will continue to cheer for them, share their successes, pray for their continued success, and learn from them.
Last summer I disconnected from many friends, family, and the busyness of life to get reconnected with God. Summer was relaxing and we spent many hours at home, on the deck, at the lake, or enjoying the simple things. It was a necessary time because the green monster of envy and the enemy were moving in to my heart and they weren't invited.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.
If you do not remain in me,
you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers;
such branches are picked up,
thrown into the fire and burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:5-8 NIV
I spent the summer eliminating extension cords to the King of Kings ~ months later and I fight against the envy when I can't figure out how to make the bills. The "when" questions still creep in but they don't remain. For each negative thought or green moment of "why not me", I open my Bible and read the truth.
Life is like the weather, full of seasons. I'm thankful for this season in my life because God opened my eyes and showed me a harsh reality - I did and sometimes still do, envy my friends or family for what they have that I don't.
This blog would have read much differently last summer because the bitter, negative, and resentful attitude was smothering the thankful, humbled, and blessed spirit God restored because of time spent on my knees, talking with God (aka prayer), and reading His Word, the Bible.
Rejoice! God can do anything and we can do anything through Him - when it's in His will. He doesn't want us to envy others, we are called to build each other up. I pray you found encouragement in this blog. Will you join me in getting reconnected, or possibly connecting for the first time, to God? His grace is sufficient. His love is eternal. With Him...envy is eliminated.
Who are envying today?
Will you take the first step and share?
How did you overcome your envy? Favorite Scripture Verse?
I am thankful to receive mail!
Stop laughing, I am. I have a post office box to receive mail from readers. I can't begin to tell you how excited I get when there is a note or card in my box when I stop to check. There is something exciting and humbling about receiving a personal note from someone. To send a hand written note or card takes time, thought, and effort. I pray for the person surprising me with the note and keep every single one.
Your notes, cards, and the words written within give me such a joyful encouragement. God always knows when I need that pick-me-up too. I enjoy sending cards too. Most can send an email or text to say "I care" but to know someone set aside five to ten minutes of their time (at least) to write me a note is something to praise God for.
I pray my notes and cards when I send them bring similar encouragement. I'm just as guilty of sending a quick email so for 2014, my hope is to get back to sending cards again. With so many bills intruding our mailboxes, a little love and encouragement from a friend, family member, or one of my readers...makes my day!
Who can you mail a note to today?
Can you think of a card or note you received that made your day?
Please share below...
At Christmas or on your birthday, which do you prefer ~ the hand made gift or one from the mall? I love the gifts made with love by my parents, friends, and family. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being spoiled by the material things in life yet these are the gifts I remember for years or that generally bring a tear and memory when I see them after a loved one passes away.
I come from a family who gifts from the heart. I never realized what a blessing this was until I was older, yet now, I'm thankful on a daily basis because of it. My hope is to pass this tradition to my daughter.
This year I crocheted a bag for her. The only thing she saw on Christmas morning was a crocheted star, with a black and orange pattern. I also put the pattern with it, but on the bottom. Her face was priceless as she asked, "Thanks Mom, it's ? ? ? great? But what is it?" I chuckled and then took the pattern from the bottom of the bag and showed her. Excitement ensued. She asked where the rest was. I decided to let her choose the colors, it's her bag after all.
It was fun to watch her choose the colors and decided what order they would be crocheted in. Once the actual bag was finished, I used left over fleece from her eighth grade home economics sewing project, to make a liner with two pockets. I was able to crochet, sew, and add buttons. Mom found a peace sign to add so there is a little of her Aunt Heidi with her too. The large button used for the clasp, is from one of Heidi's sweaters. A bag made with love for someone very near and dear to me.
I enjoy making and gifting personal items to those I care about, whether it's a crocheted dish cloth, a bag, or a quilt. My hope is that the recipient knows each stitch, crochet, design, and project was done in love and covered in prayer. When I know "who" I'm making it for in advance, I pray for them specifically as I make it.
