Dealing with CONFLICT

Conflict in life is unavoidable, therefore it is impossible for us to agree with everyone, all the time. So what causes conflict and how can we handle conflict effectively?

The bible says in James 4:1 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Our desires can include our values, perceptions, ideas, wants or motivations. Conflicts arise, when our desires, conflict with the desires of others.

How Should Christians Deal with Conflict?

Jesus dealt with many conflicts during his 33 years on earth. When involved in a conflict, Jesus was consistent with His nature of love, and telling the truth in love.

Isn’t Speaking God’s Truth Being Judgemental of Others?

Our culture has bought the lie that if you disagree with someone, you are rejecting or hating the person. This could not be further from the truth. We can disagree with someone’s actions or behavior, while still loving or caring about the person.

Try These 10 Conflict Resolution Tips

1. Take it to God 

  • Talk to God about the conflict and what you are feeling.
  • Pray for the other person or persons involved (it’s hard to be mad at someone when you are praying for them).

2. Pay attention to your feelings

  • Ask God for wisdom to identify what is going on inside you, and how to proceed
  • Seek to identify if the current conflict has triggered in you a hurt from the past. If so, you may need to seek help of a professional counsellor to help you identify and deal with the past hurt, before you can address the current issue.
  • While anger is often the first emotion experienced in conflict, we can’t stay there. The bible says “In your anger do not sin” Eph. 4:26 NIV

3. Seek to control your emotions and behavior

  • In the heat of the conflict, stop to take a few deep breaths.
  • It has been proven that when we are angry our IQ decreases. This explains why people often do or say unintelligent things when acting in anger. Be smart, stay calm!
  • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31 NIV

4. Practice what you might say to the person

  • If appropriate, pause the conversation and take time to think about what you need to say before responding or book a time to talk, after you’ve had time to process.
  • Practice what you’d like to say on a friend or your spouse without breaking confidences.

5. Seek to communicate clearly and effectively

  • Speak in a calm tone, in words and language the other person relates to.
  • “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.” Proverbs 12:18 NKJ

6. Listen for what is felt and said (seek to identify the real issue)

  • Listen for the heart of what the other person is saying and remember that the issue is problem, the other person is not the problem.

7. Keep short accounts

  • Address the issue with the person as soon as possible because undealt with conflicts, can result in bitterness, broken relationships, and stress.

8. Pick your battles

  • Know when to speak up and when to just let the issue go.
  • If you have already talked through an issue with the same person many times, you may need to stop talking about it, and just take it to prayer.

9. How do you know when to just let it go?

  • If you are having conversations in your head with other person, it is time to let it go.
  • If you have done everything you can do to live at peace with someone, and the issue is still unresolved, place the issue in God’s hands and leave it there until He instructs you to take a next step.

10. Be willing to forgive

  • The bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV
  • Sometimes it is better to be good than to be right.
  • Don’t let conflicts fester. Do your part and then turn the conflict over to God.
Also See:

My First Steps for Vibrant Ministry Workshop includes a whole session on dealing with conflict. Check out First Steps here.

Generational Conflict in Women’s Ministry

10 Tips for Running Women’s Ministry Without Start Up Money

Many churches today have little or no money budgeted for Women’s Ministry.  For some this poses a roadblock to hosting Women’s Ministry. However, I challenge you to think outside the box and consider the following.

How to Run Women’s Ministry Without a Start Up Money:

