When It Feels Like You’re Swimming Upstream in Molasses

It was the dreaded question. “How’s your book coming?” I sighed and confessed to my friend, “Some days when I write, I feel like I’m swimming upstream in molasses.” There’s a reason it’s called writer’s block. You feel like you’re moving—or typing—but not getting anywhere.

The next day, a writing partner threw me a pebble that rippled a lifeline into my molasses stream. She texted me a one-hour writing challenge and offered to pray for me. That afternoon, I wrote like Michael Phelps swims, my hands skimmed swiftly across the keyboard and the ideas overflowed. Her pebble made all the difference.swimmer

Years ago, when battling through a particularly dark season of my life, the postal carrier delivered a box with a butterfly on the front. My friend knew about my trial and remembered how I’d seen beautiful butterflies nearly every day—God’s creatures of transformation, a reminder of our new nature in Christ. I opened the butterfly box and discovered a huge stack of index cards inside (like 40 or more). On each one she’d hand-written a scripture dated with when she prayed it for me! That small box of encouragement still ripples truth into my life and I remain forever grateful for this extreme act of encouragement.

Before You Throw, Consider Who

The butterfly box was significant because words matter to me. As a communicator and writer, I adore words and my friend knew that. So, before you pick up your go-to pebble of encouragement, consider who you’re uplifting and how they are wired.

cookiesFor you, agape love might come in the form of a plate full of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. But how does the person you’re encouraging best receive love? Do you know their love language? If not, find out. A words of affirmation person might want a long note, but a quality time person might prefer a quiet walk together. Your acts of service friend might appreciate a homemade meal more than words can say.

Be Specific

My friend is wading through an extremely difficult chapter in her life. I asked her, “What’s the best way others have encouraged you?” It didn’t take her long to answer.

“Those who helped most were specific in their offers to help.”

Instead of:“I’m so sorry for your loss. Let me know what I can do for you.”

They said: “I want to give you a break next week. Could I keep your children so you can take a walk, have lunch with your mom, or get your nails done? I’m free next Tuesday if that works for you?”

love hands photo courtesy of Farid Iqbal Ibrahim

My hope for this blog is not to simply talk about throwing pebbles but to inspire you to act. So here’s my “molasses challenge.” Take a moment to think of one person who’s in a dark season, knee deep in molasses. How can you ripple some light into their darkness? I’ve started a list of ideas, but I’d love to hear from you. Please share below and I’ll draw from all who leave comments and send the winner a gift card!

Keep it simple:

  • Pray for them and then send a text/e-mail to say they’re on your mind
  • Phone them and offer to listen without offering advice
  • Hand write and snail mail a card or note of encouragement. Remember that humor can be just the right anecdote in the midst of pain
  • Hit the kitchen and whip up a home cooked meal or swing by your favorite take-out place. Even a simple entrée offered in love can make the heart smile.

woman thinking with penFor all you crafty people:

  • Purchase or hand paint a coffee mug and insert a Starbucks gift card, or a bundle of tea bags with a cute spoon and tag: “When the storms of life are stirred, we all need a moment to sit and sip.”
  • Pray and ask God to show you a special scripture just for them. Spend an evening creating a scripture doodle. Roll it up and tie it with a bow, or mail it to them.
  • Decorate a tin can, fill with flowers, and attach note: “ONLY GOD CAN: turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and a victim into a victory.”
  • Tie a note on a bottle of 7-up that promises: “I will be UP-lifting you in prayer for the next 7 days. Have a blessed week!”
  • Leave some Mentos or a tin of Altoids with a note of “encourage-mint”

Now it’s your turn …

Book Giveaway!

I went out on a limb recently. I agreed to read and help promote a book for someone I don’t know. The author belongs to the literary agency I’m blessed to be a part of. I firmly believe you reap what you sow and I believe in serving my fellow authors. Someday, when I’m in the process of launching a book, I will need many willing readers to review and share it with all their closest friends (hint, hint). So I jumped at this opportunity.

And then it hit me. . .

