Tag Archives: affirmation

The Lenten Journey Requires…

 

Our Lenten Journey

In my morning prayer time, I’m working through the United Church’s Lenten Bible study. This is the question for March 12: “Is your faith in God strong enough to put your life in God’s hands without hesitation?” My first response is, “I don’t know. God hasn’t asked me to do that yet.” As soon as that  thought rippled through my mind, I pictured the boxes of books lining one side of my furnace room, and I chuckled. Over the last 14 years, I written, published and bought 9000 plus copies of my books. Today there are about 1000 books remaining on those shelves. Every time I write another book, pay for professional editing, design and layout, and then order a thousand books, I take a leap of faith. Will they sell, or pile up in my furnace room until I can’t get inside?

Yes, I do place my heart in God’s hands with each new book. Writing and selling takes courage. There is always the risk of rejection. I rent a table and lay out my books. Some people walk by without even stopping to look. These books represent a part of me, and rejection sends an arrow deep into my soul. Yet, I’ve learned that when discouragement sets in, someone stops me at a meeting to tell me how much they love my books, or I receive an email like the one I received today:

“… I don’t read as much as I’d like to.  However, I finished Fireweed a few weeks ago, and it’s taken me awhile to write and tell you how much I loved it.  You certainly have a way of making your characters seem real and I felt as though I knew and cared for Renee and Steve.  I found I’d smile with them and once got teary-eyed as well. It is a good reminder for all to pray and think kindly of all others, no matter what.  And so I just wanted to affirm you. From a reader’s point of view, your ministry is alive and well, and in such a gentle, loving way.   I have started To Begin Again and am delighted to revisit the same little family, and looking forward to what you have to share about our grandmother.  Your books bring a little joy and goodness into this crazy world.  Just as God has planned, I’m sure.  Love Francie

Emails like this lift the darkness. I think, God obviously wants me to keep writing, to spread Jesus’ message of unconditional love through my books. Gratitude fills my soul. Thank you,God, for giving me the courage to trust you enough that I risk using my God-given talents.  I am truly blessed.

Over this Lenten season, I encourage all of you to think about the gifts God has given you for spreading God’s message of love and peace to the world. When you feel discouraged, remember Jesus also enjoyed success with some, and disappointment with others. When the road was rough, he spent time in prayer seeking affirmation, solace, and strength. WE CAN DO THE SAME. You may feel hesitation, for sure, but you can put your life, your efforts in God’s hands. You can do it. Thanks be to God.

Helping Others Is a Privilege.

Helping Others Is a Privilege.

by Janet Stobie

Lately I’ve been having a grand time helping others with their writing. Some people call it mentoring. I call it a privilege. I don’t ever want to forget how much I enjoy teaching. Working with others, affirming their gifts, patiently challenging them to improve, feeds my soul. Last week, hours just disappeared as I sat with a very special young woman as she wrestled with a project for her university course.

For me, one of the joys of being a mother and grandmother has been watching my children and grandchildren respond to love and appreciation, especially when their struggles seemed to be overwhelming. Gardeners know the wonder of watching a sprout poke up through the soil, reaching for the sunlight. In just a few weeks, leaves develop, then the flower, even the fruit appears. Over a lifetime, the beautiful spirit in another human being develops in the same way. When I keep that privilege at the forefront of my mind, I can only give God thanks for the honour of being part of a person’s life.

I encourage all of you to search for opportunities to mentor someone. Often these opportunities are just fleeting moments. When you stand at the cash register waiting for your change, you can use the occasion to help the clerk find value in their work that day. All it takes is a sentence.

“Thank you, you’ve been helpful.”

“The store’s busy today. You must be tired.”

Acknowledging work well done, or visible exhaustion gives the message that this clerk is important. Whether you are shopping, standing at the soccer field, or having coffee after church, you can affirm the people around you, young and old alike.

I suggest you try it. For a few moments you will forget your own troubles while you make this world a better place in which someone else can bloom and grow.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10-12)

God’s Sacred Task

Creating a home is a sacred task given by God. 

For the child, that home begins inside the mother’s womb. Doctors tell us that what Mom eats and does affects her child, long before he or she is born. For example: When Mom doesn’t take in enough calcium in her diet, the calcium in her bones and teeth is taken for her unborn child. Today research has also shown that the fetus can hear.  Many mothers play music, sing, and read to their unborn child.

When I see pregnant women regularly at worship, I give thanks that once again a child is beginning with the love of a church family. Hearing the hymns, prayers, words that speak of loving one another, and living in peace and harmony, can make a difference in that child’s life.

God entrusts mothers with the special role of being the “goodness and mercy” of God, that is claimed in Psalm 23.  Of course, mothers, fail at times. They’re human.

God’s intention is that mother, in her unique place in the family, will be a source of God’s love.

Like all humans, mother doesn’t fulfill her role in a vacuum.

Mom’s need affirmation and support. Mother’s day reminds all of us that it is our privilege to be that affirmation and support. On Mother’s Day and every day, really look at the mother in your life, your own or someone else’s. Let her imperfections slide by and focus on the wonder of her efforts to love and support her child. Give her a hug. Speak words of appreciation.

Mother’s Day tell the Moms in your life that she is God’s blessing for her child.