God Works through Kids Hope

God is working in my life. Sometimes I experience the effect of God on me directly. Sometimes I experience the effect of God working through me to help another person. This is how God has worked through me as a Kids Hope mentor.

Today I had lunch with a father and son. What was special about that was that I had been the son’s Kids Hope mentor about five years ago at Randolph Elementary. That had been a time when he was stressed about his parents’ divorce and was having difficulty at school. Dad said that I had helped the son get through a really difficult time. For the past five years the son has spoken of me and our special time together, and he still has a picture of us together on his dresser.

Dad had reached out to me on Facebook and arranged for us to have lunch today. It was like Randolph Elementary was just yesterday, except that my mentee is now taller than I am. I felt good as he talked about how he feels confident about how he will deal with the challenges of starting high school and the changes in his family, as Dad’s girlfriend moves in with her two children. He talked enthusiastically about his interests and hopes for the future. As we prepared to leave, Dad and I reflected on the importance of mentors in our own lives, as both of us still have a relationship with the mentor from our youth.

Thank you, God, for the opportunity to be a Kids Hope mentor.

Paul Stratton

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A God Sighting from Marlene Runnion

I read the devotions from Christ in our Home on a daily basis. The one from Wednesday, June 26 is particularly appropriate for Holy Trinity as we seek our new pastor so I wanted to share it. The title is God provides the replacement and it is based on 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21. Quoting from the devotion: “Through God’s help, Elijah achieved a great victory on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). When Jezebel sought to kill Elijah, he fled. He met God on Mount Horeb. He complained that he was the only one left in Israel who worshiped God. God told Elijah that there were still seven thousand worshipers in Israel. God also told Elijah that a successor, Elisha, has been chosen. In those times when we are worried about who our next pastor or leader will be, today’s reading comforts us with the knowledge that God is in charge. God will provide a leader. The story of Elijah reassures us that God will not forget us.”

A God Sighting from Joan Gaul

Last week my nephew, Phil…an electrician, was on a ladder in a downtown Detroit building doing a renovation.  He  was jolted with electricity 3 times and then fell off the ladder. His boss rushed him to Hutzel  hospital and they quickly did an EKG, very concerned about his heart. They then transferred him to Detroit Receiving Hospital Trauma Center.  He had shattered his elbow, his back was black and blue and all swollen, and he could barely function.  The next day he had surgery.  The doctor came out of surgery after an extra hour, but he said it went well.  He also said if  Phil had not fallen off the ladder he would have died from electrical shocks – so that he was very lucky.  We (the family) all agreed God intervened and we are all very  thankful.  Phil is also very thankful and will now be able to walk his only daughter down the aisle at her wedding  this September.  Praise God.

 

A God Sighting from Bill Deacon

Our good family friend, Bob, was heading up north with his two brothers. They were towing a pontoon boat. As they rounded a corner on a country road, the boat slipped off the trailer. The three brothers contemplated what they could do about the situation. Lifting the boat back onto the trailer would be quite a task for the brothers who are all over 65 years old. God provided an answer – a car full of four young men stopped to help! Bob and his brothers were back on the road with the boat on the trailer. As Bob was telling me the story, I said “Bob, that’s a God Sighting!” He said no, “Those were angels!”

Tidying Up

My awareness of God working in my life sometimes begins with an unexpected incident and gets clarified over time. This time it began with a broken garage door. The spring that raised the garage door had broken and needed to be replaced.  What seemed like a simple fix led to replacing both garage doors, painting the house trim to match the new garage door color, and having the painters also clean and re-stain the deck.

The bottom line is that to begin this chain of expenses I had to clean the garage floor 11 feet back from the doors, so the new doors could be assembled and installed.  That would have been no big deal if it were not for about 40 years of my professional life being in over 40 boxes on the floor, which had to be cleared.  That was God talking to me loud and clear. I had to deal with my professional past before I could deal with my personal present as a broken garage door.  So, day after day I sorted through desktop knickknacks, clinical files, staff meeting notes, training materials, books and journals.  I had to say good-bye to each of them as I processed the good, the bad and the ugly of a long and mostly successful professional life.

What God taught me was that I was OK mourning the death of that part of myself.  This meant that I had to stop feeling sorry for myself for what was no more and to stop being resentful at getting older.  Instead I have to celebrate the good stuff of the past and appreciate what has become part of the person that I am today going into the future.  The assurance of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness made it easier for me to move from one stage of life to the next stage of life.   I feel unburdened and set free, and yet I know that this transition is still a work in process.  God had put a broken garage door into my life to jump-start it all. Thank you, God, once again.

 

Submitted by Paul Stratton

That Bracelet – Thank You God

I asked the man how he knew I was a Christian, and he pointed to my bracelet that read, “God’s Work. Our Hands.”

As I boarded the airplane to return home from visiting family there were over 40 seats available.  I found a middle seat with an overhead space for my carry-on luggage.  I asked if the middle seat was taken, and the man in the aisle seat moved over and motioned for me to seat in the aisle seat, which I preferred anyway.

During this hour and a half flight I had planned on reading a novel, but, soon after takeoff, the man asked me, “how did you come to know Jesus?”  While the question took me aback some, I was prepared by having given this “elevator speech” about my faith before.  What followed was a blessing. We talked about our shared Christian faith and their mission work around the world.

Jerry and Marilyn Fine are the authors of One-on-One with God (www.ONEonONEwithGOD.org). This is a structured training program for how to make disciples, which they have taught to thousands of people, many of whom have gone on to disciple other people.  As I have worked as a church leader and have learned about faith development, I have struggled with being a disciple teacher.

Of all the seats available on this airplane and of all the topics to talk about, here was a couple who could give me what I needed in order to learn more about making disciples. Late in the conversation I asked the man how he knew I was a Christian, and he pointed to my bracelet that read, “God’s Work. Our Hands.” And I said, “thank you, God, once again.”

Submitted by Paul Stratton

A Pep Talk in Each Drop: God Speaks in Unexpected Ways

Recovery from knee replacement surgery has proceeded on schedule to the point that just a few muscle groups have yet to recover. Unfortunately, when I try to sleep, the muscle group that stretches from my knee to my hip sets off alarms and I awaken frequently. So, last night was rough.

This morning I was on the phone praying with my prayer partner for other people to recover from illness or surgery and for other blessings from God. I was feeling sorry for myself, tired and hurting from last night. In front of me were several cough drops with their paper wrappers covered with the company’s logo. As I scanned over this pile, one wrapper caught my attention.

Centered on the wrapper in clear black letters it read, “”you’ve survived tougher.” I examined the other cough drop wrappers, and they either displayed no words or the writing was partially obscured by the twisted end of the wrapper. Before this I had never seen such a pep talk on a cough drop wrapper.

I looked at “you’ve survived tougher” and chuckled out loud. It raised my spirits and offered me hope that God had equipped me through earlier tough times. So, I can expect better times ahead. That was just what I needed at that moment.

I think of this as a God Sighting, partially because I have had so many God Sightings during this surgery and recovery process. It just fit with the others. I could have not thought about it, eaten the cough drop, and thrown the wrapper away. I could have written it off as a “coincidence” or as just “good luck.”

However, those attributions do nothing for my spirit or for my faith in a merciful and compassionate God, who is always with me, offering loving support. I believe that God is with me and that should be my first interpretation of events around me, whether those events are big or small.

Thank you, God, once again.

Submitted by Paul Stratton