What if I don’t like the book? That would put me in an especially sticky predicament. But I’d already said yes.

Days later, my copy of the book arrived and I dove in.

Guess what, friends? I didn’t like the book.

I loved the book. Whew! And I think you’re going to love it too.

A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called by author Andy Lee looks into the hearts of five different Marys in the Bible juxtaposing their imperfections with their divine purpose. This book isn’t simply a study resource but a tool for women to consider their own hang ups and dreams, and how God might use both for His greater kingdom purposes.

FBbanner_marylikemeAs Andy visits the Marys of the Bible and describes their interactions with Jesus, she doesn’t tell us what happens. She takes us into what happens, engaging the reader with five-sense descriptions and vivid details. Chapter after chapter, readers will be transported to:

  • a road outside of Bethany where grief-stricken Mary (Martha’s sister) throws herself at Jesus’ feet after her Lord delayed his visit two days past her brother Lazarus’ death
  • the tomb of Jesus at the very moment He speaks Mary Magdalene’s name and she recognizes her risen Savior and Lord
  • Zechariah’s doorstep, where pregnant Mary of Nazareth greets her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. Readers look on as Elizabeth’s baby leaping even before Mary’s lips burst with the angel Gabriel’s good news that she was pregnant with the long awaited Messiah
  • and more!

Through the effective use of probing questions, Andy wonders (not wanders) through each Mary-Jesus interaction:

  • I wonder how Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet, while Martha toiled away, could be useful?
  • I wonder why five men divorced the woman at the well and the sixth refused to marry her?
  • I wonder if it ever slipped Mary of Nazareth’s mind—given that Jesus had become very much her son—that Jesus was also God?

Girl holding bookAs I wondered right along with the author, Andy dug deep into the original Greek or Hebrew (and sometimes even Aramaic) words that acquaint us with the Marys and lend depth to their thoughts and interactions. Her relentless inquisition of the text, creative imagery, and strong Biblical foundation made this book a stunning read. (It’s no wonder. Andy has her ministerial certificate degree from Eastern Nazarene University and has taught Bible studies for over twenty years.) Line by line, her experience and depth of biblical wisdom lend weight, wisdom , and wonder to the reader.

Also included in A Mary Like Me are:

  • Discussion questions following each chapter
  • Topical journal prompts to create dialogue between the reader and Jesus
  • Appendices: a Bible study resource guide, intercession guide for ministering to women suffering from depression/mental illness, and steps for leading a Mary study/discussion group

cherry-and-chocolateThe cherry on top of my Mary Like Me sundae was when Andy got personal. I didn’t expect God to use this book in my life. I set out wanting to bless a writing colleague. But in His boundless grace and wisdom, God had other plans. As Andy uncovered the human frailty of these women, I began to catch glimpses of myself. The Holy Spirit whispered to me about my flaws, my dreams, and my calling, and reminded me of His grace, His faithfulness, and His favor.

Joyful tears stained my cheeks as God used A Mary Like Me to remind me of buried dreams and boost my passion to pursue current ones. God has a habit of doing that. He begins by inviting us to bless others and He finishes by blessing our socks off.

One more thing about this book—make that one more word. It’s a word I use rarely and selectively.

Andy’s writing is anointed.

I believe it is touched by the Holy Spirit. I think it no coincidence that it took a total of seven years for her to write and publish this book and seven is the heavenly number of completion.

writer stuffI wonder if God might use this deep and colorful examination of God’s flawed-yet-called Marys to speak to you. Enter a comment below and one week from today I will randomly choose a winner to receive a free copy of A Mary Like Me.

 

Why Walking A Tight Rope in the Dark is a Good Thing

Life is hard. We live in a fallen world and people suffer.

“God’s in control,” says the resolute Christian.

Yes. He is. As Christ followers, we know that there’s nothing outside the realm of God’s all-knowing, all-powerful dominion. But when the dark days come and things are closing in around us, our humanity—our fearful weakness—causes us to crave control.

stressHere’s the thing. There lies a uniquely ripe opportunity for pebble throwing right smack dab in the middle of ugly suffering. I’d even say that the potential to throw especially powerful and effective pebbles is at an all time high because of suffering. Let’s break this down some more.

