Small Acts of Kindness: To Be Loved

By Jennifer Slattery

She sat off to the side and in the back. She was an older woman, and though I suspect she knew a good number of others attending this conference, she chose to sit by herself. I wondered if perhaps she didn’t want to be there, or maybe she wanted to be left alone.

I thought briefly of approaching her, of thanking her for coming, but soon I was swept into conversations and greeting as other women filled the church.

I soon forgot about the woman entirely.

I wonder how often that’s happened to her? I wonder how often, though she sat on the outskirts, she longed for someone to approach and invite her in. Or at the very least, let her know they saw her.

And maybe, as she sat there, in a church auditorium, to know that God saw her. And loved her.

I hope, through my talk that day, she heard He indeed did. That He always had and always would. As I spoke of a God who pursues us, who heals us, and who longs to bring us to a place of incredible freedom, I looked her way to find her crying. My heart gave a squeeze, and for a moment, I lost my words as a desire to speak with her, to pray with her, swept over me.

Obviously, I couldn’t do that, but as soon as I finished, I hurried to where she sat, knelt beside her, hand on her shoulder, and handed her a business card. “Please, email me,” I said.

She nodded, and sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, she slipped out.

I haven’t heard from her but with each Wholly Loved Conference, I meet other women just like her. Women who are hurting, who’ve replaced the truth of who they are in Christ with all the lies our broken world continually throws at them. Lies like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’re a failure,” or, “You’re unlovable.” Though the lies are different for each one, the anecdote is the same—love. God’s love. To live it, to own it, to believe in it. To rest in it.

My prayer for these women echoes Paul’s spoken in Ephesians 3:20, that we may “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep [God’s] love is. May [we] experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (NLT, emphasis mine).

Made complete, by love.


Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.


Healing Love

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073R1MY1C?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35380240-healing-love

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Small Acts of Kindness: Good Samaritan

By Andrea Merrell

Sometimes we don’t realize how one tiny act of kindness can impact someone.

It was late one night during a writers’ conference as I headed back to my room—exhausted. I could hardly wait to slip into my PJs and eat that last piece of dark chocolate that was waiting for me.

Almost to my room, I noticed a young woman sitting on the floor a couple of doors down the hallway. The contents of her large bag were spread all around her. Thoughts raced through my mind as I approached her. Was she sick? Had she fallen? When I got closer, she looked up with a rueful smile.

“I can’t find my key,” she said, obviously as tired as I was.

My heart went out to her. “Are you sure it’s not in there?”

She shook her head. “No, I’ve been through everything. I might have left it in my room. Guess I’ll have to walk all the way down to the front desk to get another key.”

It was then I remembered the app on my phone that gave us access to the front desk. “Wait, let me text them and see if they can send someone up to let you in.”

The relief on her face almost made me cry. Sure enough, within a short time, someone from the office came to her rescue. She thanked me and called me a Good Samaritan.

“Well, I don’t know about that. Never been called a Good Samaritan before. I’m sure anyone who came by would have stopped to help,” I said.

She shook her head again and looked a little sad. “Actually, they wouldn’t. Two people already passed by without saying a word. You were the third and the one to stop.”

To say that I was blown away would be putting it mildly. It was hard to imagine anyone passing this woman by without offering to help. Once she was inside her room and all was well, I slipped into my own room, thankful that I had not been the third one to look the other way.

We all need help from time to time, whether it’s from a friend or a stranger. God never meant for us to walk this journey of life alone. In fact, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NKJV) that two are better than one. The Message puts it this way: It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Be that Good Samaritan when you see someone in need. It can be the smallest, simplest acts of kindness that mean the most.


 

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues.

Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript and Praying for the Prodigal. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break It, is now available on Amazon. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.


Marriage: Make It or Break It

Some say marriage is a dying institution. Others say, “Stop the bus and let me get off.” But Andrea Merrell—after forty-plus years of marriage—believes this God-ordained institution is one of His greatest gifts to men and women. Marriage: Make It or Break It is a result of a lifetime of trial and error, keen observation, and years of studying God’s Word. With her signature dash of humor, she takes a candid look at attitudes and behavior that can make or break a relationship, the difference in how men and women think and approach life, and the importance of honest communication. You’ll find danger signs, roadblocks to bypass, and Scriptures to personalize and pray on a daily basis.

This journey won’t be perfect, and the road is guaranteed to be full of potholes. But if you’re ready to learn a few truths that will make marriage strong—and a lot of things that will destroy it—buckle your seat belt and let’s get this bus moving.