People often say “I’m not a writer", but as our Guest Larry Lichlyter shares….if you’re a parent you’re a writer— composing messages in the lives of your children, grandchildren and future generations. Be motivated and sharpened by this heartfelt inspirational Father’s Day post from one Fab Dad!
The perfect post for Christmas! Sometimes love looks a lot like movement. Jesus left Heaven to come to us! Someone who knows about being moved by love are missionaries. My Aunt Carolyn is our December guest post and she has a beautiful message to share through her story of being called into the mission field. It's a story of obedience, sacrifice, provision and life investments. Whether at home or called abroad, realize the immense beauty of the light and example you reflect in this world as you read this post.
Our youth pastor has this phrase he prays before we give in the offering. “Lord, bless our little and make it much.”
Bless our little and make it much.
Do we ever feel like we have a lot to give?
I sure don’t. I guess that’s why this phrase really speaks to me. Sometimes I only have such little to give that it doesn’t seem it could be used to accomplish anything significant. And this isn’t just about money. It’s about all of our resources. Yes, our money, but it’s also about our time, talents and callings. And sometimes, what the Lord challenges us to give Him may seem so small we miss our opportunity to give it. Like I nearly did this past January.
It was the end of service. I can’t even tell you what our Pastor preached on that particular Sunday morning, but I can tell you what he didn’t preach on. He did not preach on trotting yourself across to the other side of the church to pray with someone that didn’t even ask for prayer. No. He did not preach on that.
However, as the altar call was given and people were invited to find a place to pray, I sat back down in my seat and reverently bowed my head for a time of personal reflection and prayer. While I can’t remember, all these months later, what the message was about, it’s my routine to let the message sit with me awhile, asking the Lord to evaluate my life and my heart in light of it. But this particular Sunday morning the minute I sat down a thought came into my mind. You should go pray for so-and-so.
It was just a thought. And I could have dismissed it, but something, or rather, Someone in my heart, made me pause to the notion that it wasn’t just a thought, but rather a nudge to go pray for this so-and-so.
Obedience is in constant development for me, and I regret to tell you my initial response. I’ll just pray for so-and-so right here. I can intercede for her right here. And I even began praying! Then came an interruption to my well-intentioned intercession. I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “If I can’t trust you to do the little things, how can I ever trust you to do the big things?”
Oh the little things.
The little things like this blog here. My writings I offer out of obedience to what God has placed in my heart.
Oh the little things.
The little things like public speaking. My messages I offer out of obedience to what God has placed in my heart.
Luke 16:10 jolted me with the challenge to be obedient in what God had stirred my heart to do. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
It may not have seemed like much of a challenge, but I didn’t want to come across to so-and-so as weird. Nevertheless, I felt there was a bigger picture I could not see, but I trust that God desires to piece that picture together in my life. A piecing together that requires me to be faithful in the little things. Like praying for someone who I had no clue would want or need my prayer.
I made it through the awkward walk across the sanctuary to this person. She was standing, with her eyes closed and singing. And here I was, to interrupt her and inform her God nudged me to come pray with her.
Gently, I laid my hand on her arm. She opened her eyes and there I was. Can we say, “awkward?”
I started with, “So-and-so, I have no idea why, but the Lord laid you on my heart to pray for you. I began to pray for you at my seat, but He challenged me to come to you to pray for you. Is there anything specifically I can pray over with you?”
You know her answer, don’t you?
Well, if you think it was a divine confirmation of a need she desperately desired someone to agree with about and encourage her in, then I would have to tell you that that is not how it unfolded. No. Not at all. She said, “Well, I can’t think of anything, but I’m always glad to have someone pray for me.”
Oh dear. Did I miss the boat? Or worse. Did I miss God?
I proceeded to pray for her. I prayed for her health, for her walk with the Lord that she may continue growing in a renewed passion and love, I prayed for her marriage, for her teenager, for her finances and her opportunities to minister to others. Gracious. I prayed for any and everything that possibly popped in my mind. And when I finished, I hugged her and said, “maybe one day we’ll know what this was all about.” Meaning maybe one day we would realize why I needed to walk over and pray for her for a need she didn’t even have.