I’d like you to meet Jane, Alice, and Rhonda. Three kind, thoughtful, Jesus-loving women.

Jane and Alice are catching up after their Bible study one evening. Jane, who lives a perfectly ordered, peaceful, and pious life, pats the back of Alice, who has just miscarried late in the second trimester of her first pregnancy. Jane quotes Romans 8:28 and assures Alice that God will use this horrible experience for good so there’s hope. “Just fix your eyes on Jesus,” she quips. “This too shall pass.” Alice isn’t sure why, but Jane’s words crash against her heart. They feel heavy and burdensome instead of light and hopeful.

Later that same week, Alice bumps into her friend Rhonda at the grocery store.

frozen

photo credit: Anthony Albright

Several years ago, Rhonda lost three babies, each little life ended during the second trimester of pregnancy. As the grieving moms bond in the produce aisle, Rhonda leans into hear Alice’s quiet pain and remembers the hurt. With tears in her eyes, she hugs her tightly. “I know. It hurts. Go ahead and cry. Jesus has your baby. I know because I’ve lost three. I still miss those babies but we will see them one day. You’re going to make it to the other side of this, and it will get better. Just hold onto Jesus and He will walk you through it. One step at a time. One day at a time.”

 

Consider the impact of scripture-spouting Jane versus how things went with Rhonda. Both women were attempting to throw a pebble of kindness to ripple healing and comfort into Alice’s life. And Jane is right. God takes horrible things and uses them in the lives of those He loves, His children, to bring about His purposes. He does it all the time and it’s an astoundingly beautiful thing.

But Rhonda’s words carried more weight. Not the kind of weight that leaves another feeling heavy and burdened. Her pebbles made deeper ripples in Alice’s heart with greater effect. Rhonda has walked the tightrope of miscarriage and through that nightmare she has earned the right to speak weighty words of hope and significance into Alice’s life.

These are fictional scenarios but the reality is, I miscarried our third child many years ago. Our daughter’s heart stopped beating very late in my second trimester. There were well-meaning, kind people who spoke good words—Biblical words even—that had very little impact on me. Little impact other than making me feel like I wasn’t being hopeful enough. And then there was the call from my friend, Lynn, who had walked the wilderness of multiple miscarriages.

I will never forget my conversation with Lynn. She listened well and we spoke about things no one else understood. I can’t remember her exact words, but that one pebble-throwing phone call carried weight and its ripple effects were significant—so significant that her words prompted this blog post several years later.

 

My friend, Art, has an adult daughter who’s in a fierce battle with ALS. It has been a long, hard, and at times very frightening rollercoaster ride. But Jesus Christ has been their rock. I do my best to encourage Art, his wife, and daughter on their journey, with prayer, words of hope, and hugs. But recently, he shared an e-mail with some powerful pebble-throwing words. They came from a family friend whose high school son has a brain tumor. The family had just received inconclusive scan results. The mother wrote:

“We are a bit discouraged with the results . . . because in our humanness we want a sense of control.  We want to know exactly what is going on and what to expect.  I want to be able to walk down a big, broad path that is well lit and there is visibility down the road.  I want to be able to run and skip and be carefree down the path, but that is not the case.  Instead, God has called us to walk on a tight rope in the dark.  It feels scary and the road is uncertain.  But the best part of this path is that I am tightly holding onto my Savior’s hand. When He walks with me, He gives me, not only guidance, direction, and security, but He lavishes His peace because I am held by Him.  There is no better place to be.”

That last line bears repeating. A mom of a high school senior with brain cancer, who has no idea of her son’s outcome, says “There is no better place to be.”

Not because she likes the tightrope God’s chosen for her to walk, but because she’s held by the One who holds both ends of the rope. These weighty words lifted Art’s faith at a time when my encouragement most likely falls a bit short.

heart stoneIt’s hard to know the right thing to say. Sometimes just listening is better, unless your experience compels you to share a nugget of wisdom packaged up with a large dose of compassion. Shared experience uniquely qualifies you to be a pebble thrower whose words carry wisdom. I pray that your weighty words will ripple encouragement and hope into the lives of those who need them most.

