"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
I found this in my draft folder and was going to delete it but decided to share it with you. The words written in black are from the original draft, the purple is my update/response to the original post. This was posted at the end of June, 2013 - so eight months later...read how God is working and answering prayer.
This has been a year of change in my life. Some took my breath away, caused me to sit before passing out, and others left me speechless. Some required time to process. Others hours of work and planning. Some weren't one I welcomed or planned. Others seemed to fall gently into place.
Regardless of the change, it was, and is, my reaction that truly determines the outcome of the change. With each of these different changes God placed before me during the first six months of 2013, there is always a common thread ~ prayer. Prayer, to the One, who already knew what was coming and can see beyond anything I might even dream.
So who am I to second guess Him? Although I should, I did, and do. Some changes I embrace because they are ones I've dreamed of and God opened the door to make them become realities. To write a book about Heidi's kidnapping in order to help other brothers and sisters grieving required a lot of prayer, work, time, and more prayer...yet on April 3, 2013 when hope released on a day once filled with despair...thankfulness for the change illuminated the day. A change of heart, circumstance, and outlook. Amen.
Learning to live without both of Ed's parents, a change that requires more attention on days like Mother's and Father's day. Summer is here and to think of the first July 23rd without a birthday party for and with his mom...change. Instead of mourning her loss that day, I think we will celebrate. Celebrate the mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, aunt, and woman of God she was. Celebrating life, not grieving it. Each holiday reminds me of her emphasis on family and togetherness, and her not there to keep us in line. lol
A change of position and location through work. Not one I planned yet one I look forward to with excitement and joy. Initially, shock overcame me as I asked, "Why?" After wasting time on the question I couldn't answer, I decided to welcome a new "family" to become a part of in the upcoming school year. The best part, I get to work with a friend. A couple years ago I worked with a dear friend and we had so much fun and teased each other daily because we knew each other since childhood, so to work together was pure pleasure. I anticipate the same fun and memory making this year. This new school year has renewed an energy to teach similar to that of my first years and rekindled friendships, multiple blessings continue to bring tears of joy and thankfulness to my eyes.
Our pastor and his family announce exciting things happening in their lives. This requires them to move hours away to pastor a new church. YIKES! We lost more than a pastor and his family, we said good-bye to friends. My family and church have a choice, sit around mourning the loss or getting on our knees and praying for the pastor and family God already has planned for our church. Friends are not determined by miles or the church you worship at, it's a heart, time, dedication, and choice issue. We choose to keep our friends...until we meet again. Six months after having our pastor transfer North, a new pastor and his family have moved in and made Oswego County their home. In addition to a Godly family to shepherd and lead us, the pastor's wife is a friend, one I never thought would live up the road from me. I knew her as writer and crafter first, who happened to be married to a pastor, now she is my pastor's wife. I love to see how God works.
More change...illness. Without sharing too much on the blog, just know some of those the closest to me have struggled with illness this year. I pray for complete healing for my family and friends. Most continue to fight against sickness, disease, and loss while others took their last breath to join Jesus in eternity. Change...unplanned, unexpected, and often stressful. In my own strength I can't do this but in God's strength, I know I can. I might not know what to pray, but the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. One family member's health is improving after a long couple years of testing and struggles, God provided the doctor who would figure it out and lead her to a healthier her. Our loved one still has a journey before her yet things are moving forward, we're very thankful for the doctors working together and putting the patient's health first, not the "I figured it out". We continue to pray for complete healing, strength, and freedom from pain for our loved ones.
This past weekend I enjoyed an Aaron Shust concert with my friend Holly and other sista's-in-Christ. It was an amazing concert. I'll close with his song, when you don't know what to ask or pray of God in times of change, ask HIM for the words to speak. He is faithful, loves you, and only has plans to prosper you.
God encouraged ME through my own blog today. I had forgotten all about this blog and can hear the loss and hurt in my writing. To read it a little over six months later and to share with you of how God worked through each of these situations in ways I could only pray, and some, not even imagine. Wow!
It gives me encouragement today for something weighing on our family and my heart now...God knows what it is and I pray, He answers in a mighty way. I know we can't do this on our own, only in His provision will we be able to meet our current needs. To This blog reminded me...God is always right there and sees the big picture. Thank goodness.
When you slow down to listen, God will be there.
