Alphabet Faith Stories: Understanding Ursula

“Your words give understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

Scripture: “A patient man has great understanding but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of understanding:

  • A mental grasp; comprehension
  • The power of comprehending
  • A mutual agreement not formally entered into but in some degree binding on each side
  • Explanation; interpretation

Quotes on understanding (

  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
  • Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.
  • Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
  • Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.

U: Understanding Ursula’s Story:

“Dr. Ursula, as she was affectionately called by her patients at the Valley Newman Nursing Home, listened carefully to Mrs. Jones as she described her recent physical concerns. She noticed that since her last visit the week before, Mrs. Jones appeared to be more agitated and frustrated as she described her symptoms to Dr. Ursula. She wondered what had caused such a sudden change in Mrs. Jones’ normal quiet demeanor.

By the end of their conversation, Dr. Ursula concluded that her patient’s son had not come by to visit her in over a month and that this seemed to have caused additional stress on Mrs. Jones’ otherwise positive outlook . Even the nurses noticed a difference in her happy-go-lucky personality as well and were concerned.

Throughout the day as Dr. Ursula talked with more patients, there appeared to be a similar pattern among all of them: a son, daughter, or relative had not come by to visit in a while. This had become a concern at the nursing home as well. Patients stopped attending their normal daily activities, except for eating and sleeping.

Dr. Ursula wondered how she could help remedy this apparent concern with her patients. She asked the nurses for their input and asked for creative ways that would help bring up the morale for everyone. One of the suggestions was to have high school students come by on a weekly basis to visit with them. The more Dr. Ursula thought about it, she concluded that what they needed was an “Adopt A Grandmother Program.” She had heard of this type of program at another nursing home and how well it was accepted by the residents.

After gathering all of the pertinent information, Dr. Ursula introduced this new program idea to the residents at Valley Newman. Everyone was enthusiastic and wanted to know when it would begin. After presenting this program to the high school principal and then to the students, twenty students signed up to participate. Parents enthusiastically signed the appropriate permission slips.

After two weeks of preparations–matching students with “grandmothers”–the program got underway. Mrs. Jones couldn’t wait to see Dr. Ursula to tell her how happy she was with the program and her new “adopted granddaughter” as well.

Guided by the Holy Spirit and her Christian principles, Dr. Ursula opened up her heart by listening to the concerns of her patients; she understood their concerns and comprehended what needed to be done. Other counties in her state began adopting this program as well, and five years later the programs are still in existence within a number of states.”

Sometimes all it takes is for one person to listen to someone else’s concerns and then rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you in an appropriate solution for their need. One act of random kindness shown to someone leads to another and so forth.

May we be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we open up our hearts in listening to others and helping to solve their needs.



Alphabet Faith Series: Trusting Tammy

Trust the Lord

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV) definition of the word trusting:

  • Inclined to trust;
  • Confiding;
  • Trustful

Quotes on the word trusting (

  • Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
  • The best way that you can find out if you trust someone is to trust them.
  • Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
  • To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
  • The most important form of trust we can have is our trust in God.

T: Trusting Tammy’s Story:

“As a young child, Tammy can remember her camping and hiking vacation trips with her family. She enjoyed hiking up the mountain side toward a waterfall and climbing over the huge rocks from time to time along the trails. She could remember her dad encouraging her to take her time and to put one foot in front of the other to maintain her balance in walking along narrower sections of a trail. Whenever Tammy would get tired, her father encouraged her to hold onto his hand as he guided her up the pathway to the waterfall.

Tammy loved the outdoors; hiking became a part of the norm during the summer vacation time with her family. She joined camping and hiking groups during high school and even in college so that she could continue her adventures.

As a young adult, Tammy joined a newly formed group in her community: The Trailblazers. Their local chapter discussed the possibilities of expanding their hiking experiences by “climbing a mountain.” Tammy was so excited that she looked up the best beginner mountains to climb and presented them to the group during their Spring meeting.

The first mountain was Yosemite Park’s “Half Dome”–This mountain was a granite peak with an elevation of 8,824 feet (2,695 meters). It was a 17-mile round trip climb and would take approximately 10-14 hours to complete.

The second mountain was near Colorado Springs: “Pikes Peak”–On the east side was the ‘Barr Trails Route.’ It had an elevation of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) and was a 13-mile round trip climb. This was the most popular route of the two listed, as it had no hard terrain to tackle and was accessible by road–someone could pick you up at the top instead of hiking back down.

The Trailblazers decided to tackle the “Half Dome” at Yosemite Park in July that summer and Pike’s Peak in early October. Preparations began as soon as the meeting ended. Since Tammy worked from home, she could take her vacation weeks at her own discretion. She was ready to tackle mountain climbing at this time in her life. She began an exercise and eating program so that she could be fit to hike both mountains.

‘You got this,’ she heard her dad say. ‘You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t ever let go of your dream and trust in God to help you along the way.’ Tammy needed these encouraging words more than ever as the days drew near to conquer both mountains. The Trailblazers were able to conquer both mountains that July and October and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment during their followup December meeting.

What was next? The Trailblazers decided to go international and selected Mt. Fuji in Japan. Mt. Fuji has an elevation of 12,388 feet (4,000 meters) and is the tallest mountain in Japan. The climb to the top is a manageable 10-hour climb and more than 300,000 people trek to this Summit, making the stratovolcano one of the most climbed in the entire world. The trails are well-marked and you can rent a mountain hut along the way to watch the sunset. Since July to mid-September was non-snow weather to climb Mt. Fuji, the group decided to hike this mountain in September.

With all the preparations made, including travel arrangements and up-to-date passports secured, the Trailblazers set out for their trip to Japan. On the day of the climb, everyone was in awe of the magnificent view of the mountain and the excitement mounted as they headed to the foot of the climb. Before they began their trek, Tammy suggested that they pray and ask God to be with them once again as they set off on their new adventure. With hearts filled with anticipation, the Trailblazers began their most exciting climb to the top. All fears were alleviated as they trusted and put their confidence in God who created everything.

When they returned from their trip, the group was asked to share their experiences with another hiking group. One of the first questions asked was ‘what next.’ As the Trailblazers looked at each other smiling, one thought was on their minds: Mt. Everest anyone?”

We all have those mountains/trials in our lives that we need to tackle or climb and sometimes fear holds us back from actually getting started. Trust in the Lord today to help you with whatever obstacles are standing in your way and that are keeping you from realizing a goal/dream that you may want to accomplish. Pray and ask God to help you trust Him and believe that He will do a good work in your heart and life.



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 ( 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.