What tightrope has God called you to walk in the dark? How might you toss a pebble by allowing your experience to ripple some light into another’s dark pain? please share below…

3 Gifts Haiti Gave Me

One of my favorite people on this planet has a signature saying: “relationship is better than meat.” I can’t spend even one hour with him without hearing him quote it. 

I couldn’t agree more. Wherever I go, but especially when attending writing conferences, I try my best to build relationships. I met today’s pebble thrower, Stephanie Wilkins, at a writing conference a few years back. StephanieI recently read Stephanie’s blog about her mission trip to Haiti, and I just had to have her share. I hope her pebble throwing will inspire you like it did me…

Why do you think pebble throwing is important? As a Christian with the love of Christ in my heart, I want to give back because of His great love for me.  So when the opportunity arises, and I feel His leading, I am drawn to serve in different capacities.

Tell us about how you throw pebbles for those battling chronic illness: In 2013, the Lord prompted me to begin No More Band-aids, which is a ministry of encouragement for those who suffer from or care for those with chronic or stress related illnesses.

So you recently when to Haiti… why? For many years, God led our family to serve as hosts for foreign missionaries, but this year we were called to help in a different way.  My daughter and I signed up to serve in Haiti through Mission of Hope. The ripples that we have seen from our trip have been amazing. By far, the biggest ripples are the gifts I received from our time there:

  1. the joy of connecting new Haitian families with Mission of Hope assistance
  2. a new understanding (for me and my daughter) of the Haitian culture and their stresses
  3. an increased ability to help others understand themselves through my ministry of bible study and blogging

How did you get connected with Mission of Hope? Through the youth department at our church, First Baptist Atlanta. About 20 students and 10 adults attended the trip. The purpose of our trip was to share the love of Christ with the villagers  as we gathered information and did health and wellness training.  We also painted houses in the villages.haiti beds

How did the trip change you? The “discomfort” at our camp that I thought was so hard (insects, heat, lack of hot water) in no way compared to the discomfort that the Haitian villagers live with on a daily basis. The Lord showed me this as I worked side by side with them in their communities.

In the book of Matthew we read that Jesus came in human form to experience life as we know it. He gave up the perfect atmosphere of heaven for us so that we could touch, feel, and see Him in a tangible way. sky-690293_1280His example shows me that to reach people, you must go to them and understand where they are coming from just like the woman at the well.

If I can’t understand where people are coming from, it’s hard to relate or to communicate truth to them in a way they can understand.  So making a difference in the life of others requires sacrifice even if it’s only your time.

What was your biggest takeaway? I’m sure I gained more from the trip than the Haitians did from me. I have a greater appreciation of what full-time missionaries do and how much they sacrifice to bring truth to nations in need of Jesus Christ.

travel-778338_1280You don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary, but if you get the opportunity, I would encourage you to do so because it’s an amazing experience.  The trip changed the way I love others by introducing me to more people around the world to love and  showing me the need for courage and sacrifice to do so.

Processed with Moldiv

Any final thoughts? Giving of yourself to others for Jesus Christ never returns void. It might not be what you thought you would gain, but God in His infinite understanding knows exactly what he wants to teach us and all He asks is our willing participation.

What about you? Have you taken a mission trip? Please share a few take-aways in the comments below!

The Aroma of Christ

We brought Uganda home on our feet. We’ve rinsed and scrubbed, yet our shoes still wear the orange-red soil that daily crept in between our toes as we served as missionaries. There are shadows of terracotta hands on our white t-shirts. The smell of burning trash and charcoal clings to our hair.

DSC_0385A few days ago, dozens of joy-ridden children sat on our laps, curiously fingered our long wavy hair, squeezed our hands, and searched our eyes for a look—one you-are-loved look. To be honest, as they snuggled in close, their scent was often pungent. But the overwhelming aroma that lingered after our time together was that of Jesus Christ. The smell that brings life in a place where death runs rampant.

