Monday, November 24, 2014

Boy has it been a Monday!

After an extremely full weekend, I was not at all rested when I woke up to face a day of homeschooling, chores, and time at the Berlin Community Food Closet (BCFC). Sadly, I didn't meet the challenge in the proper way (quiet time in God's Word and praying to Him for guidance) but instead tried to plow through it on my own -- never a good choice.
Homeschooling difficulties came almost as soon as we started (such difficulties are expected when you have an autistic child, but they are much better handled when you've taken the time to connect with the Lord and experience His peace), and each of my chores seemed to hit some kind of bump. In addition, I knew that multiple boxes and bags of generous food donations were at the church, waiting to be moved to Max Hall (where the BCFC is located) -- and my back was beginning to act up.

As you might have guessed, my attitude mirrored my "luck" as the day wore on; and it hit its peak when I got to the church and realized that I had left the house without my BCFC keys.
Thankfully, while toting the above-mentioned boxes to the BCFC, the Spirit moved me to pray. "Lord, please show me your hand at work in all of this, because I'm having a really hard time seeing it!" And did He ever.
Three individual were waiting at the BCFC when I arrived, two men and an older woman. Both gentlemen offered to help carry in the donations (my back was extremely grateful!), and we immediately we discovered that within those bags and boxes lay absolutely everything that was needed to supply everyone with three days' worth of food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner); there was no need for me to run back to my house for my keys, or to bug Pastor Matt for his set of keys.

I was my own worst enemy today: I was the one who was prideful ("I'll bulldoze through") instead of humble ("I can't do this - only God can!"), and I was the one who let circumstances take hold of my attitude and drive it into the ground. But despite all of that, God reached out with His grace. His Spirit moved me to turn toward Him so that He could show me His ever-present love.

God is good!

-Trish Gerstel

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sustaining Grace

I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately: I’ve been at the doctor’s and the hospital with my children more times in the last several months than I have in my entire almost 17 years as a parent of three. It has forced me to put less emphasis on my schoolwork, which means I’m often unmotivated to do assignments, and am scrambling to do them last minute.

Through all this God has showed me grace so many times.

There are some days at school when it just seems like too much, and God puts in my path a friendly face. There have been times when I'm feeling unequipped and unhelpful and worthless, and I get a message from a student, an opportunity to share my faith, or a hug from one of my previous or current Youth Fellowship kids, reminding me that I am still being used for God’s work. Occasionally my future career seems like a ridiculous idea, and then I get to observe an awesome teacher who encourages me - or walk through the halls of the school and students still remember and are glad to see me. All of these little things, and so many more, are ways God has shown His grace to me through this crazy busy time.

Chantel Bink

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You know how you have one of those weeks when you have so much on your plate it seems impossible? You think, "there is no time and no way I can do all that." It stresses you out so much you can't sleep -- and then God reminds you, "I've got this. I am your Father, I will take care of your needs. Don't worry."

I've had one of those weeks. But I had faith and didn't worry and by the end of the week, I was like, "WOW, GOD IS AMAZING!!"

Cindy Capasso

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grace Through the Darkness

On November 1, Youth Pastor Kevin Bonesteel preached at the Berlin Seventh Day Baptist Church. During his sermon, Kevin shared a bit of his testimony, which reveals how God's grace can touch us even when we think all hope is lost:

As I child I lived in fear – mostly a fear of failure and of acceptance. I believed that I was worthless and that I could do nothing right. My friendships were shallow, I was contently bullied in school, and my family life was anything but peaceful. To no fault of my parents I spent most of my early years in the background as my parents were constantly dealing with and struggling with how to handle my brother, Phillip, who has severe brain damage which has made him aggressive, violent, and often uncontrollable. It seemed like all my parents time was invested in him and there was not a lot left for me. It made it hard to make friends, since I couldn’t invite them over because you never knew when Phillip was going to erupt.

There was one thing in my life that was constant: I played soccer and I was pretty good at it. As I started getting older, other people started point out to me that I was pretty good too; I became obsessed – the praise was amazing. I was finally good at something and people were recognizing me. I was valuable, I was important, and I was no longer in the background – or at least I thought.  Then, at pivotal time in the soccer career of a boy I broke my ankle, sprained the other one twice, and had to have emergency surgery on my calf to have a blood clot removed. I lost everything! Since I was not running, I gained a lot more weight and my so-called friends stopped talking to me. To add to it, I was three years behind everyone else when it came to my soccer abilities. My pride was destroyed, my obsession gone. But God was in control and knew exactly what He was doing – not that I knew that then. Because of my injuries I soon dropped out of soccer and felt like I had nowhere to turn. I was again alone and afraid; the one thing I was good at was gone. During my time on crutches I met a few people in school who invited be back to Youth Group. I again heard the message of God’s love and sacrifice for me, and because the wall that was my pride was knocked down, I was able to begin to understand what it meant to be a Christian. Because of my humbling experience I was able to realize my inabilities to fix my life, and was open to His leading, and to accepting His love and His grace.