There are people who make a profound impact on our lives, and never really know it. Today as I was walking to my car, I had to pause and thank God for the impact one man, and in reality His congregation have had on my life. Spanning two decades, he has influenced and impacted my life more than he will ever know.
In 1996, I found myself homeless. I was the mother of two small children, pregnant with a third and recently divorced. I found myself at a local transitional shelter that helped redirect my life in the short time I was there. Just three years earlier a pastor and his congregation had donated the building to meet the needs of single parents. They relocated their church, and the building became the transitional shelter that my children and I stayed in. I didn’t know the pastor or the history. In the midst of crises, it didn’t really matter. It was over a decade later that I learned who the pastor and congregation were. My children don’t remember what it is like to be homeless.
A few years later in 1998, God was working in my life bringing reconciliation to my marriage that ended at the end of 1995. We were referred to a local church for counseling. In counseling, we were invited to attend a Married for Life class at the church. At the class, members of the congregation invited us to attend that church. We chose to be remarried by our counselor, but were married at the new location of that same pastor’s church. My husband and I will celebrate our eighteenth wedding anniversary this year.
We attended the church until we moved out of state in 1999. A message was preached that stayed with me and was passed on to my children and others. The message was taken from a passage in Psalms, and the message was “the safest place to be is in the will of God.” The pastor shared how when you are following God’s will you may face storms, but you will rise victorious or ultimately be in God’s presence.
When storms in life came, I held on to that promise. It directed my prayers when life was off track. When my daughter was terrified in physical storms, I would remind her the safest place to be was in the will of God. She would pray during storms, and get her friends on the phone to pray with her. When her life was off track, and there were tornado producing storms, she would want to get to my house. She knew regardless of where she was in her life, I would be walking in the will of God. The message impacted my life, my children’s lives, and was shared with my daughter’s friends.
In 2015, my path crossed the pastor again as he officiated a friend’s daughter’s wedding. He didn’t know me, but I knew him. It was great to see that he was still impacting lives decades later.
In 2016, our paths began to cross almost monthly as my life was once again touched by him and his congregation. He is pastoring a new church, a city over from where he was preaching. The pastor and some of the church members volunteer at a program in the community where I also volunteer. It moves my heart to see God’s people rise up and be His hands and feet to the community around them. My passion is to see God’s people connecting to the tangible needs of the people, sharing God’s love in action. He and his congregation do an amazing job at sharing God’s love.
I have been so blessed to see this pastor and his congregation meet needs as they arose with the people we are serving. Those we serve have nothing to sow back in to the ministry, they aren’t even connected to the church. Yet the congregation is faithfully sowing seeds. They go above and beyond what is asked and bless the whole of those we are ministering to (upward of seventy people) as well as working with a few individual families to meet specific needs when they arise. It is a blessing to see God at work again in and through this shepherd and his flock. I know that just as the seed planted in my life has produced lasting fruit, that the seeds sown in this ministry will produce fruit that remains in the lives that this pastor and his congregation are now serving.
Never underestimate the impact you are having on others. You may not see the difference your actions are making, but to someone you are the drop that creates ripples of change in thier life.