DSC_0339There are two Hands of Love schools in Uganda that care for more than 1,600 abandoned and orphaned children. After spending several days at the more developed school near the big city of Kampala, it was time to trek to the second location. The Namadhi orphanage, located in the remote Kayunge district of Uganda, is way out there. It took our team nearly five hours to reach it.

As the Hands of Love van rattled and heaved along the bumpy, unpaved roads carved by the heavy downpours of the rainy season, we took in the unusual scenery. We noticed mud and wattle huts, half-clothed children playing with cardboard boxes, women carrying fire wood and bananas on their heads, and mosques.DSC_0411

Every four to ten kilometers or so, a concrete building with turrets appeared. The turrets were crowned with the unmistakable crescent moon and star of Islam. The building of these rural mosques is funded by Islamic supporters in the middle east whose investment includes a well. Thirsty villagers, who might otherwise walk miles each day to gather water, are offered a shortcut: convert to Islam and receive full access to the well. How ironic. The very source that brings them physical life is used to rob them of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

DSC_0450But at Hands of Love Namadhi, the smell of life pervades the air. Joy surprised our team at every turn. Children chanting “wel-o-come” greeted us with personalized signs and waved palm branches as if we were queens.DSC_0620

Though these Hands of Love children are dusty, they are loved. Though they are hungry, they are fed—both with sponsored meals and the Living Word of Jesus Christ. DSC_0414 (2)The fragrance of Christ saturated the atmosphere and we breathed it in deeply.

Our afternoon in the bush flew by. We blew bubbles, attended a school performance, taught classes, gave gifts, and loved the children.

DSC_0289We threw pebbles in every direction, touching as many young lives as we could. Later that night, our weary team returned to our Kampala hotel. We entered air-conditioned rooms and ran clean water in pristine showers until it steamed hot. The orange-red water disappeared into the drain, rinsing off the day’s dust. But the fragrance of Christ forever lingers in our hearts.

As you move through your day, what do you leave behind? Does the “scent” of Jesus’ love linger as a result of your interactions? How can you be more intentional about the way you love others to point them to Jesus? Please share a comment below!

Hospitality That Humbles

Uganda’s tremendous hospitality is something I will never get used to. Our mission team traveled here with the intentions of throwing some pebbles into a poverty ridden culture. Perhaps we could love on some kids, wash some clothes, clean some dormitories, and teach a class or two. Maybe we could leave something behind that would make a difference for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and the loving hands that daily care for them.

Instead, our team has been waited on, hugged, chauffeured, celebrated, entertained, honored, thanked, and bathed in prayer. Those we came to serve are serving us. They don’t find serving us awkward or hard or impractical. They consider it their privilege—an opportunity to be like Jesus who also came to serve.

sliced-pineapple-fruitIt hit me hard today in a quiet corner office at Pastor Elijah’s church. We were ushered there to enjoy a tray full of succulent, fresh fruit. We drank pineapple soda and ate grapes, bananas, oranges and the sweetest pineapple we’d ever tasted. IMG_1600Then the orphanage mission coordinator slipped into the room and stood before us spewing gratitude for our outstanding and humbling work. Truth be told, our work was nothing more than mopping the church floors. This crazy gratitude came from a man whose floors I should mop every day considering the countless orphans he has loved into the wee hours of the night.

Later, we paid a visit to the woman who helped birth Hands of Love. Pastor Ruth Sebuchu leads annual Women’s Empowerment Conferences for thousands of Uganda’s destitute women. She helped her husband build seven mud huts with their bare hands to house 188 orphans. The mud huts would later become Hands of Love, which today serves more than 1,600 orphans. We knelt down with this saint of a woman and tearfully spoke a simple prayer beside her ill family member. Her stream of heartfelt thanks, praise, and abundant hugs touched us deeply.

