Category Archives: quiet

Lessons from the Front Desk and Beyond

926338625-canstock5690339 My husband and I spent the past year doing volunteer work at Hephzibah Children’s Home in Macon, Ga. For us this was an opportunity of a lifetime! Most of our lives we have been involved in raising children, six of our own and three foster sons as well as other foster children and at one time we had even talked of opening a children’s home of our own one day. But it just wasn’t in God’s plan for us.

We had been serving as volunteers at the Children’s Home for several years, first with church groups and later going there for two weeks each year with another couple, so when the option came to serve long term we gave it serious thought and began to pray and seek God’s direction. It took almost three years before the way would be clear for us to make a one year commitment. We set the date for April of 2016 to April 2017.

We are both thankful for the opportunity and glad that we took this step in faith to serve God for that year at Hephzibah! Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner when we were younger and in better shape.

This past year has been an experience in faith, faith for strength to serve, faith for good health while we served, and faith for God to watch over our family that we left 950 miles behind for a year. And God did not disappoint!

There were many great experiences during our year of service. Experiences in learning new skills, in meeting new friends, and seeing new places. But the greatest experiences, for me, were the lessons learned at the front desk of the administration building where I spent many days filling in the gaps for the regular receptionist and as an interim receptionist between the permanent receptionists.

Now I will have to admit that it was no secret that this was not my favorite assignment while I was there. My favorite assignment was working in their donation center where I did sorting, organizing and distributing necessary items to the children and staff. This work gave me instant gratification and “felt” important and appreciated. And I worked alone a lot of the time so I could work at my own pace.

But the most valuable lessons are always learned in community with other people! I often felt that my contribution as a receptionist was small because I “just” answered the phone and greeted people directing them to where they needed to go or who they needed to talk to. Not exactly earth shaking work but as time went on and I had the opportunity to interact with many of the kids, staff, other volunteers and even the vendors and service people and I found fellowship, blessings and enjoyment in the work.

It is sad but true that it wasn’t until the last couple of months when we were completing our year and preparing to return home that I really began to realize the learning experiences God had blessed me with at that front desk as I interacted with the Hephzibah community. Not only did I learn the skills I needed to do the work but also some lessons that are still ongoing today in changing my life!

I learned what it is to accept people where they are and that everyone has a story if we are willing to listen;  that everyone needs encouragement (even those who may seem to have it all together); lessons in being accepted just the way I am and accepting encouragement as well.

In the area of communications; lessons about when to speak and when to be still, and especially about when to humble myself and ask forgiveness when I mess up the proper sequence.

My husband and I learned some things together as well.

God blessed us with time to get away from the hustle and bustle of a blessed but busy life. And after 52 years of marriage, six married children, three foster sons, fifteen grandchildren, five great grandchildren, friends, church, and community, we had built up a lot of hustle and bustle back home.

We had more time to pray and listen for God, to stop and smell the flowers and to enjoy new experiences, make new friends and create new memories. We were often able to minister one-on-one to staff, kids and other volunteers whenever and wherever God gave us the opportunities, and we learned to accept the ministry of others to us.

Other lessons learned: 

We can live with less

Our children and grand-children can survive without us (they knew that but I didn’t)

We can still work five days a week but not as fast as we once could

We can still be useful even though we are retired

And solitude is not necessarily a bad thing

But for me the best of all was that our year at Hephzibah gave us the opportunity to serve God and do ministry together in a place we love. A place where we were blessed and hopefully blessed others. A place where we worked alongside some amazing people who often face struggles and many of the challenges that every ministry experiences, yet they remain faithful and passionate in serving at risk teens and children who have been neglected and abused, and they share with them that they are loved, that they are the King’s Kids!

For most of us “baby boomers” retirement offers many great opportunities for travel, winter homes in the south, and cruises and all that is great. We have been blessed with some of these opportunities as well.

But for my husband and I, we will always be most thankful for this opportunity.

It’s been a great year!

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Filed under accountability, Children, communication, enjoyment, faith stages, Family, humility, quiet, self-examination, Work

3 Essential Truths of Prayer: Reclaiming Ancient Paths – Seedbed

David Hull shares three essential truths of prayer that are guaranteed to change the way you view your prayer life.

Source: 3 Essential Truths of Prayer: Reclaiming Ancient Paths – Seedbed

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Filed under communication, faith stages, quiet, self-examination, Uncategorized

View From a Room

breakfast nook mt view

Where would I go if I could go anywhere? This was a difficult question for me and it took me most of the day to decide.

I thought of all the places I had been, where my favorite places were, and which places I might want to go back to but none of these places inspired me to write about them. You see as an adult, I have tried to go back to some of those places from the past and each time I did I was disappointed because it was never the same. Oh, there were memories and some feelings of nostalgia for a short time but also some sadness when reality reminded me those days were gone and can’t be retrieved. And in some respects I am thankful for that for some of those places weren’t places I would want to go back to. I have grown up and moved forward and life changes as we move from one season to the next. I read somewhere, a few years ago, it is good to look in the rear-view mirror occasionally but better to spend the majority of your time looking at what is right in front of you.

As a child in a dysfunctional family, secondary to my father’s alcoholism, we moved many times.  I never had a permanent place I could call home or a home town. The longest we ever lived anywhere was eight years. Now I am not saying this to complain because I made many friends along the way and even remain friends with a few of them, but I say this as my explanation why I don’t have any real attachment to one place.

After I was married my husband and we did live in the same small town for 43 years. WOW – culture shock,  but we did move to eight different houses in that little town. The town was in a valley and the mountains surrounded us. This was the first place that I really felt secure. I’m not sure if it was the mountains that made me feel secure or just being in a place where I could put down roots.  It was the place we raised our children. It was a place where our children would go to the same schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. So as adults they would be able to talk with friends about “remember when we were kids” and share the stories of growing up together. The conversations that I have never been able to be part of. It was the place where I learned God loved me and where I committed my life to Him. It was a secure place, a “home town.”

The view from the room I prefer is one in the future. This room would be in a little bungalow with a breakfast nook, a picture window and a view of the mountains, I love the mountains.  Mountains make me think of God’s strength and majesty and because I’m His child, that makes me feel secure.

A bungalow where in our retirement our children and grandchildren will come and visit Papa and I. We will tell stories about our kids growing up years and read to the grandchildren from the same story books that I read from to there parents. We will have Sunday dinners together when they visit after church. And in  the quiet time when everyone’s gone home, while my wonderful husband is playing games on his computer and watching TV,  I will continue writing so that all our memories are preserved for generations to come.

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Filed under assignment, Peaceful, quiet, Word Press