I used to think prayer was something you memorized, repeated verbatim, aloud, so your family and God know you are praying. I didn't get the intense, deep, and personal aspect of prayer.
Instead I just got on my knees, said the Rosary or the Our Father and called it "daily prayer". Checked it off the list and went to bed.
I was so wrong!
Think of praying as a time to enjoy your favorite beverage with a friend. My favorite time of day is first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee. An important aspect of prayer to remember is this, God isn't a genie in a bottle or Oz. He is God. He is loving, gracious, and merciful. He always answers prayer but it's not always with a yes. (Thank goodness!) Sometimes He says No or Not right now. Regardless, He is answering.
Just like getting together with a friend, friendship is a two-way relationship. We can't simply go to God when we have a need or desire. How would you feel if the only time you heard from someone was when they were in need and wanted something from you? Friendship goes both ways, and so does the communication we have available to us with God ~ through Jesus death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit remained so we too, can talk with God. He is ready and listening.
My first prayers after Heidi's kidnapping were bouts of anger and I'm ashamed to say, temper tantrums. I never thought of this as praying. I just thought I was yelling and releasing the anger. I don't recommend "praying" in forms of yelling and anger but on some levels, this might be where some of you need to start. God already knows you're mad at Him, or misplacing your blame, or frustrated. He loves us so much, He desires to hear us let it go. His shoulders are more than strong enough to carry this for us.
On a lighter not, watch the youtube video below for the "Skinny on Prayer".
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What is your definition of prayer?
42 Days of Prayer for Heidi M Allen...
How can we honor her and keep the hope on the forefront, not the loss?
We are going to have 42 days of prayer for Heidi.
We know many pray for her daily, and you have done this since that tragic morning, and we thank you! We thank everyone who has lifted one, or one hundred,
or 19 years, 10 months, and 19 days to be exact. Each prayer is a blessing we count.
Will you join us at 7:42 a.m. each day to say a prayer for Heidi?
This is the time stamped for her last transaction on April 3, 1994, the last time any of us knew where Heidi was. I thought it would be a powerful prayer if we were to all pray at the same time each day…in the days leading up to April 3rd. If you're not up or don't think of it at exactly 7:42 a.m., will you life a prayer when God places Heidi on your heart.
We thank you in advance for joining us on this journey of prayer for hope, Heidi, and her return. If you would like to include prayers for my parents, family, community, or myself…of course we welcome them too but this is prayer of hope for Heidi M Allen.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
God ALWAYS answers prayer!
Sometimes "yes", others "no", and sometimes "not yet"...
Know each prayer is heard and answered...
Only God knows if this is the year He will say
"Yes, here is your Heidi."
A Facebook party is a "virtual" party, held online. First you go to the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page to see the different comments, videos, and photos. Then you simply reply to the ones you want to. Typically, you post to Facebook and when someone leaves a comment, you get the notification. Comments and posts might be once a day.
Tonight I have over 20 posts ready to share, these include videos and photographs too. For two hours, it will be like having an online conversation with others who remember and hope for Heidi M Allen. Feel free to comment back and forth to each other, share with a friend or family member you think would enjoy a particular post.
You can simply "watch" the conversations and never hit "like", "share", or leave a comment too! You just need to hit the refresh (the circle near your browser) button to see new comments as they appear. You can comment to one, two, or all the posts - it's your choice. I will be posting, even if no one asks a question or posts a memory BUT when you are involved and commenting, sharing, and posting - it makes it so much more fun.
Last year there were many conversations going on and the party lasted until after 11 p.m.! I hope you'll join us!
See you soon!
In case you're not sure what a Facebook "Book" Party is, read on my friends. This Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 7 p.m. I will log onto the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page and open it up for questions and share with all of you. Yes, there are daily posts but our book party is very different - instead of me posting a comment and then revising the page later in the day or the next day, I'll be handing out at the page for a couple hours. You can post questions, comments, photographs, or videos during this time and I'll respond as quickly as possible. I would tell you immediately but I learned the first time, it became difficult to keep up with the various conversations and shares.