IMG_1551The day we arrived, the children greeted us with a parade of personalized signs, waving hands, and cheers. We were served a hand cooked, elaborate lunch in the principals’ office and seated at the table of honor for a stunning performance featuring the talented children. The performance concluded with more speeches honoring—you guessed it—the missionaries.

Our country could take a few notes from Uganda when it comes to serving others. So often we (I) are so focused on the task at hand that we fail to stop and give thanks for the hands that throw pebbles.

Who can you serve today? What simple thing can you do to express thanks for how another has served you?

Gifted Hands

This year, some very beautiful hands joined together to do some pretty serious pebble throwing.

Wrinkled, 70-year-old hands.

Smooth, 11-year-old hands.

Skilled hands and just-learning-to-sew hands.

View More: http://christinawillsonphotography.pass.us/sewblessedWhen I walked into the church café last week, the 71 dresses and 12 skirts stitched by our church’s Sew Blessed ministry were piled high. Piles and piles of magenta-stripes, rainbow florals, sparkly pink princess prints, and a dazzling array of other fabrics greeted me.

11800501_10100802505988392_2242601497992428066_n

On the other side of the globe, a group of girls wearing hand-me-down uniforms gathers in a dusty school yard. Their dresses are stained and torn. Their hands are dirty. But they hardly notice because they’ve always been barefoot and a little dusty.

Little do they know, a delivery is on the way. They don’t yet see the ripple effects of nimble fingers ranging from young to mature:  a display of dresses that would make the Queen of Sheba jealous.sew blessed dresses1

Our missionary team will soon check suitcases bulging with dresses for the Hands of Love girls in the Namadhi district of Kampala, Uganda in East Africa. The Sew Blessed women prayed that the dresses will do more than simply clothe the formerly orphaned girls. They tossed pebble-throwing prayers into the heavens asking God to whisper His reminders to the girls:

View More: http://christinawillsonphotography.pass.us/sewblessed“You are not forgotten.”

“You are not an orphan.”

“You have a Father in Heaven.”

“He sees you and He loves you.”

“In fact… He has a gift for you.”

When Sew Blessed began two years ago, the ladies never dreamed their ministry would touch the lives of orphaned children in Uganda. But they faithfully offered up their talent to THE Creatorthe Masterpiece Maker—and partnered with Him to be used for His glory. Last week, they stood in a circle with tear-filled eyes and celebrated how He’d done exactly that: He used a sewing circle to do exceeding abundantly more than they imagined.

camera-2What do you enjoy? Photography? Do you cut hair? Build houses? Take care of animals?scissors-and-combs There is no God-given skill that our Father can’t use to bless another.

How might God use what you love for His kingdom purposes? Are you being nudged to nurture or hone one of your gifts? Pause for a moment and ask Him:

Father God, You are the first Creator. Everything beautiful that I see on this earth was intricately woven together, in Christ, by Your gifted hands. Thank you for the way you have gifted me. Help me to recognize my gifts and see that I have something unique to contribute. Thank you that my “pebble” is completely different than any other. I offer up to you this pebble of                                                           (fill in your gift or skill). Guide me toward the next step to use my skills and talents to serve and bless others.

In Your Holy name,

Amen

Was Jesus a pebble thrower?

Jesus didn’t cast stones. But did He throw pebbles?

When I look at Jesus through a pebble thrower lens, I am struck by the way He responded to—and welcomed—interruptions. He threw pebbles by welcoming people with love regardless of whether it was part of His plan.

Sometimes the pebbles we throw are planned.day 10 (84) My daughter and I are planning a mission trip to Africa. We leave next week. Are we planning to throw pebbles? By all means. But if we want to follow Jesus’ example, we must also welcome unplanned and unexpected opportunities to love others.

