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…

The Secret to Meeting the Most Fascinating People

in loving memory of Marie Bobola

susan pic1My friend Susan is a small but spunky, pebble-throwing prayer warrior whose hat collection rivals Princess Diana’s. She often shows up at our Monday prayer meetings colorfully accessorized from head to toe. But as much as I adore Susan’s fashion statements, it’s the statements of her heart that have rippled their way into my blog today.

susan pic5Three words stood out as Susan shared one morning about her recent trip home: purple poker chips. Susan’s 92-year-old mom, Marie, used to love to play bingo. At Marie’s assisted living home, Susan noticed that some residents were playing bingo using special chips. But her mom was playing with generic markers. She made a mental note to buy Marie a set of purple markers, her mom’s favorite color. Later, after hours of searching the internet to find just the right ones for her mom, she purchased a set of purple poker chips. Her mom was overjoyed to have her own set of signature chips to mark her bingo board each day.

During Susan’s time at the assisted living home, two sweet ladies took a very specific interest in her. The hours she spent listening and laughing with Geneva and Madeline left a strong impression—so strong that the retelling of it brought tears to Susan’s eyes. God richly blessed her that day as she soaked in quality time with an often overlooked generation.

Two short weeks after Susan’s visit, Marie took her final earthly breaths. Susan was beyond grateful for the moments she’d spent with her mom and for the seemingly small ripple of her poker chip gift.

waterSmall things done with love matter. They’re what pebble throwing is all about. Gestures of love shown to the next generation—whether that generation is behind us (our children) or ahead of us (our parents and grandparents)—are significant in kingdom terms. Why? Because Jesus said so. He taught His disciples that even a single cup of water given in His name yields kingdom rewards. Perhaps our Savior would say the same about the gift of purple poker chips.

A few weeks ago, I was checking out at Walmart behind a senior couple. The purple poker chips rippled into my mind. I smiled and greeted the husband, who replied with a few pleasantries. The cashier paged a manager for a price check and in the process, we were faced with a wait.

As we killed time chatting, I was struck by the couple’s wit and charm. I discovered that the husband was an author who had published a highly valuable civil war history book. I looked him up on Amazon when I got home and his antique book is currently priced at several hundred dollars!

cell phone

photo credit: Osman Kalkavan

I often forget about the rich tapestry of stories and contributions the older generation holds. I swoosh past fascinating people as I check my twitter feed in the grocery line, while the Susans of the world search high and low for purple poker chips.

Join me in tossing some pebbles with a generation who has treasure to offer if only we’ll slow down long enough to listen. Who knows what holy introduction might occur with a simple smile and hello? The most fascinating people are out there, just waiting to meet you.

If you’ve been a silent reader, thanks for stopping by. Please join our community by leaving a comment below.

1 Big Thing 3 Little Girls Did to Make their Neighbors Talk

Pebble throwers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Three pint-sized pebble throwers live right around the corner from me. They got busy tossing pebbles that rippled good into their community through a neighborhood library.

freelibrary1My friend, Kim, and her three elementary-school-aged daughters set up a book sharing program right outside their front door. The “Little Free Library” builds community among their neighbors, provides a rewarding family project, and increases the girls’ motivation to read.

Last year, Kim told her neighbor about her dream of building a weatherproof structure to house and share books. As God would have it, her neighbor Cami had a beautifully constructed book shed she wasn’t using and offered it to Kim.

Their conversation extended the ripple effect of a pebble thrown by Cami’s dad.

  • Cami’s father used his gift of woodworking to build a mini library for his daughter’s use.
  • After she finished using the handcrafted bookcase, Cami recycled it by gifting it to her neighbor, Kim.
  • Kim’s passion for reading and community-building rippled into her daughters.

and finally . . .

  • Kim’s daughters shared it with their neighborhood.

Plus, Kim’s family experienced an Ephesians 3:20 wave of blessing when they discovered that the donated library was stocked with Gideon Bibles (from Cami’s dad) and other books for Kim’s girls to share.

freelibrary2croppedKim beams joy at the mention of the mini library. “I love when children and parents visit the library to choose and donate books.  Neighbors hang out and chat while their kids browse.  And the best part is that little hands can manage it.  The girls take turns organizing the books and enjoy discovering new additions others donate. A small collection of children’s books has grown to a larger collection, including an adult shelf and a DVD library.  All seem to truly enjoy it!”

pile-of-booksIf you, or another pebble thrower you know, would like to join in the fun, simply visit The Little Free Library website.  The Little Free Library program was birthed to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide. Did you know that there are over 32,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world where more than one million books are shared annually?

That’s a lot of ripples!