I’m still not sure how it unfolded on her end, but the Lord has been so kind to connect the dots on what it meant for me on my end.
It was all about faithfulness. It was all about giving Him my little so He can make it much.
I don’t know about you, but I know for me, it’s a little easier to be faithful when I can see and know what’s going on. Taking blind steps forward, when things don’t quite make sense to me is a little more challenging. But if we had all the information, it wouldn’t have anything to do with the root of that word. Faith. Faithfulness is doing what God prompts us to do, without having all the information, knowledge and understanding. It’s getting in the car with Him in the driver seat, having no clue where He’s taking you.
And I would have never imagined Him driving me here, to a place of multiple writing projects including two children’s books, a devotional book, a cookbook and the project my heart continues to beat out with words, my memoir. Never would I have imagined Him blessing my little in such a way that would require a change to accommodate growth. Growth. My little. Growing.
This growth has presented a question. How?
How to cover the cost to:
· Revamp of our website in order to offer these projects on our online home?
· Pay for Service for our Website?
· Print our Brochures?
· Develop Media Material from Events?
· Provide Education- to develop me into a better speaker and writer?
· Buy Pens, Magnets and Chocolates for Speaker’s Table at Events?
· Have Funds for Giveaways for our Subscribers?
· Purchase ISBN numbers?
· Hire an Editor?
Again, sometimes I only have such little to give that it doesn’t seem it could be used to accomplish anything significant, or even cover the cost to grow the little.
But God just wants my little, and for me to be faithful in that little.
So there He nudged me again, yes, to the point of feeling like a weirdo and facing the possibility of rejection. By the way, side note: faithfulness looks a lot like getting rid of ourselves by humbling ourselves.
In order to continue on with my little, God challenged me to ask for advertisers. I know that life is about personal connection, and that the Lord works through His people to accomplish His plans and purposes, but good grief, this was an incredibly awkward act of obedience. I’d have rather walked across the sanctuary ten times over than to ask people to support my speaking and writing endeavors.
You know the story. It goes right along with what happened when I was nudged to pray for so-and-so. I wrote a letter to ask businesses to purchase an advertisement on our new website. I kept the letter for nearly two months. After finally printing them out and addressing them to the ten people I had on my heart to ask, I held the pile in my hand and asked the Lord to help me understand why I didn’t want to mail them out.
And it came right back down to my little.
What if no one responded? What if not one person would want to purchase an ad after knowing what the ad would provide for me to do?
Would that mean what I’m doing is not important? Would that mean what I’m doing has no value?
And here was my biggest question.
Would I continue doing what God has called me to do, even if not one person sees value in it?
After I resolved to be faithful in the little things, regardless of the outcome of those letters, I mailed them.
Would you be surprised if I told you I mailed them on a Friday and had an ad purchased by Monday morning? No. You wouldn’t be surprised. Because God simply asks us to be faithful in the little things. Faithful. Bless my little and make it much.
I’ve had a few full-on ugly cries by how the Lord orchestrates the details and provides for needs, so personally and creatively. He brings His people together. And I would like to introduce you to these people who have come alongside me providing for our growth. Their ads will run here on our website and be featured on our speaker table for a year.
I’m so honored to have them here. Please take a moment to read below who these people are, and why I reached out to them. These aren’t just advertisers. This is our online home meaning those you meet here are the type of people you would meet in our actual home. There is a consistency in the messages you read here and the people you would choose to do business with here.
I pray each of them are blessed in their businesses for allowing the Lord to use them in blessing my little and making it much.
Be brave, humble and faithful. He wants to do the same in you.
I pray this post spoke to you. Would you consider supporting this site and our upcoming projects by subscribing to our blog and sharing with others? We can’t grow without you!
Meet Our Advertisers!
Chris and Marcy Leffingwell-
Sometimes I’m at a loss for words. And when it comes to this couple, it’s just hard to summarize them into a paragraph. Chris and Marcy have been friends of ours for over twenty years. They have spoke into our marriage, before our marriage even began, and into our family through celebrations and loss, and now here on our online home with a message reflective of their own life. Ducis per Ministerium. The service leader. I’ve observed this couple in ministry and in business. Chris began his first business venture out of the same building where my Dad had his office. To say they were close is an understatement. My Dad had a strong admiration for Chris’ ambition and integrity, and he knew Chris would be successful in his endeavors because his priority for others was in place. A true service leader. Chris specializes in bringing technology to businesses with quality, affordability, performance, and efficiency. His business represents his service leader principle through the courteous well-trained technicians his company values and provides. I am deeply honored to have he and Marcy represented here on our online home.
Dr. Nathan Rapp-
Having a baby is one of the most exciting events in life. It can also be one of the scariest. As a couple who had four high-risk pregnancies, Brandon and I remember the uncertainty we experienced and the concern we encountered. I also remember how much confidence we had in our doctor. The peace-of-mind knowing he had the expertise, experience, skill and demeanor to safely deliver our baby was a blessing in those years of our life. Doctors make all the difference. Finding the right one is a great treasure. That’s why I’m so proud of our friend for the gift he is and has been to so many families. I love the instances I’ve been able to hear families and nurses brag on Dr. Rapp. I feel so proud to say, “He’s a good friend of ours.” Exactly how I feel regarding the honor of having him advertise on our online home. In addition to knowledge and skill, Dr. Rapp brings good communication between patients and the staff involved in the patient’s care; he is compassionate, respectful and has a gentle and calm nature. He’s the type of physician families want to walk through the season of bringing their precious miracles into the world.
Trevor Randall, Farmer’s Insurance-
My Dad was an insurance agent and I remember him making comments about how we hope we never need our insurance but are glad we have it when we do. Brandon and I have experienced that exact circumstance. We went over sixteen years of our married life never needing to use our insurance, and then back-to-back years we had claims. I’m sure we could probably shop around for cheaper rates, but we truly get what we pay for with Farmers. After a severe storm hit our area, we heard numerous families at a loss for what they thought was covered but in the extremely unfortunate moment, found out so much wasn’t. Farmers has taken care of us. When life is in disarray because the home is, it’s a blessing having an insurance company help put it back together. That is how we feel about Farmers. And this agent is to thank. Trevor is not only married to my lifelong best friend, practically counted as family himself, but he is the picture of professional. He conducts periodic reviews of your policy to make sure you have the coverage you need. Anyone who answers the phone in his office is going to be first and foremost friendly and informative. Each of them knows insurance and are available to keep it as seamless and simple as possible. They are Farmers. (Apologies for any jingles now stuck in your head.)
Dr. Kevin Duffy-
When the topic of orthodontics came up in regard to our first child, Brooklyn, we chose to have her evaluated by someone who came recommended. Several families in our community had seen Dr. Duffy for orthodontic treatment, and one of our dear friends even worked for him for several years. Everyone who knew him gave him the highest compliment and the greatest recommendation. Dr. Duffy saw Brooklyn through braces, and now Jaron too. He’s also evaluated Caden and Gavin and advised us on the best approach for losing those baby teeth allowing for their permanent teeth to come in. I wished we would have had Brooklyn and Jaron evaluated earlier, but I can share with you if you have an eight, nine, or ten year-old, call Dr. Duffy for a complimentary assessment. It may not be time for orthodontics now, but monitoring with a game plan in place can be a fabulous benefit for the treatment process. And be prepared to meet one of the nicest, most gentle people on the planet. Dr. Duffy and his entire staff are warm and friendly throughout the entire office.
There were so many reservations I had about starting this online home. First, I questioned if anyone would ever even read the writings I had to offer. But mostly, I hadn’t the faintest clue on how to navigate the technical side of it. My friend Rhonda came to my house to get us up-and-running nearly five years ago, but she couldn’t hold my hand through every step, and I had a lot of steps to figure out. It’s been on my prayer list for someone to bring their talents to the design and function of our website. And God opened the door to Marshall. Over the last year or so, when I came across websites I liked, I’d jot down the designer. After having a list of names on my dry eraser board for so long, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to check into one. I didn’t have the faintest idea what it would cost, but I figured I’d never know until I asked. Marshall visited with me on the phone about my website, how I use it, and what I wanted to accomplish through it. And he even offered the suggestion of advertisements. What’s more is, a few hours after we had ended our call, he sent me an email and said he’d be the first to purchase one. When it came time for design, I told him I would be a real easy customer, because I didn’t have a creative direction on how it needed to look. I just knew I wanted it to be easy to navigate and look clean, not too busy. It’s funny. I’m sure after we got started Marshall wondered how someone with no direction could be so opinionated. But he was the absolute best to work with. He’s been incredibly patient through the transition of re-developing our site, spot-on with my main goal to make it clean, functional and easy to navigate. I’m honored to have Byler Media represented here on our online home. He has the qualities of integrity, professionalism and creativity. If you’re considering a web designer, give Marshall a call.
Joanna Ford, Coldwell Bankers-
Brandon and I built our home on family land. The place we decided to build our home and raise our own children was where I had been raised from birth. But right after my Dad passed away I had this basic, non-dramatic desire to move. My husband was supportive and we decided to list our home. We called someone recommended to us who is the picture of a go-getter, Joanna Ford. Joanna continuously showed our home, and showed us homes. She was committed to helping us explore where we needed to live. After much time on the market, with some hopeful buyers that just never panned out, Brandon looked at me and said, “Babe. We keep praying for the perfect family to buy our home.” I nodded in agreement and bewilderment as to why it wasn’t happening. He paused and concluded this thought that rang confirmation in my heart. He said, “I believe we are that family.” He was right. And I’m so thankful God kept us right where He wanted us. And I’m equally as grateful He sent Joanna to walk that season of exploration with us. She is the link to many homes selling, but she’s not just about the sale. She is about people. Joanna genuinely cares about finding the right fit for your family. If that means selling your home, or helping you buy a home, or even building a home, she has the heart of someone you’d want to walk you through it. I love most how Joanna says it herself, “I am successful because real estate is not my work but rather it is my joy.”
Inspiring. It’s a big word. And so are the people I’ve introduced you to over the last several weeks. Wrapping them into a blog post seems too simplistic for the individuals they are, the lives they live, and the people they’ve touched. This last inspirational series blog post brings home the definition of inspiring.
Dictionary.com provides the following:
- to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: to influence or impel
British Dictionary definitions for inspire:
- to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon (a person); animate or invigorate
- enspiren, "to fill (the mind, heart, etc., with grace, etc.);"
- enspirer , from Old French, "to prompt or induce (someone to do something),"
- enspirer from Latin "inflame; blow into",
One of the greatest, and yet deeply humbling of compliments I’ve been given over the years of sharing my story through personal conversations, public speaking and writing, is “You are so inspiring.”
I’m grateful the Lord has provided the days He has given me to continue living this life and I’m grateful for the people to share with where He has brought us on this journey. I’m humbled knowing it is not anything by my own doing, nothing I have orchestrated or accomplished, but it is completely by His mighty hand at work.
Why have others received inspiration from my journey? Because it has been written, directed, and kissed with the intentions, plans and purposes of my Heavenly Father. It’s what makes each one of our journeys inspiring. God uses His people to influence, to flame, to blow into, to prompt one another to become and to do all He desires, for us to live our lives to the fullest making the greatest impact for Him. These are the reasons I have written this series, sharing these people to inspire you and encourage you to inspire others.
It’s natural to assume I wouldn’t be who I am, nor sharing my life, eager to touch others, if it weren’t for one couple touching mine so magnificently spanning the last twenty-one years.
Steve and Michele Lee became my youth pastors in August 1994. I didn’t even know I was broken when I met them, but God knew I was to quickly find out, and He strategically put help in place before the storm began brewing.
My family had attended church all my life, but were never involved. I didn’t grow up knowing what it felt like to have a church family. Not until my parents decided to get plugged into a church closer to home. It was my first experience in a youth group, although it was quite small, only half a dozen students, and we technically didn’t have a youth pastor at the time, as Steve and Michele came a few months after we started attending.
This couple had a passion for youth. It was evident. They jumped in coordinating after-glows, which were social events after Sunday night service, ranging from pizza in someone’s home to bowling or putt-putt golf; and, weekly visitations, taking us to go visit students who were new to the youth group. Steve and Michele took us to summer youth camp, summer ski days at the lake, a back-to-school retreat where we floated the river and played during the day and had a service with worship, a message and prayer at night. Seems like a lot, but there’s more. They got involved in our schools, and we saw Steve regularly at our on-campus Bible club, he visited us at lunch, came to our sporting events, talent shows, and graduations. Steve and Michele took us to concerts, discipleship camp, mission trips, youth conferences and snow ski trips. A week didn’t go by that we didn’t have an opportunity to serve in our youth group or participate in a youth event, and this was on top of our weekly Wednesday night services!
It’s been said people bond through experience, and Steve and Michele definitely provided the experiences to bond with the teenagers they were called to minister to, growing the group to over two hundred students.
They were intentional.
How grateful I am for them. When the emotional trauma from Jon and my accident eventually surfaced, Steve and Michele were equipped with faith, the Word of God, and prayer to minister to me, speaking healing, vision and inspiration into my heart, into my life, into my bones.
Steve and Michele Lee threw a cloak over me. For years, I had the opportunity to serve in music ministry, singing on the youth worship team, which provided for an array of different experiences. Then years later, after Brandon and I had married and joined the youth leadership team, Steve asked me to take one of the Wednesday night youth services. I never thought of myself speaking; that was beyond my vision. But I did it, because they believed in me. They saw what I couldn’t see in myself, and continued to give me opportunities to grow in what God was preparing. Michele asked me to come speak to her 2nd grade class, which I have done for about a decade now, and Steve plugged me in to speak through the abstinence program at several of the schools. A few years ago, when the Lord was carrying me through my nursing school studies, Steve asked if I would speak in one of our Sunday morning services. God has given me a variety of experiences to demonstrate His calling upon my life as a speaker, and He has used Steve and Michele Lee to illustrate it, as this ministry has been perpetuated through theirs.
This couple has been the most influential on my life. We share a bond. A bond created when I was just a young lady and strengthened over time. Those times have brought much change.
We’ve shared some trials, as we walked through many of my surgeries and also Steve’s own burn injury. They comforted us after our miscarriage and faced all four of our high-risk pregnancies with us. And we grieved the loss of my Dad together, Steve doing the most difficult, being the one who told my Mom of my Dad's passing. Above all, our joys have exceedingly outweighed the sorrows. We’ve had the privilege of being a part of their lives as they started their family, watching their three little girls grow into beautiful young women, one in high school, one starting college, and one soon to get married. They celebrated life goals with us when Brandon finished his engineering degree and I, my nursing degree. And the influence of their ministry continues on in our life, even today, as our lead pastors.
Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Hebrews 13:7 NLT
Oh how I’ve followed their example. As a young teenager, I looked at Steve and Michele and I prayed the Lord would give me a husband like Steve and make me a wife like Michele. I desired my family to love the Lord, be passionate for His Word, and be obedient to His callings, to be real, relevant, love people, and choose happiness.
Steve and Michele Lee’s influence upon my life goes back to my parents and the decision they made over twenty years ago. When my parents chose to join the congregation, they chose to commit to a family. As we all know, families go through hard times. We’re not always going to agree with them. We’re not always going to feel important. Things may not go as we think they should. But it’s a commitment. We don’t bail in dry seasons. We don’t jump ship when waters get rough. We commit to where God has called us to be. Church is about serving. It’s an opportunity to give of ourselves. Yes, we get a lot. I’ve written about a portion of it here. But when our hearts are in the place of giving and not getting, then the measuring stick is gone, no one keeping track of who got what and who’s doing what. And then there is so much freedom and liberty for God to work creatively, beyond what we could think or imagine.
When we’re committed to a church, to serve in a body of believers, we walk away with far more than we could ever bring, one thing is a family.
The Lord uses people. He uses people to touch and influence us and He uses us to touch and influence others. Isn’t that awesome?! God who is all-powerful, holy and wise, uses those He created to create what He desires.
I pray you have been blessed by these inspiring people. I pray these normal every-day individuals illustrate that what takes each of us from being ordinary to extraordinary is the influence of the Holy Spirit working through us.
May you feel inspired to let your life be an inspiring influence to this world!
check out Michele's The Mrs. Pastor blog at http://themrspastor.blogspot.com
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