My daughter doesn't carry a bag to school, she carries a reminder she is prayed for and loved by her Mom. An unconditional and life-long gift...
A friend mourns the loss of her Mom today - will you lift a prayer for her and her family. The bond of mother and daughter is strong. I pray she, and you, can hold on to the memories and treasure the gifts of love left behind.
What gift of love means the most to you?
Can you pick just one?
To celebrate its release, I've recorded myself reading a snip-it, with illustrations, for you to view here on the blog.
Sometimes after I speak, I read When the Waves Subside: There is Hope. I'm a believer that everyone likes to be read to, regardless of one's age. You hear of, and see younger children being read to all the time, but what about us adults? Don't we deserve a little spoiling now and then, to have someone read to us? I think so.
So let me read from my newest book, No More Pain: I Can Fly.
I hope you enjoy this teaser and that it touches your heart. If you want to add it to your collection, it is available on Amazon.com TODAY and I'll have it with me when I speak and do book signings. Within the next week, you can purchase signed copies at The River's End Bookstore, West 1st Street, Oswego, New York.
For More Information or To purchase: Click on the above photo for a direct link or visit Amazon yourself and look it up by my name or the book title.
Who do you think could be encouraged by this book?
Public speaking has been something I enjoyed since childhood. At my Gram’s you could find me giving speeches, performances, and putting on a show in front of the chalk board, on the picnic table, under the willow tree, in the living room, or wherever we could set up shop.
My favorite part was doing the introductions, giving a speech, or teaching a lesson. My sister, Heidi, and cousin, Shawnacy, were the talented ones that could perform the routines we brainstormed together.
I remember taking public speaking at SUNY Oswego, we had to give a report. I spent so much time trying to find “something to hand out” when I finished as a reminder of the message I was delivering. The item I gave out…condoms! Oh yeah, one condom for each person in my class, and I even gave one to my professor. I was nervous yet passionate about the goal of this assignment ~ to educate, help, and save other teens and young adults from unwanted pregnancy.
What responsibility am I talking about? Easy – I want to deliver truth, encouragement, and passion with the facts to back it up. Unlike college, to share about my faith journey carries a greater weight then pregnancy statistics. Both are important but one is eternal.
For that first speaking engagement I read at least a hundred Scripture verses, if not a couple hundred. I don’t share this with you for praise but to illustrate the focus of this blog. Anything we do, if we are to do it well, requires preparation.
There are some who could stand up and speak and deliver their first message without spending this much time reading their Bible and looking up specific Bible verses but for me, this was necessary. My heart fluttered at the thought I wouldn’t do my best for Him. God called me to speak and write, the least I can do…is give my all, know His message for me to share, and have it founded in truth. I practiced and read the verses so much in the weeks prior to speaking that I barely used my notes the night of the engagement. God is good.
Since this first speaking engagement, I continue to go to my Bible for the message God has for me. It starts in prayer and then times of study and reading, more prayer, and then prayer with the verses that speak to me the most. Sometimes I share the verses that stood out to me within a handout and other times, they are simply on sticky notes, below the pictures, or on index cards tucked where I can see them ~ with no one “seeing” them but me. But I pray
that although no one can physically see or hear the verses address (where you find it in the Bible), I pray they “see” it, in who I am, and the way God uses the words in their own heart. I hope this makes sense to you.
As of today, I have two speaking events scheduled – one in April and another in May. I started praying for these events the day they went on my calendar. This week, God started to place ideas and verses on my heart at random times of the day. I’ve learned to write these down and make note because they may be the ones He has for one of these speaking events. It’s exciting to share hope with others and encourage them with the possibility of overcoming their losses or stressors in life when our eyes are fixed on the One able to help and heal.
Do you prayerfully prepare?
How do things turn out when you forget to pray?
For entrusting your congregation and our community to hear me share for the first time.