It was GREAT! Many of you were talking to each other via the comments, sharing the videos with your friends and family, and inviting others to like the page. An important lesson learned, be sure to hit the "refresh" button often. At first I thought I was alone and then I hit the "refresh" button and then I couldn't keep up. Don't let this keep you away, while I didn't respond to each comment and post during the Facebook party itself, others did. It was wonderful to see the community conversing without me and sharing your memories, stories, hopes, and thoughts about Heidi and her case.
This year will be more of the same. I've started a collection of photographs to share, making a few videos to include, and hope to give away some free books to those living within the continental United States. How can you enter to win a free book? Stop by on Friday, February 21st at 7 p.m. to find out.
There will also be a special announcement made during the Facebook Party too. After much thought and prayer, I have a community challenge "where you are" to share with everyone. It will be this year's memorial tribute to Heidi M. Allen, missing since Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994. See you tomorrow night at 7 p.m. on the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page. Remember to refresh your page often to keep up and follow the different conversations. Join in any or all...this is a great way to learn more about Lisa's book writing and speaking, Heidi, and the journey traveled.
See You Tomorrow Night (2/21) at 7 p.m. on Facebook!
Not at all. Come to find out, all these years people haven't been talking about fruit at all. Instead, they are talking about our character. Yikes! With this in mind, would others, or more importantly, God, say you are someone modeling positive characteristics to those around you or are the choices you're making less than desirable? Only you can answer this question honestly. There are some, I was one of these, that appear to have it all together, making great choices, and are someone others look to for encouragement and modeling BUT on the inside, you know it's an act.
I'm not saying we intentionally go about our day to deceive and lead others on but in our fast-paced and "all-about-me" world, it's a challenge to stay on track to think, say, be, and live who we should be versus who the world thinks we should be, or are. If you are a piece of good fruit, you are the same person whether home with your family, at work, the grocery store, or at the PTA meeting. This is a difficult task, yet one that is possible.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only he who does the will
of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and in your name drive out demons
and perform many miracles?'
Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.
Away from me, you evildoers!'
We can look within ourselves and ask a few questions: Am I the person I want to be? Am I modeling, sharing, and living a life God would be proud of? If this is too deep for you, what about - If your mother or father would standing on your shoulder like Jiminy Cricket, would they approve of the choices and road you choose to travel? If you answered no to any of these questions, there is hope! You are not destined to be "bad fruit". You are wonderfully and uniquely made, God doesn't make mistakes.
Starting today, instead of focusing on the "bad fruit" in your life, make a choice to emphasize the positive and wonderful fruit you exhibit each and every day. Everyone has good in them, yes, EVERYONE! Sometimes you have to look deeper to see it in others. You might have to work harder to live it. You may need help from a friend, an accountability partner if you will. BUT...YOU CAN DO THIS! Go and be good fruit!
You know the greatest benefit of modeling positive characteristics, each choice is an opportunity to show others it's possible to be "good fruit". Look at it as "planting seeds" of positivity and good. Just think of what would happen if everyone was doing this...
If you were a fruit tree:
Could someone pick your fruit for nourishment
or does your tree need a healthy pruning first?
At the time of this blog post, 1.7k people have liked the February 15, 2014 blog to share this updated missing person’s flyer. Between the time the blog was posted on Saturday, up until just moments before posting, 8,651people have viewed this same blog. There are eighteen comments, not to mention the sixty-six comments via the link to Facebook. And these are only the numbers we can see, I've tried to thank those sharing if it came across my news feed. There have been over two hundred new likes to the "Where's Heidi?" Facebook page too.
Oh my gosh, amazing. God is working. Each like, share, and comment posted to Facebook or Twitter is a chance that the flyer will trigger a memory, inspire someone to report something they remember, and a chance to bring Heidi home. This was the goal in sharing the flyers with you. As the twenty year anniversary approaches in April, we hope the updated flyer will provide more than hope…we pray it brings answers. Thank you for the encouragement, inspiration, and love you've shared with us.
While this was the prayer and purpose of sharing the flyers this weekend, with the added benefit of highlighting some of the organizations available to assist families of the missing. Both these goals were achieved and continue to bring tears to my eyes as I read your comments on the blog itself, on the shares through Facebook, and the Tweets. BUT, something much deeper and more humbling occurred.
It always amazed me to think of the length of time the investigators spent between the Heidi Command Center (located at the New Haven Fire House), following leads, at the office, and providing protection for us when we returned home to rest. Yet, it wasn’t until reading Kerrie’s comment on Facebook that the depth of their dedication, sacrifice, and time tore at my heart.
