A Little Bag of Sidewalk Chalk

FINALCOLLAGEService Play Groups, a long held dream, became a reality this summer!

FINALGLOBELet me be honest, I struggled. We had over three hundred families express interest on our facebook page, and I fielded email questions in abundance. Our first week we had a large group, but every week after the group was small. My first thought was that people attended the first week, hated it and didn’t come back. This is what my mind does. It was the depth of summer, and people are so busy. The timing was to open the door for whole families to come, but probably would have been better started a little later and not so close to dinner time. I was worried the families that attended would be disappointed with the small groups. I went home every night and worried instead of feeling joy.

FINALLISA

I share this because whenever you put yourself out there you face vulnerability.

The enemy really loves for us to get into our heads and tell ourselves we are not good enough. It’s my life-long fight.

He wants us to fixate on things like numbers that are completely irrelevant to the kingdom of God. Want to know why?

because then we don’t look at all the small, hidden beauty he offers us.

 

Like…

FINALSUPPORTINGCOLLAGE

The fact that a dream became a reality! We gave over one hundred welcome and birthday bags to Holland Rescue Mission, a trunkful of high-need supplies to Community Action House, a bicycle to a girl to access education through World Vision, two sets of vaccinations to a child through Shot@Life, and seven fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. We were able to use the books donated to us by Citizen Kids Books!

 

FINALJODI

Many wonderful partnership were grown and will be forever friendships. There are many like-minded people in our communities and world, we need to fight to bring them together. We will be continuing into the forever future. Connect with our facebook page, or talk to myself or Jodi Baron! We would LOVE to partner with you. We have some exciting ideas taking shape for this coming year.

FINALFAMILIES

 

All the sweet families who took the time to attend and give. I appreciate you all so much. And so many young people were able to be leaders and guide stations for younger kids! It was so great to watch. All the kids were so wise and insightful during the stories. Kids understand justice so beautifully. We can make such a difference when we come together.

 

 

We needed a significant amount of supplies to launch service play groups. My parents invested in this dream by purchasing all the supplies. They helped me load them up and clean up every single week. All while my Mom is going through a tedious time of treatment for cancer. I am thankful and humbled by the fact that they still support my dreams.

FINALPETERSENFinally…

Every week children would drift into our play group area. They were alone, no families, sometimes siblings. They came from the community, some from the park and others from our neighborhood church. They added a great deal to our time together. There was one little boy, who asked to take some sidewalk chalk home because he didn’t have any. My friend Jen tied some up in a plastic bag for him and he happily went on his way that evening.

As I watched him walk into the distance, after a thirty-six year battle with not feeling good enough, I let it go with that one bag of sidewalk chalk.

FINALCHALK

The world tells us:

perfection, the bigger the better, stronger. you need to be popular, dynamic, numbers are everything.

But not feeling good enough makes it about me, and its not. It just really is not. God is going to use your dreams, and absolutely everything you do for his good, regardless of your weaknesses and perceived failures.

When you are not feeling good enough…

look for what is there, like a little bag of sidewalk chalk.

 

That is beauty. That is making a difference.

And we are going to keep doing it.

 

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about doubt. his is a steadfast love.

psalm

Self-doubt slays me every day. It’s not a season of doubt that attaches itself to me. It’s perpetual, exhausting, crippling on a daily basis. One of my biggest doubts is writing. Sometimes, writing here is hard for me. There are so many voices out there. In my real life, I listen more than I speak. I’d rather be in the background of everything and anything.

When people tell someone else I am a blogger, I feel very self-conscious.

I love to write. I love to encourage. I love to offer hope. This space in not about me. It’s about your voices, and all the people and places who make such an enormous difference in the lives of others. That is how I reconcile my doubts.

 

Even if I fail, I hope I am still making a difference.

Even in my trying, I am still able to offer hope.

Coming into this new year, I was already on my knees. Another reason why kneel is such a good word for About Proximity.

I’ve been staying up too late at night; worrying, doubting, staring at piles of laundry. In some weird moment of grace I came across this quote, by Heath Ledger of all people, that perfectly sums up how I feel about all this.

It’s kind of a rule of thumb for me to self-doubt going into any kind of project. I always think that I shouldn’t be doing it and I don’t know how to do it and I’m going to fail and that I fooled them. I always try to find a way out.

Heath Ledger 

And then this because all to often I hold back,

If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

And this… 

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

This is what I can do… hold close to God in faith. His is a steadfast love, despite my weakness in doubt.

Where does doubt seep into your life? How do you rest in God’s steadfast love in the midst of self-doubt? 

from night to night

sign

We stepped out of the car to look at Lake Michigan. This weekend the air whipped cold, sand blew, and the water not yet frozen over roared toward the shore.

They wanted to make it to edge where sand meets the waves. We watched from the warm car. They struggled against the wind, through varied rows of snow fence, across icy snow patches.

There they stood two dots in the distance. The waves appeared to nearly swallow them.

On the return, they burst into the car triumphant. You didn’t think we could make it! We ran all the way to the water’s edge! It was hard! I was slippery. We’re freezing, but we made it. 

 

Matthew 14:31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

 

I am so, so guilty of doubt.

My mind is like that sign, hopelessly jumbled in worry.

He reaches out his hand.

night

The days can feel like night, when doubt and expectation suffocate joy.

My favorite is the little white lights of Christmas, popping out of the darkness.

Those little white lights are hope.

It is his hand reaching.

How do you see hope when you are traveling from night to night?