Do you know any pint-sized pebble throwers? I’d love to hear your stories of how they are changing the world, one pebble—or book—at a time. Do share with a comment below…

Why Page 747 is My Favorite Page in the Bible

I smile when I open my Bible to Ecclesiastes chapter two. Not necessarily because it contains a favorite verse. I smile at what greets me at the bottom of the page. eccliastes scribbles

At some point during my daughter’s toddler years, like many small children, she began practicing the first initial of her name. She drew capital M’s everywhere. I’m sure her preschool teacher encouraged this, as did her mother. One day, while flipping through Ecclesiastes, I stumbled on some of her preschool “homework:” a series of pen marks that vaguely resembled two M’s.

crayon scribblesI don’t remember if at first this discovery ticked me off (it most likely did.) But through the years, I’ve grown to cherish page 747. Along my rollercoaster journey of throwing pebbles—small acts of love—to ripple good into my kids’ hearts, I crave reminders that every once in a while, something goes right. On the uphill days of parenting, page 747 is a blessed reminder.

Please hear me. I am not saying I condone children scribbling in the Bible.

My baby girl wasn’t writing in my Bible to be naughty. She was repeating an action. She saw her mommy take a pen and “crayon” to underline and make notes in the Bible. Though I speak to my kids of the importance of cherishing God’s Word, nothing speaks louder than my actions. The daily pebbles I threw as I opened and read my Bible rippled into her preschool-aged heart and mind and resulted in change. She “caught” the habit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy heart soars when I see one of my teenage children with their Bible open. There was a time when we shared daily devotions together. But as they’ve grown and schedules have changed, it’s become their personal privilege and choice to open their Bibles and draw near to God, so He will draw near to them.

To keep things real, I confess that not all habits my kids have learned from me are as holy as this one. dishwasherI watch too much TV. I complain about the humidity and the unemptied dishwasher (among other things). I drink too much coffee and not enough water. I’m far too attached to my iPhone…

You get the point.

I have miles to go in the department of setting a perfect example. But if I can point my children to the example, the Word-made-flesh, then at least I’m getting something right. And I do believe it’s the main thing.

pebbles in heartAt the end of the day, if my children’s TV-watching habits are less than optimal and they’re a tad over caffeinated, but they love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength . . . I’m good with that.

As a pebble-throwing parent, how do you toss pebbles that ripple good habits into your children’s lives? Is there a contagious habit you need to stop? Do share your thoughts in the comments below!

Are You a Piggy-back Parent?

Parenting is not for sissies.

I just finished wading through a parenting decision that threatened my peace. It was a confusing time and though friends offered great advice, I lacked clarity in determining the next step. With each passing day, the need to make a decision loomed and my anxiety increased. My moods swung, my muscles tensed, and my sleep was interrupted.stress

One morning, as I brought my anxious feelings to God, He allowed me to see a snapshot of myself. It wasn’t pretty. I looked like a busy, fretful mess. Immediately I knew that my worry and need to control were getting in the way and robbing me of His peace. I took time to name my feelings, agreeing with Him about my anxiety and fear. I laid down my decision, surrendering the process to my gracious Father.

A few tissues later, another mental snapshot came. This time, God motioned me to stand behind Him. As soon as I did He lifted me onto his back and I grabbed on like a little girl hanging onto her dad piggy-back style.dad & girl silouhette

I rested my head on my Almighty, All-knowing Heavenly Father’s shoulders and the spiritual atmosphere around me shifted. My anxiety left. Next, I glimpsed the last and final image. I got to see what—or rather whom—was in front of God. Our child was standing closely in front of the Father. Both of His strong hands were resting on our son’s shoulders. Perfect peace enfolded me.

Since that morning, I’m often reminded that it’s not my job, or my husband’s, to control our children’s lives. It’s God’s. He’s got them. My job is to hold onto God, and even my ability to hold on is accomplished through the grace of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Are you a piggy-back parent? We can toss pebbles of fear that ripple the waters of our households with disorder and unrest or we can choose to release our emotions to the One who calms the raging seas of our hearts and minds. Piggy-back parents grab onto God during the storms, rather than fearfully attempting to micromanage their circumstances.

Earlier this week, we reached a decision. I have peace. And because God is a cherry-on-top-of the-ice-cream-sundae kind of Father, He left me a gift in my e-mail inbox yesterday:

piggyback“About Benjamin he said: ‘Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders’” Deuteronomy 33:12.

What God revealed in mental snapshots during my prayer time, He confirmed in His word. Because He’s just that good.

Do you struggle with fear and control as a parent? Join the conversation below by sharing how you throw pebbles that ripple peace into your homes.

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!