Articles understanding_small

Published on February 21st, 2008 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Understanding Small Hard Things




This is part 15 of 21 in the series Do Hard Things

Understanding Small Hard ThingsOur recent post on the balance between what we call “big” hard things and “small” hard things reminded us that we haven’t really spent much time explaining the distinction between these two categories — a distinction we ourselves wrestled with while writing our book. This post (which will probably turn into a series of posts) will try to address some common misunderstandings and bring more clarity to this oft-misunderstood aspect of Do Hard Things.

What “Bigger” Things Are We Talking About?

When we talk about “bigger things” that God promises to those who are faithful in “small things”, we are not necessarily talking about larger platforms and greater recognition and support. It can involve those things and often does — but it can also mean harder things done in the same obscurity as before.

It is a lot like the popular illustration in which a speaker will invite a member of the audience onto the stage, usually a guy who thinks he is Arnold Schwarzenegger, and ask him whether or not he can lift some small object, such as a canned food item. Once the participant confidently asserts his ability to do so the speaker requests that he hold the item straight out from his body and continue to do so until the speaker tells him to stop.

While the participant might initially feel confident he quickly begins to realize that it requires more and more effort with every passing second to keep the object in the air. The test of strength is not to ask him to lift some extraordinary amount of weight, but instead to hold a small amount of weight for an extended period of time.

This is the way it sometimes works with small things. As we are faithful in small things God will always ask more of us, but not always by giving us bigger things to do. Instead He might do so by asking us to remain faithful in the small things we are already doing.

As impressive as bigger (i.e. heavier) things may be, the greatest test of strength is to endure with whatever weight you’ve been given. God can be just as glorified by someone who endures to the end with five pounds than He can by someone who lifts 500 pounds once. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Working For The Lord, Not For Men

But this is where the idea of “working for the Lord and not for men” comes in. We should never be doing hard things for the recognition and admiration of men, but only for the glory of God. Despite the numerous earthly blessings that accompany doing hard things our ultimate reward is in Heaven when we stand before our Maker and hear Him speak the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”

God knows better than we do what a great reward looks like. He knows those who have already been rewarded by the praise and adulation of men, as well as those who have served quietly — far away from the limelight.

The point, however, is not to seek recognition or obscurity, but rather to seek the glory of God. A heart that longs for the praise of men more than the praise of God — whether prideful in receiving it or resentful in lacking it — does not honor God.

Nevertheless, I think in Heaven we will be surprised by some of the people God honors most. We won’t recognize their faces or know their names. They will be the quiet faithful with whom God is well pleased.

Answer the following questions, then share your answers and other thoughts with your fellow rebelutionaries in the comments section below:

  • Did this post change the way you view “big” and “small” hard things? If yes, share what you previously thought.
  • Share about a person you know who is one of those “quiet faithful” that most people will never know about. How has their life impacted you or those around you?








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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • True. Very true.

  • Emily

    Nevertheless, I think in Heaven we will be surprised by some of the people God honors most. We won’t recognize their faces or know their names. They will be the quiet faithful with whom God is well pleased.

    How true this is! But I also had an interesting thought about being surprised by the people God honors – because they may be people we know. The people who are SO quiet that maybe we’re judging them for being unfaithful when we really don’t know what they’re doing for the Lord. Or maybe I’m the only one who tends to start judging people – when in reality I should be judging myself. Anyhow… it’s just a thought that made me think.

  • Marissa

    [b]Did this post change the way you view “big” and “small” hard things? If yes, share what you previously thought.[/b]

    It did not so much change the way I view “big” and “small” hard things, but rather re-affirm the importance of being faithful in both! We are to be faithful in whatever God gives us, and whether He gives us big or little things to be faithful in, is not based on our merit or ‘earning’ a ‘bigger’ thing!

    [b]Share about a person you know who is one of those “quiet faithful” that most people will never know about. How has their life impacted you or those around you? [/b]
    Our neighbor at our old house (for 15 years)…Mrs. D———–. She has eight children, and brings them up to know, love, and serve the Lord. She was the one who brought my mom to Christ many years ago. She is always ready to help and encourage, and always puts others before herself. She is an awesome example! :)

  • Becoming a Christian in 1965, there were Christian posters that had all kinds of catchy phrases. I brought one home that said “Jesus is the Revolution.” It hung on the family room wall until it wore out.
    I’m 69 now, but can relate to Rebelution. What a joy to hear of your commitment to the Gospel and following God’s Way, not mans. To do all things to the Glory of God is our daily prayer.
    Thanks and God’s blessings.

    Diane Clark
    PS–you’re in my Bookmarks

  • Did this post change the way you view “big” and “small” hard things? If yes, share what you previously thought.

    Thank you so much for this post! It has definitely helped. When things were labeled as “big hard things” and “small hard things”, my mind wanted to interpret that as meaning “important hard things” and “not-as-important hard things”. The illutration with the can-holding-endurance helped to demonstrate to me that “small hard things” take just as much effort as (and maybe even MORE determination than) a “big hard thing” does.

    And may I ask where that verse is? I know it is in the NT somewhere, but I can’t find specifically where.

  • Marissa: Use quotation marks after and before the “b” that will fix your “bold” problem. :)

  • Alex or Brett:How did you do the image? It looks really good.

  • Marissa: Sorry I was wrong use,

  • Nevermind, it does not work. :)

  • Jacob

    I’m on a Mac here, but the keys you should use for bold and italic in the comment section are the ones that also have the comma and period on them. ( > ) That should be one. And this (

  • Jacob

    Sorry. I’ll try it again.

    Thy this:
    <em>This is italic.</em>
    <strong>This is bold.</strong>

    By the way, my apologies on the behalf of all us nerds who spam your comments trying to figure this out!

  • Jacob

    Got it! If you write it like that, it should work here.

  • Emily said, “But I also had an interesting thought about being surprised by the people God honors – because they may be people we know. The people who are SO quiet that maybe we’re judging them for being unfaithful when we really don’t know what they’re doing for the Lord.”