Your faith and belief in me is one of the many blessings I count.
I remember when Beth and Chrissy contacted me about speaking at Believer’s Chapel North in Mexico, New York for an evening event they were planning. I wasn’t sure I was the right person yet accepted and enjoyed joining them for part of the planning process. The time leading up to this first event were spent in prayer and preparation. I practiced in front of the dogs, my family, and the mirror. I delved into the Word and prayed God’s message of hope and healing would encourage at least one person. I also prayed for there to be at least a couple people, who weren’t friends or family, to be in attendance.
Friends, family, and even people I’d yet to meet. My nerves started to increase so I retreated to the prayer room. Not only did I enjoy moments of quiet and prayer, I was prayed over by the wonderful women that were already in there. It was a quiet and blessed time of preparation. It was a beautiful evening filled with laughter, tears, and hope. Since this first event, I continue to be amazed at how God uses the ick of my past to encourage others. This is probably one of the reasons this verse from second Corinthians speaks so strongly to me:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
My daughter teases and calls me the “Crying Speaker”. My intent isn’t to make people cry but my prayer is to have the message God gives me touch their hearts. I’ve learned that tears are a natural reaction when the heart is affected. I know this on a personal level too.
To look back, I’m amazed. Each year has brought different and more opportunities to share God’s message of hope and healing through me. I’ve shared with women’s groups, churches, educational groups, schools, organizations, missing person’s groups, and even shared as the guest speaker on Sunday morning for a few churches.
I’ll never forget the day I lost my sister, Heidi M. Allen, to the hands of her kidnappers. My heart will forever be changed because of her absence in my life. The goals and plans we made as children were altered. BUT…there is Hope! God loved me through it and continues to do so today – I pray to seek Him daily and continue to share His message of hope with others, using my personal brokenness and loss as the spring board.
As I start to schedule speaking events and book signings for 2014, I prayerfully praise and thank God for each one. I also pray for the hearts and minds of those I’ll meet to be open to hear the message God has for them through me.
May He be lifted up and hope restored to the hopeless. We all need hope!
What are you hoping for today?
Once in the house and settled, I went back to the pile of mail. I smiled as I took my ripped, crumbled, and destroyed flyer out of its secure plastic baggie. It was a reminder about the Relay for Life later in the Spring. I was thankful for the reminder but still confused to why it was so neatly tucked and taped inside the bag. Many of us receive flyers and postcards notifications in the mail throughout the year, and sometimes they are wet or torn from their journey to our mail or post office box but yesterday something new happened.
It wasn’t until I went to set the bag down that I noticed the note written on it:
Dear Postal Customer,
We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during handling by the Postal Services. We hope this incident did not inconvenience you…
Please accept our apologies.
Our postal service is a tradition founded in providing good service to its patrons. My postal carrier didn’t have to pause in her busy day and route to apologize for an tear made in a machine, yet she did. I’m thankful for this. It doesn’t matter what the mail item within the bag might be. It’s the care, concern, and thoughts of the one who took time to express their apologies for something they didn’t do and something they couldn’t prevent.
Accidents happen and machines are not people. I think we need to focus less on the accidents, mishaps, and problems and look closer at the reconciliation, healing, and concern others have when life happens. Whether it be a ripped informational flyer or a scratch in the paint of your car door, remember this, most do not intentionally set out to create stress, discomfort, or upset in your life. Because we are human, life happens.
If this had been a card from a loved one special to me, would my reaction be different? I don’t think. There may have been tears depending on the note within but in the end, I choose to be thankful for they cared enough to say so. If my mail carrier and post master are this concerned over my junk mail, imagine their response if they knew it was something special.
The next time life happens, whether it’s ripped mail, scratched pain, or whatever it might be ~ remember to celebrate the little things! Who knows, maybe your interaction with the person on the other end of this life event might need to see a little Jesus through you today. Will you share a blessing or increase the sting?
Is there an act of caring you can share with us today?
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