Will You Be Good at Your Thing Today?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

A Longer Wait?

It’s an early Monday morning. I am sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. I’m listening for my name to be called.

Then a new family walks in.

And I know.

I look at my watch on my arm. I mentally add on another 30 minutes. That’s how much longer I estimate my wait has just increased.

Because the young boy with his mom and siblings is visibly nervous. Like me, he is also there to have his blood drawn. He is not happy about it.

And if his name is called before mine, there’s going to be a long time of hand-holding and reassurance from the nurse before it’s ever my turn.

The Good Nurse

The mom signs in her family and sits down with two of her children while the young boy makes a dash for the restroom. He stays. And stays.

The nurse opens the door behind the counter and calls the boy’s name.

But he’s still in the bathroom. The mother says it could be a few more minutes before he’s ready.

I feel bad for him.

But happy they now call my name instead.

I get the good nurse. I’m so glad. Several times in the past she’s been the one to draw my blood. She’s so proficient at her job that I barely feel the prick. 

Today is no exception.

I tell her so. She’s used to hearing this praise. But she’s still humble in her acceptance of it.

Be Good at Your Thing

We’re finished, so I grab my wallet and head for the door to drive home. But in the waiting room, the young boy’s name is being called again. With fear in his eyes, this time he’s going with the nurse.

If only he could understand how blessed he’ll be to have this nurse to draw his blood, too. I hope things go well for him and for her.

Maybe this will be the positive experience he needs to release some of his fear.

There are many things we can be good at in this world. God gives several talents to each person.

But on this morning on this day, this nurse being good at drawing blood might make all the difference to this young boy.

Whatever you do today, if you can, do it well.

It might move someone from feeling terrified to being glad to see you. 

Image: Whatever you do today, if you can, do it well.

Grace & Truth Featured Post

When Paula was about to enter her mom’s hospital room, she stopped short. She stood and watched from the door as a nurse so compassionately washed and brushed her mom’s hair.

Can we be a blessing like that to someone today?

Read all of Paula’s beautiful post here at her blog, then add your own links below.

Did You Know You Might Be Someone’s Blessing?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

How to Practice Your Purpose

What Happened to Hank?

Hank (not his real name) confused me.

Week after week he wandered inside Manna House mumbling, sometimes singing. He’d carry boxes. He’d unload fruit. He’d return a cart to the back (and you best get out of his way).

Everybody knew him. And treated him with care.

I finally got it, too: locked inside this 70ish year old body was the intellect of a young child.

But then Hank disappeared.

On a night away from Manna House, Hank was crossing the street as usual from his low-rent apartment complex to a nearby convenience store.

But this time he didn’t make it across the street.

Hank was hit by a van. He fell to the ground.

A few neighbors in his complex were looking out their windows that night. They witnessed not only the hit, but something else.

Something very eerie . . .

Put Him in the Van

The neighbors knew Hank because Hank loved them.

When he volunteered at Manna House, it wasn’t just to serve the people who lined up there. It was also to help his neighbors back home. When he’d load up his own box of food to take home, he always packed extra to distribute to others. (I learned early on not to touch anything in Hank’s box. It was his to give away.)

But on the night of this hit-and-run, Hank was the one needing love.

The intoxicated driver and the passenger stepped out of the van. They saw Hank motionless on the pavement.

They then made another bad decision that night. Instead of calling for help, they decided to do away with the evidence.

They lifted Hank’s body to load him into their van.

Watchful Eyes

But what the driver and passenger couldn’t have imagined was this: many eyes were watching from the windows of Hank’s apartment complex. They wouldn’t allow this to happen to their Hank. Their fingers quickly dialed 911 and the police arrived before the van got away.

Things still looked bad for Hank. Because of the jostling, his injuries were now even worse. He was in ICU day after day after day. No one knew if this grown man with a child’s mind would ever recover.

But friends came. Friends visited. Friends prayed.

Little by little, Hank got better. And lot by lot, Hank received love.

A few months later, on a Wednesday night before food distribution was to begin at Manna House, Fran prayed about Hank. As she was thanking God for his recovery, I heard shuffling feet around the corner.

There came Hank.

Still Has Purpose

Hank was oblivious to any attention on his account. He wore a neck brace. He wasn’t mumbling to himself or singing like I had been used to him doing, but he was still Hank.

He still had purpose.