    That is so true! I have witnessed that in my church. There was a young man who had done missions overseas, and he came back and was frustrated because of the seeming complacency of church members. But as I began to pay attention, I learned of more and more people who were doing incredible things behind-the-scenes that very few others knew about.

    Also, when my turn came to go on a missions trip, I was stunned at how generous the middle-class working families of my church were to give. I received more than enough.

    It’s easy to becoming youthfully idealistic and criticize. This was such a good post, a reminder that the achievements we trumpet may not always be the ones that are actually the hardest.

  • Jacob: Nice! How did you do it?

  • Taurnil

    Wow, great post! It did help clear up some stuff about “big” and “small” hard things.

    This post reminded me of Jesus’ life. We don’t really know about that much about Jesus’ life before He started His ministry. We only see the “big” hard things afterwards. However, we do know that He was faithful in the “small” hard things by this passage:
    41 Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year for the feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) they went a day’s journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Jesus were astonished at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 49 But he replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. But his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with people.
    I am sure that Jesus was doing many “small” hard things necessary for preparing for His ministry before He started it (at 33, right?), even though we don’t hear anything more than this about what He did.

  • Marissa

    Josiah and Jacob:Thanks! (and if this doesn’t work for me, thanks anyhow for trying!) I wish these comments had an edit or preview feature…it’s hard to keep track what codes work where!

  • Hannah Williams

    Alex and Brett,thank you for posting this.
    But first,My sister is home now and a nurse has set up a heart and breathing moniter for her.The docters are not sure yet why she is choking and shaking so much.I know though that what God wants to happen will happen for His own glory.

    Now second,I love this post,and I would like to get in touch with ya’lls family.I have some Ideas for Christian teens this summer.I really want this summer for us to reach out to non-christian teens.please reply, Your sister in Christ,Hannah

  • Betsy

    Thanks for this post. I always knew what you meant when you talked about “big” things and “small” things but I think this helped clarify everything. Being faithful in the small things is so important.

  • Emily

    I will be praying for your family, Hannah.

  • Thanks Brett & Alex – this is awesome.

    1) Yes, this did change my view on big things/little things. I had always thought if you just did little things long enough, you’d eventually get “bumped up” to the big things level. Now I realize it is a delicate balancing act of not being afraid to seize “big hard things” to do for God, and resting in the knowledge that the “little” things may indeed be enough.

    2) My mother. She has never been on a mission trip that I know of, never translated the Bible into remote tribal languages, never witnessed to a great political figure. But, 19 years ago when my sister was born, she sacrificed her desires and her needs to care for her growing brood of children – and not just once, but every day from that moment onward. I am daily impressed by her selflessness and care for us, and we are old enough now to spare her some of her labor. I can hardly imagine the degree of dedication and service with which she must have performed when we were too little to do anything but eat, sleep, and cry; she wiped our noses and cleaned our messes (even when they were really nasty), made us laugh, taught us about Jesus, comforted us in our illness and childhood sorrows . . . the epitome of doing “small hard things,” that, when you truly look at them, don’t really seem small at all. And that, I think, was the intended message of this post, right?

  • Sara

    Brett and Alex –
    Thanks so much for the great posts! In reference to your questions, 1) Yes, that changed my view. I guess I always thought that some people were ‘comfortable’ doing small hard things and that there were only a few people who do ‘big hard things’ and that it was harder to do big things. I see now that maintaining small hard things may be just as hard (if not harder than) big hard things. 2) Really my mom. She’d love to go on mission trips but instead stays home to help take care of her family. She says that right now her family is her mission field. She serves selflessly and is always ready to put her family’s needs before her own.
    Once again thanks for the great blogs! Keep strong in the Lord!
    Sara
    1 Timothy 4:12

  • Nicole

    Amen. I agree with this completely. Great post! I am enjoying reading the responses, too.

    I like what Taurnil said about Jesus — the way He lived His Life. A while back I was also thinking that it’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Jesus’ childhood. It will be cool if He tells us about it when we are in Heaven.

    I also think it’s interesting how much time Jesus spent alone unto God — away from the disciples, even. Hudson Taylor once said, “The hardest part of a missionary career is to maintain regular, prayerful Bible study. Satan will always find you something to do when you ought to be occupied about that — if it is only arranging a window-blind!” I think that so much distracts us (even little things) and is intended to distract us from close communion with God hints at the threat we would be to evil and darkness if we did more as Jesus did.

    Hudson also said something to the effect that the reason many Christians lack God’s Power in their lives is because they fail to embrace the Cross in their own lives.
    To relate this to this post about persevering through “small” things; regarding suffering for God’s glory, Isobel Kuhn wrote: “In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews — that honor roll of heroes of faith — comes this verse (37) which Phillips renders thus: ‘They were killed by stoning, by being sawn in two . . . and then were killed with the sword.’
    Right in the middle of terrible martyrdoms (stoned, sawn asunder, killed) comes this apparently mild little word ‘tempted by specious promises of release.’ It does not seem to match the other sufferings. And yet no mistake has been made. The slow wearing down of the human spirit is a species of torture which the Communists delight to use and have found very productive for their purposes.”

    It is sometimes easier to embrace the obvious hard things than it is to embrace the hard things that don’t seem hard at all at first glance. But whatever the hard things — “big” or “small” we can be sure that God will Help us, will Guide us and will Empower us and enable us to glorify Him and to return the Love to Him that He gave us and fills us with if we abide in Him by spending time alone seeking Him and getting to know Him as is truly is through it all.

    “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

    I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

    If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.

    If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

    When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.

    I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].

    If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

    I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.”
    John 15:4-11 (Amp.)

    Amen!

  • This is such a great post. Just like you guys said, so often, people don’t always view those who are out of the spotlight as the people who do hard things, even though what they accomplish is just as hard. This post most definitely changed my view of big/small hard things. :)

    I think of my small group leader. She’s a wonderful Christian woman who loves God with all her heart and truly lives her faith. She has fought cancer the last year and a half, but has remained so cheerful that it’s easy to forget she’s fighting it at all, even when she’s in daily pain. She is constantly doing the hard thing by not complaining about her treatments, but instead she devotes all her free time to developing our walks with God.