I’m thankful for Kerrie’s comment and her honesty, as she shared, “My father worked tirelessly for Heidi...seems like for a while the only time I got to see him was on the evening news.” Oh my goodness, tears flowed from my eyes. I appreciated all they did yet hadn’t put myself in the shoes of their wives, husbands, or children. Many of the comments posted touched my heart yet as the daughter and sister…I felt Kerrie’s loss for her Dad. I also read the joy, respect, and thankfulness that he was able to be with our family to hopefully bring Heidi’s home. As Kerrie continued, she said, “I wonder about her (Heidi) quite a bit mostly because her wonderful life and tragic end affected us all so closely as a community.”
I want to use today’s TOP’s Tuesday to extend a HUGE thank you to the families of the law enforcement, volunteers, friends, and family who selflessly sacrificed family time, vacations, and making memories so your husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, grandparent, or whatever the connection might be. I share thanks to those on the front line often when I speak and in my book but failed to recognize those at home, waiting for the news to come on or for their loved one to walk in the door…hopefully saying, “They found her.”
These words weren’t spoken, not yet anyway. I’m so thankful God used Kerrie to open my eyes and heart to such a vital and important aspect of the case. It’s amazing to see how, twenty years later, God still highlights aspects Heidi’s disappearance, the investigation, and the effect it continues to have on families in the Oswego County area and beyond.
Thank you all for remembering Heidi...20 yrs. later!
A special thanks to the families of the
law enforcement and volunteers
for your sacrificial giving during our most difficult days.
Your loved one was the light we needed in the darkness,
God worked through them to encourage us.
Ten years later, facing a double decade anniversary, I' still asking the same questions ~ Where is Heidi? Why Heidi? Will we ever find her? Will my parents know the answers to these questions before they close their eyes and leave this earth? Will I have to hear my parents give me a message for Heidi when they take their last breath, "Tell her we love her but can't wait any longer." like many of my other family members.
I honestly thought it was a mistake on April 3, 1994 because kidnapping "doesn't happen in New Haven, New York"...but it does. Abduction and kidnapping are not specific to one area, socioeconomic class, or race. It doesn't discriminate. This is real...Heidi is missing and we may never have the chance to give her a proper burial. We may have to wait until heaven to know where she is but then again, God is a gracious and merciful God.
The missing are someone's son, daughter, sister, brother, niece, nephew, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or friend...to name a few. Most of the above organizations utilize volunteers to create posters like the ones on today's blog, manage websites and social media, provide support, and disseminate posters and information to continue sharing the missing child or adult's image, case, and law enforcement contact information to the public.
It is the bonds with other family members that can connect us with either a new organization or person, that can help share your missing loved one's case, story, photograph, and contact information to share tips. An example of this is when I met Laurie, her sister Rose Marie Gayhart, missing since March 1995. Laurie introduced me to Diana Trepkov, forensic artist, http://www.forensicsbydiana.com/, the woman responsible for the updated age progression illustration of my sister, Heidi M Allen. Diana completed this last year and graciously lets our family, law enforcement agencies, news media, and missing person organizations use this to provide an idea of what Heidi might look like now.
As you can see, while a loved one is missing, there are different things we must continue to do while we pray, wait, and keep our loved one's memory alive. For the next few weeks, as April third quickly approaches, I must continue to face the emotions and buried feelings. I don't do this for me, I do this for Heidi. Similar to those walking for those who can't, I must write and speak for those who can't...and for those who need to know there is hope. A hope for tomorrow and something better, on an eternal level, not just for today or tomorrow.
Thank you for remembering Heidi and all of our missing. Will you share today's blog with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and anyone else you can think of? Who knows, your share might be the one that provides the tip to the police that solves Heidi's case and brings her home.
| || |
Both are created by the angels at the LostnMissing.org
A special thanks to them.
April 3, 2014 = Heidi M Allen Missing 20 Years
Do you have words of encouragement to share?
The answer is a loud, energetic, and hope-filled...YES! God loves you unconditionally, with an eternal love that NO ONE on earth will ever be able to compare to. It's cool. I could go deeper and share a few Bible verses to illustrate how I know this to be true BUT instead of putting salt in a tough day's wound, I'm choosing to share a fun video.