  1. Ticket as many of your women’s events as possible charging enough to cover event expenses.
  2. Set a realistic budget of what the event will cost and then add a few extra dollars to each ticket price and set the extra money aside to offset costs for future events. For example, if you think an event will cost $10.00 per person, consider charging $15.00 per person and save the excess funds to offset costs for future events such as retreats, speaker fees etc.
  3. Ask women to donate door prizes for events instead of using ministry money to purchase them.
  4. Use women from your church to speak at your events rather than paying a speaker. During one ministry year, our Women’s Ministry hosted monthly events called “Stories” at which women from our church shared for 20-30 minutes from her own life story. Each woman we asked to share had been through a difficult time or circumstance in life that we hoped others could learn from. As part of her story women were asked to tell us how God walked through their story with them and how this made a difference.
  5. Instead of doing a retreat at a conference centre for a weekend, host a one-day retreat at your church. Have women bring snacks and supplies to help keep costs down.
  6. Whenever possible have women bring an appetizer or dessert to share at events instead of purchasing food. Many women would rather bring a dish to share, than pay for a ticket.
  7. Try to plan events with little costs involved. Games nights, progressive dinners, coffee nights, movie nights can all be done with little overhead costs.
  8. Buy decor from thrift stores and reuse as many decor items as possible.
  9. Ask your pastor to add women’s ministry to the church budget for the follow year. If you can provide a well laid out budget outlining projected expenses and income, and how funds will be used, maybe he or she will consider the ask.
  10. Do a fundraiser that has combined benefit. For example a soup and bun Sunday where families can eat a meal together at church with the added benefit of building into your church community. Have several women bring crock pots of soup, and get buns donated or made. All proceeds could be used for your women’s ministry budget.

New Leaders Start Up Tips

What To Include in a Women’s Ministry Budget

Becoming Real

In November of 2011 I had a cancer scare. While getting my annual physical my doctor found a lump on my thyroid gland. Both my parents had a cancer diagnosis already, and four out of five of my Dad’s siblings had faced cancer. I didn’t expect a good diagnosis, and I was sure my tumor was cancer. After an ultrasound and biopsy, the tumor was highly suspicious of cancer and I had to undergo surgery to have it removed.

 

The surgeon informed me that the procedure would involve an incision made in the front of my neck about where it meets the collarbone, and that he would remove half of my thyroid for sure. While I was on the table, they would biopsy the tumour, and if any cancer was found in it, they would then remove the other half of the thyroid as well.  I woke up with half a thyroid remaining, for which I was thankful.

For me, the worst part of the process, was looking in the mirror for the first time when the bandages came off. My husband had to stand with me and remove the bandages as I was too afraid of what I would see. The truth hurt when I looked in the mirror. I told Dave “I look like Frankenstein!” And there was a definite similarity. The scar looked bad, and the skin around it was very puckered and swollen. My husband told me I was still beautiful to him, and he assured me the scar would continue to heal nicely.

 

The second worst part of the process was the side effects of living with half a thyroid for the next three months, without medication to regulate it. In majority of patients, half the thyroid will do the job of a whole thyroid. Doctors failed to tell me though, that while the body is trying to find its new normal, a patient can experience racing heart, anxiety, depression and mood swings. Twice during this three-month time, I thought I was having a heart attack. After the three months my thyroid was weak, and I will be on medication the rest of my life.

My husband was right, my scar did heal nicely. After nine months or so I hardly even noticed it anymore. I quit trying to hide my scar because I accepted it as part of my story, and I thought other women facing the same surgery may ask me about it, and I could warn them about possible post surgery side affects.

 

The following year brought many changes to our lives. Our middle daughter graduated high school and left for a year at bible school in Texas, our son got married and moved to Texas for university, we moved to another city, my husband got a new job, and I got a new job working at our church. It was a lot of change in a short time. Prior to this, I thought I was a person who enjoyed change, but this was different. Most of these changes triggered big emotions in me. Especially two of the children moving away. Texas is a four-hour plane ride from our city.

My role at the church was Executive Assistant, which is a job I could practically do in my sleep. I am just wired that way. A year into the job, an opportunity arose to be involved in women’s ministry. My prior women’s ministry involvement included starting and running a charity called Mentoring of Mother’s Society (MOMS). I was the Board Chair and Program Director the duration of the ministry. These ten years were exciting times. I wrote curriculum for women and kids, I did speaking to MOMS groups. We were responsible for helping start seven chapters in seven cities. We ran events and conferences for hundreds of people. But after ten years in operation, the Board agreed we needed to fold the ministry because it was not financially sustainable. When God called me to lay this ministry down, it felt like I was giving up a piece of myself. I grieved for a long time. I wondered if I would ever be involved in ministry again.

