Good morning!! Rip and I have been serving in Louisiana and we came home with so much on our heart to share with you, our friends and family!
When you see all the physically and emotional suffering in the eyes of people who have no where to go, when you see all the loss, the fear, the embarrassment, and the sheer sadness on the faces of people who tee-totally are relying on the help of others….it really puts a new perspective in your heart.
One mom in particular drove up and asked, “Are y’all still giving away things?” We told her we were and asked what she needed. She took us to her 8-month old baby boy who was in the car and by the looks of it, her child had either measles or some sort of virus.
She explained that her son had been in the hospital for 2 days and almost died of salmonella poisoning due to drinking the water. They released her baby and now he began showing this full body rash from head to toe. She needed cortisone cream, soap, toothbrush, diapers, etc.
So Rip and I went over to the abandoned Piggly Wiggly that was converted into a distribution center and started creating as many boxes as we could…filling them with baby wipes, all the items she needed, cleaning supplies, lotions, creams, hydrogen peroxide, and anything we could find that we felt could be helpful. Literally, an abandoned Piggly Wiggly distributes God’s Love in a box, one box at a time, in Springfield, LA!
After we pilled it all in her vehicle, she drove over to the church to get a few boxes of food and as she stood on the porch of the church, with her baby, nephew and niece waiting in the car, she talked with us about all she needed to do…. all she needed to do…. all she needed to do. She poured out all that was on her mind like another flood. You could look into her face and see that she was not only anxious for her baby and all that was ahead of her, but she was also so, so very tired. Her face was “weather and worry” worn. Yet, she kept trying to be strong for her family, while her husband was out gutting flooded homes…the homes of their family and friends. She looked absolutely exhausted and overwhelmed.
All I could do was reach out and take her in my arms and hold her. As soon as I wrapped my arms around this homemaker, she melted like butter. I felt her entire body go limp, her head quickly plopped onto my shoulder, and her hair brushed across my face as she tirelessly laid her head down. The tears quickly came rolling down her face as she took just a moment to … breathe.
I whispered so softly into her ear, “I’m so proud of you. I’m just so proud of you. You are a wonderful mother, just wonderful. I know this is all so hard, but I want you to know something; God will keep meeting every need you have. Look, He just loaded up your vehicle! That is God! You are so loved by Him and He is right here with you so please never be ashamed to ask for what you need. You are just a beautiful woman who is going to make it. You don’t have to be strong for everyone, just take it one day at a time.”
As I whispered, she wept.
But after a time of crying, (which she needed that release), she told me that she became a Christian 3 years ago. She wiped her eyes as she told me how much she trusted God, and then she got back in her truck to start back into the new reality of her days.
As she pulled away, I had such a lump in my throat because I found myself wanting to do more – give more – go with her – FIX IT ALL!! But as we all know, only GOD CAN FIX THINGS! And He will….He is in Springfield, LA as He is in all the cities that were impacted by the floods.
We saw so many homes with nothing left inside but the stench of mildew. Everything they owned was piled on the yard at the end of their driveways, waiting to be removed and disposed of. There were hundreds of families wanting a box of cleaning supplies, a box of food, a box of diapers and baby items. And as we would load the cars, hug the necks and pray with folks, Rip and I watched Christ at work. He was right there, empowering us all to do the work – to say what needed to be said – to do what needed to be done – and to just help in any way that was needed.
Ladies, Rip and I want to encourage you and your families in some of the simplest, yet the most necessary ways as we all move into the new school year and see the close of summer –
1) Enjoy God – If your life is structured in such a way that you can’t daily enjoy God, please do what is needed so that you can. Enjoy His presence in your moments – enjoy His love in your life, His mercy, His grace, His faithfulness and His provisions. Enjoying simply means to acknowledge in such a way that it’s intentional – and brings you and Him pleasure. Enjoy His Word, His promises to you, and enjoy just being with Him day after day, and watching Him do His thing! He is all around you!
2) Enjoy people – God created people in His image and they are meant to be loved. People are meant to be treated with kindness, respect, gratitude and encouragement. Enjoy all people with intentional acknowledgment and value of who they are – they are human beings created in the image of God who are deeply and profoundly loved by Him. Therefore, they are loved and enjoyed by us.
3) Enjoy home – It’s a new season of the year for all of us – the season of school-time usually ushers in a season of greater structure and routines. In all of that, be sure to keep “home” – “Home SWEET Home” – for your family and guests. We have one shot at creating the “sweet aroma of home” and we can do that in some of the most creative and special ways, but let’s never allow Home to become less than what it is meant to be – a sweet and safe haven for those we love.
4) Enjoy Work – Our work is our worship. And the work that God calls us to is a work that will incorporate the skills, the talents, the gifts and the past experiences HE has given us. He plans for our daily work to utilize His gifts and talents in us; not squelch them or ignore them. His gifts in our life are from Him to us to be USED. So find enjoyment in God’s work for your life – make sure whatever your “work” is, that it is THE WORK He has planned for your life and then, work with all your heart! Work wholeheartedly because it is the Lord we are serving in our work!
Rip and I love you – love knowing that we are all in this journey together and we are here for YOU! If you want any help in your home and home life, let us know!
Here to Serve,
rip and lisa
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
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