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SMC Women's Ministry

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Posts tagged kindness
A Legacy of Kindness

1 When we talked about doing a series on legacy, I immediately started thinking of it in terms of what I would want my legacy to be.  As the mother of 3 small-ish kids, I think about this sometimes.  So many days feel like they’re spent rushing, yelling, disciplining, and wanting to cry.  Is this what I want my legacy to be?

Of course I want my children to know that their mother knows the Lord.  I try to talk about it and use otherwise ridiculous situations as teaching moments.  I remember the fruits of the Spirit, though they will probably never think of peace or gentleness when they think of me (especially this week).

The thing that I most want them to see in me is kindness.  Not kindness when it’s easy or when it’s my friend.  Kindness that we are called, as children of God, to show to everyone.  It’s not easy, especially for kids.

My oldest child is in second grade.  He’s a little awkward, a little more immature than most kids his age, and has some challenges in the classroom.  He isn’t always the recipient of kindness because of that.  It will come as no surprise that children can be mean.  So far, he’s kind of brushed it off, but he’s getting to the age where that will be harder to do.  The way I talk about kindness with him is a little different.  He is taught that your kindness toward others does not depend on theirs to you.  You don’t have to be friends with someone who is unkind, but you do have to be civil.

My daughter just started kindergarten and this whole concept looks different for her.  She is a pleaser.  She will fit in with no problem in any group.  She needs to know that she is expected to be kind even if her friends are not.  It’s easy to try to impress others by being rude or hurtful.  I’ll never understand this, and she has never been faced with it.  But she will.  So, I’ve already started talking to her about it.

Now what about me?  How can I show them what kindness looks like as an adult?  Honestly, it’s not hard to do.  They’re always watching so typically I don’t even say it out loud.  But a nice word to a cashier who is having a rough day can do wonders.  I hope they see that.  Getting an extra burger for the guy holding the sign near McDonalds is a small but sometimes powerful act.  My husband and I shave our heads for childhood cancer research every year.  I’ve had people ask me how I’m ok with my kids seeing me bald!  What I want them to see is that you give when you can with whatever you have.  It’s easy y’all.  And it can change people’s hearts.  If you can make someone’s day better, why would you choose not to?  You can show Jesus in Walmart.  And they need it a lot.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24).

Julie

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One Of Those WOW Moments

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Small Act of Kindness at just the right time, in a season where you desperately needed God to reach down and touch you or speak to you? Yeah….me, too. In a continuation of our series on Small Acts of Kindness, I want to share with you an experience I had where I was the rather unexpected recipient, and not the giver.

I was in a difficult season a few years ago (and there have been other seasons like that between then and now, tbh) and I was just going through the motions most days. August is a big deal on a college campus and it’s one of my busiest and most stressful times. We usually have a big meeting right before the students return, and there are several hundred faculty there for our division. This particular meeting day, I was overwhelmed with work left to be done, and wanted to be anywhere but in that meeting—too many unchecked to-do list items for this Type A Planner personality—and I wasn’t really all that enthused about having to stand up and be introduced *again* this year. I’m also often the “No” lady in my role, so I feel like that makes me opposite of the most popular gal in the room. But, I went and I smiled, I made small talk, and back to my office I went to get at least some of the things done on my list before afterschool pick-up time for my boys.

A few weeks later, I was at my desk opening my mail, and inside of one envelope there was a small note attached to some other documents. The note was handwritten, and it came from one of our most prominent faculty members. She is well-regarded on campus and outside of it. We don’t work together directly in our day-to-day operations, but we know each other by sight and name. So, imagine my surprise to read the following:

I was, quite honestly, floored. It made me stop in my tracks, and take a minute to appreciate how meaningful this small hand-written note of recognition is. It was not a grand gesture. It wasn’t a random act. And because of that, it was most certainly incredibly meaningful to me at a time I needed it. God is just good like that. Her attentiveness struck me, maybe not so much in what she said, but that she noticed me and took time to share that she “sees” me. Being a single mom is hard. Being a mom, period, is hard. Being a human, sometimes, is just plain hard. And somedays, frankly, I feel invisible – the routine, while a life-saver, can make opportunities to be truly “me” few and far between. I know God loves me, and hears me, and see me. But sometimes it’s nice just to know that some of the other people we share this blue marble with do, too.