  • Brandon N Van Wyk

    This is a great article! As a pastor of a small church, I am regularly engaged in “small hard things,” as you put it. Thanks for your encouraging word.

  • Kensington

    Bravo! Amazing post! Real food! thank you.
    One concept that I’ve noticed lately is the writing of Christian authors and also, listening to pastors that speak of “glorifying God.” I definitely believe that to be our purpose in all that we do, but beyond that, to love God with our whole heart, soul, and being. There is much Christian activity that we can do to bring Glory to God, but, I believe that creation, also, glorifies God. We must go beyond and love Him with all our hearts which fully fulfills the 1st. We are to be a people unto Himself, soul of His Soul and heart of His Heart. Even being completely independent from God in all ways, we can bring Glory to Him by appearing good and helping mankind. I want to be His treasured possession which loves Him unto a perfect walk with Him. Pray for me to do so and I will pray for all of you.
    Yesterday, I was led to read Hosea 2 – 4 concerning God’s judgment of unfaithfulness. Hosea 4:7 states, “The more they increased and multiplied [in prosperity and power], the more they sinned against Me. I will turn their glory into shame.” It reminded me of people that I have known or known of, who have been raised up on a platform, but forgot to maintain their intimate relationship with God. They were, still, in many ways, bringing glory to God, because people were being reached and taught of Truth, but the speaker, pastor, evangelist, healer, was no longer loving God or abiding in His Heart. Their lack of “knowing God” and becoming as He is, would, obviously, be revealed, at times, but, the detriment to their soul was, seemingly irreversible, once they had encountered the praise of man. This is why I am so glad that you wrote the present post, it does clarify the motives and the true pursuit.
    Let’s move on to loving God with our whole heart, soul, being and refuse to allow anything in our lives that will separate us from that goal. “And you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with your entire being and with all your might.” Deut. 6:5
    I am enjoying reading all the responses to this post. I have one friend that does all that she does to love God, but is not accepted by people her age, or any age, actually. She keeps leaning into God and learning from Him and it seems like the closer she becomes to God, the more it offends the people she knows. Most people would stop growing because of this, but she pursues God to love Him. She just keeps praying that her friends will come to know God as she does.

  • Thanks for this post. I must admit that I’ve often expected to have a wider audience as I grow in the grace of God to do hard things. I believe our lives will have a wider – but not necessarily a more visible – influence.

    This year my Grandpa died, and for me, he’s the best example of someone who did hard things without anyone knowing. At his funeral and through many letters we received afterwards, people spoke of how he had supported and encouraged them in their greatest moment of need – be it sickness, depression or death of a loved one. He also gave generously to charities and people who were struggling financially, as well as serving in the Sunday school and coffee mornings and preaching in many small churches for over fifty years. I knew a loving grandfather who always showed interest in me, but there was so much to him that even now, I’m sure, only God knows.

  • Nicole

    Brett: One more thing: I have a fear about starting my own blog becuase . . . well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it, but I have a lot over the past month or so . . . there are people out there (names won’t be mentioned) who go into blogs — sometimes daily — and write these really long comments. I’m not sure who they think will read what they write, you know? I think you guys handle it real well, but I just don’t think that I could handle it so well. I’m just kidding. Sorry.

  • Anna Elizabeth

    Many thanks for this illustration. It really hit home with me as I have been pondering this subject lately.

    In Him^,
    Anna E J

  • Abigail M.

    I appreciate the encouragement to pursue “small” hard things.
    I have a dear friend who faithfully exempifies Christ’s example of compassion and love on a daily basis. Regardless of surrounding circumstances, she continually reaches out to her unloved peers at school. Consequently, God has given her the opportunity to minister to those in need and to see His glory powerfully demonstrated in the small things of life.
    She encourages me to do the hard thing, break my “comfort bubble,” and seek those who need to see Christ’s love and compassion demonstrated.

  • Heather Gundlach

    Thanks for writing such a great post! Answer to first question: Yes, it kind of did. The past few blogs and the conference made me realize that doing small things is just as important as the big things. The past year or two, I used to get SO depressed because I felt that I wasn’t doing enough big things, or doing anything spectacular for Christ, like writing a book, or fighting poverty, or doing something like Alex and Brett. I realize now that if those things ever did happen, my heart would have been in the wrong place–I was self-centered, trying to fulfill MY dreams of what I thought MY life was supposed to be like. Now I realize that all along, God wanted me to be faithful in the small things, and trust HIM to open doors to larger things. The hard thing I’m working on now is to just trust God, 100%, and be content with the small hard things in my life right now.

    Answer to second question: There are TONS! but one who stands out in my mind is my Auntie Nan. She has three kids. The youngest, Abby, has downs syndrome, and is extremely hard to deal with day to day. Also, her mom is fighting cancer and is a slightly demanding type of person. Also, they don’t have a large income. Through it all, though, Auntie Nan just keeps depending on God to get through it, and doesn’t give up.

  • Heather Gundlach

    P.S. That is an awesome picture!

  • * Did this post change the way you view “big” and “small” hard things? If yes, share what you previously thought. I think, for the most part, I have been understanding the difference between big and small hard things. But your comment about being faithful with the small things actually BEING a big things was thought provoking.

    * Share about a person you know who is one of those “quiet faithful” that most people will never know about. How has their life impacted you or those around you? Well..my mom, for one. She quietly and faithfully serves our family day in and day out. Another would be a young lady in our church who came from Massachusetts to serve in our little church in NY as our secretary. She is so faithful and humble – rarely recognized for all that she does, but she has been faithful through what may have seemed like a “small thing”.

