Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Life Jacket Will Keep You Afloat

 I volunteered to co-lead an amazing group of young ladies with a wonderful woman of God, Abby Laman.  We are one of the life groups through Crossroads Church. This particular group needed support because one of last year's leaders, Erin, was moving to Montana.  Tonight, I had the privilege to meet Erin, as she wanted to give one last lesson to her girls before she left.  So, I slid into a chair and watched this quirky, kind, and hilarious woman explain, in her own way, why she was moving.
The room was filled with emotions, which may not seem strange considering these are all teenagers. However, the emotions were pouring out with love, funny memories, loss and joy. There were handmade cards, treats and two of the girls even performed a beautiful song they wrote for her. (Link to the video) The feeling of connection was apparent and I watched as each young lady gravitated closer to Erin once she began her lesson. (PPT with Memes included, which I was told is "her thing.")

Her storytelling skills were rivoting as she described tubing with a foreign exchange student, and another friend, Annie, in Canada. She described falling off the tube, and realizing that the foreign exchange student was panicking. The young girl was from Africa, and evidently had never been exposed to life jackets. She could not swim and thought she was going to drown. In her sheer terror, the young girl began to climb and grasp at Annie, who was extremely small in stature.  Erin used great imagery and gestures to highlight how she "peeled" the frightened young lady off the now bloodied and frail Annie who was gasping for air. Erin explained how she calmed the terrified foreign exchange student down by explaining the life jacket would save her life, and keep her afloat.

Erin used this hilarious, yet tear-jerking story (you had to be there for the full effect), to share with our girls that sometimes you have to let go and trust the Lord will keep you afloat even if you cannot swim. He will not let you go. You just have to give all your fears, worries and cares to Him.  You have to trust that the next adventure no matter how scary, painful or hard, He will be there through it all. Yet, you have to be willing to let go to see what He has in store for you. Her message was not lost on these bright young ladies, as their tear-stained faces dawned expressions of understanding.

Erin's passion and love for these girls was clear in the words of her mesasge. "Stepping out in faith requires you trust in the life jacket. Let go and let God. Sometimes we must step out in faith and go where God asked you to go, even if you are fearful. You may not even know what the other end looks like, but trust that God has you. No matter what you are going though God has you. God is with you. So, let go y'all. let go of those things you are holding onto because if you don't you will miss out on this gift. Open your hands and hearts, and do not hold too hard to anything. The tighter you hold the harder it will be to see and accept what God has in store for you. You cannot reach for anything new if you're hands are still full of yesterday's junk. Let go of the hurt of your past and let God take it. My prayer for you is to be open to God and trust he will save you. He is the lifejacket, and once you let go and trust, you will stay afloat. Let God do the work."

 I watched this message of love and truth unfold, and knew God was speaking to each heart in that room.  So, as we move forward this year I pray we will keep this message in mind, as we journey into a deeper relationship with God and each other. I was blessed to witness what can happen when you invest in others, and know God has shown these girls how powerful relationships truly are.  So, thank you Erin for sharing your heart and shaping the hearts of our group this year. Our girls are lucky to have you in their lives, and I am excited to see them continue to grow because of your love and leadership. You have to OPEN your hands, heart and mind, and TRUST God's promise to save us and do great things in our lives.  We have to open our hearts, minds and hands, let go, and trust in His love, and we will experience the fruits of the spirit in our lives.(Even if the fruit water tastes like water...inside joke for Erin and the girls)

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways submit to his ways, sumit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

We open our hands, hearts and minds, and submit to you, Lord.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Warrior Kai, A Hero, A Legacy

A Warrior, Kai, A Hero, A Legacy

Through his eyes, the world will see a future
A cure to the pain that tries to break the small
Mighty little hero your name is destined for more
You may have succumbed to the disease, but the world
Will see new light because of your fight
Your will and determination greater than the trained
McAlpin Family Photos by Katie Cariker

Warrior, a glory-filled soul full of power

Passion fills those hearts who knew you and your brave family
Not afraid to fight and never willing to give up
They are left behind to extend your legacy
To show the world that there is more than a label
More than sickness to show for your courage

Your small body caged a warrior so great it has brought strong men to their knees in tears

They weep for the loss of an inspiration but celebrate
Your triumph over pain and suffering
Your message was clear and will be shared across the world
Your story overpowers the darkness
Your life brings light to those who are in need of a miracle

God, this mighty warrior is Yours, and all of Your glory is shed upon the Earth
because You dared to share his heroic heart with us for a short time
A life too short by human standards
But his is a story that will span lifetimes and make a difference
in all the world.
Rest in Peace, Warrior Kai, as we continue to fight for more

In honor of Warrior Kai, A Hero, A Legacy donate to the charity his family has chosen to continue his fight: