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December 08, 2020
Several months ago during one of our Sunday morning church devotions, my husband chose to read from Matthew chapter five, but verses 14-16 really spoke to me, which says:
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I really spent a lot of time meditating on these scriptures, but even more specifically on verse 16. A scripture that I have read over and over again, had new meaning. My light should shine before others through my deeds, which should point them to the Father. I felt like my whole world was rocked with verse 16.
I believe that most fellow believers could list several good deeds that they have done in the last week, but what really captivated me, and what I felt God ask me is, “What good deeds am I doing to point others to Jesus?” It’s a question I spent a lot of time reflecting on. I talked to close friends and even my pastor about what this meant to them. I believe it is something God is still unpacking for me. In my spare time, I have been researching scripture on being light and scripture on good deeds; there is so much to learn. For now I feel God wants me to tell you something he showed me over Thanksgiving week.
Since my kids were out of school and we had family in town, my husband took a day off work to chauffer us around on the water. We went to one of my favorite places here in FL, Egmont Key. One of our favorite things to do when we get to an island is to take a walk and look for shells and sharks teeth and Egmont is known for both; so that’s exactly what we did. We walked all the way down to the end, and as we got closer to the bird sanctuary I noticed there were several palm trees that had been knocked down over the years and all that remained were the shell of their trunks. I thought these might make for a neat little tide pool, so I went to investigate. It was kind of dark in the hole and not thinking I whipped out my phone and tried to use it as a flashlight. Of course, it was the middle of the day and there was plenty of sunlight so my flashlight did absolutely nothing; I had to laugh at myself for thinking otherwise. In that moment I felt God tell me there is a lesson to be learned here, especially since he has been revealing things to me about being the light. The next few days I spent some time thinking about this silly experience and asking God what he wanted me to learn and this is what I got. Are you trying to shine your light brighter than God’s light? WOW! Ok God. I got the message loud and clear. I am admittedly a doer. I like to come up with a plan and execute it. There are many times I sign up for something that I clearly should not have, but because there was a need and it was for a good cause, I signed up for it. I can find myself so busy doing good deeds and living out my faith that I do not wait on God’s assignments for me, I see an opportunity to be Jesus and I take it. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place that just being Jesus is what we are supposed to do, but I’m talking about signing up for a big project without even consulting God, because it is a good thing to do. Our culture shouts, “Just be a good person and do the right thing.” So for me, I have to resist the temptation to say yes. I have to resist the temptation to let myself get in the way of God and what he wants to do in me and through me.
Let’s face it, we all want to be used by God, and he wants to use us. He wants to do something great through me and through you, but it is not going to look like your neighbor’s assignment. He has something just for you. Jeramiah tells us that God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. For me, I have the most joy and peace in my life when I know I am working on his assignment for my life. Have you taken time recently to ask God what your daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or long-term assignments are? He is the one with all the answers. He wants us to seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness. I want to pray for all of us today.
Lord, you and you alone are good. We are nothing without you. May we live in a place of surrender and a place of peace knowing that we live for you. Use us God to do your will today and every day moving forward. Teach us God to rest in your goodness. Teach us to not strive and keep us from trying to outshine you, because your light is so bright and you are so perfect. Stir within us a desire to spend so much time in your presence that our faces shine just as Moses did. Lord may it not be about us and what we do but about you. May you use us to point others to you. Thank you Lord for loving us so much that you sacrificed your only son. May we show the same extravagant love to those around us. It is in Jesus name I pray Amen.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I Peter 2:12
Will you prayerfully consider helping us shine God’s light to the women and children all around the world? ...... Sierra
November 12, 2020
As we prepare to go back to Haiti, the team was asked what we wanted to leave in Haiti, to which I immediately said, “Seeds! Both physical and spiritual seeds.” I want to leave the physical seeds that will bear fruit for the families of Haiti and I want every child I come across to know the love of God; to know that they are seen, they are loved, they are special, and that God has a plan for their life. Isn’t that what we all need? To know that someone sees us and someone loves us, to feel like we have a purpose in life?
As a mother of two there are countless days that life feels mundane, that if left with my own my thoughts, I can question the purpose of my day to day activities. Though 99% of the time I choose to dwell on better things, let’s be real, we have all been there. What’s the meaning of life? What is my purpose? Why am I doing the same things day in and day out?
