The Good in the World: Small Acts of Kindness

Good in the World

This post originally appeared on the Knoxville Moms Blog on June 16, 2016. To read the post in its entirety, please click the link below to view the main page. Thanks and enjoy!

When my mom shared with her mother that she was pregnant, my grandmother cried. These were not tears of joy for the sweet little baby to love and cuddle; nope, she was sad.

Now before you go and think my grandmother is a horrible person – she is really quite delightful – let me explain. My grandmother lived through the Great Depression in a rural Tennessee town and lost her twin sister and baby brother due to lack of medical care. She saw many of her friends and family head off to Europe and Japan during World War II only to come home changed forever. She raised a family during the Civil Rights movement in Memphis, one of the most violent places in the country (then and now). She has seen wars, natural disasters, violence, hatred, death, and all the pain and sorrow of this broken world, and she genuinely feared for the next generation.

Truthfully, my grandmother’s concern was not baseless. This world is hard. And dark. And painful. But there is hope.

Tolkien Acts of Kindness.png

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Small Acts of Kindness and Love

True, there is much darkness in the world, but I believe there is more light. It only takes the small light of a candle to dispel the darkness of an entire room, so by each of us shining a little, I believe we can make this world a better place. My grandmother was right about life’s troubles, but she was wrong to fear. Since I was born in 1985, we have seen immense advances in medicine, social justice, protection of vulnerable people groups, tolerance, love, and more. We do not need to fear for our children; our children give us hope.

How do we raise up a generation that will change things for the better? We teach them the value of small acts of kindness and love. Model it for them, and invite them into the process. As Arthur Ashe famously said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”


If you are enjoying this blog so far, please head over to Knoxville Moms Blog to read the full post. Keep on hoping, friends!

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The Opposite of Fear

The Opposite of Fear

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27, NLT

Peace.

It’s something our world is so desperate for. Last week, within 24 hours, a terrorist group took the lives of 190 human beings and injured hundreds more in a coordinated series of attacks between Paris, France; Beirut, Lebanon; and Baghdad, Iraq. Never before in my lifetime have I known such a clear and present enemy.

The enemy is not Islam or Muslims. Please hear me. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are not the enemy. Our enemy is terror, and our enemies are those who would pursue it. Fear is the enemy of peace, and that is the New World Order that ISIS hopes to usher in.

But it won’t.

How do I know? Well, I’ve read the back of the Book. In times of tragedy, I always turn to the back and breathe in those words – “There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Rev. 21:4, NLT) …But we all know it has to get worse before it gets better.

Thankfully, Jesus’ gospel isn’t just about eternity; it’s about the here and now. Certainly heaven is a beautiful end for God’s plan to redeem mankind, but if we get too focused on the future, we will miss the divine right in front of us. What is the Kingdom of God? It is Christ’s eternal reign, where love, joy, and peace rule in the hearts and lives of the whole of creation. So Jesus was right when he said that this Kingdom is both coming and here: we anticipate a heavenly home, but love, joy, and peace can still rule in our hearts and lives even now.

The truth is we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but rather we battle against demons and principalities that would seek a rule of fear and hopelessness. So when we look at the outside world and see fear and pain and brokenness, we must turn our gaze inward to the hope that we have in Jesus. What is the opposite of fear? Love.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18, NIV

How do we bring about peace in a world so lost as ours is today? Start with the love that drives out fear. Believe in the hope that God will restore all that has been lost. Tell your story of how the Lord found you in your mess and made you whole. Share the peace that is only found in Christ. Pray for the lost and the hurting. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

If you feel like losing heart, know that when you walk in love, you will see the goodness of the Lord – not just in the afterlife, but here and now, in the land of the living. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NIV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13, NIV

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident…

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14, NKJV

When I am afraid…

God I look to you / I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like you do
God I look to you / You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom / You know just what to do
“God I Look to You,” Jenn Johnson [Bethel Worship]

Last night I bragged on Facebook about how I bravely gave myself a shot of Lovenox in the stomach all by myself. I was proud of myself. Lovenox is an injectable blood thinner to treat 2 clotting disorders during my pregnancy and, essentially, keep my baby alive. Usually this prescription is started as soon as one learns she is pregnant, but my conditions were not discovered until just this week, so I am starting at 16 weeks.

I can’t tell you that doesn’t make me nervous.

After losing 2 pregnancies in the first trimester, I take comfort in the fact that baby has made it this far without such intervention. However, I’m a human and a thinker. What are the risks of starting so late? Is it too late? Is it possible the baby has already died and I just don’t know it yet? Yes, I’m thinking that. Why wasn’t I tested for these clotting disorders earlier in pregnancy? How would I tell my children that their baby in mommy’s tummy died??

I have been thinking these things since Wednesday afternoon when the nurse told me she was calling in my prescription to start ASAP. My husband and I talked about them at length last night. For the most part I have kept my emotions under control. Yesterday my wonderful husband reminded me, “It’s not any medicine giving this baby life; it is only by the Lord.”

I know this is true. But I woke up in the middle of the night/early morning, compelled to pray for our child. I lay still in bed and asked God to cause the baby to move so I could feel something and know everything is okay. It didn’t happen.

But that’s not how I know everything is okay.

Many times during trials, we do wish God would give us clear answers and physical reassurances that the end result is good. But the truth is, we can’t rely on the things of this world, even our own senses and things we “know” to be true. We don’t see the inner workings of our bodies or the miracles God is performing in the “secret places.”  We can know the end result is good because we know that God is good. That fact – regardless of my situation or circumstances or trials or pain or loss – is the one and only unchanging truth. He is good, He is for me, His plan for me is for my good and His glory. This I know.

So today I am not comforted by flutters in my tummy or scientific certainty from a doctor or ultrasound. The truth is, I don’t know the end result. I just don’t. But I know it is good, because the God who holds my life and my baby’s life is good, and nothing will change that.

Today all I have is this, one of the verses all 3 of my kids have memorized:

photo from thelordismylightandmysalvation on tumblr

photo from thelordismylightandmysalvation on tumblr

I will love you, Lord my strength
I will love you, Lord my shield
I will love you, Lord my rock
Forever all my days I will love you