 

Three years after I laid MOMS down, I became Pastor of Women’s Ministry at our church. My role as Pastor was a lot different than Program Director or Board Chair of MOMS. My Pastor role required that I get out from behind my computer and meet women for coffee and talk face to face. As an introvert, getting face to face with people for conversation was stretching. I felt God calling me to be authentic with women, to take off masks I was used to wearing, to lower my walls of self-protection and not only listen to women’s stories, but to offer my own stories as well. I was shocked by the outcome. As my heart began to become more real, emotions I held back for years, started breaking through the walls of my heart and spilling out my eyes. I could be in the middle of a staff meeting thinking about nothing, and tears would start to pour out of my eyes. I would say “Oh, it’s just my thyroid”.  I figured this sounded better than “It’s just hormones, or PMS, or our kids just up and moved away.” My thought was that while people may have preconceived ideas of PMS or hormones, no one knows what to say about thyroid issues. Most likely they’ve never heard that excuse used before and are not likely to even know what a thyroid does.

Becoming real is difficult when like me, you’ve built walls around you heart because life’s circumstances and hurts have been too much to bear. I felt like a turtle who had spent life hiding inside my shell, beginning to poke my head out every once and a while. It felt risky and I was often nervous.

 

God began a work in me that continues today. He massaged my heart of stone and transformed it into a heart of flesh. Jesus is such a gentle potter. He calls us deeper into His love, He smooths off our rough edges, He calls us to know Him personally, He calls us to allow Him to walk right beside us. God has given me more emotion healing than I thought possible this side of heaven.

There are still days when the tears roll and my emotions flare, and I blame it on my thyroid, but the truth is that when God does a work in our hearts, it’s going to be good, and well worth any inner struggle it takes to get there.

Difference Makers Part 3

My Dad is a Difference Maker

I asked my Dad to write and tell me about his involvement in Rotoplast International.

“Volunteerism is something that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time.  I attribute this to the fact that my life has been so richly blessed, and I feel a duty or obligation to give back to my community both at home and abroad.

After joining Rotary in 1994, and being involved in giving back to the community, I wanted to do something more hands on than just raising funds. While I acknowledge the importance of fundraising, I was looking for a hands on experience. One day I came across a program on CBS in which Connie Chung was doing a story on free surgeries being performed on kids with cleft lip and palate, in third world countries.  This was very intriguing to me although I do not have a medical background.

Many years later a program called Rotoplast International was introduced to my local Rotary Club. Rotoplast International addresses cleft lip and palate cases in third world countries. Immediately following the meeting, I spoke with the presenter to tell him I would be very interested in getting involved.  Several months later I received a call from the former presenter, asking me to stand in for him on a mission to Peru, as he had a scheduling conflict.  I had been looking for an opportunity to serve in this way, so I jumped at the chance.

My first mission was La Roya, Peru. La Roya is located at 12,000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Being at this altitude presented some interesting challenges as it was often hard to breathe, but despite the challenges, I was hooked. This trip was life changing for me, as it reminded me of how blessed we are in our home country, and how many disadvantaged kids there are, in third world countries, that cannot afford to pay for any sort of health care.  On this trip I decided that I wanted to continue to volunteer for Rotoplast on an ongoing basis.

 

My Dad Ken Funk on a mission to Peru. He is the handsome guy reaching out to this mom and child.

I was involved with Rotaplast International for 10 years.  I participated in 20 missions as a non-medical volunteer  to 8 countries. I also served for 6 years on the Rotoplast International Board of Directors which operated out of  San Francisco.”

It is interesting to me that my Dad is very squeamish in regard to hospitals and medical procedures. His background is business in the food industry. But it was so fun to watch his excitement and passion for these children who before surgery were often ostracized and shunned in their towns and villages. Having these surgeries really made a difference for all the children, many who were then able to attend school and enter back into society.

For more on Rotoplast International check out their website.

