Tag Archives: Motor Racing Outreach

Beautiful and Encouraging Words Just When You Need Them

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Beautiful and Encouraging Words Just When You Need Them

Enjoy the many beautiful words from ~Ann VosKamp with a little sprinkle here and there from my small view.

So just in case you have had a hard day…. because we all do every now and then, please dive in and give thanks for the timely words to follow.

And for our beloved MRO Ladies…… It brings my heart such joy to watch you quietly and significantly caring for your families in the daily and so often unseen. Yet your story is being written into the hearts and lives of every life you touch. You need to know how amazing those seemingly unimportant parts are and just how BIG things are to our God. #keepshining #keepthefaith 


“Have you been wondering, waiting and have doubt that the “Big Dream” you have been dreaming of and have prayed for will happen? Or at least should have by now? 

Maybe you await the peace and whole “Big Purpose” for why you are here to manifest itself in real time. That the awkward waiting would be gone and that you’d finally see that your life has made a real difference, you’d made a real mark, and that you really matter.
The real truth is….. You don’t have to worry: 

We all get to make one unforgettable mark. And every day, with every word, we get to decide: Do we mar the world, or mark the world?

Why in the world do we seem to disdain the small? It’s always the smallest strokes that add up to the greatest masterpieces.

Because the thing really is: Do we ever really know which mark we make — that will matter the most? The extraordinary things happen nowhere else but in the everyday and today can always be the beginning:
That card you signed and sealed and put in the mail, the way you smiled and nodded to the white-crowned woman bent over the still-green bananas, the way you dug around in the dirt and and left that seed or that gift of the knees and that prayer whispered for a stranger or that glass of water you handed to someone and winked because you just knew — 

You’ve got to remember: we don’t know when and how we are leaving the greatest marks on the world. It ALL matters.
Believe it: 

Every tremor of kindness might erupt in a miracle on the other side of the world.
And the only way to ever leave beauty marks on the world is with bits of yourself — Things of realest beauty don’t bring us glory — but Him glory.

Just For Today — take these words, words of Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary-General of the United Nations, words that you can take to the bank, take to eternity: 
“It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for … the masses.”
Christ left the ninety-nine for the one.
Where you are, with that one child, that one street, that one call, it is a noble, Christ-called thing. It only takes one person to change the world — and one individual, one soul, can be all your world.

Really, beautiful You: The most exquisite marks anyone makes with their life — are the marks done in secret. The mark that no one — but One — will ever see.

And tell yourself this when you feel forgotten and invisible and unimportant: 
But the wise are the hidden who hold out for heaven — and the applause that comes from God. This is to choose the far greater.
I know you’re brave … and you’re scared. Because you keep doing big things that seems so small and you wonder where all this is really going and you only get one life here —

And though you may get weary, you do hard things and you keep getting out of bed and this is always the hardest part — and you keep believing that Christ didn’t leave this world until He showed us His scars — and He won’t ever let you leave this world until you leave your most beautiful mark. To show Him.
So Just For Today — listen: you’ve got to keep going.

His Kingdom is Upside Down and in Him your part is large and lovely and needed and art.

So go get the milk and take out the trash and throw in the laundry and wave giddy to the neighbors because there is a plan and there is a purpose and there is a God in heaven who didn’t just ink you onto the palm of His hands but etched your name right into Himself with nails and He’s hasn’t just got your number, He’s got your heart.
He sees you, hidden in Him, and you aren’t ever forgotten because God can’t forget those right in Him. Keep doing, keep reaching, keep loving, keeping living fully in the moments we get to small things with great love as we hold onto the Cross.
So really — you’ve got to believe it for your 16 year-old-self and 56 year-old-self and for yourself right now: really, it’s all working out okay.

Because God’s writing your story and He never leaves you alone in your story, and His perfect love absorbs all your fear and His perfect grace carries all your burdens, and your story is a happily ever after because Christ bought your happily ever after so you always know how this story ends.

You’re going to be okay.

Dear beloved- tuck these truths away to read again whenever you need to know it again — and promise me, you’ll laugh and sing and dance a bit today?” Ann VosKamp

The Trinity

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It was our joy to share hearts in worship with Sandra McCracken at the 2015 MRO Ladies Summer Caution


She writes and sings songs that have been birthed out of earnest, deep places of communion with the Lord. Not perfection but only that which comes from an intimate relationship with our Lord!

You are the complete of all that we need Lord Jesus. This song wraps me up so close to your heart. This is where I know your love so very well.
We rest. 
We lift our eyes.