He was gathering cans of food into a clean garbage bag. His driver asked if he needed that much, and he said he had to take it to his neighbors. She said okay. Because she knew he would give it to them.

This was how he loved his neighbors. And they loved him for it.

Hank wasn’t finished here yet. An old man with a small mind but a big heart was still in use. Nobody could take that away before its time.

Practice Your Purpose

A few years later during the pandemic, Hank’s health deteriorated. He eventually had to leave his beloved apartment and friends, and move into a nursing home.

It was there one afternoon that a friend was visiting with Hank. After they talked a bit, Hank said his goodbyes. His soul left his body.

But his spirit lives on. He is still remembered at Manna House and at his apartment complex by those who loved him and by those he loved.

Living with purpose is being like Hank. It is loving with purpose.  

Loving is our purpose, regardless of who we are, where we are, or what we have.

And as long as we’re here, we’re not done either.

* * *

Loving others is one way to practice living with purpose. Share in the comments how you live with purpose.

Read more spiritual practices here:

revised from the archives


Two Women Died on September 8
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Where Were You September 8?

Where were you when you heard the news?

Many will remember September 8. It’s the day she died.

She was loved by her family. She was well-known among her friends. She was a giver and a doer and an amazing woman.

I’m not talking about the Queen of England. Yes, she was those things.

But on September 8, 2010, it was my mother who died.

Light Growing Dim

My mom had been living with Alzheimer’s for a few years prior to September 8, 2010. Her quality of life had remained high, though, despite her disease.

But when my father died of cancer in their bedroom on Valentine’s Day also of 2010, my mother’s light grew dimmer.

Off and on for the next several months, she lost her desire to live. Whether she remembered clearly or not that her dear husband was gone, she intuitively knew somebody was missing.

And it drained her.

Her memory began to drain away even quicker. Her energy also drained. And eventually even her appetite to eat or drink ran dry.

Her Final Breath

On September 7, the night before she died, my siblings and I had been taking turns staying with her in her room at her assisted living facility. She was restless, occasionally even getting out of bed to walk in circles around the room.

Did she know she was in her final 24 hours?

When dawn arose, my brother, my sisters, and I all gathered around her in her bed, awaiting the end together.

When Mama’s final breath also drained away, no more air ever to inhale again, we were left holding the pain of her loss.

And the beauty of her memory.

On September 8, 2022, the Queen of England also breathed her last. She will be talked about all over the world for many days, months, and years to come. Her deeds will be noted and praised on every news outlet. Stories will be written and numerous memorials will be held.

It wasn’t that way when my mama died.

The Big Thing

My mother had many friends, too, don’t misunderstand. She was well-known for her good deeds and her gracious hospitality in our small community. And when she died, may people were sad. Many people still are.

But my mother’s name didn’t make every newscast (or any). Photos of her weren’t displayed by millions around the world. She only had one service to memorialize her godly life.

Yet my mama was no less important, no less valuable than the Queen. At least to me. To those who did knew her and loved her.

Some people are important and known to many. Others are just as important even though known only to a few.

The quantity of fame doesn’t determine a life. Quality does.

And my mom lived a quality life. She may not have done “big” things according to world events.

But she was my big thing.

She was no less important to me than the Queen of England (God rest her soul). Because Mama was MY mother. You only get one of those.

And she was mine. That’s big.

I wouldn’t have traded her for any other woman in the world.

Not even for the Queen of England.

Two women died on September 8

* * *

Every life is equally important. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read More:

Grace & Truth Featured Post

If you find yourself becoming anxious over a situation, a relationship, or a circumstance, Donna suggests that curiosity is one tool you can use to your advantage.

“Setting aside judgement of yourself and others, frees you to gently explore and accept the truth, rather than fueling more anxiety through self-condemnation, catastrophizing, and false narratives.”

She writes that curiosity can help us open our minds to God’s perspective, too. Give it a try.

Read all of Donna’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

How Curiosity Tames Anxiety


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

When You Need Extraordinary Grace on an Ordinary Day

I wonder what the bank assistant is thinking. As she types our information into her computer, she’s listening to the conversation my friend and I have been having as we sit in the soft chairs across from her desk.

My friend: How many years have we known each other? 12?

Me: Actually it’s been longer than that. About 20 years.

[time elapses]

My friend: We’ve known each other about 12 years, right?

Me: More than that—20 years.

[time elapses]

My friend: How long have we known each other? 12 years, right?

Me: Nope. 20.