When Jesus ministered to those around Him, he often stopped what he was doing or where He was going. He stopped to engage with people—sinful, dirty, greedy, sick people—much to the dismay and annoyance of his disciples. These interactions had huge ripple effects in the lives of those who interrupted His day.

well2Jesus was tired from a long, hot journey when He encountered the woman at the well. He was ready for a break and a drink. Instead of grabbing a quick sip, avoiding eye contact, and dodging the Samaritan woman, He made time for her. He not only engaged her in conversation, but offered her words of life. His words rippled into her own salvation and countless others who ultimately received him as their personal Messiah.

many samaritans

John 4:39

How many would have missed out on eternal life if Jesus had prioritized His real need for a quiet water break over her need for the Living Water? And just keeping it real, how many have missed out on Jesus because of my concern with being on time for a meeting rather than being engaged with my own personal woman at the well… or the post office… or Wal-mart?

One reason I’m drawn to pebble throwing is because it’s simple. I like simplicity. Being a pebble thrower doesn’t mean we have to do something super spiritual or extravagantly sacrificial like starting a non-profit organization or selling our possessions and moving to Africa. It’s as simple as leaving a crazy big tip for a grouchy waitress or stopping at a lemonade stand when you don’t even drink lemonade.

It could be the words you speak to the girl selling lemonade that bring the hope she needed that day. The ripple effect of welcoming that interruption might make all the difference, just as it did when Jesus spoke words of life to the Samaritan woman.

Jesus, I thank you for demonstrating the power of holy interruptions. Thank you for showing us we are worthy of your time. Help me to keep in step with your Spirit and welcome those You send into my day—even the ones who are annoying and dirty. heart stoneForgive me for the times I’ve failed to engage with one who needed Your love. Open my eyes and help me to throw pebbles. May my small acts of love show others that You “indeed are the Savior of the World.”

Do you struggle with interruptions? Are you an introvert? Do you shy away from engaging with others? What are some ways you might throw pebbles without words? Please comment below!

Ripples of Salvation

stack of pebblesWelcome! I’m so glad you’ve found Pebble Throwers, where you’ll meet everyday people whose small acts of love ripple into extraordinary things. Pebble Throwers vary in age and are often unaware that they are throwing pebbles. In fact, many don’t realize the tiny change that is taking place when their particular pebble is thrown.

lemonA first grader raises $44 selling lemonade and donates the money to an African orphanage. Her small “pebble” eventually ripples into paying for backpacks filled with school supplies for two African AIDS orphans. To those two children in Uganda, that backpack isn’t just filled with school supplies, it’s overflowing with hope.

I hope this blog will inspire and encourage you. I pray that what is shared might coax you out of your comfort zone for all the best reasons. And please do join the conversation and send me your own pebble throwing stories.

And now for our first story. . .

men-shoesLong before buying shoes was a self-serve venture, before Designer Shoe Warehouse and Pay Less, a pebble thrower named Edward Kimball walked into a shoe store. Kimball, a Sunday School teacher, didn’t need to buy shoes. But he did want to see the 17-year-old clerk, a boy from his class, who worked there.

As they chatted behind the shoe store counter, a pebble was tossed, the Holy Spirit went to work, and the young man—Dwight L. Moody—recognized his need for a savior. He surrendered his life to Christ just a few months later. Though the young man had only four years of formal schooling, Kimball’s pebble eventually rippled into 100 million people receiving Christ through Moody’s evangelism ministry. Those are some big ripples!

Do you ripplesteach? Serve food? Cut hair?

You might consider your work insignificant, but if one interaction can ripple into salvation for 100 million people. . . just think about it. It’s likely that Mr. Kimball had little idea that his conversation with an undereducated teenager would eventually touch so many lives. I don’t believe that’s why he did it. But the fact is that he did it. He showed that young man love and took time to listen to his needs.

pebble hearts

I’d like to challenge you to stop what you’re doing and offer up a pebble to God. Pause long enough to ask Him what tiny act of love He has for you? The ripple effects just might surprise you.

Father God,

Thank you that when You combine my faith and a simple act of love with Your all-surpassing power, anything is possible. Today, I offer up a mustard seed of faith that I have something within me—a small pebble—to offer another. Show me what it is and help me to obey and act. May the ripple effects point others back to you in ways I can’t even imagine.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’d love to hear about any pebbles thrown this week! Did you witness a pebble thrown? Did you throw one? Or were you on the receiving end? Do share!