Making an Incredible Difference

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Blog | 29 comments

Making an Incredible Difference

When we grow, we will begin to think about the legacy we’ll leave behind and we will have an intense desire to make a difference in this world.   We will experience empathy when we see someone suffering and we will start to feel compassion for those who are in need.  More importantly, we will long to know God’s call for our lives and we will wish to take steps towards following His incredible plan.

As we embark on the journey towards emotional and spiritual maturity, I’ve discovered we will automatically begin making lasting impressions on people’s lives.  We don’t need to desperately figure out ways to leave an amazing legacy and we don’t need to be discouraged when we think about how our lives will be remembered.  We can rely on our Creator to guide us because we know, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).  Then as we develop a deeper relationship with the Lord and maintain genuine relationships with people, Christ will be able to brightly shine through us.  As a result, we will impact more lives than we could ever imagine.

What steps is God leading you to take to make a difference in this world?  Whether you are meeting the emotional, spiritual, or physical needs of others, how are you relying on your Creator to help you?  Is He connecting you with other believers who have a similar passion and calling?

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  1. avatar

    So true, Danielle. Thanks for this great post. My challenge is keeping in tune with Him in terms of my efforts for His Kingdom. I am passionate about what He has me doing in so many interconnecting ways that I can’t get into it briefly here, and that passion drives me to work hard and excellently for His purposes, and yet then I can cross a line into trusting my own strength too much and striving, which leads to burn-out. But the neat thing is that this drives me to Him every day to ask what I’m to do with the time He’s giving me each day.

    As I seek Him more and more (though of course I have my days when I loose focus), I am seeing Him connect me with some wonderful people who share many of the same passions. Some of these folks are Christians and some are not – and that only gives Him more ways to hopefully shine His amazing love through me into the lives of others.

    I’m working on finishing up a video series on sustainability that I pray will help open people’s minds to issues of justice, mercy, and humility. And this coming Monday’s “Label Detectives” event with Sustainable Cherry Hill is a great example of how He has connected me with some incredible people who I love dearly, working together to do our small piece of His huge and restorative work in the world.

    I’m so grateful for how He is moving and working. And I just pray daily that I can stay focused on His moving and not slip into striving – even if I’m primarily motivated at this point by my passion for the things He’s put on my heart. It’s all about Him working through me and getting glory for Himself. I don’t want it. Of course, there’s always that part of me that does want glory for myself, but I pray He’ll just keep crucifying that part of me daily. Because of His Spirit’s work in my heart, the real me wants for Him to get the glory and for the old me to keep dying daily.

  2. avatar

    Hi Danielle! Great post, as usual! If you get a chance, please read the story below. I believe it describes how I have been trying to make a difference in the world, as I believe God is leading me…

    Kikote the Hugs
    “Where’s the key?” Mike said as he searched around the big orange machine that we had all gathered near. “Does anyone know where the key is?” He asked again, this time looking toward our new-found Haitian friends to see if any of them might have any idea what he was saying. “Steve, how do you say ‘where’s the key’ in Creole?”

    I pulled out the list of common Creole words and phrases I had compiled from my previous trips to Haiti. “Ki… ko… te … umm…” “Ki.. ko… te. umm…” “Hold on a second… Mike, where’s that Creole dictionary you brought with you?”

    “It’s back at the house.”

    “Ok. Ki..ko..te… um… You know.. um, the thing that goes here.”

    Mike and I then resorted to some good old-fashioned sign language, pointing to the keyhole for the ignition and twisting our hands to gesture the act of starting the engine.

    “Ahhh..! Kikote kai,” one of our new friends yelled out, seemingly to no one.

    “Ah kai… kai is key.” We had learned a new word, and a new phrase that would soon become a sort-of mantra for our trip. “Kikote kai for the tractor?” “Kikote kai for the storage shed?” “Kikote kai for the house?” One thing’s for sure about Haitians, they really love to lock things!

    Within a few minutes someone appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, with the key. Mike pushed it into place, gave it a turn, and on cue the mighty engine roared. With that, I was fortunate to witness the ending to Mike’s year-long odyssey to get this giant, bright orange, 1955 Allis-Chalmers tractor from Illinois to its new home in this beautiful, rural village in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. I was also fortunate to witness a new beginning. The tractor had a new home, and was on a new mission. It was as if it had been brought out of retirement; called upon one more time, for one more assignment.

    Mike then wasted no time in making some necessary repairs, mostly to damage caused during the shipping process. The first thing to be fixed was the steering column, which had somehow gotten bent during the trip. Mike and the team of Haitians that had collected around him, worked with surprisingly graceful ease to remove the old steering column and to replace it with the new one Mike had brought with him. I was impressed.

    “Have you spent a lot of time on a farm?” I asked my new friend, as he skillfully worked on the tractor. He must have, I thought, given the ease with which he was working on the tractor.

    “Nope, not at all.”

    “Well, do you have a lot of experience with tractors then?” He must. He’s from the Mid-West, I thought, as if simply being from the Mid-West qualifies someone to be an expert on tractors.

    “Nope, not even a little.”

    “How did you know how to fix it then?” I asked.

    “Well, I could see from the pictures Jepthe e-mailed that it was broken. So, I asked the guy who donated it how to fix it, and he explained it to me…” Mike explained with one hand on the new steering column and the other on an over-sized adjustable wrench, “… and I also have the original owner’s manual.”

    “This is unreal,” I was thinking to myself. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to witness this. Given all the people who were involved in getting this beautiful machine hear – from the guy who donated it, to the generous people who contributed the funds to ship it here, to everyone who touched it along the way – I was the lucky one who was here to witness it’s rebirth. Wow, what an awesome feeling!

    Now I got to watch God’s hand, as he worked through Mike and his newly-formed team of Haitians, to get the thing up and running. Because I knew in my heart, there’s no way this guy – who had never worked on a farm, and had absolutely no experience with tractors – could possibly be doing what I was fortunate enough to witness him doing, without God’s help. God’s hand must have been guiding him, just as it surely had from the moment Mike decided he was going to lead the crusade to get this tractor to Haiti.

    I had just met Mike for the first time on the plane trip from Miami to Port-Au-Prince. He had contacted me a few months earlier after learning about the work I had done with Open Door Haiti, a ministry centered in Bois de Lance, just outside Cap Haitien. Over the course of several mission trips with Open Door, I was blessed to contribute to the construction of two irrigation systems that would be used to water several crop fields they had purchased for the purpose of growing food crops.

    The crops from those fields would help to feed the many school children at Open Door’s newly-constructed two-story schoolhouse, and the many orphans that would soon be living in Open Door’s new orphanage. Many of the crops would also be sold at market to generate funds to help sustain Open Door’s ministry, which would also help to create jobs. Mike had read about these projects on Open Door’s website, and since he was interested in bringing irrigation to the fields that his tractor would soon be working, he gave me a call. Next thing you know, God brought us together!

    I had a lot of questions that needed to be answered regarding the potential new irrigation system, such as – Where should the well be drilled? How much water can the well provide? How will the well pump be powered? Where will the pipes be trenched? How will everything be kept secure? The main purpose of my trip with Mike was to find the answer to these questions.

    More importantly, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to personally get to know Pastor Jepthe, Mike’s local partner in Pignon, Haiti, and Jepthe’s team at Jerusalem Baptist Ministries. I also wanted to provide them the opportunity to get to know me. My previous experience in Haiti taught me that forging a solid, personal relationship with your local partner is absolutely essential for the success of any project.

    Although the main purpose of my visit was to lay the groundwork for the irrigation project, I felt lucky to be spending most of the trip as a witness to the re-birth of the tractor. I got to see Mike drive the big orange machine through town on its maiden voyage from Jepthe’s compound to the farm. As it rumbled from street to street, the locals scurried to the roadside to catch a glimpse of the loud, orange machine piloted by this clearly out-of-place “blan,” (white guy) who was bouncing along behind the steering wheel. Children scurried from out of nowhere and gathered in small groups, pointing and laughing as the giant machine roared by.

    When it finally reached the farm, I got to see Mike sloppily plow the first row of the hard black soil, with his entourage of Haitian friends keeping pace alongside. “How do you think we should do this?” Mike asked me as if I had an idea. “Back and forth? Or maybe in a square pattern? What do you think?” I certainly had no clue about the proper way to plow a field, but Mike found the answer after a few phone calls and e-mails to a friend in Illinois who had some farming experience.

