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Posts Tagged ‘life on mission’

 

This was my 5th week at Living Bridges! Time flies when you like what you are doing! God keeps showing me His goodness and every day I see His miracles.

We started the week putting stuff away from the clothing exchange. It was a big job! We had to pull all of the Summer clothes from the two clothing closets/rooms and start hanging the Fall/Winter clothes and coats. We have another clothing exchange in a smaller community next month and needed to put some of the clothes back for that. We always have clothes coming in to check in for the clothes closets which keeps us busy, but that’s a good thing!

We had a packed house on Wednesday! We had our clothing closet open, our Food Talk class, plus diaper Day. Amerigroup came and gave away diapers and wipes to our families. We were blessed to be able to help so many people and we are always blessed when we get to see/hold the babies!

On Thursday we went out to the community garden and planted two types of basil, watermelon radishes, and brussel sprouts. It was cooler than it had been in previous weeks, which made digging in the dirt more enjoyable. The community garden provides fruits and vegetables for low income families.

 

The cabbage, broccoli and collards that we planted a couple of weeks ago are doing well. We did lose some broccoli and collards, but planted watermelon radishes in their place.

I wrote my first blog post for the ministry and I am starting a Facebook group for single moms in the area. I will provide resources, Bible studies, Biblical parenting ideas, and a safe place to share prayer requests and concerns. I want to build that community for single moms. Single moms can often feel isolated and alone. I want single moms to know that they are not alone in their journey.

On a personal note:

I had an EKG on Tuesday and a slight irregularity was found. Not a big deal on it’s own but since my heart rate has been high consistently for quite awhile now, I have an appointment with a cardiologist on Wednesday morning. It might be anxiety, but I am doubting that. Anyway, prayers appreciated. On a good note, Kiowa is coming home after being gone for two weeks. Originally, I had decided that I would go back to Indiana while she was gone. I have never (and I am 49 years old!) been alone anywhere without family close by. I finally decided that I would stay here in Georgia. I have found friends and a community. I knew that I had to trust God in ALL things and not run from the discomfort of the journey. I have taken one day at a time and I have survived. My health coach told me that even if I do deal with anxiety, to push myself out of my comfort zone as much as I have takes courage. I don’t disagree. But, I believe it takes more than courage, it takes faith. Faith that I won’t see any snakes while Kiowa is gone. Faith that my car will run fine until Kiowa gets back and we can get it fixed. Faith that God will protect me and allow me to sleep at night. I am growing in faith. God is faithful!

I encourage you to visit the Living Bridges Facebook page for information and updates on the Ministry.

 

 

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This was a busy week at the center! I continue to transition and find my niche. I enjoy being here. The people here have become my friends and family. I am becoming more comfortable, but it is a process. I can’t jump ahead of God. Sometimes, it is simply taking one small step at a time. I am blessed! I have stepped out and He guides me one step at a time.

Monday and Wednesday were busier in the clothes closet. It is a good thing! It means that the people who need us are finding the new building. Along with giving out clothes, we also provide resources for food, medical care, utilities, etc. to those who need them.

Tuesday was Mom’s Connection and we discussed home organization. I am pretty organized, but even I came away with ideas to be even better organized. The moms were able to take away some organizational tools to use in their own homes.

On Wednesday we also had our first Food Talk class. It is a 6 week series on cooking on a budget, cooking demonstrations and nutrition.

On Thursday, Chastidy and I were able to attend a Leaders Summit on gun violence at Valdosta State University. It was eye opening since I am new to the community. There are 3,000 youth in the Juvenile Detention System in Georgia that have gun related charges. Where do kids get guns? They steal them out of cars, homes and other places when permitted gun owners have not secured them. Some of the solutions discussed were educating permitted gun owners on gun safety, creating affordable/accessible activities for kids from low-income families, a partnership between agencies, law enforcement, community leaders, etc. who are willing to share resources and work together for the benefit of the kids, educating parents on discipline and communication for parents who are overwhelmed and may need extra support and simply working toward building that loving village that puts the kids first to keep the kids off the streets and out of trouble. Gun violence is a hot topic everywhere. I am hoping that the this will be more than just a conversation and action will come out of it. 

On Friday I spent the morning helping set up for the Fall/Winter clothing exchange. The clothing exchange took place on Saturday from 9:00 to Noon. It was a blessing to see 87 people be able to receive 1,258 items of clothing including coats/jackets for the colder months ahead.

