Two years ago, a traumatic thing happened in our small town- an F4/5 tornado took out most of the businesses, tons of home including an entire neighborhood, and many lives were lost. This happened just over a year after my husband and I moved our family here to plant The Valley church.
We constantly pray for God to teach us how live missionally: to love the community we live in, show new ways of share His love right where people are at in their lives, and grant us favor so door will be open to lead people to Him. That night in April, God handed us just that, on a filthy, demolished platter perfect for serving the hurt and searching town He sent us here to server.
The days following the storm, my husband and I were overwhelmed with the support from all the networks we had been apart of, long and short term. I was too much to keep up with. I often felt like I'd been given this huge responsibility and I was failing by not being able to manage all the help He was sending our way. Things have slowed down over the past two years...well, in comparison to those crazy couple months to after the storm.
This year as I scrolled through my archived private messages and "memories" on Facebook, I was overcome with guilt all over again. How I didn't answer some of the lost messages from friends and acquaintances, timeline post I wasn't sure I handed well enough, and most of all the lack of appreciation I didn't show those how fought through the pile off notifications to help us. I had high hopes of sending formal Thank You cards, letters of how prayers were answered, gifts were used, and just how very loved I felt. Even now, satan is making my insides hurt with remorse because I am so VERY thankful to be a minor character in this beautiful thing we are living.
God has taken these two years to reassure me that while we are all just supporting rolls, in God's story, that all points to Jesus, they're all important I have shared before that I often give up on things because I see someone else doing it, and likely way better. BUT God has plans and invites us to join the adventure of going on it with Him. We aren't called us to compare ourselves to others but rather support one another's part in the story.
Don't become arrogant when God's story starts playing out in front of you.
That's where focus is changed from what's most important or players get pulled.
Don't forget that the sun doesn't revolve around you.
The ONE who created light without that sun is where our focus should remain so we stay in the light.
Keep at the front of your mind, that EVERY story in this world points back to Jesus; whether it's acknowledged or not.
I want to make sure the story I'm in gives all glory where it belongs.
I guarantee you that this high schooler in our town was organizing volunteers sent her direction way better than I was. BUT God sent certain people along my path in life for such a time as this. He ask that I play a part in their story involving my town.
I know many of the women who worked the Play Place with me after the storm could have run it better, shared our story better, and accomplished more. BUT God ask that I run with it amidst my poor relational, communication, and organizational skills.
I promise, there were hundreds of other kids in our town that could have offered input on the new playground. BUT God saw fit to have my daughter and I as part of that planning team.
From schools, trips, camps, ministries, neighborhoods, and places we've passed through in live all showed up when God was ready for things to pan out that He's been writing since before I was born. Do you ever feel like you're not playing the part you want in the story of life? Be encouraged! Every [seemingly] small part in a story is valued.
When God ask you to play a repetitive, type-cast roll, Say Yes! When God invites you to play an unexpected drop-in roll, Say Yes! Because you never know when your story will change and there will be a big BUT GOD right after your YES!
Thank you, to at least 2 different countries, 14 different states, 37 different US towns, and MORE than 61+ different friends/acquaintances who shared a part in our Vilonia Tornado chapter through asking for prayer from their friends, collecting donations, sending necessities/gift cards/monetary support, delivered items, helped with clean up, and so much more! It's so humbling to be connect to each of you and really hope I didn't miss anyone. These are just the names I could find on my Facebook timeline and private message history not including my husbands:
- Brittany Thompson- Ervington, AL
- Kelsey Harris- Arkadelphia, AR
- Danna Magness- Batesville, AR
- Morgan Smith- Batesville, AR
- Shadrack and Mellissa Black- Batesville, AR
- Amy Howard- Benton, AR
- Kathryn Doland- Bethel Heights, AR
- Jessica Colley- Centerton, AR
- Kim Stiles- Conway, AR
- Morgan Williams- Conway, AR
- Molly Jones- Conway, AR
- Janna Chaffin- Dalton, AR
- Cheryl Patterson- El Dorado, AR
- Craig Herring- El Dorado, AR
- Dana Rumph- El Dorado, AR
- Deedra Nash- El Dorado, AR
- Wanda Deason- El Dorado, AR
- Hannah Henderson- Fayetteville, AR
- Kelly Malancon- Fayetteville, AR
- Sally Acosta- Fayetteville, AR
- Johnathan Stoner- Floral, AR
- Brandi Shinn- Greenbrier, AR
- Cristin Jensen- Greenbrier, AR
- Terri Nicholson- Greenbrier, AR
- Amy Whisenhunt- Greenland, AR
- Cindy Brantly- Little Rock, AR
- Shane Harris- Little Rock, AR
- Samantha Grant- Magnolia, AR
- April Winn- Marmaduke, AR
- Cathey Griffin- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Fran Brotherton- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Heather Gilmore- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Jennifer McNab- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Rita Snow- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Rob and Amanda Waggoner- Parker's Chapel, AR
- Julie Beavers- Pine Bluff, AR
- Jessy Cutrell- Star City, AR
- Doreen Keim- Siloam Springs, AR
- Ashley Hall- Strickler, AR
- Anja Spadoni- White Hall, AR
- Candace Achorn- White Hall, AR
- Shannon Paldino- Orlando, FL
- Kate Stoner- Keokuk, IA
- Jam'e Brown- Wichita, KS
- Katie Archer-, Ruston, LA
- Rebecca Dorobis- Rockport, MA
- Patrick Sherrill- Alpena, MI
- Karen DeBeus- Hope, NJ
- Sami Roe- Midwest City, OK
- Scott Jenkins- Norman, OK
- Edna Cain- Sapulpa, OK
- Betty Lin-Fisher- Akron, OH
- MaryAnn Waltz- Milford, OH
- Kathy Metivier- TX
- Christine Hurt- Orem, UT
- Abigail Assam- Lynchburg, VA
- Heather Rennie- Aberdeen, Scotland
- Jenny Sim- Aberdeen Scotland
- Rachael Underwood- Insch. United Kingdom
Betty Pennington- ?
- Justin and Crystal Murphy- ?