[time elapses]

The bank assistant prints out the paperwork. My friend signs her name.

My friend now starts in on her:

Do you like Elvis Presley? I like Charlie Pride. My mother liked Charlie Pride. Do you still have a mother? You’re lucky you have a mother. I wish I still had a mother.

The assistant smiles. Today is the first day she’s met us. But I’m guessing she won’t soon forget us. I wonder if she’ll go home tonight and tell her partner about today’s conversations.

Thirty minutes have passed. We’ve finally finished our business. We stand up to leave. I look the assistant eye to eye and genuinely thank her for her help and her patience.

She hands me her card. She tells me to call her if I need anything, anything at all.

She smiles again. I do, too.

In the future when I have moments of doubt—are there still kind strangers in this crazy, crazy world???—I will think of this bank assistant. Of her extraordinary gift of grace to us on an ordinary Thursday afternoon in an ordinary bank office when I walked in with my extraordinary friend.

My friend’s attention has again returned to me.

My friend: We’ve known each other 12 years, right?

Me: Sure. Can you believe it? 12 years and counting.


Where have you seen extraordinary grace on an ordinary day? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image: When You Need Extraordinary Grace

sharing at these linkups


The Lord’s Prayer Is More – “Praying in the Reign”
—Grace & Truth Linkup

Then something special happened.

Somehow this collection of words morphed from being the Lord’s Prayer to becoming a model of prayer for me. They went from being an object for rote recitation to something alive.

It became a model for teaching me not only how to pray, but also how to live.
– Bruce Green, Praying in the Reign

My copy of the book opens with this:

note_praying-in-the-reign

Bruce was one of my youth ministers (if we used that term back then) when I was a teenager, even though looking back, he wasn’t much older than I was. He was one of my favorites.

Bruce and another of my favorites, Barry, held many a devotional on weeknights in the back of Barry’s feed-and-seed store in downtown Madison (back when it was a quiet little town). We’d sit around on feed bags to listen and talk about scripture and Jesus.

But now that we’re grown up, we rarely see each other. So I was delighted to sit at Bruce’s feet again in his book Praying in the Reign about the Lord’s Prayer.

Praying-in-the-Reign-Bruce-Green

Bruce breaks the Lord’s Prayer into seven sections, then subdivides these even further with theological explanations but also with demonstrations of how the Lord breathes and moves behind the words.

It is not a formula of words to be mindlessly repeated, but a spiritual pattern to guide and shape us. It is not an end in itself, but a means of leading us into a deeper righteousness.”

Because I recite this prayer often at the end of my Centering Prayer time, I appreciated hearing a fresh perspective on the individual phrases.

For example . . .

When mercy and kindness are shown—the kingdom comes. When someone chooses forgiveness over bitterness—the kingdom comes. When the oppressed are uplifted—the kingdom comes. Whenever God’s will is enacted on earth—the kingdom comes.”

And this . . .

“Take the little word ‘for,’ which connects the doxology with the last part of the prayer about being delivered from evil. We pray this prayer of deliverance because (‘for’), ‘Yours is the kingdom.’

Just as I remembered, Bruce is still very intelligent, still good with words, and still very kind. I’m grateful to connect with him again (even if one-sided this time) through this book.

More quotes:

“So I ditched the word ‘dependent’ for ‘desperate.’ If someone is desperate for something, they have to have it. They can’t survive without it. The Psalmist says, ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God’ (42:1). We are more than dependent upon God; we are desperate for Him.

 * ~ *

Typically in our speech (if not in our thinking), we reserve the phrase, ‘God answered our prayers,’ for those times when God has brought about the results we desired. But these words can be a poor way of expressing our understanding of prayer as well as God’s work. It can also crush the spirits of others, because it sounds as if we’re saying He hasn’t answered the prayers of those who didn’t get the results they desired.”

 * ~ *

“When we submit to Christ, we enter into not just the kingdom (John 3:5), but we take our first step into heaven as well.”

revised from the archives

* * *

Grace & Truth Featured Post

In our Featured Post this week, Karen gives us ways to partner with Jesus in bringing heaven to earth.

Read all of Karen’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

How to Manifest Moments of Heaven on Earth

Share your thoughts in the comments.

I’m linking at these blog parties


Review the rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

On the Blog—August 2022

Here are brief summaries and links to posts on the blog, Lisa notes, in August 2022.

See previous months’ archives here