Being Aware of Others/Expressing Kindness

Yesterday afternoon I stopped at a local Organic/Natural Food market in my city, I love the deli food such as curry chicken salad and of course their mulligatawny soup. When I stopped in yesterday to get some tuna salad, I noticed the young woman I enjoy telling my dumb jokes to has a tattoo. The tattoo is the Semi Colon tattoo.

Dictionary.com explains it as, “The Semi Colon tattoo represents the semicolon punctuation mark used as a message of affirmation and solidarity against suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.” You can read about how it started at Semi Colon Tattoo.

I love this quote by Amy the woman who started the Semi Colon movement:

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

When I saw her tattoo, I shared with her that I have struggled with depression because of autoimmune issues and then showed her a few videos on youtube on my iPad for her to look up.

We can get so busy in our lives rushing about that we don’t notice or pick up on little things that can help us understand those around us. But being aware of others and clues about what is going on in their lives can help us form connections.

Jesus pays attention to little things. He notices the little things others pay no attention to. A classic example of that was when he took note of a poor widow Every one else was rushing about their business entering the temple. Rich people were giving their money. No one took note of the widow except Jesus. We read about it in Luke 21:

“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

My desire is to be sensitive to the leading of Jesus to be aware of those around me in every day life. Sometimes the littlest thing can lead to a wonderful connection and opportunity to show God’s love to those around us.

If you happen to see someone with a semi colon tattoo, please be aware that either that person or someone they love struggles with depression and there may have been a suicide attempt.

There is a world of hurting people around us. Let’s be aware of others and ready to express the kindness and love of God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Our Stories Aren’t Over Yet and Spotlight on a New Blogger.

So many times in my life it seemed I could have been down for the count, knocked out of it all. One major health crisis that seemed to have ruined my life, but ended up leading me to where I am today with a ministry helping refugees and immigrants for one example. There have been numerous other struggles that could have kept me down. I know physical pain daily, have gotten help for depression, struggled financially at times, worked through forgiveness for an alcoholic father. The list could go on and on.

I know the temptation to give up all too well, but something inside of me makes me want to get up and move on. That something is the Holy Spirit, God. It may have been faintly there at times, but the spark of hope that somehow God would work things out for me is the only thing that has kept me going at times. He isn’t finished with me yet. My story in this life isn’t finished yet.

Whatever we have been through, whatever trauma, whatever struggle, whatever hardship, God isn’t finished with us yet. There is more to unfold in our story.

A new blogger I follow wrote My Survivor Psalm. I read it and want to share the link with you. I like a line from the her post:

“#battles wage wage around me yet will I trust. I am a #Warrior with battles scars that tells a story of Gods hand on my life through His Son #Jesus”

It makes me think of what Jesus said in John 16:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The new blogger is Veronica and her blog is Alabaster Flows at alabasterflows.com. Her post is My Survivor Psalm

A video I watched last summer blessed me. It is by Rachael Stevens titled Your Story Isn’t Over Yet. It is a beautiful and powerful spoken word poem.

For those who know Jesus, how very true it is that our story isn’t over yet not because of ourselves, but because of Jesus who has all power and loves us. Whatever it is that we have gone through or are going through there is hope. Our stories are not over yet.

Here is the video I watched. Thank you for reading. God Bless.

 

You Matter to God

(This post deals with the issue of suicide. If that is a trigger for you, please do not read it. If you are struggling, please call 1-800-273-8255)

A friend of mine on facebook posted a picture of an adult lion looking back at his lion cub with a caption of, “I thought about quitting but then I noticed who was watching.”

I loved it because it reminded me of myself. Living with autoimmune problems and persevering through other trials in ministry, there are times I have felt tempted to quit, but then I thought about those the Lord has connected me with.

This past June I experienced a flare up and prayed about it. In my prayer, I shared with the Lord that I wanted him to take me home to heaven. I was tired of pain, tired of many things, but then he reminded me of those he has brought into my life to share his love with and the truth of what Paul wrote in Philippians 1 hit me:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

I share this because I can understand the feeling of wanting to give up. I wasn’t suicidal myself, but understand the feeling of wanting to quit. I share this because September is suicide prevention month. People who contemplate suicide often feel there is no solution for them, no hope for them, and that they are a burden to others. Their emotional/psychological pain is so bad that they feel ending their lives is the only choice.

I will never forget September 2011. There was a group of about 25 young people from Vietnam that I helped between 2007 and 20014. All of them went on to higher education except one. One of them, a 19 year old girl, completed suicide in September 2011. I will never forget the pain her loved ones experienced. Her funeral was one of the saddest experiences I have ever had.  She is always on my mind. It is like what Jesus talked about regarding the lost sheep in Luke 15:

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

The lost one is always on our mind. I would do anything if I could go back 7 years and go to her house to stop her.

Dear reader you are precious to God. God loves you so much that he sent Jesus to die for you because God wants to forgive you and come into your life as your heavenly father. There is always hope with Jesus.

You matter to God!!!

If you are struggling please talk with someone. Talk with a pastor, a priest, a teacher, a friend you can trust, a family member you can trust.

You can call the hotline at 1-800-273-8255 if you want to talk with someone anonymously.

I would like to share a video with you by a young woman who had thought about suicide and why we shouldn’t do it. Her name is Lizzie. She is a Catholic young woman, but for my fellow evangelical readers, please do not let that prevent you from watching. She has a beautiful story to share about why we should keep going.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.