    Then I got to see the moment of truth, when Mike finally handed over control of the tractor to the local guy who would be its operator and keeper. The new driver had been patiently waiting while Mike made a few practice runs, carefully studying the furrows made by the powerful machine as it sliced through the thick, black soil. He then proudly climbed on board and took the wheel. Mike climbed up beside him and showed him how it all worked – the throttle, the clutch, the brake, the lever that dropped the plough. After a few test runs together, when Mike felt ready, he dropped down and left the machine in the sole control of its proud new operator. What an amazing moment!

    Since Mike was busy with the tractor most of the time, either making repairs or training its new owners how to use it and maintain it, I was able to spend quite a bit of time just hanging out with the local Haitians. I spent most of this time with the group of a dozen or so children that were waiting everyday outside the missionary house for Mike and me to begin our day.

    It’s these kids that keep me coming back to Haiti year after year. They wake up each day in such an extreme state of poverty; I doubt they can even comprehend how severe it is. They have no running water, no electricity, barely enough food, scant medical care. They wear dirty, ragged clothes – the same clothes day after day. They need bathes. They need soap. They need tooth brushes. They need tooth paste. They need shoes. They need hugs. They need a good square meal. They need so many things. They need everything.

    Yet when they look at you, their bright eyes radiate with such innocence, such curiosity, such hopelessness, and such love; they’re irresistible. They’re happier to kick around a soccer ball made of string than many American kids might be playing the latest video games. They smile when they see their images in a digital camera, and they love to pose for pictures. They’re proud of where they live, and they’re proud to show off their simple, tiny houses built from concrete and sticks. They love their families and are happy to introduce you to their mothers, their brothers, their sisters, their cousins, and their fathers – if they’re lucky enough to still have them around. They’re proud of their country, and are happy to display the Haitian flag. They love to sing and when they sing together they sound like a choir of angels. They work hard – carrying water in buckets from a local well or river to the house so that their mothers and sisters can wash clothes, cook, and clean. They work hard – steering donkeys that carry sugar cane, or branches that will be used to make fires for cooking. They chew on sugar cane they pick right from the field. They swim and they fish. They break things and get in trouble. They’re talented and they’re smart. They make me smile and they make me laugh, and they’re the reason I’ll keep coming back to Haiti whenever I can, for as long as I can.

    I wish my arms were big enough to give them all a big, warm hug at the same time. I wish I had enough money to buy them all a good meal every day. Maybe my arms aren’t big enough, and my bank account surely isn’t deep enough, but at least there is hope. There’s a new tractor in town! The big orange machine is turning the soil so that seed can be sown, and crops grown.

    Thanks to the hard work of my good friend, Mike, and to the generosity of the many other people who sent their love to these kids in the form of that big orange tractor, there will at least be a little more food available, in at least one small part of Haiti. I pray for the day when no child in Haiti, or anywhere else, has to go without food, or anything else they need. For now, I just can’t wait for the day when I get the call from Mike telling me that it’s time to go back to put in the irrigation system, and I’ll be able to go see and hug my friends again.

    Matthew 25: “ 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” 40 The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

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    • avatar

      Stephen, you so vividly described the joy and love these children have for you just being there. Your presence there demonstrated your love and care for them! I understand your passion and compassion; I too had the privilege of participating in two short-term mission trips. One was to the Dominican Republic, where we had the opportunity to visit a Haitian village. Although, I felt inadequate, not being proficient in the language, however, God provided me with the simple but powerful tools of a smile, hugs, and a handshake. These mission trip experiences reminded me that God would find a way when your heart is in doing His work! Keep believing in your passion Stephen!

  3. avatar

    Wow! Praise God! Thank you Lacey and Steve for sharing ways God is leading you to make a difference in this world.

    Lacey, I’m always inspired by your incredible passion for informing us how to stay healthy and how to take care of our planet. Label Detectives looks like it will be a fun event to learn what to look for in the products we buy!

    Steve, what an incredible story about the tractor and your trip to Haiti! God placed the right people at the right time in your life to help carry out your mission. Your story reminds us nothing is impossible with God! Reading about the children in Haiti made me feel both sad and happy. They need so many things. Yet, they seem to treasure their relationships with people and can still have fun despite their hardships. May the Lord continue to use you in this important ministry!

