Alphabet Faith Stories: Wholehearted Wendy

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God is love

Scripture: Colossians 3:23–“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for wholehearted:

  • Completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic
  • Marked by complete earnest commitment: free from all reserve and hesitation

Phrases and/or quotes for wholehearted (Goodreads.com):

  • Do everything with your whole heart, or not at all.
  • Loving a single person wholeheartedly is like putting all the eggs in one basket.
  • The most important job in life is to find out the purpose of your life, and go for it wholeheartedly.

W: Wholehearted Wendy’s Story:

“For years Wendy and her husband talked about becoming foster parents, but after their daughter was born, they decided to put that option on hold. After all, it had taken over 18 years for Wendy to become pregnant even after seeking medical advice and going through a battery of tests. After the first five years of marriage, her doctor was unable to find out the difficulty they were having, but he was always supportive by presenting other options such as adoption, foster care, and the IVF process. Wendy and her husband were Christians and believed that “all things worked together for those who loved the Lord” so they decided they would continue to wait and allow her husband to complete his education.

While attending school in the mid west, Wendy’s husband began working for the state as a caseworker and then took a government test which gave him opportunities for promotions within a small government agency. They moved a number of times and after living in Georgia for five years, their daughter was born. God had answered their prayers even after 18 years. When she was five years old, they moved back to their home state to be with family and friends. It wasn’t until their daughter was 11 years old that the idea of being foster parents came into light once again.

After months of paperwork, interviews, and training classes, Wendy and her husband were officially approved as full-time foster parents. Their caseworker talked with them about the type of child they would prefer, and because of their daughter, they decided to take in a girl. However, in the middle of July, their caseworker called saying they had a 12-year old boy who needed a home. After talking with their daughter, they agreed to take him.

Nothing could have been more right as this smiley young man came into their lives. Wendy believed that if you are going to do something for the Lord, you are to do it wholeheartedly. This young man attended middle school, high school, and then went on to college. Their daughter, although skeptical at first because he was one year older than her, decided that he would and could be her brother.”

This is my personal story. I have shortened it considerably, but after we took in our first foster son, we also had others who came to live with us on short-term placements. Our first foster son continues to keep in contact with us. He is married, has a child, and is working as a caseworker and attending school to get his Masters in Social Work. God had a definite plan and purpose for allowing us to wait for His purpose and will to be accomplished in our lives. We are immensely grateful and we continue to serve Him in a special congregation where my husband is now a part-time pastor since retiring from the corporate world.

God’s timing is always right. He knows what we have need of before we even ask and knows what the future holds to fulfill His plan. We are continually blessed and want to serve Him with our whole hearts. I pray that you will allow God to fulfill His purpose in your life today.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Victorious Valerie

Victory in Jesus

Scripture: I Corinthians 15:57–“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of victorious:

  • Having won a victory
  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of victory
  • Evincing moral harmony or a sense of fulfillment

Phrases/quotes pertaining to victorious (Goodreads.com):

  • A victorious life is a result of a correct way of thinking.
  • A Christian’s mindset should be a victorious mentality.
  • God created us to be victorious.
  • Each victory with God can bring a reassurance once more that the ones born of God are victorious.

V: Victorious Valerie’s Story:

Valerie grew up in a very creative home. Her mother was a seamstress; her father and uncle were carpenters and in business together; her brother learned carpentry in school as well as an intern under her father’s supervision; and her sister was a mural artist with a very lucrative business.

Everyone was surprised when Valerie announced that she would be majoring in social work in college and would pursue a career working with children in foster care. Her mother was very supportive and told Valerie to pursue her dreams and not base her career on what she felt the family expected her to be. It was her God-given choice to listen to His voice and to her heart.

Valerie volunteered at the local children’s home during her summer’s home from school and got to know the social workers and the children quite well. Part of her responsibilities included teaching the children how to garden and she dreamed of building a greenhouse on the property for year-round growing of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

After Valerie completed her undergraduate degree, she was hired at the children’s home as a full-time case worker and continued her master’s degree online for two years. She continued to work and study hard and was respected by all those who knew her. Valerie also became President of The Garden Club at the local Community Center, and her classes on gardening were well attended by the community.

One night at one of the regularly scheduled meetings of The Garden Club, a member brought up an idea that would change the heart of the community. She recommended that members, as well as carpenters in the community, build a greenhouse to benefit the children’s home. They could plant fruits, vegetables, and flowers to sell to the community year round. Excited and amazed at this suggestion, Valerie and all of the other members unanimously approved of this idea. Valerie couldn’t help remembering similar thoughts she had had about building a greenhouse as well and knew that God had given her a “little” reminder.

Valerie enlisted the help of her family and everyone in the community who was willing to help build the greenhouse. After raising the funds for this project, the greenhouse was built and the blue ribbon cut. Everyone was so excited and the children couldn’t wait to plant and harvest all the fruits and vegetables and sell them back to the community to benefit the children’s home.

That Sunday in church as Valerie listened to the children’s choir sing, “Victory in Jesus,” she recognized that God often plants a thought in our minds and hearts so that it can be fulfilled for His purpose and in His time. The greenhouse was God’s fulfillment of an idea He put into her mind and Valerie was reminded of that idea through another individual at her Garden Club meeting; and she recognized God speaking to her heart once again. She just had to listen and remember.”

God oftentimes puts a thought into our minds and sometimes we recognize Him speaking to us and sometimes it takes another time or two before we finally realize what He is asking us to do. We just have to listen and then act accordingly. This is Faith in action.

May we be open and willing to act on faith when we hear God speaking to our hearts and minds in a still, small voice. What a blessing we could be to others if we would just keep ourselves open to His leading and direction.

Blessings,

Yvonne

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 (Goodreads.com):

  • 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.

Blessings,

Yvonne

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)

Dictionary.com definition of the word trusting:

  • Inclined to trust;
  • Confiding;
  • Trustful

Quotes on the word trusting (Goodreads.com):

  • 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.

Blessings,

Yvonne

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