Always in our Hearts

By: Stacy Mowry

In 2002, I was introduced to a woman named Kathy. My husband had recently taken a Youth Minister position where her husband was already on staff as the Music Minister. Kathy, along with a couple of other women, poured their love, advice and knowledge into this young woman who was new to this role in a church…me! 

I remember one evening we all met and I was eagerly soaking in all the wisdom they so willingly shared with me on being a wife of a minister; a role that I didn’t take lightly. Unfortunately, I look back and see many areas that I failed in.  Realizing areas I could’ve done better, was mainly because of what these women taught me. I guess that’s the beauty of God intertwining our lives with people.

Fast forward, 18 years later. Now, I’m the older one, with knowledge and experience. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give the advice as those women did, but I’ve grown so much. I’ve learned that ministry is not confined to a church building. It’s in your home, workplace, and community. Ministry can be anywhere you decide to take it and people just need to know that someone cares! Someone IS there and the hope we have as Christians is true.

Kathy, is one of those people to me. Even though we went our separate ways on church staff years ago, she remained a constant in my life. One that we would pick up right where we left off, whether it was in person, text, Facebook or back in the same church building. I’ve watched her, listened to her, and realize that she continues to challenge me to be a person who loves Jesus first, who supports her husband’s calling, and who loves and cares for others. 

This morning, my sweet friend’s faith became her sight when she met Jesus face to face. She won her battle with breast and pancreatic cancer. 

I’ve been looking through our text messages since she found out about her diagnosis in January. As I read them, I felt peace in her words.  She was ready for this fight, she was ready to show people how faithful God is. Her verse she claimed is Psalm 34:8..”O taste and see that the Lord is good…”

Good?..even through this difficult journey and demanding cancer treatments? YES! Kathy completely trusted in God’s plans, and wanted God to get all the glory through her journey. 

I personally want to thank God for putting Kathy Stokes in my life.  Not only as a role model of a Christian woman, but also for her willingness to pour into myself and my family without ceasing.

And I will take it as a challenge and to challenge you, to know Jesus as your personal Savior, to know how GOOD He is, to always take the time to give God praise, and to truly care for others. 

What can you give God all the glory for?

Who can you invest in? 

Goodbye for now, Kathy. Always in our hearts…

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Psalm 34:8 KJV

Perfectly Imperfect

By: Kristi Mitchell

The ocean water lapped at my feet as I stood at the edge watching my family enjoy
the beautiful day. Suddenly, I felt something wash up at my feet. I looked down
to see a beautiful conch shell waiting for me to pick it up. In all my years at the
beach, I’ve only found the regular shells that are common to beachgoers. This
was a unique beauty! The perfect shell for my collection!

I picked it up to put my find in my beach bag. To my disappointment, I found that
my beautiful treasure was missing a piece out of the middle. So sad. I really
believed that I had found the perfect souvenir to bring back from my vacation.

As I was about to throw it back to continue its journey in the ocean, something
stopped me. When I hesitated, I felt a small voice reassure me to keep that shell.
Why? It wasn’t the perfect souvenir that I wanted to put with my collection.

Suddenly I envisioned this shell being tossed to and fro in the ocean current. The
obstacles it faced to land at my feet became clear to me. Though it wasn’t
perfect, it was meant to be mine – as perfectly imperfect that it was.

My mind is brought to a verse in 2 Corinthians that provides an answer to a prayer
that Paul prayed multiple times. God’s answer was “my grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul realizes that he should “glory in
my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

In Him, we are perfectly imperfect. Though we deal with sin, trials, tribulations,
failures, and depression, He sees us through His love.
His love makes us perfect. Perfectly imperfect.