My cousin Suzanne is a difference maker

I asked Suzanne to explain what she is doing to help the people of Uganda.

 

“Our Maisha Store was birthed out of a heart of love for the precious people of Africa. After living in Uganda for 3 years, working alongside nationals, caring for 62 children, opening a community school and medical clinic, our eyes were open to a much deeper social economic issue. First and foremost, our mission is to help human beings—changing the lives of individuals, families and communities, for good. This change is much more than a quick fix or temporary solution. It means a perpetual altering of the systems and cycles that propagate poverty and economic disparity around the world. And we believe that socially-conscious industry holds the key to that permanent change.

We had an idea to sell jewelry made in Africa here in our North American context. As fun as fashion is, it’s also an industry that’s perfectly positioned to make a powerful impact. What makes us so unique is that we have direct relationship with our African artisans in the cities and rural villages of Uganda and Kenya. We make regular trips to Africa to meet with our artisans and better equip them in their craft and business. Maisha Store helps you make a difference with every purchase. When impact products are purchased the profits flow directly back to our artisans, helping them make the changes they desire.”

 

Suzanne with an artist in Africa.

Check out Maisha today at www.buymaisha.com

I am thankful to come from a family that has so many difference makers in it. I haven’t even begun to tell all of the stories of difference makers in our family. There are so many people in my family I haven’t written about yet who are making a difference!

How are you making a difference? If you can’t come up with an answer to that question contact me and maybe together we can help you find a way to make this world a better place.

See also “Difference Makers Part 1”, “Difference Makers Part 2”

Difference Makers Part 2

I love what Ada Noble, an early Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary had to say about being a difference maker.

“The Bible tells us that we are fellow-labourers with God, but there are many who cannot see how they (so poor and humble) can be of service to a great God. What have they to offer? What could they do that God could do without them? … All great work for God has been done by men and women who did it with what they had in hand, using what was immediately available … There are many Christians who would be willing to serve God is they had some great talent. Many, however, are just like Moses, they hear the call of God, see the opportunities before then, but they look at their own short comings and the result is that the work which God wants done remains undone or is left for someone else to do … God wants us to serve him with what we have, not with what we would like to have … If we fully yield to God the little we have in our hand, God can use that thing no matter how small it may seem to us …” Ada Noble- Forgotten Voices

I drilled it into our children from the time they were very young that the bible says “To whom much is given, much is expected”. I explained to them that because we lived in North America we were among the top 2% percent of richest people in the world. Having clothes to wear, food in the fridge and cupboards, 2 vehicles and a home to live in, proved we were rich compared to most countries of the world. The kids had a hard time understanding that if we were considered rich, why we couldn’t buy all the things they wanted, and why did we drive such old vehicles, and shop at thrift stores.

I challenged our kids that whatever career they chose God would expect them to give back to their community, church and the world. Our son wanted to be an architect from the age of 14 or so. I challenged him often to keep in mind that when he reached his goal, he should remember to use his gifts to help those less fortunate in his community and the world.

Our Son David is a Difference Maker

David is the handsome blonde gentleman showing the structure in the photo.

Some of my Mom rants, are paying off. David is in his second year of his Masters of Architecture at Rice University in Houston Texas. David has been using what he’s learned about architecture to inspire younger students through a program called RAMP (Rice Architecture Mentorship Program). This program serves 25 or so students in grades 6 to 12 who participate one Saturday a month.

Every RAMP session includes an extensive presentation on the day’s theme, an activity and feedback from the students. The themes cover topics like structures and space, but the teachers put special emphasis on communications and technology.

The Rice students enjoy helping their participants learn to see the world around them with new perspective. “They mention how they are now thinking about structures in particular,” said on the Rice students. “We spoke about how buildings communicate in a certain way, how they invite the public or how they might unwittingly make the public feel unwelcome. Or are ambivalent to the public. Now these students are noticing things in their homes or their schools that they would change, which is nice to hear.”

 

David has really enjoyed his time with RAMP so far. Reaching out to the community is something he values. Using his education to reach out to kids is making a difference in the community.

See also “Difference Makers Part 1”, “Difference Makers Part 3”

 

I’m a Recovering Perfectionist

I was born with a personality that loves order. I like things done a certain way. I love having all my ducks in a row. I love routine. I feel most at peace when my house is clean, tidy and free of clutter. I’m constantly moving things around which drives my husband batty, but it is cheaper than buying new stuff.

 

My husband is very tidy but he could live just fine with mess. In fact, my husband Dave is one of the most laid back humans I’ve ever met. Dave doesn’t understand the ducks in a row thing. He thinks ducks are for playing with in the bathtub or for throwing around. He loves fun and anything in his sight that looks like a toy could be used for fun.

My perfectionism became a problem when our kids were teens, because teens make messes. For example, our teens were known to just show up at 10:00 pm, make pizza and leave the dishes everywhere. Teens tend to  leave a trail everywhere they go.

 

Family gatherings were the worst for me when I was in the height of my perfectionism. I would have the meal planned weeks in advance. I would have the table set with the matching place cards and everything looked great, Martha Steward and Pinterest had nothing on me! But after I had finished cleaning the house and the table was set I often discovered a new mess or something  out of order. My blood pressure would begin to rise, and I would start washing walls, and cupboards, and attempting spring cleaning projects not yet done. I’d being to yell at everyone to “clean up”!!! Dave was no help. About the time I would start washing walls, he’d say to the kids” We need something from the store, who’s coming with me?” and they’d all leave me, washing walls, alone! Worse yet, there was nothing needed from the store. My family were all just trying  to get a break from me and my out of control state! Afte

 

 

My daughter’s comments caused me to rethink my whole perfectionist tendency. Perhaps all my frenzy could be avoided. Perhaps I could do my best and then just let it go? You see the cost to my own well-being was huge, and by the time guests arrived I was already emotionally spent.

 

It took some time, but I’ve come to learn that I can lay perfectionism aside. I can choose to leave some mess. Sometimes I leave a bit of mess on purpose just to prove to myself that I can. I’ve learned to walk away from the kitchen, even when its not all cleaned up. I’ve learned that I can give myself permission to be less than perfect. I still want people to feel comfortable in our home, but I don’t want to be so worked up, that I’m no fun to be with when they arrive.

Dave and I have developed a system. It only took 24 years to find this solution. When it comes to entertaining, Dave cooks the main course, I make dessert and set the table. He likes to cook. I don’t. I make sure I’ve cleaned the house a few days prior to company coming, and just touch things up the day of. I don’t let myself wash walls or have a meltdown. In fact, of late, while Dave is cooking, I’m not allowed in the kitchen at all, so I read a book or do a crossword. I relax, so when the doorbell rings I’m ready to have fun with the people, who are really coming to see us, not a perfect house.

To all my fellow perfectionists out there, meltdowns or not, without us there would be no beautiful smiles (most dentists are perfectionists), beautiful architecture (most architects are perfectionist), perfect railroads …  The key is to find balance between perfection and reasonable standards. We need to give ourselves permission to let loose every once and a while, and let things be less than perfect.

If you can’t relate because you are laid back, hug a perfectionist today!

Confessions of a Loner

I’ve found my 40’s a season of great contemplation. Life has slowed down enough that I have time to reflect and analyze.

One of the things I’ve realized is that I tend to be a loner. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends, but even my best friend and I only talk once a week. I’ve just never been the kind of person who checked in with my Mom or a friend on a constant basis.

 

I remember my counselor challenging me during a session about 6 years ago. “Kelly you could die a very lonely woman”. My first thought was “How dare you say something so rude. I paid good money for this session, only to be insulted.” I didn’t  have the self awareness at the time to see that what he was saying was true. At the time, I thought my lack of meaningful relationships was an issue because others in my life didn’t want deeper relationship with me. But when I look back today, I see that the counselor was spot on. I was living a life surrounded by people but I had built up big walls of protection that stopped people from getting close to me. I was holding people at arms length and then blaming them for not being closer.