    I also liked this quote: “The point, however, is not to seek recognition or obscurity, but rather to seek the glory of God.
    That is so true. How often can I make decisions based on thinking, “Oh, I really don’t want anyone to make a big deal out of this. I’d rather not be noticed at all…so I guess I’m just not going to do it.” or “Heyyyy, EVERYONE will be watching me! I’ll be adored and looked-up-to. I am sooo going to do this.”
    But much agonizing over decisions could be overcome if only we were to seek first God’s glory – and not worry about our own image.

    Great post once again.

    ~Lady Tai

  • Thank you guys for this post! It clarified a few things for me, especially that your definitions of “small” & “big” hard things does not necessarily mean a change in activity, but perhaps persistence and faithfulness. It’s frustrating when there seems to be this general belief (even from myself) that big goals and far-reaching platforms – great as they are – are more noteworthy than being constant in obscurity. So thank you for affirming that the “little” things can also be the “big” things, no matter how it looks from the outside.

    One of those quiet faithful people I know is my dad. He has a regular sort of 5-days-a-week job, and while he is involved with some “big” national projects, his focus and energy has always been on his commitment to his family and all the little things of house and home and providing for us, physically and spiritually. He works tirelessly, and he is someone you can ALWAYS count on to be there. It’s easy to take this for granted, but wow, I realize what a BIG thing this is, what a priceless gift. The way he continues day after day and year after year with the same drive and faithfulness is leaving a deep, lasting impact that I pray to follow in. In the words of this song –

    “In the little things he’s honest/in the little things he’s true/in the little things it’s Jesus his heart is faithful to/and a close examination will show us all just what it means/to make a world of difference in the little things.”

  • Alex

    Beautiful post! Keep up the great work you guys(o:

  • Chelsea

    This post definitlyshowed me the right perspective on “big and “small” things. I tend to crave the attention of people even if I don’t tell anyone. I usually want at least a little recognition when I do something, I am humbled because God’s rewards are so infinitely better than any minute recognition from man.

    My mom is definitely the quiet faithful person in my life. She does so much for my family, church, and community and hardly anyone notices. She is the pastor’s wife and it seems that people only want to nitpick her. However, she keeps moving forward and serving.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Andrew Branch

    “God can be just as glorified by someone who endures to the end with five pounds than He can by someone who lifts 500 pounds once.”

    This concept didn’t change my view, but it brought back an important concept that I have to keep in mind.

    This is the concept that I really have to get my mind around. I know it’s true, but the hardest part is being content with small things. I am in the situation where I just feel I am useless to God’s kingdom. I play the piano for church, and I know I honor God in that, but I want to be a light to the unsaved world. I’ve been given only one thing to do it seems–play the piano once and maybe twice a week.

    I know that I honor God by serving the body of Christ, but I’m not supposed to just serve the body of Christ–I’m supposed to be a light to the world. I feel useless because I have no opportunities. I want to let Christ shine through me to a lost world but I feel like I’m “under a basket.” I know that God is preparing me for more things but it is a hard thing in itself to have to wait while I am seemingly useless to Him—and it truly discouraging.

    I’ve been given a burden for something that God hasn’t opened any doors for me to do it. I ask you guys to pray for me that I will be CONTENT and FAITHFUL in the small things while God prepares me for more. It’s one of the biggest struggles of mine. It hurts.
    Have any of you guys felt this way? I don’t want to take away from the focus of this thread so you can P.M. me in the forum (username Andrew Branch) if you want.

    I have met many people who have done the small things. There is one lady in particular who has served the Lord her entire life and served the body of Christ and received no real recognition. She is the definition of what Paul talks about—the saints who do the small things are invaluable and just as important to the body of Christ as those who have the more showy gifts. It really makes you think.

  • Megan Liz

    Thanks so much for this post, Alex and Brett! It really clarified some things for me. And as we try to “do hard things”, it’s good to remember that God doesn’t love us for what we do. The hard things that we do for his glory are an outpouring of our love for him. While it’s important to serve God, all our service won’t come to anything in the end if we didn’t begin loving God and content with where he has us.

  • Jess

    Andrew Branch: I’ll pray for you.

    I’m feeling something a little similar, although not to such a great extent.

    About the post, previously I had thought of a ‘big’ thing as writing a book or something like Alex & Brett do, and that helped me see that I was wrong. It was a good illustration- it made it a lot easier to understand.
    A person who does lots of small things and is an inspiration is my Aunty Fay, (she’s actually my great-aunt.)
    She has had a LOT of very hard things in her life, and is sooo quiet about it. She was a nurse, and has up until recently done lots and lots of ‘small’ things in her church, but now she is getting old and is forgetful, so I think she’s cut back on her activities. I don’t even know many of the things she’s done- just a little about her struggles in life, and I know that she is the sweetest lady ever, and a very good cook. She has certainly been faithful to God.

    Hannah Williams: I wrote this in the last comments section, but then I realized that there was another post. I’ll be praying for your family.

  • Nicole

    Hey everyone: I feel I need to apologize for my last comment. I meant to post the comment in one of the postings where I kept posting long comments as a joke because I\’m the only one who posts such long comments and I was afraid that people would be annoyed at me. I meant to be funny about it. But what I really should have done was to take my eyes off of myself — worrying about whether people were annoyed at me or not for writing a lot — and put them on God and focus on His Will for me to do each day and learn what I need to learn. I\’m sorry.

    I\’ve been so very much enjoying reading the comments everyone is writing in here about people they know who have been supportive and compassionate and helpful and selfless regardless of recognition or thanks in return. I read and I am inspired and challenged and I am learning a lot about how I can help people whose calling is to persevere long and hard with the less impressive weight.

    Sometimes when I look at my mom — the way she lives her life — or read her writings, I feel like I am failing at what is really important. Sometimes I am challenged to be more like her — like Jesus in the way that she is like Him — but other times I just feel like a completely different kind of person who will never be as loving, as compassionate, as long-suffering, as beautiful before God in the ways that truly touch His Heart. I need to stop doubting what God can do through me if I\’ll let Him and I need to ask Him to transform me in His Image like He is doing daily with my mom — I need to trust that He will perfectly mold me to accomplish my mission in life.

