Finding Hope in Serving Others

“What can I do?”

“What do I have to do?”

We’re called upon quite often to help others. Our innate asks and answers the call to help before our spoken words have the chance to leave our tongue.

Which question does your innate summon?

Which question do you speak?

Service, simply, is helping others. Service is not what we do for others, but what we give to others.

In the latter part of Romans, Paul outlines what service can look like for a Christian seeking to walk as the Lord would have them walk. Starting with Chapter 12, we see a shift in Paul’s tone from instructing us on how we should live to a tone of giving us his counsel and encouragement in applying what he has taught us. I interpret part of his exhortation to recognize that even though we are individuals, we are a part of something bigger. The choices we make are to be a contribution toward effectively living out our purpose as a member of the larger body. Life should no longer just be about us.

If service were about what we were doing for others, we would hold the upper hand or the power in the task (and maybe even some self-oriented pride in the outcome). When our mindset, our questions, our answers and our service are all about what we give to others, the upper hand and the power released is about something much greater than the one doing the service or even the one being served. It’s about the Spirit — about His ability to move within us, within others and within the world.

When we demand to be recognized or feel the need to point out what we’ve done just in case the other person missed it, is our service Godly service? When another is in need or we’re asked to provide a helping hand, is our nature to find a way to contribute or to check our schedule to find a way out of it?

When called upon to help, are our choices, words, actions, deeds AND thoughts, oriented toward God? or Self? Our innate answers before we do, and His grace gives us the power and reason summon a new answer.


Monday’s Musings — Creating a Better Fit

Sewing Shirt

One of my sons is a baseball player. All season I’ve been wearing the fan t-shirt. I only like t-shirts if they have a very loose collar, and this one doesn’t. It rubs my neck, and it makes my round face look even more round. Ugh.

For weeks, I’ve been thinking, “I should do something about this collar.” I wear the shirt a few times a week at games to support his team, and I think about that collar every time I put it on. It’s one of those SHOULD DO things that doesn’t get done. But…it did get done this week.

Using a seam ripper, I carefully took the collar off the t-shirt. I then pressed and rolled the ragged edge of the fabric twice so it would not unwind –that would not be at all attractive, even for a t-shirt. I then ran the new collar’s hem through my sewing machine. The whole thing took me less than half an hour.

My altered t-shirt feels so much better on me now! The slightly-scooped neck is much more comfy than the tight crew neck, and I’m astonished at how much slimmer my chubby cheeks look with this simple alteration! I should have done it at the beginning of the season, as it would have saved me a few “should-a-would-a” thoughts.

How many aspects of our life could use a slight tweaking to create a better fit?

What if I would get up 15 minutes earlier each day? What if I made a pact to have an empty kitchen sink before heading to bed? What if I would deal with every received email on a check-it-once basis?

Hmmm…the possibilities:  a few extra minutes for Bible study — I’m always craving more time anyway; a pleasant feeling when walking into the kitchen in the morning; no more dread wondering how I’ll get through 2800 emails — someday.

Slight alterations. A better fit. An opportunity. A new outlook. More productivity.

There are blessings all around us. Too often, we feel that CHANGE has to be big. No. A quick and simple alteration can create a better fit in our life, in the Word and in our walk in just a few moments. Imagine the trickle-down effects. Blessings are waiting to be realized — with or without a sewing machine.

Finding Hope in What is Promised


“Within every crisis, there is a blessing.”

It’s a phrase I’ve been repeating to myself for more than 30 years. Anyone who knows me well has heard me say it. It’s how I’ve approached life since I was a teenager.

About 12 years ago or so, my young daughter handed me a new take on my old mantra. At that point, I had been a Believer for many years, but I was still in the very early stages of entering into a relationship with the Lord. She was challenged with something she was experiencing in her competitive athletics and was airing her frustrations in the car on the way home from practice one night. Trying to help, I used my mantra with her. It wasn’t the first time, but it was a time I will not forget.

I was looking at her in the rearview mirror sitting in the back seat. She looked at me through that mirror, and she said to me, “Mom, you know that’s kind-of in the Bible, don’t you?”

I had never considered my mantra biblical, but it was a part of my mostly-secular viewpoint that all things happen for a reason. Faith in being able to find a blessing was my perspective, but faith in the Lord through this phrase was not really a prominent part of my perspective at this point.

Intrigued by what my child was about to tell me, I said, “Really?”

She said, “Yes. You should read the book of Romans. That thing you always say is almost like Romans 8:28.” She proceeded to tell me that it said God will work everything for good for those who love Him.

My little girl was the reason we changed churches — she had so many questions that I couldn’t answer and our old church didn’t seem interested in helping to answer them. She was the reason I started to volunteer in the nursery during the youth ministry night at the new church. She was the reason I started attending the adult education class during the second service on Sunday mornings — so she could attend both church and Sunday school. She was the one who would excitedly share deep thoughts with me about what she was learning at this new church we were attending. Here was my little girl telling me that my mantra was in the Bible.