  4. avatar

    Thanks for the kind words Danielle and Lucy. I’m really glad to hear about your time in the D.R. and Haiti, Lucy. I’m sure your hugs and genuine love meant more than you can even imagine!

  5. avatar

    Again, very powerful thoughts, Dani. I also would like to comment on making an impact. Sometimes we don’t have to travel very far and just look within our family to make a difference. There are a lot of opportunities to encourage, uplift and remind our family that we love them. A visit,a phone call, spending time together, a listening ear…just little insignificant gestures make deep impacts. I know I can always call my sister and reach out to her and she always has a positive approach to any situation even if it’s late at night. I thank God that she is that way.

  6. avatar

    Beautiful post Danielle…you are quite gifted not only in art but in writing as well! I am at such a wonderful point in my life right now…this is right on target. I feel over the past year God has been putting all the pieces of the puzzle of my life together and I am finally able to see the big picture. I’m sure that there is much more ahead- maybe a whole other puzzle, but for now I am just enjoying the beauty of this. It has been so amazing to see how God used 22 years of my life…though I saw it as such a struggle- to prepare me for this year. Living since I was 15 with numerous eating disorders, as well as a major lack of self esteem and confidence…I couldn’t imagine what my calling was. How could I help anyone when I couldn’t even help myself. It wasn’t until I realized that I never would be able to help myself…that I had to wholeheartedly rely on God to get me through that it finally clicked. I never in a million years (although I wished all along that I could) thought that I would be in a position of teaching and encouraging others to live a healthy learn and be able to help others put programs together for losing weight and exercising…ME!!!! The one who lived with shame, and negativity, the one who thought I’d never amount to anything more that a wife and mother (which of course I’m thrilled to be!) . Through God I am taking all that pain and negativity and turning it into something beautiful. One of my favorite songs is by Nicole Nordeman- “Legacy”…I want to leave one that means something. I now wake up every morning filled with hope and joy…no longer sadness and self-condemnation. I can’t wait to get up each morning and see what God has in store…I love looking through His eyes at everything now…I feel so very blessed:)

  7. avatar

    Thank You Danielle for your beautiful words I always love reading your articles and find much encouragement in them. Oh what a privilege to serve God and to be used by Him to reach a hurting world. The thought of being chosen by Him to fulfill His purpose here on earth leaves me in utter amazement at times, that He would use a broken person such as myself to do His work is st times unfathomable.

    Jesus spent most of His time healing the sick and brokenhearted and He burned a passion within my heart for the lost. Perhaps because of knowing and experiencing that kind of brokenness in my own life He keeps me at a place of remembering what is was like to live there. Having compassion and empathy for others needs and situations is always raw for me and leaves me feeling like I need to do something to reach out in some way so that others will know that Jesus loves them and cares about what they are going through. I know first hand how deeply the world needs Jesus’ healing touch.

    One of the Ministries that I am most passionate about is ALPHA. I am able to help hurting broken people find their way into a relationship with Jesus. God continues to use all of my past hurts and brokenness to help others find their way to Him. I freely share my testimony publicly which is something I was never able to do before knowing the Lord. When He healed me he lifted me out of a pit of despair and clearly told me that this was His story of redemption and that I was to tell it. To do this I have to rely solely on Him, this is not something I can do in my own strength because the pain is too deep.

    I’ve learned to stop questioning and trust that God’s will is a perfect one, even though I’ve had to endure painful tragic circumstances, losing my daughter Dana was the worst one of all. Jesus was not void of suffering and neither are we. He had to endure the cross to save us and God uses painful circumstances in our lives to reach others to find their way to Him. It’s a marvelous mystery and one that we will never fully understand on this side of eternity, but He uses the broken to save the lost. I know that God’s plan is a good one and I trust Him completely even though I don’t always understand why certain things have to happen in order to fulfill His purpose.

    I will share a compelling story of God’s amazing work that could only have come from His hand. In our last ALPHA class we had a Jewish woman who was there to find out more about Jesus and if He really was who He said He was. On the last night after 10 weeks of her seeking answers with my husband and I, we learned that she was on the fire truck that was sent on the call to my dad’s house the day my daughter died. We hadn’t realized the whole time we were together that we had a divine connection that only God would rejoin 25 years later for His own Glory and He didn’t reveal it until the last night. He sent her to us when she was searching for answers about Jesus, who would have ever thought something like that would be possible and that she would be sent to us.