Just know, YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE WORTHY OF BEING LOVED! YOU DESERVE TO BE LOVED! SOMEONE DOES LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTHER CAN...look up. I pray you know this is true. As you contemplate this, here is a little song from Pitch Perfect.
Does Valentine's Day encourage or discourage you? Why?
on the way home from school today.
I want to hear from all of you, when you hear the word "sure"
from someone, what is your initial perception
or interpretation of their answer? Why?
Does this word mean multiple things
depending on the question it answers?
Does the tone used when it's used
affect the way you receive it?
How many times and different ways have you said
"sure" since reading this blog?
How many were taken back to the "Valley Girls"
movie because of it?
Or is there another word that could be interpreted and misinterpreted in a similar fashion?
I can't wait to hear your responses below...
With the laundry and dishes done, a surprise visit from a friend, and a basketball game on television...I finally plopped myself on the couch with my laptop to write today's blog. I had a different thought to share until I saw the above photo.
There are times when I log onto Facebook and the kindness of another just overwhelms me and brings tears to my eyes. Tonight is one of those nights.
Thank you Laurie for this beautiful teddy bear of love...tears and thanksgiving! This means so much, you've encouraged me and now I'm sure many with this great expression of remembrance, love, and hope. Hugs my sweet friend!
Click on either teddy bear to link to lostnmissing.com
Is there a photo or illustration that brings you hope?
What is of? Who shared it with you?
Have you shared it with someone else?
When I saw the above photo and quote I found myself encouraged by someone I thought was a bit too arrogant for my liking, at the time. Don't get me wrong, Jordan was an amazing basketball player and made the game exciting to watch yet I never understood all the hype. Hopefully, you're not tossing tomatoes at your computer screens if you're a die-hard Jordan fan. I respect his talents and gift to both play and entertain while on the court but until today, I didn't recognize the insight he had.
I don't know if these quotes I chose for today were published then or if they are the result of reflection and maturity, but...they hold many truths. Heidi would be telling me, "I told you so." as I realize Jordan also holds wisdom and encouragement.
He reminds us there will be roadblocks, just like the James writes in the Bible, "when" trials come. Instead of running into a wall or giving up, "Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." The only thing I will add, don't do it on your own strength ~ God is ready, willing, and able to help you in this process.
Keep your eyes fixed on Him and His play for your life and no wall will prevent you from reaching your goals. Have a great week!
Writing and Speaking Updates:
*Currently have 4 books available on Amazon.com
*Scheduling speaking engagements for 2014
Thank you for your encouragement, support, and prayers!
Who encouraged you today?
Yesterday during church I had my composition notebook open and dated. I had my two Bibles marked with the Bible verses listed on the sermon notes so I could get to them quickly. With pens, sticky notes, and my mini office at my side...I was ready for Pastor Dan's message. What does all this NON-technological prep have to do with the changing church? Simple, I only used one of my Bibles, one time.
Pastor Dan shared the "Palistrophe Outline" to us. It was SO interesting. I took copious notes but still wanted to know more. Why did he introduce the congregation to this form of outlining? To show us a new, yet old, way of reading our Bibles. This first and foremost enhances the Bible reading experience as you look at what happens in the beginning of a chapter or book, then look at the end, and then find the middle. (This is my Readers Digest version, as I'm still learning) I included more information in case you are like me and want to know more.
For more information about the Palistrophe outline or the Chiastic structure:
With that, I opened the Internet to learn more about this structure. As I copied Pastor Dan's notes from the easel, I also read online. I took notes, book marked a page, and listened and read on this "structure" to enhance my Bible reading and understanding. I look forward to applying this new way of reading and studying the Bible in the near future. I'm still looking at the A,B,C set up and how it differs from a typical outline I'm used to but I'm up for the challenge.
As Pastor Dan took us to a different examples in the Bible to model how this works, instead of picking up one of the two Bibles sitting next to me...I opened my "Bible App" on my phone and was there in seconds. Then I heard the little voice in my head again saying, "I shouldn't be on my phone." but then I looked up and around. My daughter was sitting next to me taking notes on pastor's message using the "Note Pad" on her Smartphone. A woman in front of me was using her Kindle to look up and follow the Bible readings. Someone behind me had her Kindle on with the Bible open too.