We pray.

Bind us together in Holy Love
The Trinity 
“Holy Father, Son and Spirit

Holy Communion Three in One

Come with your peace with your invitation

Bind us together in Holy love”
Sandra McCracken

You are the complete of all that we need Lord. 
We rest. 

We lift our eyes.

Bind us together in Holy Love
The Trinity 
“Holy Father, Son and Spirit

Holy Community Three in One

Come with your peace with your invitation

Bind us together in Holy love”
Sandra McCracken

https://youtu.be/dk28HVgQ0AE

2016 Bristol Motor Speedway National Anthem by the Kids of MRO

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One more moment of MRO love captured with heads bowed and hands clasped in prayer. These are the treasures we gather and cherish when the days are long and we wonder if our calling is effective in building the kingdom of God…..

                              
Tonight my heart resounds with a whispered yes, for YOUR glory Lord. At this day’s end, this small heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for the opportunity to invest the love of Jesus into NASCAR families. Every heart our joy and crown. 

Thanks for sharing the beautifully captured moment Ashley Allgaier! We love our MRO babies!!

Faith In NASCAR on Dirty Mo Radio with Kelley Earnhardt Miller

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Faith In NASCAR on Dirty Mo Radio with Kelley Earnhardt Miller

http://www.dalejr.com/radio/kelley/default.aspx

Thanks so much Kelley K Earnhardt @earnhardtkelley for the time, love and care that you took in opening your heart to share the unassuming role of this small heart. I love my job. I am passionate about the mission of Motor Racing Outreach and serving NASCAR families but I cringed inside when I left wondering if anything that was recorded would be salvageable. Ugh. Tonight when I listened to the beautiful compilation of our many conversations, I am overwhelmed that you found such beauty in all of my endless ramblings. I am the interviewers worst nightmare for a concise and short sound bite. But oh the stories my heart longs to tell of God’s beauty, grace, love and faithfulness in my life.

Monty and I have spent the entirety of our 34 1/2 years of marriage finding joy in opening our home to serve men, women, children and families. Tonight I am humbled In light of every amazing heart that spends time sharing with you @ Dirty Mo Radio. http://www.dalejr.com The Fast Lane Family show reminds me of how very small I am and how great a God who uses surrendered hearts to give their lives to the Lord’s service for the greater good of the kingdom of God.

Motor Racing Outreach has blessed us with the opportunity to live in community, encourage the faint of heart, speak life into broken lives, live alongside of the people we serve, fall in love with every heart, laughing and crying together, celebrating all things glorious and good related to success in NASCAR and hold each other tight in prayer on the hard days..But above all of that which is so wonderful, we have the freedom to openly share our faith in Jesus Christ. Faithfully we offer the same opportunity to hearts prepared to hear the message of the Gospel and receive the free gift of eternal life that was secured for all of mankind through the birth. life, death and resurrection of Christ.

My heart swells with such fullness of joy when I reflect on all the years of life shared with our NASCAR family. We have been honored to share so many beautiful moments as we have witnessed the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the lives surrendered their to be in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Heaven will tell of the work that the Lord continues to so quietly do day in and day out. Thanks to every person that has opened their hearts to love us so real.

My sincere gratitude for creating a glimpse into life at-track. Many blessings sweet friend for your love and support through the years. God has been very good to us!

2015 Better Half Dash

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Motor Racing Outreach

and

Charlotte Motor Speedway

present

The 5th Annual Better Half Dash

Nascar ladies will once again compete on October 8, 2015 in the 5th Annual Running of the Better Half Dash!

Please visit the Better Half Dash website and vote for your favorite driver! The better half that raises the most money gets to choose her starting position. And this we know! Track position is everything!!!

All money collected online will go directly to Motor Racing Outreach, a non-profit that provides care for the at-home and traveling NASCAR community through chaplaincy, trauma response, chapel services, women and children’s ministry, outreach ministry to the fans and much more! Check out more about the MRO Community Center family programming @ http://www.mrocommunitycenter.com

www.betterhalfdash.com #BetterHalfDash

2015 Better Half Dash Entrants

Jordin Fish girlfriend of Denny Hamlin (Cup Series)
Sandra Greenfield wife of Clay Greenfield (Truck Series)
Shannon Koch wife of Blake Koch Xfinity Series
Jenna Robinson wife of Clay Robinson Cup Series
Whitney Scott wife of Brian Scott Xfinity Series
Melanie Self wife of Monty Self MRO
Ashley Stremme wife of David Stremme Winner 3rd Annual BHD
Katelyn Sweet girlfriend of Kyle Larson Cup Series
Wendy Venturini wife of Jarrad Egert Cup Series
Kristen Yeley wife of JJ Yeley Cup Series Winner 4th Annual BHD