    The Lord calls people to Himself and uses the sometimes tragic lives other others to reach people. His ways are not our ways and our human minds cannot understand His ways, but the one thing I have come to know is that they are ALWAYS for the GOOD. I was not always able to say that, especially concerning Dana’s death. What good could ever possibly come out of losing a child? But God has done an incredible work in me so that I can help grow His Kingdom.

    His word is true when in Isaiah He says;
    The spirit of the Soverign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of despair.

    God has grown and stretched me beyond what I ever imagined and as long as I am willing he will continue to keep using me.

  8. avatar

    Aunt Halyna, thank you for reminding us of the importance of impacting our family. God has blessed you with an amazing sister!

    Shelly, incredible testimony! Praise God! I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. It took me a very long time to realize I needed to fully rely on God to get me through my shame, guilt, insecurities, and negative thoughts. Suffering from severe post-partum depression and being diagnosed with a liver disease were just two of the many huge trials I’ve endured. I am so thankful for a patient, forgiving, and loving God! I love that song by Nicole Nordeman. I first heard “Legacy” on my favorite Christian radio station, K-Love.

    Toni, I am truly inspired by your passion for God in all circumstances. I admire your dedication and commitment to serving the Lord even after loosing your precious daughter. It’s amazing how God connected you with someone in your Alpha class who was there on the day your daughter passed away. I love what you wrote, “God has done an incredible work in me so that I can help grow His kingdom.” Not many people can say that after having to go through the extremely painful process of grieving.

    Thank you everyone for these incredible comments. I am learning so much from your thoughts and stories. May all of you continue to be a light to others!

  9. avatar

    You are so right, Danielle! It’s so exciting to be on this mission for God, letting his light shine through us. As I’m making a lot of decisions about future education and a career path, I pray that God will show me how to walk the path he has placed in front of me.

  10. avatar

    God has plans for me that are bigger than the ones I have for myself. I am battling with the confidence of admitting my faith in public. I have a tendency to want to make people happy. This is not always good. When my friends are nonbelievers, I tell them what they want to hear to make them happy, even though it is not what I believe. I feel that I am disappointing God over and over again. I am not letting his spirit shine. I am breaking it down. I need to learn to stand up for my faith. I need not be embarrassed to love the Lord. I don’t like being judged by others, but the only judgement I should care about is the one He will give me. Please pray that I change my ways and stand strong. I love your blog Danielle. Your words of wisdom inspire me to be a better Christian. You continue to be a huge blessing in my life.

  11. avatar

    Aimee, I pray that the Lord guides you as you make these important decisions. May you continue to use your amazing gifts and talents to glorify the Lord! “Seek the kingdom of God first and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

    Maud, It took a great deal of courage to write down your thoughts and recognize that this is an area God is convicting you about. I genuinely admire your desire to change! Fear of rejection, judgment, and disappointment still enter my mind when I share my faith. I have learned to pause before I answer someone. It gives me time to think and ask the Lord how I should respond. I will definitely dedicate time to praying for you to gain confidence and wisdom on the best way to stand up for your faith. I think this is something we all should desire and pray about! I know you are not alone in this challenge! “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

  12. avatar

    Hi Danielle,

    Thank you for asking me to comment on your blog site. I also feel an intense burden to “make a difference” in people’s lives. As a mother of two daughters I do feel a little more pressure. Ephesians 2:10 has been a very uplifting verse for me. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    I think the most rewarding thing about making a difference is that it really does not have to be a major thing. You can pretty much be a blessing where ever you go. Today it is very rare that strangers will even smile at you much less say “Hi” to you.

    As a Mary Kay consultant, sometimes it is hard for people to see past what I am really about. Although I can understand how women can be standoffish about a direct selling company, I just wish they could know what a fabulous company Mary Kay is. I love how they are one of the only billion dollar companies out there that still have the priorites of God, Family, Career. That they encourage us to share our faith and make a difference in women’s lives. I love the saying Mary Kay Ash (the founder) tells new beauty consultants. We are to treat every women we meet as if they have a sign around their neck that says “make me feel important”. By just practicing that technique I have been able to minister to so many saved and unsaved women.