When we got home that night, the first thing I did after getting her some food, a shower and off to bed, was to go to my Bible. I really didn’t know where Romans was located within its pages, but thank goodness for a Table of Contents. I found Romans 8:28, and I read the words from my King James Version — a Bible which had been presented to me as a child from a Sunday School class, but which was hardly ever used:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The language was there. She was right. My mantra was actually in the Bible!

Wow! My mind started racing! A few months earlier, I had already decided to enter into this relationship which was different from anything I’d ever known before. I was excited about the teachings and messages I was hearing and learning at this new church. That night, though, was the moment I discovered that before MY mantra was MY mantra, it was His Word, and so many pieces of my life began to make sense to me.

He captured a piece of my heart as a little girl, and He never ever let go of me. Throughout the challenges of my childhood, the difficulties as a teen, the tumultuous college years, and the ups and downs of married life, He was always there. It was He who planted my mantra in me, and it was He who used my little girl to reveal Himself to me through His words that I’d been living by for so many years without even realizing that before they were my words, they were His.

Romans 8:28 has become my life-verse. The heart of this website has been built upon hopes surrendered to the Lord because of the deep promise that is found within this verse.

“The Message” version of Romans 8:28 states, “That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Every detail. That’s such a promise. That promise can change hearts, change lives, change hopes, and change thoughts. Believe in it. Trust in the Lord.

Finding Hope in Honor


He’s given us free will. Volition. Life’s choices are up to us.

Why do we struggle with them so much? Why do the choices seem so hard?

The world often comes at us with a set of choices different from where He might lead us in His Word. In reading His Word, we can be assured that it has always been this way. Despite our desire to imagine that life was easier in the “good old days,” those days — even back to Biblical civilizations — were full of struggles with life’s choices.

A few decades ago, the “What Would Jesus Do?” movement began. Bracelets and messages imprinted with “WWJD?” were everywhere and gave some of us pause before proceeding in our free will.

So how do we, as Believers, walk through our days today making the “right” choices? Everyone has a method. I’m not an expert on this subject, as I still struggle with it myself (what Believer doesn’t?), but I have my own WWJD method.

The last few years of my life have been rough ones. I’ve faced adversity, circumstances and choices I never could have imagined I’d have to face. My challenges are probably different from yours, but they are no more or less difficult in my life’s context as your challenges are in your life’s context. My journey of surrendering my hopes to the Lord has brought some of you into my life — some of you struggling with divorce, abuse, infertility, cancer, the death of a child or spouse, infidelity, depression, traumatic brain injury, miscarriage, rape, loss of purpose, bankruptcy, military injury and so much more.

Your struggle is valid. My struggle is valid. It is in our struggles that we can be defined, or we can be refined.

Psalm 66:10 says, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.”

I am one who believes that the possibility of refinement exists in the trials and tests we are allowed to experience. The positive or negative outcome from these tests is often determined by our perspective.

I don’t ask “WWJD?,” but I do challenge myself and hold myself to a standard that I try to meet in my free-will choices.

As I walk through my days, my struggles, my hopes, my sadness and my joys, I strive to be God-honoring in my choices, words, actions, and deeds. These four words…

      • choices
      • words
      • actions
      • deeds

…have been an instrumental part of the hope which has gotten me through the thousands of decisions I’ve had to wade through over my struggles of the last few years.

A few months ago, a mentor of mine challenged me to take it one more step. He suggested that I add “thoughts.”


Very profound.

I added it.

So today, my list, my method, my goal, my lifestyle attempt is:

To prayerfully be God-honoring in my choices, words, actions, deeds and thoughts.

Oh, what a blessing has been produced by being refined on His terms and in His timing!

Monday’s Musings, A New Week & Soapy Fingernails

Fingernails Soapy - Copy

Welcome to a new week! Thanks for venturing into it with me!

Last weekend, I wrote about paddleboarding — you can read that here: I know the subject didn’t quite fit into the rest of the writings I’ve shared, but I was (and still am) looking for a way to throw in some tidbits outside of faith-based hope writings of the week. So…welcome to a new week!

Monday’s Musings? Wonderings from the Weekend? I need a title. Any suggestions?

My plan — my hope — is to start the week by offering up a lighter post that goes along with something I experienced, did, thought about, etc., at some point during the previous week or weekend. I don’t know it it’ll work out, but I’m going to try to get my hands dirty at trying it.

Speaking of getting my hands dirty…

The rains have been abundant in this part of the country, which has led to my garden being just a tad neglected. I’ve been behind in my weeding. With a break in the weather this past week, I decided to head out to the garden and take on the task of weeding.

I wear gardening gloves for planting and digging, but I feel like they hinder my ability to pull weeds, so I often don’t use them for this task. This presents a dilemma when it’s time to clean up.

Dirt under the fingernails.

So this week, I tried a little experiment. I got an old bar of soap, and I scratched my fingernails into it before venturing out to the garden. This bar of soap will stay with my gardening tools, as it’s not very pretty anymore.

For the most part, it worked. When I was finished, I used a nailbrush on my dirty fingernails, and the soap that had been under my nails made clean up easier.

The neglected garden gave me a lot more to think about. Friday’s post was a start — you can read that one here:  — and you’ll probably see some more of those thoughts in the coming days.

Make it a point to find hope around you this week. It IS there! Enjoy your week!