This week God used my son to remind me that I am seen not only by God but by my family and by others. As I drove my son home from basketball practice, I asked him what his high’s and low’s of the day were and after he finished telling me, he asked me how my day was. This is how our conversation typically starts out on the way home from school. I told him how I worked on some things for our pastor and was able to get a lot accomplished. To which my son replies, “It is really cool that you get to help build a church Mom.” We talked about the beautiful gift it is that God is allowing us as a family to serve His Kingdom in this way. I was in awe that my son actually thought I was cool. I mean you hear all of these stories of when your teen’s stop thinking you are cool so that in and of itself is a miracle; so let’s stop to celebrate that! Can I get an Amen?! But it was beautiful that my child knew that God was using our family in mighty ways. I am planting seeds right here in my home, it was a reminder that my kids are watching; they see everything; the good, the bad and the ugly. God reminded me that every action we take has potential to make an impact on someone else’s life. Through every single person or thing God puts in my life, I have the opportunity to plant seeds. Sometimes through words, sometimes through actions, sometimes by just being available to whatever the Spirit is calling me to.
When I think about Chalinda, the child that I blogged about last month that made such an impression on me, I remember praying fervently over her every time she was in my arms. That she would know who’s she is and that she would grow up and be a strong and mighty woman of God. That she would not see her situation as a hinderance but as a blessing. That she would allow God to use her for His purpose, and that even though she might always be smaller than those around her, that she would do BIG things. These prayers that I prayed both in Haiti and still to this day, are seeds. What a beautiful gift it is to pray over our children, even when they don’t know it and to pray for other children or even family and friends when they don’t know it. I know that one day I will see the fruit of these prayers over Chalinda and over my own kids.
I encourage you to take some time to think about the seeds you are sewing, be encouraged by it and continue to be intentional. It doesn’t have to be big, it can be small. Celebrate those seeds and ask God to water and nourish them, and that there would be a great harvest.
Still other seed fell on the good soil, where it produced a crop- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
November 05, 2020
When I am on a mission whether domestic or international and I find myself complaining, I am almost always reminded of these words “I came to serve and not be served.” The King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the person with the most authority both here on Earth and in Heaven came to serve. He came to serve not only the people during his time on Earth, but every generation thereafter. He came to live out the Father’s mission. He even said he did not consider himself to be equal with the Father. These profound statements have shaped me in so many ways, especially in the last few years. When I think of people with authority in my life, I don’t look to them to serve me, but I think of how I can serve them.
My love for serving people and serving the kingdom stems from having this modeled to me from a very early age. I learned the beauty of serving others rather than being served. I cannot imagine a life without serving others, it’s a part of who I am and I pray that it is a part of who my family is and will be for generations to come.
Even though serving God and serving His people is a part of who I am, I cannot tell you how many times in my adult life I have signed up to serve someone or something and I find myself complaining. Even typing this out makes me laugh at how fickle I can be as a human. Something that I volunteered to do because I felt the prompting to do so, then leads to me complaining because it wasn’t what I expected or it wasn’t what I wanted, or I really would rather spend my time doing something else. It is in those moments I hear His words “I came to serve and not be served.” I am reminded to work as if I’m working for the Lord and not for man and to do all things without complaining and disputing. Isn’t that hard?! ALL things without complaining or arguing! Who can do all things without complaining?! If you look up the definition of complaining Google will tell you that it is the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. So, one might argue that we are born with instincts to complain. If a baby is hungry, or tired, or needs a diaper change, they cry about it. It then carries on as we age and we just find more things to complain about. How about arguing – all things without arguing? Our culture is constantly shouting at us to speak up and use our voice to draw attention to problems, which only leads to complaining about how things are not what they should be and arguing with one another about what we think or how we feel. But what if we didn’t and instead we really did everything without complaining and arguing? What if we just gave it to Jesus and truly accepted that He is sovereign over every single detail and that our voices are not always meant to be heard? What if we really were slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to get angry? Can you even imagine a world like this? Or let’s bring it closer to home, what if your family or we the church truly brought peace and love to every situation? It’s incredible to even think about and imagine!
When I think about Jesus’ small but impactful statement “I came to serve and not be served” I am reminded of just how sinful I am by nature. How as a daughter of God I am called to put aside my feelings and my emotions to serve the people I call family and friends, and the people I don’t even know; I am reminded of how I am called to value their life, their time, their priorities above my own. I am called to be less than. I am called to love in a way that only the Spirit can do through me.