    What a unique opportunity I have as a Christian woman to be invited into womens most personal lives and spaces. I have been able to be a part of some really meaningful events that have really enriched my life and my family’s life. God even with His great sense of humor put me in a place to facial a Islamic Muslim woman. Wow, talk about enlightening.

    There have been women that have received a free facial with me that have never felt pretty or confident. Believe me it is not all about the makeup. Some women won’t even look into their mirrors that I give them. But after some much needed encouragement and some pampering they look at themselves in a whole new light. That is just so powerful, to know that I had a small part of her life for that moment.

    I have been a part of two donation drives. At Christmas time I am able to collect a hand lotion and foot lotion set from local business’. I then order the product, wrap the product and deliver it to a local nursing home. It is called Adopt a Grandparent. My contribution was donating 32 new testament Bibles. Also this summer I created Adopt a Soldier. Again local business’ donated a sun protection kit and I delivered it to the Yellow Ribbon Club who shipped it out to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And because of my commitment to Jesus I sent New Testament Bibles with the kits and tracts.

    It is in those moments I realize how BIG my God is!

    I love the song Make me a Blessing-
    “Out in the highways and byways of life,
    many are weary and sad;
    Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
    making the sorrowing glad.

    Make me a blessing,
    Make me a blessing,
    Out of my life
    out of my life
    May Jesus shine;
    Make me a blessing, O savior, I pray,
    I pray Thee, my Savior,
    Make me a blessing to someone today.”

    So no matter what I do whether I am Mom, daughter, sister, granddaughter, wife or a beauty consultant, I know that God is going to use me every chance, because that is what I have asked Him to do!

    God bless you and your blog! Thank you for being obedient to what God has called you to do.

  13. avatar

    Elise, thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. When I write and post each of my blog entries, God places certain people on my heart and you were one of them! It’s incredible what God is doing in your life as a Mary Kay consultant. You are using your job to help others emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Thank you for reminding us to always keep God first in any task we are given. May the Lord continue to give you strength, perseverance, and courage as you minister to others!

    • avatar

      Wow, I am so encouraged by each one of you!! It is a blessing for me to read how each one of you are trying to make a Godly difference in this world. I love reading how your generation wants to share your gifts to touch lives in this troubled world. Elise, I, too, love that song, “Make me a Blessing”, especially the part that says, ” Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife making the sorrowing glad”. You, young ladies and men, are God’s “Sonshine” that “warms the hearts”, especially mine!! Keep making a difference!! Thank you for this blog site, Dani!!!

  14. avatar

    I love reading your thoughts. It is so encouraging to see and read what others are learning in their journey.
    Making a difference – some days I wonder if I am, but in all the years I’ve worked with children God has used the innocence of a child to show me more of who He is. Now currently being in children’s ministry has taught me that teaching stories, songs and playing silly games are great, but if I’m not teaching our kids to apply those stories, songs, etc to their lives then all those things are for naught.
    My life needs to be an example to young and old, but kids soak in so much. They pay attention, they ask questions and God has very much been challenging me to lead by example. Sometimes it can be in very small ways, almost insignificant ways, but then sometimes in huge ways.
    Making a difference to me means making an impact. Being vulnerable and open to what God is telling me to do! Kids are amazing creations and I’m blessed to be able to work with them.

  15. avatar

    What a great word! I truly believe that if you are now growing you are dying. God made us all to grow, to give and to love. God has called me to minister to survivors of child sexual abuse and to be a voice for the voiceless children who cannot protect themselves from child sexual abuse. I am so blessed that God shows up with miracles everyday and it is only through HIS power and grace that VOICE Today is growing and making a difference in the lives of many. Please join THE VOICE MOVEMENT to give a VOICE of healing to survivors and a VOICE of protection to children at

    Angela Williams

  16. avatar

    Danielle, it has been wonderful reading how God is changing and working in your heart and helping you to mature in Him. It always seemed to me when I was younger that my friends always had it easier in life and things didn’t go as smoothly for me. They were married before me, had a house years before I did, had their babies naturally ( I had morning sickness most of my pregnancies and c-sections) etc. but, now I can look back and see that God was preparing me for my future. When my husband became paralyzed from a fall while helping our good friends, God had taught me to put Him first and lean on Him. I learned that His will for me and my husband was not what I had planned. All I could do was pray and wait upon Him to give me grace to make it through each hour and trust he knew what was best. Our lives changed so drastically in a moment. We had to learn a new way to live our life. God used many people to help us get functioning again. They cooked, cleaned, visited and helped me get my husband into his wheelchair. Everything we have to do is so much more complicated than before. Our family, friends and church have been an encouragement to us. After 16 and 1/2 years they still are!
    Sometimes I think that I cannot serve the Lord like I was able to before, but God brings many different people in my life that I have been able to
    encourage and pray for. The Lord has shown me how to keep trusting Him despite my circumstances and I am try to encourage others to not give up and wait patiently for Him. He has taught me to put myself in their shoes and to love them through Him, for without love we become as a sounding brass or tinkling symbol(I Corthians 13) God has changed my heart and I hope His light shines through me to help others who are hurting.

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    Thank you Lucy, Kim, Angela, and Joanne for adding your comments. I’m learning more and more how incredible God is by reading all the stories. I’m excited that the Lord has placed a deep passion and desire in each of your hearts to follow His amazing plan for your lives.

    Kim, it’s very uplifting to read about the joy you have in your ministry. I’m inspired by your ability to see ways God is teaching you as you instruct children. I love how you reminded us that it’s important we encourage children to apply the songs and stories they are learning to their lives. May you continue to be a light to our future generation!

    Angela, I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet you at The Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference. I love how you are following God’s call and being obedient to His voice! On your website, I was shocked at the number of children who are sexually abused before the age of 18. Voice Today is an incredible organization. May you continue to carry out its mission “to bring awareness to the silent epidemic through awareness campaigns, educational and healing programs.”

    Joanne, thank you for reminding us to always look to the Lord during difficult trials. I love how you recognized the people who made a difference in your life when you were faced with your challenge. God is teaching you a great deal through your experiences with taking care of your husband, and I admire your desire to share it with others. I am truly inspired by your decision to trust in the Lord with all your heart in all circumstances. You have made a difference in my life!

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    It was so nice to see you at FAC last Sunday. Thanks for seeking me out to chat. I enjoyed checking out your website. I can tell that you are an encouragement for many.
    Making a difference in this world…I think of my favorite ministry verse, Galatians 6:9 (&10) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
    As someone who works in full-time ministry in Ukraine, we long to see much fruit from all the investment we make in the next generation. We are blessed to work with a small team of Americans and a much bigger team of Ukrainian youth leaders who long to see young people growing in Christ and bold enough to share Jesus with the masses. Unfortunately, sometimes the day-in and day-out fruit is not so evident. We know that God is using us to make a difference, but it is important not to listen to Satan’s lies and think that ministry is in vain.
    A great example is our boys’ prison ministry, where a team of us serve every week. The spiritual soil there is hard – the boys have had rough lives, causing them to commit crimes and harden their hearts. We serve there week after week, teaching Bible stories, encouraging these boys, ages 10-15, to make wise choices and hope for a better future. They are not always eager to listen or change; many are not open to God’s leading. In cases like this, it is even more important not to grow weary of doing good! And praise God, we do get to see fruit. A few boys over the years have accepted Christ, and many enjoy praying and doing the Bible studies.
    At the end of the day, we must trust that God is sovereign over that ministry, and the future of those boys ultimately belongs to Him.
    Habakkuk 3:17-19
    Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
    though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
    though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
    18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
    19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

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    Kristy, it was so nice to see you, too. As you already know, the ministry you are involved in is very close my heart. My parents and many other family members speak Ukrainian fluently. In addition, I had the opportunity in high school to visit Ukraine and meet some of my distant relatives. I love what you are doing there! I genuinely enjoy reading about your experiences on your website and learning about the incredible things God is doing in the lives of the people in Ukraine. Great verses you shared in your comment and thank you for informing us about some of the challenges you face. We will be praying for you! May the Lord continue to guide and direct you in your fantastic ministry! “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

  20. avatar

    I have been thinking a lot lately about suffering and everyone at some point in their lives has suffered in one way or another. Some worse than others, it is sadly a part of life. Whose to say one deserves it more than another. The issue is not what we are suffering from but how we overcome it. Do we let our heartache and turmoil control us, our motives and actions? Or do we use it to empower us to help others, to show courage and strength and exemplify Christ? We have to believe that God is sovereign and anything that we are going through is because He allowed it and has a plan. The question is do we follow His plan or allow ourselves to be overcome in our grief, wallowing in sorrow instead of shining for Christ?

