Nov 6, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....


Today's Reading: Mark 1-3

Happy Tuesday, you beautiful and precious SHINE girls! Goodness, I love waking up to all of you each and every morning. It sure brings this little heart of mine pure JOY! :)

Are you staying with me on the reading? I know yesterday was a lot. I hope you were able to finish. If not, it's okay! Just try to get caught up by the end of the week. By Saturday, we will be back to just one chapter a day, because we will be all caught up!

Remember that I told you last week that I would be spotlighting several SHINE girls and their service to others throughout the month of November?

Well, today we have another inspiring serving story to tell. **yay!**

Elan holds a very special place in my heart. She babysat for my sister and my friend Kim several years ago, which is how we met. 

After my daughter was born, she begged to come and help me and to babysit my itty bitty newborn. I was adamant that I did not want or need any help, especially from a teenager.

However, her persistence finally paid off. I let her come and "help" me one day with my freshly arrived newborn. (just to appease her, of course) 

From that day forward, Elan was my right hand girl! She was priceless to our family. She would stay over night and wake up with me in the wee hours of the morning when I had to nurse my little baby, just so she could talk to me. Hello?? Who does this?? SHE does! 

She traveled with us on vacation, she went with me to doctor appointments for the kids, she went with me to those long holiday picture sessions with my little bitty kids to help me keep my sanity. 

 She was always with us--always.  (okay, I have tears now)

I never knew I needed her in my life, until she came into my life. Oh wow, what a HUGE BLESSING and gift from our Lord she was. HUGE.

She has continued to be considered family to our little family. I like to call her my little sister, actually. ;) 

I am so, so, so proud of this girl. She has grown into an incredibly godly young woman.

In fact, every time I get a chance, I tell her I get all the credit for raising her right. (are you smiling, Elan?) :)

Be inspired and  blessed by her post. 

Tennessee
By: Elan Crowe

When Jill asked me to write, I said "You know sharing is easiest for me one-on-one, with no eye contact..." And she said something to the effect of it will just be you, God, and your computer, which doesn't have eyes. So, here goes...

A little background info: I grew up in Covington, GA - attending church weekly; my Mama read the Bible to my sister and I every morning while eating breakfast before school; we said the blessing before we ate dinner and our prayers before going to sleep. Even after moving out, I was still doing all of these things, but more-so just "going through the motions." Last December, I felt out of touch with God... There were many areas of my life that I was unhappy with, so I really started asking God to change things. I had stopped making time to be involved in church, and I felt like I was spending all of my time commuting and working.

After giving notice at my job in early December, I left everything in God's hands. I applied to jobs in Georgia, New York, Connecticut, and one job in Tennessee. The days seemed to be going by in a blur and my Daddy's words were constantly running through my mind, "You never quit a job before your next one is lined up." To be sure my answer was from the Lord, began a ten day Daniel's Fast (my first ever) and six days in I received two job offers. After much prayer and consideration, I accepted a job --- in Tennessee! Wait...what? I am a family person, not just immediate - but going to lunch with cousins and third cousins, still staying the night with my grandparents, etc...and on December 19th, 2011 I committed to moving 300 miles away. Like I said, it was all in God's hands and I was willing to follow His lead...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Before moving, I researched everything about this town --- including mapping out directions to two churches I would try. I moved on January 8th, 2012 and on January 11th, attended my first service at Hendersonville Church of God. Throughout my childhood, my family attended three churches...only changing when we moved. Here I was, twenty-one and alone - praying to find a loving church family away from home. Everyone greeted me, helped me find where I needed to be, and encouraged me to come back. I can honestly say that no church has ever felt more like home to me --- especially on a first visit. 

"You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself..."
Leviticus 19:34

This church is continuously encouraging me to break out of my "shell of shyness" with opportunities to teach. As a nanny, I love working with kids, but there is nothing nearly as rewarding as teaching children about the love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I help in Children's Church and Youth Sunday School, but my favorite class of the week is on Wednesday nights. I teach the elementary age class, where I often think I learn more from those kids than they do from my lessons.

"Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:15

At times, being 300 miles away from the people I love most is almost unbearable... Then, I remember it was God who brought me here and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world - all of the precious people I have come to know and love, the many wonderful memories, or my personal and spiritual growth. There is nothing as satisfying as knowing you are exactly where God wants you to be.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

At first, I wasn't sure my testimony about Tennessee would be classified under "serving." By definition, serving means to perform duties or services for (another person or an organization). So, am I serving here in Tennessee? Absolutely; everything I am doing is because of, and for, my God.  Are you attuned to who and/or where God wants YOU to serve? Your calling may not be to another state; it could be in your own community. As long as you are answering His call - no location is greater than another.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:39

Heavenly Father,
As we enter into yet another holiday season, I pray we all remember what this special time is about. Let us not forget the sacrifice of Your Son or Your unconditional love for each and every one of Your children. Open our eyes to see the many opportunities we have to serve those around us. Reveal service projects both small and large; both quick and time-consuming; both affecting those we love and those we may never meet. Thank you in advance for using us as Your Hands and Feet, Father. In Your Son's precious Name we pray, amen. 

Christy and Me

Kindness in Action Event

Youth Picnic at park

Youth Winterfest trip

Zach, Rachel and Me

Wednesday Event