    My mom has helped teach me, through her actions and words, to love people with God\’s Love — the kind of love that doesn\’t often get the return it deserves, the thank it deserves, and that often even gets labeled \”not love\” because it IS real love, and sometimes, tough love.

    I forget sometimes that there are kind people in the world. I get sort of cynical and assume that everybody is selfish, spiteful, judgmental, and rebellious against God. I get the idea that I will never encounter people, besides my mom, who really want to grow spiritually and really want to love God with every aspect of their lives. The things that have been written on here have proven me wrong. By writing them, you have encouraged me to keep writing the books God has set on my heart to write — books that will encourage and teach kids to become people after God\’s own Heart — young men and women of character and love and compassion and truth who truly, truly love mercy and justice and their fellow man, but above all, who love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength as He longs in His Heart of Hearts to be loved.

    Thank you!

    Keep writing! Keep sharing! And for those of you who, like me, feel like you keep failing and keep falling and will never be like these people spoken of on here: Keep trying — letting go of your strength and asking for His! Keep leaning on God! Rely on Him fully! Keep seeking Him! He won\’t fail.

  • Heather Gundlach

    Andrew Branch: I don’t know how to use the forum so I just wanted to say something about your comment real quick. I’m the church pianist too! And sometimes I would get that exact same feeling that you have. Our pastor has kind of shed some light on this area, about feeling as if you don’t have opportunities to be a shining light for Christ. This might not help, but, He’s always saying that the BEST way to witness is to just live your everyday life reflecting God’s love. That means just seeing everyone you come into contact with–be it a cashier or the president–as a person that God loves dearly. Then, treating them with the kindness that comes from realizing it. Those people you come into contact with in everyday living will notice that there is something different about you, and want to know what it is, and how they can get it. As Christians we often think we have to go to Bible school and then some foreign country to be a REAL Chrisian witness, but that is JUST NOT TRUE. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, then love your neighbor as yourself, in light of your love for God. I really think that that’s what being a true Christian witness boils down to.

  • Once again, Alex and Brett, another fabulous post. I can always count on them to minister to me in some way! Today, I am once again reminded to keep on doing what God has for me. No matter what it is, God has different “hard things” for all of us to do–all of which require faithfulness and trust in His perfect plan! Doing “small” things can be just as much of a way to draw people to the Lord as the “big” things.

  • Nicole

    I complained about my own posts being too long. Posting one twice didn’t help. I feel like I am repeating myself repeating myself. (My mom just told me my post was doubled. And I stayed up all night so I really need sleep I think because it made me laugh.)

    Heather: Good comment about what it means to be a Christian. Those are the things that mean the most to me — the unexpected, everyday, not necessarily or always intentional overflows of God’s Love through people. Some people I have known actually go to a foreign country to be a missionary because they aren’t willling to really change the way they live their whole life for God. They try to get away from their “problems” witnessing right where they are, but they don’t get that who they are (un-transformed man — the core of their problem) follows them wherever they go. It’s annoying, but true. Anyway, to repeat myself again — good comment. Jesus didn’t go to Bible school — He just Loved and obeyed the Father and Loved us — laying down His Life out of Love — and that’s the way He lived His Life. We need to get back to the roots of Christianity — not “Jesus” on a bumper sticker or a coffee mug or a t-shirt or as part of a slogan or catch-phrase, but Jesus — Truth, Himself — embodied — living and working through lives concecrated unto God alone. Thank you for posting that.

  • Amy

    Hey everyone, my sister has DownSydrome and is very sick please pray for her.

    Amy-

  • Nicole: I fixed your double-post. I did something weird to it though which I can’t fix (all of these “\”).

    Amy: I’m praying for your sister. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Hannah Williams

    Amy,Im praying for your sister.

    Everyone,My sister is much better.

    Alex and brett.Did you like my idea?And I read about Lila,from last May.I have a Question that my pastor brought up. Why is it against the law if you acidently break an eagle’s egg but it is okay to kill a human being?I have questions that need answers.
    Please reply. your Sister in Christ,Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    hi,

  • Hannah Williams

    Here is a song i wrote,

    AS i live this life,
    I have to wonder is it right,when in all this suffering,I can just say its a sad sad thing,
    with people slaving for every breath,getting beat half to death,when i can make a change,i just waist all these opportunities,If i just Wake up,wake up,I could see,God has given chances to give Him glory,So lets just,wake up,wake up,lets spread His glory,wake up,wake up,try to end the suffering,wake up,wake up,lets make a change,wake up,wake up,lets praise His name,wake up,wake up,young and old,wake up,wake up,and behold,chances to make a difference,wake up,wake up,lets sing together,wake up,wake up,lets stand together,in the name of Jesus our King. Your Sister in Christ ,Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    the last line is , [lets stand forever]

  • Hannah Williams

    on the picture above,whose hands are those?Do ya’ll get actors and models to pose for those pictures,I know its a strange question but i always wonder about that.Your sister in Christ,Hannah

  • I’m not sure if this post changed the way I think about big and small hard things, but it definately is good and thought provoking. :-)

  • Hannah Williams

    let me me know if there is anything wrong with my song.Your sister in Christ,Hannah

  • Amy

    thanks for the prayers for my angel sister.
    Amy

  • John M. Kirton II

    I found this article to be very informative and had no difficulty understanding from the previous article the differences between the two categories of “big” and “small” things.

  • Emily

    Hey… you’ve got a few of us curious about the… graphics? on your post. 😀 I think graphics is the right word. I’m falling asleep at the computer. Anyhow, how are they done and who are they done by?
    I’m off to bed!
    Emily

  • Phoebe

    This post reminds me of my mother, and other stay at home mothers, who lay down their lives for their children. Sometimes my mother feels like she is not making a great difference in the world, but she is. What a great thing it is to lead seven people, her children, to God! It is hard to remember that faithfulness in the small hard things is precious to God. We can think of Mary the mother of Jesus, whose obedience was beautiful, not only through her pregnancy and birth, but also through the rest of her life serving her husband and family. May God lead us to the things, both great and small, that he wants us to obey him through.

  • Nicole

    Amy: Thanks for telling us so we can help. I’ll pass your request on, also, to my mom.

    Hannah Williams: I am so glad your sister is better! I read the lyrics to your song. And guess what? God just started giving me a new book about 2 nights ago and its theme is “Wake up, wake up!”! I started writing poetry when I was 13. Did you start this year, or have you been writing for some time? Isn’t it cool to be able to write out how you feel in a song that will make others stop and listen and think about how God feels or what God wants to teach us? I think it’s REALLY cool.
    And a little off subject, I wanted to encourage you (having to do with what you were talking about earlier about being interested in looking into slavery and its history) to really seek God about WHY that’s been placed on your heart. When I was 17, I got really, really into researching about the Underground Railroad and I had no idea why, at first (you may already know something, though, about why — I seem to be the last to know when God is teaching something.) Anyway, after a while of researching a bunch of books and stuff about quilts (used for signals) God showed me something He wants me to do in the future and, also, that we, in the United States, are enslaved more than ever and NEED an Underground Railroad — a spiritual one. People need “conductors” and “safe homes” along the way to guide them out of where they are spiritually — in bondage — and into Freedom in Jesus. And He showed me that I can be a “conductor” and that the “safe homes” along the way — places where the people can be protected and will learn the next path to take to get where they’re headed — can be songs and poems and books and movies (that literally do teach the people how to be protected from evil attacks that would get them off track on their way to Freedom and that really will help teach them the next step — the next part of the path — to take to find true Freedom. I’d love to hear what God is showing you about slavery and freedom, too. And I caught you comment about my comments in the older post — thanks!

    Brett: Well, I think at this point I should be honest: I posted it twice before, keeping in mind that you and Alex are twins, to be sure that both of you would read it. I’m just kidding. Sorry. The slashes are fine, though. They make me pause and think more about what I’m reading (or what I wrote). And it makes it look like a homeschooler wrote it, don’t you think? (I was homeschooled throughout school, so that’s just a joke). Anyway, thanks for fixing it. Anyway, thanks for fixing it.

  • Amen tothis post! I used to misunderstand the difference between “big” things and “small” things. I thought the small ones meant the little tasks that didn’t require much effort. Now I know. :)

    Thanks for the wonderful and heartening post. :)

  • Great Post! I enjoyed it a lot! :) Great Job…Keep it up!

  • Nicole

    Hannah Williams: I keep thinking about the question that you posted that you said that your pastor brought up — about why is it okay to kill a human being, but it is against the law to break an eagle’s egg.

    I think it is good that you and him and several others ask why. And I think it is because many never ask why — or if they do, they never act once they find out why — that our country has failed to truly be what it claims to be — a Christian nation.

    I have also been considering, lately, how hypocritical our country is.

    For example, in California there are numerous vegans (people who don’t eat meat or wear leather or use any animal by-products like milk or wool, etc.) and numerous celebrities and other individuals who fight for animal rights and to save the environment by preventing use of things that contribute to global warming, yet they have a law now that says that it’s okay to create embryos (babies) and then to do whatever they want to them (even kill them) just to do scientific research (it’s called embryonic stem cell research and is paid for by taxes).
    They say that they are doing this to find cures to diseases, but so far it hasn’t produced any. They are able to do adult stem cell research that has produced many cures and that doesn’t harm anyone, but nevertheless they prefer to push forward with something that kills.

    And how much money does our country spend every year for NASA to send people to space when they aren’t providing food, or medical care, or housing for countless families and individuals?

    And in December 2007, President Bush signed a bill that will make all regular (incandescent) light bulbs illegal to sell by 2020 because they use more energy and people want to cut down on energy usage to protect the environment. The, so far, only alternative light bulb we would be able to use would be fluorescent which puts off UV light which causes 1/4 of the world’s population problems like migraines and which will actually threaten the lives of people with the disease Lupus (by making their homes unsafe environments) because UV causes their disease to flare up.

    Again and again, our nation, as a whole, cares more about the environment or animals or science or money, etc., than human beings.

    I believe that the reason our country is so unjust is because the majority of the people’s hearts are bad — they care more about themselves and their future than about the innocent lives they cost to preserve and protect their future (or that they just kill for no reason at all except that they don’t care). And our country is like that in spite of knowing the facts about what they are doing, because its people need God — they need to surrender to Him and to lay aside all of their idols and other gods and all of their greed and wants that don’t please Him and they need to repent before Him, praying Psalm 51, and make things right.

    But that causes us to ask another question: What will cause them to do so — to kneel before God and repent and then to stand up and protect the children — the innocent?

    During World War 2, hitler killed millions of Jews and other innocent people. There were some people who agreed with him and who helped him because they believed the same as he did, but there were even more people who helped him just because they were afraid of him — they helped him even though they disagreed with him. And even more than that, there were people who helped him, in a way, because they just stood by and watched or tried to look the other way.

    When I read about the holocaust or I watch a movie about it, I think, “What would have happened if everyone who did nothing had instead done the right thing?”

    There’s a clue to what would have happened if you research what the people of Denmark did.
    The news was leaked that all the Jews in Denmark would be rounded up and taken away. The people of Denmark, rather than standing by and allowing it to happen as most countries did, decided that they MUST do something to stop this crime against their fellow human beings. Announcements were made in synagogues and spread quietly on the streets and from person to person in homes and private gatherings, and over just a few days, thousands of Danish Jews were hidden by their friends and neighbors inside homes and churches and then were helped to escape across the water to Sweden. Out of the approximately 7,000 Jews who resided in Denmark, only a few hundred were captured.

    Can you imagine what would have happened if every country had, like the Danes, done what they could to do what was right and resist what was being done that was wrong?

    In a book I read recently on the rescue and the Danish resistance movement, it tells that one man, an ambulance driver, was on his way to work when he noticed some friends stopping people in the street to tell them something. When he found out that the Jews were about to be taken away, he rushed to a phone booth and tore out the phonebook. Then instead of going to work that day, he underlined all the names in the phonebook that he thought could be Jewish and drove his ambulance to each of their houses to warn them, and if they didn’t have a place to hide, to take them someplace where someone would hide them and help them.