  21. avatar

    Andrea, powerful words. Great questions. Thank you for reminding us to be controlled by the Spirit instead of our sinful nature. Jesus endured pain and suffering. He even wept and grieved. However, He trusted His Heavenly Father at all times. During hardship, we can find comfort in knowing, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). This amazing promise in the Bible motivates me to continue to be the light of the world in all circumstances.

  22. avatar

    Making An Incredible Difference:

    Simple…Jesus kept it so very simple, and true, and obvious. Incredible differences are made when we see the truth in one another, the good with the bad, the healthy with the unhealed parts, and knowing that truth, we choose to love. What an incredible difference that makes in our lives! Simple, right?

  23. avatar

    Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you, Lisa. Jesus was a perfect example on how to make an incredible difference. I love Christ’s prayer for us in John 17:20-25. Verse 23 states, “…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” When God gives us a mission, He will connect us with other people who will help us. As we strive for unity among us believers, God’s love will shine through us! This is a very simple way to make a difference in this world!

  24. avatar

    Hi Danielle,

    It is so true that as you draw closer to the Father, you have more compassion for others and seek to see others delivered and healed! I’ve been asking God as of late for more opportunities to reach out to others, even strangers. I’m a bit shy by nature but when I press into God, I can’t but help but want to share what He shares with me through the day. I’m mainly with my children since I’m a stay at home mom but I’m learning to reach out more to those in church that I don’t know and those that I do. I’m trying to find time to spend with them and just encourage them. I know how meaningful it is for me to hear a word of encouragement. We feel like failures so often when we make mistakes in life, especially with our children, so I will make a note of just reaching out to that frustrated looking mom and say, you are a wonderful parent. You’re children are so blessed to have you:)

    I recently had the privilege of speaking into an acquaintance of my husband’s who lives in NJ when we were visiting in July. She and I and another friend of hers were sitting out on her deck while her husband, my husband, and the other friend’s husband were inside hanging out. She began to open up about her struggles with his family and how it was chipping away at her marriage. She seemed so hopeless and she kept venting and venting. She came to the point of near hysteria while her friend and I listened and tried to console the best way we knew how. Right then I felt the Holy Spirit lead me ask her if she wouldn’t mind if I prayed for her. I didn’t really know her well, but I felt God lead me. She said yes and I started praying for peace. Then I started taking authority against the enemy. This was because I knew that no matter what she or her husbands family were doing, the enemy was behind the division and distorting the truth. It was intense. Then I felt led to go over to stand beside her and kneel and start speaking life over her. I felt the Holy Spirit rain down His peace and it was so beautiful to see her face transfigure from fear to complete calm. I felt so blessed to be there that I followed God’s leading. It was like I stepped back and allowed Him to take my place that moment. It wasn’t about me but her and Him.

    I love how truly amazing are Father is and how much He loves us! Life is so much more meaningful when we allow Him to take the lead rather than pursuing our own passions. God wants to give us the desires of our heart but His greatest desire is to see the brokenhearted healed. How blessed it is to give more than it is to receive:)

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    Hi Kristi,

    I am so happy to read that you are listening to the Lord communicate to your heart and you are choosing to follow what He says. It sounds like God is giving you the confidence and courage to reach out to women who are in need of encouragement and support. Praise God!

    It brought me great joy to read about your recent opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you to a particular woman. I love how you didn’t ignore or miss the chance to pray with her about peace. It’s amazing how you were able to see immediate results on how God was changing her heart and mind. Your story motivates us to pay attention to our Heavenly Father’s voice. He can use us in extraordinary ways to impact people’s lives both emotionally and spiritually. Thank you for reminding us to listen and allow Him to direct our paths!

  26. avatar

    Greetings from Wales UK, Thank you Danielle for your insight today, I like what you said about our struggle to leave a legacy, when in reality we are called to just let our light shine… I guess thats where the legacy comes from and the influence too… as Christ lives in us we manifest his influence to others
    Many Blessings

  27. avatar

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on one of my blogs. I really appreciate it. As we let Christ’s light shine through us, I’ve learned He will help us leave a lasting impact in this world!

    I just checked out your website. I’m very impressed at how many books you have been led to write! May you continue to record what God is teaching you and share it with others.

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