“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my [sister], for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people” (Philemon 1:7 NLT).

Kindness, in this way, produces seeds of soul-level joy, something I desperately needed then (and now), and something God certainly wants for me and you with the rising of the sun each day. We started out 2018 on the SMC Women’s FB Bible Study looking at joy in Philippians. So that leads me to think about how I could cultivate seeds of kindness (and joy, and thereby, hope) in the soul gardens of those around me. I am so task-oriented, generally, that I know I miss opportunities to be present and attentive to those in my sphere of influence. To really “see” people around me. To be aware and attentive. That’s what that little handwritten note spoke to me….to be intentional, to stop and recognize, so those seeds can be scattered around everywhere. Some might actually take root. Now, I admit, I still get caught up in my very own self more often than I should, but I keep that note taped up by my desk at work to remind me how lovely, loving, and kind people can be. I don’t know if this faculty member will ever know how much her note means to me…to be seen and to be honored by her kindness. But I do. Therein is the true gift. And I can be that person for someone else.

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart” (Matthew 12:35 NLT).

I pray today that God can show us all more opportunities to be kind, to marvel at those around us with fresh eyes full of the love of Jesus. May we relish in the simple things, and recognize goodness. I pray, too, that He will provide us more opportunities to receive those same acts when we need them most. When He tugs at your heart to show that unexpected kindness, I encourage you to listen and act.

Cheering you on, and thanking God for you, Jessica

What Does Love Require Of Me?

For those who really know me, know that my least pleasant thing to do is shop. Yes, you read it right. While I prefer not to shop, my perspective is changing. What started as little nudges from God last year, is now a part of my faith journey. I never realized until now, until this year and this thing I’m doing, how much a gesture might mean to someone. A gesture that just comes out of the blue from someone who doesn’t know them. I’m beginning to learn that this resolution is one I will not break.

What if there was something you could do that could positively influence others and change your life in the process? Sometimes it’s not just a simple coincidence. What slowly starts as cultivating random acts of kindness, good things begin to happen. I stimulated my faith journey by acting on those nudges from God, to draw me into action by praying for strangers.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:10-12

This act of kindness isn’t for everyone. Because I love to make conversation with anyone, even someone I know nothing about, something happened along the way. While I am not compelled to ask a stranger if I can pray for them, I do open my heart to the human condition, caring in a new way and sometimes choosing not to. It’s not every day. It’s not for everyone. It’s not every conversation. As much as I love to talk that would consume an entire day at the grocery store, gas station, restaurants, church, and events! My husband laughs telling these strangers “I wish my wife would come out of her shell someday.”

I never imagined that this act of kindness would touch a few lives. There is one stranger I will never forget. On the last day of 2017, it started by graciously allowing her to get back in line at check out. She thanked me with a faint smile. I was then determined to make her feel like she was not forgotten. To make sure she knew she mattered. I don’t remember the specifics prompting of our conversation, but what I do remember is what happened next in the parking lot.

She approached me from her vehicle and asked me “Hey, what is your name?” With a brighter smile, she continued telling me “You don’t know me, you don’t know what I am going through. You have no way of knowing that I almost didn’t make it out today, but I will never forget your name.” For once, I was speechless. Tears strolled down our faces. I asked her name and if I could pray for her. This stranger was now known to me without knowing her story. She didn’t need to say a word. What started as a random act of kindness just changed my life forever. I am so grateful I didn’t miss out on this opportunity to brighten someone else’s day.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Proverbs 3:3

God has something powerful to show you through your acts of kindness. Just maybe… joy waits for all those who cry, all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the kindness extended to them. Not everyone can ask to pray for a stranger. Every act of kindness is a huge gift. One size fits all. It can be given for any occasion and it’s easy for them to exchange. Love is the only thing that can be divided without being diminished.

God wants us to be there for one another. This is what love requires of us.

Love Always, Lynne