I will be writing the blog for the ministry as well as keeping up with this one. I am finding my niche. I am blessed that I have found a ministry leader who allows us to explore our individual callings within the ministry. Not every ministry leader is that way.

I have felt from the day I moved here that South Georgia is my home and I continue to grow in my love of this area and those who are involved with Living Bridges Ministry. I listen to the client’s stories and I am in awe of the courage of some of these friends. Never judge someone else, because you don’t know what they have experienced in their lives that have made them the person they are. We need to be willing to really listen to where someone has been and we need to be willing to show compassion and love to those who may seem unlovable. Jesus met people where they were. He loved them as they were and then He empowered them to change. Jesus set the example. Are you following that example? Am I?

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This week started off with a panic attack when I got in my car Monday morning and the engine light was on. I am a worrier and my car is one of my biggest worries! I went into a tailspin and my wonderful daughter, Kiowa, had to talk me down off of the proverbial ledge and remind me that if I REALLY trust God then I need to remember that He will ALWAYS provide and that He can and will take care of any car issues I may have. Thank you, daughter! According to the diagnostic test that I had run I found out that is more than likely  just spark plugs misfiring and those are going to be replaced in the next couple of days. God is good!

Monday was crazy at Living Bridges! The clothes closet was open and due to unforeseen issues, I was the only volunteer there to run the clothes closet with Darcy (Living Bridges founder and remarkable woman of God). I had stepped a toe into the running of the clothes closet last week. Well, Monday, I was thrown into the deep end and I am happy to report that I survived! I was able to work past my anxiety and do what needed to be done. I still acknowledge that I can be somewhat socially awkward, but thankfully God works through and even uses our imperfections.

Tuesday morning was Mom’s Connection Club and the topic was goal setting. We were given a whole new approach to goal setting apart from the S.M.A.R.T approach and I love it! Our guest speaker was Verna Harvey and she shared some information on goal setting from the book she is currently writing. It is based on the questions, Who are you? What are your desires/goals? When will you start pursuing your desires/dreams? Where  are you now in pursuing your desires/dreams? Why this desire/goal? and How will you get to your destination? It made goal setting more personal. If you want more information, you will have to wait for the book!

Wednesday was clothes closet day. I go into these days with some trepidation. I stated earlier that I can be a bit socially awkward and it can be hard for me to approach people and start a conversation, so clothes closet days push me out of myself and out of my comfort zone. We also sort the clothes and housewares that will go into the clothes closet. We organize and re-stock the clothes closet for the next day. We have also been sorting clothes that will be given out at the Fall/Winter clothing exchange that will take place on October 12th.

Thursday morning I was able to work with Darcy in the community garden. We were able to clear some of the raised beds out to prepare them for Winter planting. It was hot, but it was actually relaxing and satisfying to pull the weeds out and end up with blank canvases that will be ready for the next crop. It reminds me of us, as humans. We start with that blank canvas. We then plant the activities, values, relationships, and life experiences what we want in our lives into those empty garden beds. Next, we water the beds with Bible study, prayer, worship, christian community and service, so they will grow the deep roots that will sustain us in our lives, but inevitably, those weeds of sin, negativity, and toxic relationships begin to grow and if we are not careful they will choke out everything good. DEEP ROOTS! We need deep roots to keep us growing in the good things of God.

Job 14:7-9

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.

There is hope! When we weed out the harmful, the dead, and prune back the overgrown aspects of our lives, then we can continue to water what is good and at the scent of water our lives will flourish and we will prosper. God is the good in our lives. The Bible, prayer, worship, christian community and serving others are the water that keeps us growing in the right direction.

 

I was blessed when Darcy gave me the last of the Summer crops. God does provide in expected, but mostly unexpected ways. I am blessed beyond measure.

God continues to grow my faith. I am very much a work in progress! I have my ups and downs, but I keep looking toward the future.

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Every week is a mystery and a miracle!

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This was my first week volunteering at Living Bridges Ministry in Valdosta, Georgia. This was actually the first week that they were officially open in the new building that they had been renovating over the Summer. The new building will provide the ability to expand their programs.

I was at the ministry Monday-Thursday this week. Monday and Wednesdays are clothes closet days. The clothes closet wasn’t as busy this week as it has been, but this was the first week it was open in the new location, so we are anticipating that it will pick up as  word gets out. The clothes closet gives us a chance to interact with clients, get to know their stories and offer compassion in a world that can be harsh.

On Tuesday and Thursday, we washed housewares for the clothes closet, sorted through clothes, created spreadsheets for donated goods, and did whatever else needed done. There is still quite a bit of work to do to get the building finished, but it is getting there and it will be an awesome community center when done.

This week was a challenge for me, as I am sure the next few weeks will be, until I get to know the system and feel more comfortable interacting with the clients. I know I have written in past posts about my anxiety and schizoid personality disorder (social anxiety, isolation tendencies). I have a hard time stepping out of my comfort zone, but as God leads I will follow. I did push myself to talk to a couple of clients that came in to the clothes closet. It would be easy for me to hide in the background, but I know that isn’t where God is leading. I am nervous going in on clothes closet days, but growth comes with discomfort. HA! I just need to keep going and fighting through the urge to run. God is never glorified when we disobey by running away. I won’t be like Jonah. Running away didn’t help him in the end. He still ended up doing God’s will.

I am excited to see how God expands this ministry in the future. I am also excited to be a part of a community ministry that reaches out and gives back.

For information and to see pictures of the building renovation click here for the Living Bridges Facebook page and here for the Living Bridges website.

On a personal note:

I found out this week that my A1C was 7.3. An A1C is the blood glucose levels for the past 3 months. It was a concerning jump from 6.2 in April. I had my first appointment with a health coach on Tuesday to find a strategy to lower it to where it needs to be (below 7.0 for a diabetic). My blood pressure has also been high. I am on blood pressure medication, but my blood pressure and pulse was high at my first doctors appointment here on September 5th and is still high. I have written before that I deal with anxiety and so I try to keep the stress to a minimum. I am focused on living a life that is balanced and brings me satisfaction and joy. I had a heart attack scare in September of 2017 and now I want to focus on the important things in life, like loving others to Jesus and making sure that God is my priority always. I can not allow myself to get stuck in another job that I hate and that caused me enough stress that I ended up with chest pains when I went to work. Life is to short for that. I am somewhat stressed that my health is a concern right now. I’m sure that as I settle into a routine and settle into the community that my numbers will improve. God is good!

In order for me to live a life on mission, I am asking for ministry partners. If you feel led to support me as I serve God and community please visit my support page for giving options.

I am excited to see what God has in store for myself and Living Bridges Ministry!

 

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Matthew 17:20

 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

It has been 6 weeks since I have written a blog post. I have now been in Georgia for 4 months and I love the area. I have had to take a step back and focus on what God’s purpose in this move was. I have been hibernating a bit this past 6 weeks. I have been working on obtaining my certification in biblical lay counseling. I have been conquering my anxiety issues. I have been spending time with God and discerning where He wants me to serve. When I moved down here, I was determined that I would not take another go- nowhere -stress-me-out job that doesn’t pay enough to live on. I want more than that. I have always had a missionary heart and I wanted to move here to serve the community. I had a couple of false starts, but I have found a community ministry that fits me like a glove! Living Bridges Ministry is in Valdosta, Georgia (45 minute drive from where we currently live). The ministry is moving into a new building and has some really AWESOME programs for those living in Valdosta.

Clothing Closet

Mom’s Connection Group

Transformation Group

Community Garden

Kid’s Connection during the Summer

Seasonal events

and more programs in the works

I am excited to get plugged in and to see where this goes! Does it pay? No, but the opportunities to serve others through programs that God has given me a passion for is worth the sacrifice. If I can be that example of a living and breathing faith then that is what I will do. It is scary, but it is also exciting. It is such a rush to see how God is going to work when we step out in faith with no safety net. I have no safety net. I am completely dependent on God to provide for my car insurance, gas to drive 1 1/2 hours a day to serve and my other expenses. It is exhilarating, but it is scaring me silly! Faith the size of a mustard seed. A mustard seed is very small. God, being fully aware of our human nature, only asks us to have the faith of a tiny mustard seed in order for Him to work on our behalf. I made the move to Georgia. I have dwindling funds. I have no safety net. I have faith in a God who has always gone before me, stood beside me and watched behind me. He has my back.

I start my new adventure on Monday. There is no better job than being able to follow my missionary heart in community ministry and love others to Jesus in this beautiful city of Valdosta, Georgia.

 

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