In Haiti during a Sunday morning church service they wash each other’s feet. One by one the congregation comes up, removes their shoes and dips their feet into a basin of water while the person behind comes to wash and then dry their feet until every person in the room has had their feet washed. It is a beautiful image of Christ washing his disciple’s feet and a beautiful reminder of what it looks like to be Christ here in the flesh.
When I give of my time, my talents, and my finances, God really starts to show me who He is. He reveals a little more of His character to me and allows me to reveal His light and His glory to those around me. So my prayer today is that the Lord would use me, that he would use Fish Co. to shine His light on the widows and orphans and that he would use the people of this world to come alongside Fish Co. and partner with us to fulfill His plans for His people! Amen
October 30, 2020
From the very first time I met my friend Hannah McFadden, she shared her heart for missions. She had just turned 30 and knew that she wanted to be on the mission field full time. When I look at my life now, as a 34 year old, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Oh how beautiful the idea of knowing what you want to do with your life; this is something I have never been confident of.
As I continue to grow, I do know that I want to continue cultivating my relationship with the Lord and I want that to always be my priority. Psalms 37:4 says:
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
By passionately pursuing God, His desires become our desires and He will provide what we need to accomplish His good works here on Earth. It is so easy to get caught up in our plans. I for one, love a good plan. I love knowing all the details. I love planning out the plan and then executing it to my expectations, but I think it is one of the reasons the Lord doesn’t just lay everything out in front of me. He knows I will take it and run with it and make it my own instead of waiting on Him – His timing and His direction. I want to know everything. I want to feel in control so that my expectations are met and I’m not left with disappointment. The only problem with this is, I only have self-control, I cannot control anything or anyone other than myself. My patience in waiting on God is crucial to me being obedient to what His plans are for my life.
I love that Hannah is living this out right now! She is stepping away from her current job to pursue the desires that God has given her and to walk in obedience. She is going to become a full-time employee of Fish Co.! There has been one big thing stopping her in the past and that is her paycheck. We all know that we need a steady stream of money coming in to pay the bills each month. We at Fish Co. are praying and believing that one of our awesome friends/partners would be willing to pay her salary. We are praying and believing that God has already prepared a way for her. She is boldly stepping out in faith and obedience into the unknown; knowing that God is her provider. I couldn’t be more proud or more blessed to walk alongside her in this journey and to call her friend.
Cindy and Hannah work so hard at their day jobs working 40 plus hours and spend most evenings focusing on Fish Co. They both know that God wants Fish Co. to have their full undivided attention; however, they do not want to take away funds from the donations that are received. They do know that they want to continue to be able to say that 100% of the proceeds go into the organization. Would you join us in praying that God brings the right person, people, business, or church to support both Hannah and Cindy full-time? Imagine how much more they will accomplish when they are able to fully focus their time energy and talents on Fish Co.? Thank you for your loving support through prayer!
Lord, we are committing to walking out your plans for Fish Co. Guide us and direct us. Use us Lord as your vessels! As Cindy so beautifully said, here we are Lord, use us and send us wherever you see fit. May we live lives fully surrender to your ways. Amen
October 27, 2020
I met my husband on my first day of college in 1984. Our eyes met as we stared at each others reflections in the two way mirror on the wall in Psychology 101 and it was love at first sight. I knew he was perfect for me after our first date, but when I went home to meet his family, that sealed the deal. That's when I really fell in love. His mom and dad became my other mother and father instantly. The first time we met they welcomed me into their family and home with such genuine love and affection and I was hooked. I knew that I wanted not just Dave, but his family in my life.
Dave is a Florida boy and his family lives in Fort Myers. We lived in Tampa at the time and I so looked forward to those trips home to visit his mom and dad. I loved every part of every moment I got to spend with them, the warm welcome hugs, the peaceful calm of their home, the way they lovingly joked with their kids, the constant questions about where I was from, what was my family like, what did I want to study. Where did I want to live? How did I feel about politics, religion, and Jesus? I loved the attention and love they so freely gave me, I still do.
Marge and Jim represent so many things to me, they truly do fill the role of mom and dad, mentors and friends. Don't get me wrong I love my parents so much, my mom and dad, they were amazing, but every kid could use a second set, am I right? At the time Marge and Jim provided the stability of loving parents in the rocky world of an uncertain 18 year old, while also providing sage wisdom and advice. They were, and still are people I can run too, a warm embrace, friends I can bounce ideas and dreams off of. I am truly blessed to have them in my life. They were and are a reflection of Jesus to me.