We all have reasons for our dysfunctions or growth areas, and of course and I’m no exception. So I thought sharing my thoughts on being a loner may help you understand yourself, or someone you know a bit better.

Confessions of a Loner

I’ve always been above my years…

I’ve been a serious, adult like person since the age of 10. I was often much more comfortable talking to adults than kids my age. I was interested in politics and world issues even as a pre-teen and I loved debating relevant issues with my parent’s friends. In fact I liked debating so much I thought I might become a lawyer.

In high school I was usually the designated driver for my friends and I lectured them as a parent would on some of their choices. Yep I was a lot of fun. To top it of I sabotaged my social status by carrying a briefcase around in grade 11. Like who does that? I acted more like a teacher than a student. Oh how I hated high school. I just didn’t fit. Before you think I’m a total geek, I did date the hot football captain for a while, but that’s another story.

I’m not good at small talk

If it comes to choosing a deep emotional conversation or talking about shoes, I’ll choose deep every time. I’m definitely a girly girl and I like clothes and putting together outfits, and I like shoes ( I don’t have as many as most of you probably), but talking about shoes is just pointless to me. I’d much rather talk about heart issues. I’m a deep feeler, and relating on an emotional level or intellectual level is my sweet spot.

I’m comfortable talking to men. You may think that contradicts my earlier statement about talking on an emotional level, but it’s the intellectual level I like. I like talking business, and policy, and forward type entrepreneurial thinking. I grew up in a family business family, my Dad was the CEO. so talking business is interesting to me.

I’ve been burned in relationships

Get burned enough times touching the hot stove and you loose interest in cooking. I once had a mentor and friend tell me she couldn’t be my friend anymore because we would be attending another church and she only had time for women in her own church. Ouch!!! That one really hurt just a couple years later 2 friendships I invested in ended abruptly for different reasons. One because of a difference in ministry opinion and the other because she said she was moving in a different direction and didn’t have time for our friendship.

When you are a sensitive person and people burn you it takes some time and courage to put yourself out there again in friendships.

Being alone feels safe

When you keep people at bay, they can’t hurt you, is what us loners tell ourselves. But the fact is, this isn’t true. I spent many years holding others at an arms length and then feeling rejected because they didn’t make effort to get together with me. I know, I’m my own worst enemy. Being alone isn’t safe though, when you fall down, you need others to help you up. For those of us who battle depression, too much time alone with our thoughts can lead us to some dark places that aren’t safe at all.

I like it when people invite me to do things

I think people assume that I’m an independent person and that I can make my own fun.  Sometimes I do need  alone time to refuel. But there are countless times I wish another woman would invite me to coffee or movie.

 

I spent the last 5.5 years as Pastor of Women’s Ministry. My job pushed me to meet with women on a regular a basis. At first this scared me to death. You see I know I’m kind of a misfit. I wondered if I’d have to talk about shoes! But over these years I’ve been blown away at what God has been doing in me through meeting with women. I’m discovering that I have things to relate to, that I’m a great listener, and every once and a while I have something great to say.

But what’s surprised me the most lately, is that I’m not enjoying my alone time like I used to. Often now when I’m alone I feel lonely! I am craving the company of others more than ever before, and I’m amazed by what God is doing in me.

The counselor was right. I could have died a lonely old woman, but I’m no longer okay with that. This journey I’m on is one of healing and joy and God is using beautiful women  to bring me the healing I need.

I’m so thankful Jesus doesn’t let us stay the same. He is constantly inviting us deeper into His love and healing and to trust Him more deeply because as our gentle shepherd, He knows what’s best.

Difference Makers Part 1

I find God often gives me ideas for blogs while I’m driving. This can be a challenge because it’s hard to write down my ideas and drive at the same time. If I’m lucky enough to find a scrap piece of paper in the car, I can at least jot down the big ideas. I wonder if I could get a ticket for distracted driving if I’m not touching my phone but writing on paper.

Well my latest idea came the other day …

I had just stopped to pick up 50 Days for Girls Kits from a local chapter. This group meets once a month to work on sanitary supply kits. I saw women from a variety of life stages, sewing, cutting fabric and threading draw strings into bags. I told the organizer that I hate to sew. “No worries” she said “you could do other things if you joined us. We had a lady in our group for a while who was in her 90’s and although she was too weak  to thread the drawstring bags all the way through, her job was just to get them started, and we carried on from there.” These ladies gather faithfully to make a difference for girls from 3rd world countries who would otherwise miss school one week per month because they have no sanitary supplies. Please check out https://www.daysforgirls.org/ and see if your women’s group can participate by sending supplies, making kits or fundraising for this great organization.

 

  Local Chilliwack Days for Girls Group

 

Our daughter Hannah is a Difference Maker

This girl has had a desire to make a difference in the world since the age of 8. Her dilemma was “Mom should I be a people doctor when I grow up and move to Africa? Because Mom if the people come to me and their goat is sick, and they need the goat for food but I can’t fix the goat, Mom they could die. But Mom if I become a vet, and I can fix the goat, but the people are sick, the people could die. Mom what should I do?” What a dilemma for an 8-year-old. This would actually keep her from falling asleep because she was so concerned to make the right choice. I said, “Honey why don’t you be a people doctor and then you can still know how to deliver goat babies and stitch up goats.”

Since that young age Hannah has done missions trip to Sri Lanka, California (to a migrant city), Mexico and this summer will travel to Swaziland to help at a home for girls who have been sex-trafficked. She also sponsored a girl from Haiti for 4 years with her own money from the age of 15-19.

Hannah in her 4th year pre-med

 

My Mom is a Difference Maker

My mom has been teaching for over 48 years. She tried to retire at age 60 when she had her first cancer diagnosis, but she missed the kids so much she went back to teaching as a teacher on call and is now in her early 70’s and going strong. The kids love her! She has now taught 2 and sometimes 3 generations of children from the same family. My Mom has had 4 cancer surgeries now to remove melanoma, but she keeps on going. She celebrates the times she is cancer free and continues to pour love into the children she teaches.

 

My Mom after a recent cancer removal surgery. Lunch to celebrate she is cancer free once again.

 

My Grandparents were Difference Makers

While I didn’t grow up in a Christian home my grandparents on both sides of the family were instrumental in my life. My Mom’s mother nurtured me through rocking me, baking with me, reading me bible stories and taking me to church when I slept over for night. My Dad’s father drove me to Sunday school for 14 years along with all of his other grandchildren who otherwise would not have been in church. My grandfather never preached or shared the gospel with me, but he got me to church and I’m forever grateful.

 

My Baptism, I’m on the far right. Beside me my Grandpa who drove me to church. My Grandma with the white purse nurtured me.

 What do These Difference Makers Have in Common?

Most are overcomers. People often find a passion for others because they once had a need that wasn’t fulfilled. This can cause a passion for others to rise up within them so others don’t need to suffer the way they did.

They are fear facers. Anyone seeking to make a difference is going to come up against obstacles but difference makers push through their fears. They face fears and rise up.

The are excuse deniers. Everyone can come up with excuses why not to do things. I don’t have the time, the money, the resources, the courage, the experience. The list of excuses can be endless but Difference Makers push through the excuses.

They aren’t in it for the glory. There are thousands maybe even millions of people doing small and big things all around us to make this world a better place. Most things we will never even hear about. So Difference Makers aren’t in it for the glory. They are just serving because they believe it is worth it to help another.

They will never know the impact of their actions. Most Difference Makers will not see the full ripple effect of their actions. From “What Color is Your Parachute” author Bolles writes “As the stone does not always know what ripples it has caused in the pond whose surface it impacts, so neither we nor those who watch our life will always know what we have achieved by our life and by our Mission. And we may never know what we have accomplished, until we see Him face-to-face after this life is past.

Are you willing to be Difference Maker?

See also “Difference Makers Part 2” , “Difference Makers Part 3”