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Feeling Forgotten?

𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐞?
I am comforted by Matthew 10:29, their the Lord said that not even a sparrow falls unnoticed by the Father.
If not one sparrow is forgotten before God (Luke 12:6), how much more will our Heavenly Father remember and want desperately to sustain you and me, for “ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7)
Sometimes I wonder if anyone really knows what we are going through, or for that matter if anyone really cares.
Occasionally that thought crosses my mind, but then I remember the story of Zacchæus from Luke 19:1-4, who simply wanted to see the Saviour.
You will recall that the crowd was large, so he decided to climb a sycamore tree, hoping that he’d see Jesus. “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5)
The Saviour knew not only his name, but also knew his heart as well, see – Luke 19:6–9.
Zacchæus was a man who was reviled, rejected, and cast out by many. But the Saviour knew him. He knew his heart, and He loved him.
Jesus Christ came into the house of Zacchæus and into his heart.
I know and believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is just as aware of you and me, remembering our individual needs, just as He was of Zacchæus, or for that matter a tiny sparrow.
I believe He even knows us more personally and intimately than we know ourselves.
His eyes are not only on the sparrows, but on you and me – always.
I know that and know that you can know that too.
Jesus Christ does love us.
You are not alone.

Straight and Tall

Walking along the Vliet (our local canal), into town this week, we remarked to each other “Oh look – they’ve planted some young trees!”
Our attention was drawn to the new soil, the intricate support structures, including the heavy banding, the strong poles, all put in place to help the tree grow straight and tall.
Each of these simple anchors will provide the tree with strength to withstand the winds and storms, that in time will surely come.
My mind started to make some connections.
Monic and I have spent the last two days in Utrecht and Antwerp.  We met with 90 young missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, currently under our care and watchful eye.
In a like manner the young trees are very much like our young missionaries.
Our two days of nurturing, instruction, and tender care were all designed to provide support for each one of them, just like the young trees, to grow straight and tall.
Like the missionaries, each of us may struggle to grow straight and tall through the storms of life.

Storms

None of us are immune from storms.
Said the writer of Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6.
Our young missionaries are sending their roots deep into the soil of the gospel.  There they are nurtured with love, and the enabling power of the atonement of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
I know that these young men and women with our prayers, love and support will accomplish wonders.
Jesus Christ strengthens us to do and be good, and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.
He is my anchor.
A few simple anchors will provide the strength to withstand the storms that will pass your way.
When the storms of life approach, what anchors you?

Generosity

When you think of a generous person, who first comes to mind?

Generosity – “a willingness to give help or support, especially more than is usual or expected.”

Who has inspired you the most to greater generosity?

I hope that it won’t be some famous celebrities or philanthropists, rather it’ll be a family member, a friend, someone in the community, or a co-worker perhaps.

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” said Debbie Macomber.

One by One.
Act by Act.
Service by Service.
Little by Little.
Each of us can make a difference.

I am encouraged by the words of the Dalai Lama who said – “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

We simply don’t talk about generosity enough.

We desperately need more men and women in society at large to look around, to look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others. To become more selfless, outward looking, to give more, to be more compassionate and much, much more generous. Some will think it airy-fairy. Yet, it is a powerful, personal, potent, peace giving potion.

What can you do, who will you help today?

Friendships

I love this picture!  Look at our huge smiles. I can still remember, as if it were today, something subtle happening, that we were scarcely aware of – we all became friends, each of whom who have subsequently touched my life for good.

That day, the six of us made some powerful professional breakthroughs and connections in our own community of practice.  But above all, the part I cherish most of all, was the power of true friendship.

Friendship

Listening, laughing, understanding, being a little silly together and empathy were in all in evidence as we embarked upon a new journey in our work on extra-dependent teams.

“A friend is a priceless possession because a true friend is one who is willing to take us the way we are but is able to leave us better than he found us. We are poor when we lose friends because generally they are willing to reprove, admonish, love, encourage, and guide for our best good. A friend lifts the heavy heart, says the encouraging word, and assists in supplying our daily needs. As friends we will make ourselves available without delay to those who need us.” – Marvin J. Ashton

The photo was taken in Zurich, in December 2019, just a few weeks before the pandemic and lockdown.  Subsequently, the six of us have met by Zoom on several occasions.  Our conversations have been moments I hold dear, through what has been a challenging year.

Somehow these special moments of friendship seem to have a long shelf life, which I am so grateful for. They can sustain you even long after the moment has passed.

Good friends are a little like stars, you may not always see them, but you know they are there!

My conclusion – the only way to really have friends, is to be one yourself.

Go on, reconnect today.

Touched

The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.

The atmosphere changed.

We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply. The silence was palpable.

Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.

Then it happened.

I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.

The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.

Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.

Can you reach out and touch someone today?

Support

Who supports you?

As a 4 year old, I set off with family and friends to climb this hill near Dunning, Perthshire. Since 1969, I have climbed this hill on many occasions, with my own children, family and friends. In fact it’s become one of my favourite spots on earth, to seek some peace, solitude and to reflect on life.

Just prior to my father’s death, I recall that we were talking about this photo. As we spoke about it, he asked if I could remember anything about the climb up the hill. I said “No”. He laughed and then responded “You can’t remember anything?” Once again..”No”. He then shared the story of our ascent. He told me that as we were about half way up the hill, I started to complain about sore legs and that I couldn’t make it to the top.

As we carried on, dad encouraged me and told me that I could make it. So, seemingly I persevered for a little longer, but then after a while, I told him once again – “I can’t do it”. As a loving parent, he picked me up, put me on his shoulders and carried me the last little distance to the top of the hill. Resulting with this photo taken a few minutes later – of a very happy child atop the stone for the very first time!

There are so many principles in this story about getting tired, taking my eyes off the goal etc … But most of all I want to make the point that in our conversations together, lets be ever mindful of supporting each other to achieve our goals!

Who can you support?