Check out a few BHD racing memories from 2014!!

https://player.vimeo.com/video/137944949“>2014 BHD Highlight Video

1st Annual MRO High Heel Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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High Heel Dash Details:

Who: NASCAR Ladies 

What: 50 yard 3″ High Heel Shoe run down pit road

When: Liftmaster Pole Night Thursday, May 21, 2015  just before Cup Qualifying

Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Why: MRO Fundraiser and a night for NASCAR ladies to shine!! 

All ladies participating will donate their shoes to be auctioned off.  Proceeds will go to MRO. 

Official High Heel Dash Starters

Ingrid, Ella and Leo Gordon

Visit website to donate to your favorite runner.

The winner will receive a trophy, sash and crown

Rhythm Church @ River Street Park

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The 2013 Joy Journey River Street Park

The 2013 Joy Journey
http://www.go2mro.com
Motor Racing Outreach
River Street Park

At this days’ end….
Hearts bent low, enlarged and filled with gratitude……
Every small gift glimpsed, this side of heaven today, culminates in fullness of joy!! When we fail to find the right words, Ann Voskamp’s daily journal entry captures thoughts, conversations, wonderings and the tenet of our collective hearts find definition.
Dump Harper

Dump Harper

“Something grows in me and it doesn’t have words and it doesn’t ask for words. Asks only witnessing. Only gratitude. Only the living that lets the everyday dirt become the sacred everyday. There are times it seems wrong to keep your shoes on, to do anything less than stand bare-heeled and bowed and broken wide open. Them bent. The way a soul can grow any way it chooses.” @AnnVoskamp One Thousand Gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are http://www.aholyexperience.com/

Gwen Howard and Karen Clark

Gwen Howard and Karen Clark

Tonight our hearts thank God for freedom’s voice captured on this warm, sunny day in May. The freedom to thoughtfully pursue life as God speaks, to find hope in the cumulative, simple graces of seasoned friendships with like hearts alongside together. For this life to have a reason to get up each day, to breathe and for hearts that beat to faithfully serve God out of His great love for us!

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:17

We made & welcomed two new friends. Our walk through the River Street Community was so worth the time. The Spirit’s work in our hearts. Our eyes become the window genuine and touch all that God longs for on this day. We see the soil of hearts and seed every eternal truth we can into them. His touch like a fountain flows for the purpose of bearing witness to the something greater that He is within us. We absolutely understanding that we are so small in this world; the lesser things, nothing special except that His Holy Spirit lives in and through us. Blessed that He has purposed His desire, earnest and searing “for such time as this’

River Street Park

River Street Park
“All of this darkness can’t overtake that little tiny light,” Michael “Big Dog” Burris

We, tucked beneath our sturdy roofs, safely protected from the rain, wind, and earthly elements. In the eternal, through life’s storms, promises made, broken and kept, daily bread, living water, provision, a future, a hope, an eternal promise……HIS promises…..oh yes, and the wind at the top of the hill on a very hot day. We commit, search, pursue, and pray in faith believing just as Jesus taught us. Our Father..in Heaven..hallowed be Thy name…Thy will be done….On earth as it is in Heaven….Daily Bread….forgiveness of debt…forgiving our debtors…lead not into temptation….deliver us from evil…Thine is: the Power, the Glory…Forever!!!

946618_564229967217_1434667506_nOn reflection, we share hearts overwhelmed with goodness. Tender hugs, life’s challenges confessed…transparent. No place or need to hide. Life is hard. We are all on this journey of faith together as seekers, dreamers, hopeful hearts, open, guarded and filled with the raw emotion of scars from life’s raging battles….The rhythm of our movement still takes our breath away. We should listen more closely to the children. Their unheard cry for help is simple and their love is without demands. Sweet kisses on our cheeks. A small hand touches a back, just to be close and shares his applesauce as an offering for sharing our kindnesses…..Mother, daughters and grandchildren share this day together.

Mother, daughters and grandchildren share this day together.

It is whimsical, fun, intent as little hearts hug you from behind, beside, from the top of our heads to the very planting of our feet. Paint on noses, fingers, toes and clothing but with concentrated effort. Four small boys try to sit all at once on an open lap. Every person from young to old sits to paint, relax and feel child-like again. Every time our back is to them and upon turning around, another chair, a new face smiling at the simplicity of life’s activity in the neighborhood. Nowhere else to be but just in the here…the now. So far removed from any lingering thoughts of tense moments as they arise or what will be when the sun goes down. The “I love you’s” still linger and haunt us in every good way. Any child there could be loved as our own. No need for explanation or to know any part of the story because of the active heart of God’s Holy Spirit is breathing, seeing, stirring, bringing to life every closed off place in our hearts. His love for humanity surrounds us and is in EVERY touch!!!!

Kristen Yeley, Bobby and Missy deSouza

Kristen Yeley, Bobby and Missy deSouza

We pause, step back and see in every vignette, all hearts smiling. We are forced to take a deep breath and settle our spirits into the fullness of God. The wellspring of life!!!! Tangible. Measurable…Palpable. It is close: in your lap, on your hip, a jump from behind or in front that dares to literally knock you down.. To be reminded that a simple wooden car is the key that has opened this lovely door.Matt Clark
Matt Clark
In the middle of everything that is messy, the square covered shelter becomes a  life-giving place that allows us all  to forget….even if just for one moment!!  And how it stops us, dead in our tracks, with its fullness. Smiles….genuine, momentary, fleeting and there is little time to savor and chew on its richness….a snapshot of life….real life!! And then we consider and wish for one more life to live, to do more, to reach deeper and farther in the promise of seeing God’s Kingdom enlarged and made greater. Sigh.
Gwen Howard

Gwen Howard

Humbled…we slow and savor our heart’s cry. Hoping to capture every second and store the time deep within that place in our hearts that we draw from on the hard days. In recollection, we are posed with a relative question…In OUR day-to-day living, is there really this kind of hard? How God has filled our cups to overflowing. We cry out to God with hands uplifted in praise and pray, Lord,  fill them up again tonight!!
Living Love

Living Love

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18

“We’ll give thanks to You with gratitude. For lessons learned in how to trust in You. That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream. In abundance or in need. And if You never grant us peace. But Jesus, would You please . .” Nicole Nordeman

“When thanks to God becomes a habit – so joy in God becomes your life.” Ann Voskamp

Danielle Bolin, Melanie Self, Faith Yeley, Dump Harper, JJ Yeley

Danielle Bolin, Melanie Self, Faith Yeley, Dump Harper, JJ Yeley

Gratitude by Nicloe Nordeman

River Street Park Love

River Street Park Love

Check out the complete photo album on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201288819965369.1073741827.1318481111&type=1&l=9689e76adb

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My Brave Face

My Brave Face!!

Doing my best at growing into the blogger that the Lord would have me be!! Not sure that I have accomplished much to date but I am a willing learner, a seeker of growth in every area the Lord will speak to me, and my transparent self confesses that right now, I am being challenged in ways that I have not been challenged in a very long time…… Did I also say that I am the queen of run-on sentences? I write the way I talk….with WAY too many words.

Verbose defined:

~containing more words than necessary 

~wordy (a verbose reply)

~impaired by wordiness (verbose style) Ha!! Never thought of being verbose as an impairment!

~given to wordiness (a verbose orator)
Yes. My name is Melanie……

And it is true, I am verbose……

Condensing the “About Me” on the blog has been like a trip to the dentist!! But, alas, there is hope!!! Yep, I am getting a little LESS verbose with each new day!! Baby steps!!

I so appreciate my Dreams-Giver team for being kind when honest!! I receive your critiques with a grateful heart!!

So, here is my first attempt at the updated “About Me” Woo Hoo!!!

Thanks to our precious mentor, team-dreamer and friend, Holley Gerth. Thanks so much for choosing , believing and challenging me to put on my “big girl britches” and start dreaming again!!!!

Who am I?

I am intent on serving loving, leading and teaching others about the things of God. With great care, I open my home, heart and life to carry others life joys and burdens before the Lord. I want to hold your heart in my heart in hopes of lightening the load that you carry. I am trustworthy, a true friend; compassionate, tender, thoughtful and genuinely interested and invested in the road that you are on.

I am gathering the eternal joy flowers that never fade. And I want to get to know you.

I believe that God has created and called me to graciously support, inspire, lead and encourage women, children and families by sharing my simple journey of faith as I write, relate and teach from God’s Word.

I am currently loving families through life by teaching women and children the things of God and providing a “safe-haven” for our NASCAR family through the ministry of the Motor Racing Outreach Community Center. My husband, Monty and I, can be found 26 weeks of the year living in a motor home inside of a race track.