Church has changed folks, rather than worry what others think, or worse yet...judge. We need to open our minds to the possibility that just because someone is "on" or "using" their phone during the church service, doesn't mean they aren't following along with the pastor's message or on task. They might just be more on task than you, or me.
I share this because I know I too could admit I thought "how dare he or she" at some point in my life but I may have been wrong. I don't know what someone is doing on their phone, Kindle, or electronic device during church - who knows, maybe they were so in tune to the message and I missed it because I was watching them.
Some will say I was wrong to research about the palistrophe outline and chiastic method right then and there yet my curiosity was peaked. I'm all for learning how I can read the Bible to learn all I can, and understand more of what is happening so I can apply it to life. I'm thankful for all I learned - while taking notes in my composition notebook, using different colored pens, and highlighters - I researched and followed along with Bible readings using my Smartphone.
Let's get some conversation going now...
1) Do you prefer a print or digital version of the Bible? Or does it matter the setting you are in?
2) Have you ever questioned "why" someone was using their electronics in church?
3) Do you use your Smartphone, Kindle, or Tablet during church? Why or why not?
Do you have a fitness goal? My personal trainer, actually she is a friend and leads different health, fitness, and weight loss groups. I joined one this past summer, and applying principals I knew and the daily reminders and pointers from Jill have kept me on track into the new year.
One thing I dropped once the snow started was my daily walk/run. This week Jill checked in and told me "NO MORE EXCUSES!" Ouch, but I needed that.
And yes, there is more? I didn't do much until yesterday. Most if you don't know this but our daughter has had a couple difficult years health wise. I share this because she is slowly starting to feel better and to build up strength is going to do a few songs on "Just Dance 3", on the Wii. She asked me to join her.
I'm thankful she is feeling better and thankful she wants to get stronger in a natural way, along side her mom. Much joy today.
Are you ready to dance and get fit? What is your favorite workout?
It isn't a wrestling like Jacob because instead of talking to God and releasing what kept waking me up, I tried to subdue it and return to my slumber. It's not that God needs to hear our anxieties, worries, or concerns ~ He already knows what they are after all BUT He loves and cares for us so much that He WANTS to hear them. When we call on, seek, and trust God for His provision then we should expect He will answer.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:
Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
On some levels, I know this is true yet my desire is to serve and share how God changed my life with others through my writing and speaking. Am I as strong and vigorous today as I was in 2004? Am I doing this for me or to wholeheartedly follow God?
When eye to eye with God, if He were to ask me, "Lisa, did you live for me...or the world?" Can I fall to my knees and respond, "100% for you God." No I can't. Is there anyone who can say they are living a life like Caleb, especially those of us calling ourselves followers of Jesus. Are we just doing or are we living the call we are given?
As I wrestled with much anxiety, instead of rolling over and increases the chance of an ulcer, I made a pot of coffee and went to the one place that brings me comfort, peace, and direction in the wee hours of the morning. I think God wakes me up sometimes to remind me to come to Him, "“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”, Matthew 11:28-30 NIV.
Do we still have a journey before us? Yes. Will it be difficult? Most likely. Could God bless us exceedingly and abundantly to ease this self-induced burden? Yes. Will he? Time will tell.
Just like you, we don't deserve the blessings God gives us. It is only because He is gracious and merciful that He chooses to extend love, generosity, and provision for both our needs and wants. I enjoy giving and doing to help others. My Gram told me that what we give to the Lord, He gives back ten fold. We shouldn't give with the expectation to receive, the joy to know we are helping someone is often the only return we see yet it's one that can provide encouragement to keep being you, or me. In God's time, who knows what He has planned or how He'll use our current struggles to help others when we share about it.
Have you ever thought about the struggles you face might be your challenge today yet a stepping stone to helping others down the road? A beautiful thought, don't you think? You might be experiencing what you are because your testimony will save someone else from the same mistake down the road. Go and be a blessing!
"So on that day Moses swore to me,
‘The land on which your feet have walked will be
your inheritance and that of your children forever,
because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’
“Now then, just as the Lord promised,
he has kept me alive for forty-five years
since the time he said this to Moses,
while Israel moved about in the wilderness.
So here I am today, eighty-five years old.
I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out;
I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then."
Joshua 14:9 - 11
May we seek God today like we did when our faith was new!