Last February when we were planning our trip to Haiti my other mother, Marge, called me to tell me about a dream that she had. God had spoken to her in the middle of the night and told her that she was supposed to plant gardens and provide food for starving people. My mother-in-law is in her 80s and not in particularly good health and she wasn't taking any mission trips anytime soon, so she pretty much knew that God was asking her to give financially towards these gardens, not physically. When she called my husband to tell him of her dreams, she had no way of knowing that just a few days prior we had changed our plans for our trip and we had decided to plant gardens in Haiti due to an extreme shortage of food. God is so good. A need arose and He was already providing the answer. As soon as she heard about our plan to plant gardens she knew that she was supposed to provide the funds. Within 2 days my other mom and dad wired the funds to cover both of our new gardens.
And what a blessing those gardens are. Those gardens are a constant reminder to me that God blesses obedience. My mother-in-law is just that kind of person, God speaks and she obeys, and her obedience blesses others. I grew up on a farm in Michigan and my parents were master gardeners. We were surrounded by little farms and farmers who were very proficient at growing food, but I have never in my life seen anything like the way these gardens in Haiti are growing. It's what I imagine the garden of Eden was like; trees so full of fruit that the branches hang low. Okra and beans falling off the vine. It has been just 8 months since we planted the gardens and trees in Montrouis, and even Makencia says that she has never seen such abundance. She has piles of yucca and pumpkin to use in soups and stews, tons of moringa and okra to add to her cooking. Today I received these pictures of the current crop of papayas and bananas.....more than 20 papayas to a tree.
Only God! Well, God and my other Mother. God has blessed me with knowing Marge and Jim for 36 years now, for 36 years they have filled my life with such love, such abundance, and this garden represents what they mean to me and God's love in my life. Even having a second set of parents to call my own shows me just how much God loves me. He loves me enough to give me another Mother.
If you don't have another Mother you should get one, I highly recommend it. Just wait until I tell you about my "Dad 2.0, who is always Number 1 in my heart. Love you so much, Marge and Jim!!!!!
October 22, 2020
Have you considered going on a mission trip but feel overwhelmed by the amount of time you have to take off work, the funds that it requires to get you there, or finding childcare? Before I went on my first mission trip, I could have given you many reasons why I couldn’t go. All the above plus some would have made my list. However, after going on a trip I can give you all the reasons to go! To tell you that it will be life-changing for you, is an understatement. God wants to use you! He wants to take you to Haiti, and He has something special in store for you!
As a follower of Jesus, I would say that I do my best to put Christ at the center of my life. However, there is NOTHING like a mission trip to put that in perspective. Almost everything we do is centered around being Jesus; it starts early in the AM and goes on into the late hours of the evening. It is hard, and exhausting but God fills you up with this supernatural energy. I remember at one point feeling like I am not cut out for this. Between being physically and emotionally exhausted I thought, how am I supposed to keep going? I remember telling my husband I don’t know what I was thinking. I am not built for this! But God knew and he became my strength in my weakness. James 1:27 tells us to take care of the widows and orphans, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing by joining us!
On our first night in Haiti, we were asked the question, why do you think God brought you on this trip? I can tell you, I knew some of the reasons when I showed up, but even after coming home I continued to learn more about why God had me go to Haiti. He continues to show me the impact that we as a team and the personal impacts I made on some of my teammates who I now consider friends.
On this mission trip you will make friends that will last a lifetime. Friends that become more like family. Serving with a group of people on the mission field accelerates relationships. We break bread together, we worship together, we serve together, we pray together, we are all in together. To me, serving on a mission trip is a beautiful representation of the body of Christ and how the early church in the book of Acts is described. It says they broke bread together daily; it says that they devoted themselves to the teachings, and it says that many were added to their number. We are the church! Each one of us has special gifts and talents that God wants to use to edify His people, not only here in America but in the lives of the Hattians and people of the countries that you visit.
I feel like there is someone who just needs a bit of encouragement. Someone who has some reservations or fears about going to a third world country during a pandemic. I get it. But to you I ask, do you believe God is sovereign? If you really believe that with all your being, then you know He is sovereign over your health and well-being. Our God is a big God, and He wants to use YOU, He wants you to surrender those fears and doubts and He wants you to make yourself available. He wants YOU to GO into all the nations. He wants YOU to be his hands and feet. If you choose not to, He will find someone else and you will miss out on the blessing He has for you. So, come join the Fish Co. family and be available for God to move in and through you!
To wrap up why you should go on a mission trip with Fish Co.:
I can’t wait to serve alongside of you!