Praying that the simple moments in my life will encourage and “inspire hope” in YOUR little life’s place. While my life is often complicated, I pursue living simply……I am blessed to be Simply Living…..even in the middle of the chaos!!

P. S. I have the best job in NASCAR!! Really.

Heart Wide Open…..My Blog Journey

2012 Second Annual Better Half Dash Fundraiser

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2012 Better Half Dash

Better Half Dash Race Returns with Ladies of NASCAR During Bank of America 500 Week

Girls, have at it! When racing returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, the ladies of NASCAR will add their own element of speed, danger and fun to Bank of America 500 Week when they take to the frontstretch quarter-mile for the second annual Better Half Dash on Bojangles’ Pole Night.

The charity race, supporting Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) and Speedway Children’s Charities, will pit the women of NASCAR against each other in Bandolero race cars provided by U.S. Legend Cars International.

The entry list for this year’s Better Half Dash

Defending champion Jacquelyn Butler, fiancée of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan;

Michelle Gilliland, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland;

Patricia Driscoll, girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch;

Ashley Allgaier, wife of NASCAR Nationwide Series standout Justin Allgaier;

Kristen Yeley, wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver J.J. Yeley;

Amy Gordon, wife of NASCAR crew chief Todd Gordon;

Wendy Venturini, reporter for SPEED TV and wife of Jarrad Egert

Angie Dillner, wife of SPEED TV reporter Bob Dillner;

Lyn-Z Pastrana, wife of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana

Adriene Pattie, wife of Brian Pattie NASCAR Cup Series Crew Chief

Katrina Childers, wife of Rodney Childers NASCAR Sprint Cup Crew Chief Rodney Childers

Melanie Self, representing MRO;

 

“The Better Half Dash was so much fun last year,” Butler said. “It was a very successful and entertaining event for the fans and a great way to let everyone know how much MRO and Speedway Children’s Charities means to the NASCAR community. I am so excited for this years BHD race, we have some exciting things planned to make it even more entertaining for the fans.”

The Better Half Dash will be a 25-lap race, with a competition caution set for Lap 15. A random inversion will shake up the field before the final 10-lap shootout. Caution laps will not count. If necessary, there will be up to two chances at a green-white-checkered finish. The starting order for the race will be determined by qualifying on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While the better half takes the wheel, her significant other will serve as crew chief and spotter for the race, but drivers and crew members are not permitted to make any engine, chassis or suspension modifications.

Butler said there is added pressuring to do well this year after her success at last year’s Better Half Dash race.

“This is the one thing David get’s to watch me be competitive at, and we are competitive people,” she said. “I want to make him proud and at least finish in the top three.”

The winning driver will receive $10,000 to be paid to the charity or charities of her choice.

Better Half Dash practice sessions are scheduled for Sept. 25 from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and before qualifying on Oct. 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m. p.m. All practice sessions will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Updates on the race and entrants can be found at http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or motorracingoutreach.com or by following #BetterHalfDash on Twitter.

On a personal note:

Six years ago the Lord put on my heart to bring the women in NASCAR together for a fun and friendly racing competition as an opportunity to raise funds for Motor Racing Outreach. I love serving women and children in motorsports as the MRO Women and Children’s Ministry Coordinator. My husband Monty and I joined MRO in 2001 after his retirement from the U.S. Air Force. It is my honor to represent MRO in the race. Pay close attention, as I will once again represent a legendary race car driver in sponsor and car number. 🙂

A special thank you to Charlotte Motor Speedway, Legends Cars International & Racing Electronics for making all of this possible. If you would  like to donate, you can do so online at http://www.betterhalfdash.com

Spotter, Coach and Friend Matt Dillner

Samaritan’s Feet….Changing lives one pair of shoes at a time!

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Making friends......one pair of shoes at a time!

Samaritan’s Feet volunteers & staff, Gaston County Commissioner, Tracy Philbeck and I washing feet and giving a new pair of shoes at Rhyne Elementary in Gastonia, Making Friends, one pair of shoes at a time!

Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern,  you understand, is holiness,  not hygiene.” John 13:10

Spending time at the feet of others was the example Jesus set for us to follow as He bowed in subjection to the disciples for the purpose of washing their feet as an act of honor and service. Nothing can be greater, than knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, humbled Himself to the position of servant. As we put ourselves in the position of service, we look up into the eyes of the ones that we have come to serve and say. “You are the most important person at this very moment. I want you to know that you are loved by God and by all of us. We are here today simply because of our heart to love and serve you just as Jesus did.”

Today, I was once again blessed to participate in a shoe distribution with Samaritan’s Feet. The mission and heartbeat of founder, Manny Ohonme, is 10 million pairs of shoes on the feet of 10 million children in the next 10 years You can read more about Manny’s story of how a simple pair of shoes changed his life and led him to follow what was exampled to him by the love of  one who came to serve him.

http://www.samaritansfeet.org/who-is-sf/mannys-story/

I have had the privilege of serving alongside Manny Ohonme and his wife, Tracie since 2005 and have nothing but the utmost love and respect for this man and his family who daily live out what they believe. While we do not often share the same schedule, we are often in contact and communication. Today, however, Monty and I were blessed with a most special opportunity; to give back to children, teacher’s and staff at an elementary school near our hometown of Dallas, NC. We rallied and gathered our friends to help us support the effort of Samaritan’s Feet in our Jerusalem. Gastonia, NC

On this day, 400 plus children, teachers, and staff would receive our undivided attention as we spent time getting to know them, focusing our hearts and attentions towards them, washing their feet and providing a new pair of socks and shoes for each one of them. The event was a surprise for the entire school and spear-headed by their caring principal, Rebecca Huffstetler.

The day started as usual with the younger children filling our stations. So, precious. Timid. Embarrassed and confused by all these people taking off their old shoes, putting their little feet in cold water, washing them and putting new shoes on their feet. Refreshing, but in time the older children would fill the chairs and their disbelief was often verbalized.

My breath-taking and life-joy moment happened near the end of the day when a less than thrilled tough 5th grade boy sat down in front of me. What would become my favorite conversation of the day began with, “So, lady, how much are they paying you to wash my feet, be nice to me and give me this new pair of shoes?” And with attitude and no smile, I might add. He was not rude. Simple putting it all on the table and in all likelihood, wanting to call me out and say, yep, told you so, they don’t care about me.

“Nothing.” I replied. “God loves me (us), we love you and I came here today to tell you how very special you are to Him and to me. Nothing more. Nothing less.” A cynical 10-year-old smile ensued. Our moment together ended within five-eight minutes and toward the end a new-found, whimsical, wry smile appeared. I held his hands, looked him square in the eyes and ended by letting him know that every step that he takes in these new pair of shoes, that I will be thinking of him, praying for him and trusting his life to a God that wants to do great things in and through him. His name will be written in my prayer journal and I will believe God for His very best until heaven.”

I continued as the Holy Spirit kicked my heart into gear and shared the gospel message of hope, a future, and of surrendering his heart to receive the free gift of life now and eternal through Jesus Christ. The promise of forgiveness, new life and God’s perfect plan for his life. You see, we get moments like these on occasion and I felt the urgency to seize the moment while it was sill today! I continued. “God’s plan for you is perfect. Your story is still being written. When you want to give up or you struggle, think of the silly lady who said, you can do it through complete surrender of your heart to the Lord and the power of God which is greater than your mind can conceive.” God wants you to know that you matter and that He has a plan for your life!! An, sweet friend, I pray for you, I will claim each step for the rest of your days for  God to do “exceedingly, abundantly in your life above all that you can ask or think.” HE IS ABLE!!!

He sheepishly, smiled. I said there is just one more thing. “Can I get a hug?” I have yet in my life until today, felt a more genuine embrace than from his big ole size 10 men’s shoe bear hug that I received from Gods most precious possession.
You see, God spoke directly to his heart today. The Holy Spirit penetrated the deepest part of this young mans soul and there is no doubt in my mind that the God of the universe will make good on a prayer prayed forward for a life in the balance between the god of this world and our heavenly Father’s will for his life.

So, when you wonder if God still uses the smallest of opportunities for His good and His glory, remember the hardened heart of my friend today. And when you pray, you need not know his name but that his heavenly Father is well acquainted with the matters of his precious heart and life. Next time you think, I should do something to help….just do it. Don’t wait. The true blessing will be yours. And when you wonder, does God really still open hearts in the least imaginable ways….like through a pair of shoes, a smile, a hug, a word of affirmation, a touch or a smile? May you see my face smiling back at you and saying….Oh yes He does!! Remember, Jesus said it best….”My concern is holiness…” May we walk simply on this path of righteous living….and trust God for life-changing results! For His glory! Amen and Amen!

Caring for God’s beloved!