When you can't sleep ~ how do you respond?
If you are on the flip side of the coin, you might find us constant learners to be boring and out-of-control because of the inner drive motivating us to learn more. This is okay BUT I want to challenge you. The quote above reads, "I consider this world to be like a school and our lives to be the classrooms." I believe Oprah Winfrey is recognizing we are ALL life-long learners, just in different capacities. EVERYONE with breath in their lungs, that's you, is a life long leaner.
To live in this world requires us to always be thinking, making choices, and learning how to survive in this fast-paced, ever-changing, and challenging world we live in. It's this reason I suggest WE ARE ALL LIFE-LONG LEARNERS! Some are doing it in the classroom or an office while others are in the trenches and experiencing life in a way some will never personally feel.
Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of life-long learning, will you share with us today? What is the greatest lesson you learned or taught to another? Is there a time you went to prayer first and then responded the way the Lord answered? How did that impact the lesson learned? What is your learning goal for the year? Or, are you praying to survive so you have a story to tell?
Share ONE lesson you learned...
Who helped you through?
This is my beautiful sister, Heidi M. Allen, in the center at the Memorial Day parade many years ago.
If you recognize yourself or anyone else, please leave a comment below and share...
Our behaviors should reflect what we believe so others will say, "How does he or she do that?" or "In spite of ____, he/she is so calm or has it together." Can people say this about you?
I'll admit there are times I fail, and fail miserably. My greatest weakness is when the "Mama Bear" erupts. I promise you there are educators, admins, and possibly other parents who can testify to the gremlin within me that doesn't model Jesus' love to others but when my daughter is threatened or being dealt with unfairly, the kid gloves come off and Mama Bear enters. Don't get me wrong, it is only because of Christ-within-me, that I handle things in a much calmer manner than I would of a decade ago. With this being said, I'm not perfect yet I strive to be the best I can.
What does this have to do with "Helping Others is a Touch Love"? A lot actually. Similar to Pastor Dan's message about our "behaviors reflecting our values", helping others is a way we can show love to others.
How can you show love to those in your family, neighborhood, work place, school, or community? Be creative and think outside the box.
There are opportunities before us daily when we look at them in this manner...opportunities!
O utreach to those in need of hearing they are loved by God
P eople matter to God
P ace yourself to avoid burnout
O ffer to help the single parent, shut-in, or grieving neighbor
R emember God first loved us, so to share love is the least we can do
T ime used to share blessings rather than waste surfing
U nderstand there are hurt and lost people all around you
N ever underestimate your ability to change the heart and life of someone in need
I ntentional grace and mercy extended
T rain your children to do the same, start a positive cycle of love for others
I nclude family and friends to magnitude the blessing
E veryone needs to know God loves them
S eize every chance you have to extend hope and love to others
We may not all have the chance to host a scene like the one in "Sister Act" but if we use the creative side of our brains, fueled by our love and desire to share God's love with others...we can sing a beautiful song of hope, healing, and LOVE into those we cherish the most. The lost matter to God.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
What is ONE way you could SHARE LOVE with OTHERS?
The sequel may or may not be out in 2014. I wish I could tell you, "The sequel to Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey will release on Heidi's birthday this year." but I can't. I'm not going to rush it. There is more to the story and more I look forward to sharing with you yet I'm going to write and move forward with this in God's time, not mine.
I have an editor in mind and a lot will depend on when she is able to work on the editing and revisions. She is one I've prayed and hoped to work with one day, and I think this is the book to submit to her. Speaking of the editor, I need to email her to find out if she would even be interested. If so, I know her availability will become my deadline setter and keep me writing when the emotions and reliving the loss become overwhelming.
As I write, I'll post tidbits and information on the Where's Heidi? Facebook page. I'll continue to blog. I'm scheduling speaking engagements for the Spring and into 2014. I'm exploring ways I can share hope, love, and comfort with others while introducing them to Heidi, my sister, not just "Heidi M Allen - Missing Teen".
Where were you on April 3, 1994? Have you read Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey? Have you written a review for the book? A friend of mine set a goal for 100 reviews of her book, she is at 80 reviews. I can't even imagine having that many reviews ~ what do you think...should I set a goal like this too?
How would you explain your response after reading Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey to someone in less than 10 words?
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore