Alphabet Faith Stories: Steadfast Stephanie

The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Scripture: Isaiah 26:3-4–“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for steadfast:

  • Firmly fixed in place
  • Not subject to change
  • Firm in belief, determination, or adherence

Quotes (Goodreads.com) using the word steadfast:

  • The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever
  • Remain steadfast
  • God’s laws do not change and His word is steadfast
  • Pray, work, be steadfast

S: Steadfast Stephanie’s Story:

“Stephanie could hear her dad yelling from the bleachers as she rounded the track during her two-mile trek. Breathlessly, as she took her final lap, she crossed the finish line winning the race, with her best friend Julie coming in second. Her mother was unable to attend because she was at home under hospice care for a debilitating disease, but Stephanie knew that she was there in spirit.

Whenever Stephanie would get discouraged and have thoughts that she could no longer continue a race, she would hear her mother saying, ‘Now Stephanie, you know that you need to be persistent, strong, confident, and persevere to the end of the race. After all, Paul talks about “pressing toward the goal” in Philippians 3:13: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ (NIV)

It wasn’t until a few years later that Stephanie would remember her mother’s words even more as she endeavored to train for the Boston Marathon. She and her best friend, Julie, would begin their training next week and would follow the Boston Marathon plan as adopted by the Boston Athletic Association. Their schedule would be as follows:

  • Level One: Run an average of 4 days/week–25-40 miles/week
  • Level Two: Run an average of 5 days/week–30-45 miles/week
  • Level Three: Run an average of 6 days/week–35-55 miles/week
  • Level Four: Run an average of 6-7 days/week–35-60 miles/week

The step-by-step in daily weekly mileage was designed to challenge the runner and minimize the risk of training too hard. It would help to maximize a runner’s potential.

Stephanie and Julie would adhere to the above schedule for the next few months so that they could endure the 26.2 mile long run in Boston. Their persistence and steadfastness in training would prove to be useful in running the race.

On the day of the race, and having felt confident that they were prepared, Stephanie and Julie checked in and got their shirt numbers before the race. They stretched and ran in place before getting in the overcrowded group of all those running the race. Along the route, volunteers were prepared to hand out bottles of water and spectators were there to cheer their loved ones on to victory. Stephanie’s dad was there to cheer for her along the way as well.

Stephanie remembered her mother’s encouraging words during the race and when she finally crossed the finish line, she could not help but smile knowing that her mother was probably looking down from heaven and cheering for her daughter as well.”

It was Stephanie’s steadfast determination that helped her cross over the finish line. Paul tells us that we need to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Let us all be determined and steadfast to run the race that God has set before us in order to obtain the prize of eternal salvation.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Respectful Rachel

Respect and honor your elders

Scripture: “Show proper respect to everyone.” I Peter 2:18 (NIV)

Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of respect:

  • A relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
  • An act of giving particular attention (consideration) to
  • High or special regard
  • The quality or state of being esteemed

Phrases associated with the word respect:

  • Respect and honor your elders and those in authority
  • In many respects; in some respects
  • In respect of (or someone or something)
  • In respect to
  • Pay (one) respect (or last respects)
  • With all due respect

R: Respectful Rachel’s Story:

“Rachel always enjoyed visiting her grandmother at the Windy Hill Nursing Home and on one such occasion, she talked with her grandmother about what it would be like to work there. Her grandmother was very enthusiastic and supportive of the idea that Rachel would possibly consider working where she lived after she graduated with her nursing degree in a few months. Her grandmother, however, passed away before Rachel graduated.

As Rachel continued her classes and finished her internship at the local hospital, she felt more enthusiastic about her desire to work where her grandmother had lived. She talked with Mrs. Windham, the Director of Windy Hill, and she outlined the qualifications Rachel needed to begin working as a nurse. However, the more they talked, Rachel felt that she wanted to continue her education beyond her nursing degree and go on to get her Ph.D in Nursing Administration. The Director hired Rachel part time so that she could get some experience while continuing her education.

After working very hard over the next three years, Rachel was able to graduate with her Ph.D. She had both the experience of working in a nursing home and obtaining the necessary degree to apply as the Director when Mrs. Windham retired in a few months.

When Rachel took over Mrs. Windham’s position as Director, she immediately had a staff meeting. She knew most of the staff because she had worked there for three years. Rachel assured them that she would be respectful of their positions and told them that her grandmother’s philosophy was “respect is earned and it is important that you treat others the way you wanted to be treated.” She would do the same for all of them as well.

Rachel was respected by her staff because she believed that what they were doing was important and she also saw how they treated their patients and residents in kind.”

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (NIV) This scripture says that we must respect one another in the Lord and live in peace.

May the Lord help each of us to be respectful of one another, even if our ideas are different from theirs.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Quiet Quinn

Blessed quietness.

Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle (quiet) answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)

Word-Reference definition of quiet:

  • The quality or state of being quiet; tranquil
  • To cause to be quiet (calm); to become quiet
  • Silent
  • Still or barely moving
  • Making little or no noise or sound

Phrases with the word quiet:

  • In a quiet manner
  • Quiet storm
  • Keep quiet about
  • As quiet as a lamb
  • Quiet down
  • Quiet achiever
  • Quiet place
  • Quiet rest

Q: Quiet Quinn’s Story:

“Growing up in a Christian home with seven brothers and sisters was not easy for Quinn. There was constant chaos and loud talking during every hour of the day at her house. She longed for “blessed quietness” to study and do her homework. She often studied in her room which she shared with her sister or the local library where it was completely quiet.

At school Quinn had a few close friends but she was considered shy and an introvert by most. She kept her opinions to herself even when she had one. It wasn’t until her junior year in high school that Quinn finally found her voice. One of her English teachers who was in charge of the debate team program assigned every student a specific week/time throughout the school year to be on a team. Quinn was chosen for an assignment just before Spring break. She and her team members would have two weeks to prepare and come up with a strategy to debate the other team. Their topic would be “Christianity in Today’s Modern World.”

Quinn thought the topic would be an easy one since she was a Christian and had been taught about the meaning of salvation since she was a small child. However, after getting together with her team mates, there were varying degrees of opinions, including the very existence of God in today’s “modern society.” Her team was to research and come up with a unified explanation for debating the other team’s opposing argument.

After almost two weeks of discussion, Quinn’s team came up with a resounding unified conclusion and asked Quinn to represent their findings at the beginning of the debate. Quinn was hesitant until she remembered the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 which says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be silent and a time to speak…” This was Quinn’s time to “speak.”

The one-hour debate was a huge success and everyone from the community who attended that night was astounded at the debate between the two teams. Quinn had used her voice to speak up that Christianity was definitely relevant for today’s modern world for a number of reasons found in the Word of God.”

The Word of God tells us that we are to “give an answer for what we believe”–we need to speak up and not keep silent in today’s world and trust God to give us words of wisdom needed to reach others for Him.

May we all find our voices and speak up for Him the one who loves us all.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Patient Pam

Patience is a virtue.

Scripture for patience:

Romans 8:25: “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of patient:

  • Bearing pains or trials calmly without complaint
  • Manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
  • Not hasty or impetous
  • Steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity

Inspirational quotes on patient/patience (Inspirational Words of Wisdom):

  • God’s love is patient, persistent, and persevering
  • Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains
  • Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty
  • Showing kindness, patience and faith, in yourself when you do make mistakes

P: Patient Pam’s Story:

“From the time that Pam could stand on a step stool to reach the countertop to help her mother bake, she fell in love with baking. She would tell everyone that she wanted to be a “baker like her mother” when she grew up. Her mother had a side business at home of making delectable, yummy delicacies for birthday parties, weddings, tea parties, and other occasions.

As the years passed by and Pam continued to help her mother bake cakes, pies, cookies, and other decadent desserts after school and on weekends, she told her mother that she planned to enroll in a culinary school when she graduated from high school in order to learn other aspects of the business. Pam’s mother was delighted and showed enthusiastic support when Pam was accepted into the prestigious School of Culinary Arts in Kansas City, a two-year program.

After graduation, Pam was offered a position as Head Baker at a local 4-star restaurant who were known for their delicious desserts. Pam was given a five-year contract with a very good salary but knew that she wanted to open her own bakery someday. As Pam waited patiently and worked diligently at the restaurant, she also researched locations where she would open her own bakery and decided that she would contact a real estate company in her hometown to see what buildings were available. After six months of looking, she finally found the right building to start her business.

Pam leaned on her faith and scripture in Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (NIV) It would take another year before Pam’s business would be up and running due to renovations and getting the building up to the proper local codes.

When that day finally arrived, Pam and her mother cut the ribbon together. She owed so much to her mother for showing her how to bake at an early age and encouraging her to follow her dream of becoming a baker and opening her own successful business.

It has been ten years since Pam followed her dream of opening “Pam’s Bakery and Cafe.” She also began teaching the art of baking to high school students one night a week, encouraging them to follow their own dreams as well. After graduation, many of them continued to further their education in the culinary arts.”

You may never open your own bakery, or you may have had dreams of opening one but never pursued those dreams. God has a plan for your life in whatever He has for you to do. Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” God will reveal His plan for you if you remain joyful, patient, and faithful.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Obedient Olivia

Obey God

Scripture on Obedience:

Colossians 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of obedience:

  • Submission to the restraint or command of authority; willing to obey
  • An act or instance of obeying
  • The quality or state of being obedient

Phrases pertaining to obedience:

  • The obedient child
  • The obedient dog
  • Obedient to those whom he feared

O: Obedient Olivia’s Story:

“Olivia learned at an early age that it was important to listen to and obey her parents. She knew that it was important to hold your mom’s hand while crossing the street together; playing quietly at the table when they went to a restaurant with friends; sharing toys with her brother and sister and taking turns during play time; and other meaningful lessons to help her grow into a wise and caring woman.

Now that Olivia had children of her own, she practiced teaching them what her parents taught her in a loving and thoughtful way, because she knew that one day they would all have to make the right choices for themselves and learn from those choices.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” (NIV) Because Olivia was a caseworker with the Department of Family Services, she processed a number of children who had no idea what it meant to obey their parents because they came from very poor families who, oftentimes, were on welfare and had a poor outlook on life in general.

Olivia met some desperate mothers who wanted to teach their children discipline and exercise control but they did not know how to do it themselves. So, with God’s guidance, Olivia decided to offer a class on discipline and behavior for mothers who reached out for her help. She had 20 mothers sign up for the class to be held in the gymnasium at the local high school. Olivia passed out guidelines and valuable resource information to all in attendance. She even offered babysitting services at the school for the younger children. Local volunteers also taught the children good behavior and lessons while their mothers were in the classes each week.

Several weeks went by, and Olivia began noticing positive attitude changes in both the mothers and their children. One mother told Olivia that she had tried some of the advice that she was given on her own daughter, and she was beginning to see a “light on the other side of the tunnel” with her child’s attitude and behavior toward her. Each week other mothers began to share their own positive experiences and stories with changes in their children’s behavior as well.

In Olivia’s experience as a caseworker, she often told mothers that children needed to be given boundaries, structure, and guidelines regarding what was appropriate and what was not; otherwise, they would not be able to make wise decisions and right choices when necessary. Children would often push the boundaries just to see what they could or could not get away with. The boundaries let them know what was expected of them and they felt safer with them. They also respected those in authority more often than not.

Through Olivia’s obedience at following God’s leading in her life, she felt blessed and knew that the Lord had given her an opportunity to make a difference not only in the lives of children but in their parent’s lives as well.”

Just as children are commanded to obey their parents, God also wants us to obey Him. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (NIV) Let us obey His leading in our lives as we follow His commands.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Neighborly Nancy

Who is our neighbor?

N: Neighborly Nancy. Luke 10:27–“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of neighborly:

  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of congenial (friendly) neighbors
  • Helpful and friendly
  • Familiar and helpful: friendly

Phrases often used with the word neighbor:

  • Neighboring tone
  • Neighbor note
  • Neighborship
  • Neighbor like
  • Neighborly (brotherly) love
  • Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Forgive your neighbor as Christ forgives you
  • Neighborly way

N: Neighborly Nancy’s Story:

“According to Nancy, a weather forecaster for a local TV station, she predicted that severe thunder storms were on the horizon for that afternoon and the next 2-3 days. Since most of the surrounding area where she lived consisted of farms, she had hoped her prediction would help them to prepare beforehand for the severe weather ahead.

After leaving the TV station enroute to her home, she noticed dark clouds hanging low in the distance ahead of her. It looked like the thunder storms were right on schedule and she hoped to reach home before the rain began.

As she passed one of her neighbor’s farms, she noticed that one of his horses had gotten out of the fence–no doubt frightened at hearing the clash of thunder which made him run down the hill toward the road. Nancy immediately stopped her car so she could use her phone to call her neighbor and let him know about the horse, but there was no service.

Since Nancy had experience working with horses–she helped on Saturdays with the children’s horse-riding therapy group at the Bar Ranch near her home–she began talking with the horse and he started to calm down. Within a few minutes, she noticed that her neighbor and one of his hands came riding over the hill to rescue the horse. Puzzled, Nancy wondered how he knew about the run-away horse. He thanked Nancy for helping to keep him calm until they could get there, and told her that another neighbor noticed the frightened horse running off and alerted the farmer. Nancy stopped at the right time to keep the horse calm until he got there.”

In Romans 13:10, it says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (NIV) Nancy was a prime example of someone who honored her neighbor above herself by stopping to help her neighbor’s horse. She did it without question and wanted to help the frightened animal.

In Romans 15:2, it says, “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good to build him up.” (NIV) Nancy was willing to take the time at the end of her busy, tired day to stop and help her neighbor’s animal.

We may or may not have an opportunity to help our neighbor with a frightened horse, but God gives us other ways in which to help our neighbors–by being kind, showing love to one another in our words and actions, and forgiving one another as Christ has done to us.

Let us be the kind of neighbor that shows love in our “actions and deeds” so that others can depend on us for help and support whenever they need a helping hand.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Mature Martha

Maturity and wisdom go hand in hand.

M: Mature Martha. Hebrews 6:1-3–“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of maturity:

  • The quality or state of being mature
  • Having completed natural growth and development
  • Having attained a final or desired state
  • Of, or relating to, being an older adult
  • Characteristic of or suitable to a mature individual

Phrases/quotes pertaining to maturity:

  • Maturity comes with experience, not age
  • Maturity is when we live by the truths that are in our heart and soul
  • Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature
  • Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another

M: Mature Martha’s Story:

“As the matriarch and current President of the Christian Women’s Association, Martha often found herself in situations where she had to be mature and wise in leading the group of charitable women volunteers in the community.

Martha was responsible for, and in charge of, initiating many of the community’s fundraisers: tickets for the local charity ball to benefit the pediatrics ward at the local hospital; learning-to-read books for kids in first to third grade at Porter Elementary School; funds for the soup kitchens and Salvation Army in two counties; Middle and High School fundraisers to support the PTO; obtaining volunteers to help with the Christmas Shop at the elementary school (students were able to purchase inexpensive items for their family and friends); and many more.

As a former high school teacher, Martha tutored high school students two days a week in math and English to help prepare them for college preparatory entrance exams. Martha’s knowledge and experience over the years helped a number of students to pass their exams and prepared them to write letters of interest and fill out applications to numerous colleges.

Although Martha never married, her heart and soul was in her community and she shared her maturity and wisdom by living out the truths that were in her heart and soul to both her students and friends.

When Martha retired from teaching, she was awarded a monetary gift and plaque for her years of service not only to her students but to the faculty and friends that appreciated and valued her in high esteem. The plaque stated:

‘To Our Distinguished Martha who has served Smithville High School for 30 years, and for her untiring devotion and attention to all of its students, we wanted to personally thank you for all that you have contributed–with maturity and wisdom–that you imparted to the students that you have taught and to the faculty who came to love and respect you as a teacher.

Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Martha, you certainly have exemplified this scripture in your life and our school was so very fortunate to have you as one of our faculty members. We wish you all the best in your continued journey to ‘do good works.’

At the retirement party, Martha’s heart was full of praise and thanksgiving that she was able to live her life to the fullest every day because she truly believed that “she was God’s workmanship, created to do good works” and others felt her commitment and love.

Martha then became the President of the Christian Women’s Association and continues to do what God had prepared her to do.”

Like Martha, may we all have the maturity and wisdom to share our life’s experiences with others who need to be shown the love of God by helping with whatever God has prepared us to do because we truly are “God’s workmanship and were created to do good works.”

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Loving Lily

Crosscards.com
God is love

L: Loving Lily. I Corinthians 13:13–“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of love:

  • A strong affection for another
  • Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
  • The object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
  • Unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for the good of another

Phrases associated with love/loving:

  • Love never fails
  • Our family grows on love
  • Faith…Hope…Love
  • God is love; do everything in love
  • Love is a friendship set to music
  • Better to have lost and loved than never to have loved at all
  • A friend is someone who knows all about you, but loves you anyway

L: Loving Lily’s Story:

“Lily was so excited to begin sixth grade and she couldn’t wait until music class. Ever since she learned to play a guitar in elementary school, she had wanted to learn how to play the violin. So at the beginning of middle school, she hurriedly signed up to take violin lessons from the school’s music director. She noticed that there was also one other student in her class that signed up for violin lessons on the same evening after school. Her name was Anne and both of the girls were very excited to begin taking lessons and became very good friends in school that year.

As the year progressed and after the girls learned two difficult songs, the music director told the girls that they were ready to play with the school band during the school’s spring concert which was to be held in two weeks. Although nervous, they both agreed that they would be able to participate. However, Lily noticed that Anne seemed especially anxious about the concert but thought it was just nerves. Lily decided to ask Anne about it, and Anne confided that she wasn’t sure if she could play in the concert because her mother was ill. It was during their conversation that Lily learned of Anne’s situation at home.

Anne lived with her mother and little sister and her mother always worked the day shift at the local hospital as a nurse’s aide. She was always available to pick them up after school but a neighbor would pick up Anne on the days she had her lessons. Her mother had been sick for the past several months but managed to continue working. Because of the costs for her mother’s treatments, Anne’s mother wasn’t sure how much longer she could afford to pay for her daughter’s music lessons and thought that she might have to drop out before the end of the school year.

Lily felt heartbroken for her friend and told her mother Anne’s story. What if they could help Anne so she could continue taking lessons? What if they could raise the necessary funds for both Anne and her mother’s treatments? After all, Lily had learned that “God is love” in Sunday School class and that they were supposed to do “all things in love” for one another. Lily’s mother told her to pray and then write down any ideas that she could do to help raise the necessary funds for Anne and that she would also talk with her friends at the PTA meeting that evening.

When Lily’s mom returned from her meeting, she told Lily that God had answered their prayers. When the PTA heard Anne’s story, they all agreed to take the money from the PTA benevolent fund to help pay for the rest of Anne’s lessons until the end of the school year as well as some of the costs for her mother’s treatments.

The next day after school, Lily and her mother drove to Anne’s home and presented this loving gift to her mother. With thankful hearts and tears of joy from both Anne and her mother, Lily and her mom left thanking God for allowing them to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Lily and her mother showed unselfish concern for the good of another individual and the outcome was an “outpouring of God’s love” and a blessing that Anne and her mother received by their generosity.”

John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Showing love to another is how God shows his love toward us and that “we will remain in his love if we obey his commands.”

Romans 12:9-10 also tells us that our “love must be sincere and to hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”

In closing, let us think about the words from I John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” This is what we need to let others see in our lives: God’s love in us.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Kindhearted Kathryn

Show kindness one to another.

K: Kindhearted Kathryn. Proverbs 11:16–“A kindhearted woman gains respect…” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of kindness/kindhearted:

  • The quality or state of being kind
  • A kind deed; kind act
  • The quality of being warm-hearted
  • Tendency to be kind and forgiving

Phrases/quotes for kindness:

  • Kindness is our power, even when fondness is not
  • Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see
  • Real kindness seeks nothing in return
  • Be kind, always if you have a choice, be kind
  • Kindness is everything in life
  • Be kind whenever possible; it is always possible

K: Kindhearted Kathryn’s Story:

“Kathryn was smaller in stature than most young girls her age, but she was gifted with having a “great big heart.” She was taught at an early age by her parents and in Sunday School that Jesus loved her and that she should show this to everyone by being kind. Her kindness was evident in kindergarten when she shared her toys and played with her classmates during recess and this behavior carried throughout her middle and high school years.

She often invited friends to her house after school–with mom’s permission of course–and played until their parents’ picked them up. She enjoyed talking and listening to her friends’ ideas and dreams for their lives. It was on one such occasion that Kathryn decided that she wanted to be a veterinarian and began looking into colleges to get her degree.

Kathryn volunteered at the the local Humane Society after school and spent her summers learning as much as she could about taking care of animals and watching the Vet administer various shots and medications to sick animals. She even got to ride along on emergency calls to nearby farms to assist with horses and cows in distress.

The Vet told Kathryn that she had a “kind” talking voice and it helped calm the animals whenever they had to have a vaccine. Kathryn became known as the “animal whisperer” and her calm demeanor was seen by all who knew her.

After Kathryn graduated from college, she became a resident at a prestigious Veterinarian Hospital and assisted her mentors with several animal operations. She loved what she felt she was “born” to do and everyone saw her enthusiasm and love for her profession.

Kathryn finally graduated with high honors and went on to open her own practice in the small community where she grew up. She worked with some very thoughtful and caring individuals who appreciated Kathryn’s kindness not only with the animals but to all of her employees. She felt truly blessed by all that God had given her and continues to do amazing work at her clinic today.”

Kindness has been viewed as compassion–doing something nice for someone. This is how we can connect with our communities and people from all walks of life. We can make a difference by being an example of kindness with our families, friends, and neighbors.

A survey taken by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (June 2020 First Magazine article) actually found that “kindness activates that part of the brain that relates to feelings of closeness with others.”

Kindness can be shown in a “kind deed or kind act”. Ephesians 4:32 tells us that we should “be kind and compassionate to one another” just as Christ has shown to us. Our actions are “the windows that someone can look into and see the love of God within our souls.”

We pray that we show kindness to one another even if we do not get anything in return. God is love and let our lives show that to the rest of the world.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Joyful Josie

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

J: Joyful Josie. Psalm 119:2–“Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for them with all their hearts.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of joyful:

  • Experiencing, causing, or showing joy
  • A state of happiness
  • A source or cause of delight
  • To experience great pleasure or delight

Phrases associated with the word joy(ful):

  • A joyful crowd
  • Joyful faces
  • A joyful occasion
  • Joy in the Lord
  • A joyful sound

J: Joyful Josie’s Story:

“Josie smiled as she passed her grandmother’s treadle sewing machine that she kept in a prominent place of honor in her home. After all, she learned to sew on this machine. Even though 45+ years had passed, she could still remember her grandmother telling her–at the age of five–that it was time that Josie learned how to sew so that she would always be able to make her own clothes as well as sew for other people. All she needed was the desire and motivation to learn this highly creative skill. Even though Josie could barely reach the treadle, her grandmother helped her learn to sew a straight line and other stitches that she needed to perfect.

When Josie attended middle school, a home economics class was offered as an elective. Joyfully, she signed up for the class(es) and learned to use an updated model of the treadle sewing machine. She made an apron, dress, hat, soft carryall, a purse, and a blouse during the three years she attended middle school. In high school, Josie learned more advanced sewing techniques on more updated machines as she learned to make more difficult dress patterns. Her classmates noticed that Josie’s garments looked more “store-bought” than homemade and asked Josie for help in their creations.

Since Josie’s family could not afford to send her to college, she decided that she wanted to become a seamstress and to help other young women learn this skill as well. So she volunteered at the local youth center and taught sewing classes after school and on Saturdays. Josie continued to offer her services to friends and family as well. On one such occasion, her younger sister became engaged and had asked Josie if she would make the bridesmaids’ dresses. Josie had never made anything that “fancy” but instead of saying no, she agreed. She helped her sister choose the pattern and material needed for the dresses and several months later, Josie was fitting the bridesmaids with her creations–soft peach halter dresses with a floral cape. At the wedding, everyone complimented Josie on how beautifully the dresses were made.

After Josie was married and as she and her husband had to move out of state several times due to his job, she continued to seek the Lord for His guidance on what she should do with her life. Once again she turned to sewing. She continued to make dresses and clothes for her daughter from an early age on, until she outgrew “handmade” clothes. At the age of 10, however, her daughter asked if her mom could teach her and her friends to sew. But instead of treadle sewing machines, Josie purchased six brand new electric sewing machines at Walmart and set up a studio where her daughter’s friends could learn to sew. They made aprons, hats, skirts, pants, soft purses, and drawstring bags. By the end of two years, they had all learned the basics of hand and machine sewing. Other school activities/sports began to interfere with attending the sewing classes, but Josie could not have been more proud of her daughter and friends’ accomplishments. All of the parents were thankful that their daughters learned how to sew as this would be a creative skill they could enjoy for a lifetime.

Josie began to look for other ways to pass this “dying art” along to others and offered her services whenever anyone needed something special to wear for a “special” occasion. Her younger sister had moved to another State but contacted Josie about a “special project” she needed help with. Would Josie be willing to make a quilt for her grandson’s first birthday? Wait! What? Did she hear her correctly. Her sister said that when her first son was born someone made a special bear quilt for him, and even after 20+ years he still had parts of the quilt that he kept as a special memory.

After discussing what type of material and the design for the quilt, Josie reluctantly agreed. She would definitely need more advice and help doing this project no doubt. Josie’s daughter knew that her mother-in-law had made numerous quilts for baby showers and for friends/family members. So Josie now had a mentor to call on if she needed some help with the quilt.

After four months, the quilt was finished. It was 42″ x 72″ long and had a bear appliqued on the front of it which looked like he was under the covers asleep. On the back bottom corner of the quilt, her friend embroidered the name and birth date of her sister’s grandson. Josie mailed it to her sister in March and then flew out to her sister’s house in April to help celebrate her grandson’s birthday. When the parents took the quilt out of the box, they were so excited. The quilt did look a lot like the one her sister’s son had been given when he was a baby. What a joyful occasion for everyone that day.

Joyfully, and without hesitation Josie agreed to make something that she had never made before. Although the quilt was time-consuming and she spent many long hours putting it together, she could not help feel that God had given her this special “joyful occasion” to make her heart glad. The joy of the Lord was truly Josie’s strength as, despite her doubts, He would help her accomplish the task He had given her.”

Josie’s story is my story. Self-doubt and fear of doing something new can result in “never” doing what you were meant and created to do. “Let us rejoice and be glad” in whatever the Lord sets before us. He will give us the strength to accomplish all that He has for us to do despite our shortcomings and self-doubts.

May the Lord richly bless you as you continue to be a blessing to others.

Blessings

Yvonne