    The book also quotes a leader in Denmark who wrote (in a letter of protest against the nazis), “The Jews here in Denmark form a part of the country’s population and a step against them will affect the whole Danish people.”

    Can you imagine the difference that would be made if the Christians in the United States felt the same about the children and the innocent and the injustices that are being done to them? If they were affected as they should be by all the wrong being done? If they had that kind of conviction and that kind of passion to act on their convictions?

    An English political philosopher once wrote, “The one condition necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    The adults — the generations before ours — as a whole, aren’t doing what needs to be done — the children are still dying, the laws are still unjust, evil is still triumphing.

    In Denmark, before the round up of the Jews, many kids felt the way I do now — that some of the adults in their country were cowardly because they were compromising and weren’t yet resisting, like they should, the evil that was triumphing over the people.
    There was a group of 11 teenage boys, ages 14 to 17, who felt that way so they decided to form a resistance group and to resist the nazis as best they could on their own. They ended up being arrested because of what they did.
    After the arrest, one of them was quoted by a local newspaper as saying, “If you older folk will do nothing, we will have to do something instead.”
    I think we, the young people now, need an attitude like that.

    In the United States, when schools were segregated, the children and teenagers had to integrate them. If they hadn’t, we would now have to.
    Some of the kids who fought, peacefully, to integrate the schools were beaten, spit at, cursed at, burned in the school showers, targeted by drive-by shootings at their homes, threatened with death threats, and almost permanently blinded by acid.

    If they could do that — go through all of that — for what they believed, I say we can stand now for what we believe. We can be a people who honors God in belief, in word, and in action. We need to be.

    But what will cause US to do so — to kneel before God and repent, as part of this nation, and then to stand up and protect the children — the innocent?

    What will it take to cause us to become — to be part of — the Christian nation that God desires to see?

    I’ve begun praying, every time I see an injustice or find out about an injustice, that God will show me what to do and will transform me in His Image so that I will be fully willing and ready to lay down my life for Him and to do whatever He wills for me to do to fight or stand in that area.

    If you, and even just a few others, join in this prayer and if we all heed God’s Call when He shows us what He wills for us to do . . . I think that’s a start. Somebody somewhere fought to protect those baby eagles. Who’s to say that we, with God on our side, cannot fight and succeed to protect our fellow human beings?

    Germany, before it was ruled by nazis during World War 2 in the 30’s and 40’s, was considered a Christian nation — much like we consider the United States to be a Christian nation. But when hitler took over, it succumbed — kind of like our nation succumbs to evil and injustice. Why?

    A young man named Hans Scholl was in his 20s when the nazis were ruling over Germany. When back home from college for a time he was listening to an “enemy broadcast” on the radio that reported that the German Communists and Social Democrats had resisted the nazis and had been caught. Upon hearing this Hans cried out, “Where are the Christians?”

    I feel that cry challenging me, my generation, and my nation.

    Hans later gave his life, because of his convictions as a Christian, to resist the nazis and their evil and to spread truth to the German people.

    Hannah, I think that answers your question about why a great injustice is allowed when there is a law against a smaller injustice — because few answer the cry that rose up within Hans and willingly stand and give their lives for the sake of justice.

    But I also hope to encourage you by saying that we can answer that cry and can change things if we ask God to help us and to guide us and to enable us to do the part He has for us to do to bring forth justice — to protect the children and innocent — to stand as the people of Denmark or as Hans did and say with our lives, with our words, and with our actions, “No more,” to the injustices being done and the evil now triumphing.

  • Emily and Hannah: I actually design everything on the site. The images themselves (e.g. the hands in this post’s header) are purchased off a website called iStockPhoto and then edited in Photoshop. :)

  • Megan M

    I really admire my friend who leads my accountability group. All my friends are wonderful, godly young men and women, but I have been particularly affected by Rachel’s desire to grow in God. She is faithful to submit to God’s conviction about her sin and pursue change. The result of these small things is an increasing passion for God that challenges all those around her to follow, including the two children she nannys.

    Mark 10:35-44 talks about how James and John asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left sides in Heaven. Jesus said that those places have already be prepared for particular people. My mom once said that she would not be surprised to find that one seat is for a godly lady who’s job on earth was to clean public restrooms. I often think of that in regards to hard things. It’s not so much how God uses us as how we honor Him in doing what He assigns to us that brings Him glory.

  • Kaisha

    I just need to take a minute to say thanks for making it clear that a hard thing does not involve doing something absolutely incredible that everyone will notice. I really appreciate it that you encourage hard things done in quiet that nobody is going to notice. Not everyone can or will do something huge and amazing, but everyone can step outside of their comfort zone, and do small things that challenge them. Thanks!

  • Elisabeth

    Hey thank you so much guys for that post. Very challenging and thought-provoking. Thank you for encouraging us in this walk to glorify the Lord!

  • m.c.

    >>> Why is it against the law if you acidently break an eagle’s egg but it is okay to kill a human being

    Good question. Our laws are pro-life when it comes to destroying a bald eagle’s eggs. Yet our law’s are pro-choice when it comes to abortion. Most everyone on here is pro-life in the case of abortion, and is probably pro-life in the case of eagle’s eggs. Why is this? I allege 2 things:

    1) Suppose, hypothetically, that in order for that eagle egg to live, you would be responsible for it. Let’s go further and imagine that the eagle embryo’s life would demand all the sacrifices on your part that pregnancy demands. If this were the case, we’d quickly become pro-choice with regards to eagle egg destruction.
    2) Suppose, hypothetically, that somehow the responsibility to care for an unwed mother’s fetus was somehow completely transferred to us. Let’s say there was some medical procedure that would allow us to transfer the fetus from her body to our’s. It’s a scenario difficult to imagine. But let us just say that you would have to become pregnant through no fault of your own. If the burden of someone else’s pregnancy were somehow shifted to us, we’d probably become a little less pro-life with regards to abortion.

  • Nicole

    m.c.: It is unfair of you to try to pass the burdens of your lack of conviction about right and wrong to us. There are particular weaknesses that I have in my spiritual life and I would never DREAM of laying them on someone else’s shoulders in order to tell myself that I should feel less bad because more people are weak. No. I take my weaknesses before God and I ask Him to be strong through me and for me. I take all that is flesh and sin in my life to the Cross of Christ and I ask that it be crucified. I need to do both these things daily, and it is painful, but it is better than pretending to live and destroying myself and others in the process . . . and it is better to die daily at the Cross to sin and flesh and to ask God to help me with what I fail at than it is to die the death of being separated from God by allowing sin, or anything, to be between me and Him.

    1) Drop any or as many birds you find at my doorstep and I will care for them. If you don’t want to care for a life besides your own — fine! Shift the burden to someone with a little love. Don’t kill the bird because you are selfish. Give it to be adopted by someone with a heart! That’s the least you could do as an unresponsible human being.

    2) Create a procedure that can transfer the embryos of unwanted unborn babies into other’s wombs and you’ll be a hero to many. I would give my life to birth, to care for or provide for, to save as many children as I could. I’d do it for millions if I could. Even doing it for one, it’d be worth it.

    Don’t assume that everybody is like you. I’d rather die than believe it’s right or just for an innocent child to be murdered. I’d rather die a million deaths than to sentence or agree with sentencing an embryo or a baby to death.

    ~

    Anyone else reading, consider this: Mary became pregnant with Jesus when she was not yet married to Joseph. Would you advise abortion? Or would you do whatever it takes, offering your own life, money, etc., to ensure that the Embryo, and then later, Baby, is safely carried and then born, then would you provide for and care for the child, by all means?

  • Nicole

    . . . and what if the cut-off age for legal murder was changed from 9-months-old (counting the time you’re in the womb) to 19 or 20 or any age. Tomorrow, or any day in the future until you reach that magic age of being counted a “person” by this country, someone could legally choose to take you downtown to a clinic and have you killed using one of several torturous and painful, yet approved, methods (depending on your age).

    How “pro-choice” do you feel at that end of the deal?

  • Emily

    Nicole:I think – although I can’t be sure – that M.C. was talking about society in general. Well, not the pro-choice society, but a lot of others. Although some of us think we’d be willing to birth others babies, not everyone would feel that way. I’m not saying that I doubt your willingness. I feel the same way, but it’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t given birth before. 😀 Of course, we should be willing to make any amount of sacrifice in order to save the lives of these innocent children who are being abominably murdered without a second thought being given, but I think that even my enthusiasm might be abated after going through the process.

  • Handmaidens

    Sorry to break up the whole discussion on abortion, but I just have a brief suggestion for a little thing that has a major impact. When asked the common question, do not give the common reply. The common question is,”How are you?” The common reply is,”Just fine.” and onto the next subject. My family has tried to give some new responses to people. “Well, God has been so amazing to me this week!” or “Hey, I’ve been given so many blessings from God! The air breathe, the food I eat,etc.” These and many other responses have planted seeds I know. My father in particular, being out in the world each day, has had some valuable conversations with believers and unbelievers. Some people will mock, some turn away. But we have so many opportunities of doing small things that may plant a seed for the future. Alex and Brett, I really appreciated your helpful reminder to do the small things faithfully.
    His Handmaiden, Caitlin

  • Andrew Branch

    Thanks Heather!
    __________________________
    Emily: “…but I think that even my enthusiasm might be abated after going through the process.”

    I think you are entirely right. Our enthusiasm probably would change. However, your enthusiasm being diminished doesn’t affect your conviction. God forbid that our circumstances and our feelings affect the convictions that we find in the truths of the Bible. Truth does not depend on feeling. I say this because of the way I interpret “…we’d probably become a little less pro-life…”
    __________________________
    Nicole, I share your feelings. However, if I may, I would like to say something from brother in Christ to sister in Christ. We can still be just as adamant about being pro-life without lashing out.
    __________________________
    Great thoughts Caitlin!

  • Emily

    Andrew: You are totally right that changed enthusiasm should not affect conviction. I hope that no matter how enthusiastic I am – or am not – I will always follow my convictions in regards to ANYTHING.

    Caitlin What a great idea! I’m going to try it!

  • Nicole

    I had no intention to “lash out.” I’ll admit, I was angry. One of my best friends growing up — who grew up in a Christian home and who was partially homeschooled, who I spent nearly every day with for a couple years when my family life was rough and her family provided a relatively safe haven and meals — got pregnant a few years ago and had an abortion at age 19. I saw her in her car the other day and when I looked in her car I saw a soccer ball in the backseat and I thought about the child she killed and the way she lives her life now and I felt so incredibly bothered by it that I started running so she wouldn’t recognize me and stop me to talk. You probably think that’s bad — that I’m a bad person for not witnessing to her — but you see, she already has enough “compromising Christians” in her life that are trying to make her feel better that she feels content enough and like she “has” God without having to change. She is still friends with pretty much all the same friends we used to have — all “Christian” friends who when I started writing poems and chose to surrender to God and asking God to help me live my life for Him, thought that I was too “extreme” and walked out on me or betrayed me. They all refuse to talk to me — to remain my friend — because of my convictions, yet they can remain friends with someone who kills their child. “Modern tolerance” — I think it’s called. Pardon me, but I can’t stomach it. It’s saying, “That’s okay! We have sin in our lives, too. Isn’t it good to be a broken Christian?” to someone who won’t give up a life of sin and saying to someone who seeks to love God, “Live a little. And love people first (not God).” They follow people in a church whose church leaders brew their own beer and wanted to put drugs in it, but just didn’t because they “thought it might be illegal.” I will not be that kind of “Christian,” nor will I hesitate in becoming the Christian Jesus taught me — through His Life and death — to be.

    If our enthusiasm for what we believe about the protection of the lives of the most innocent of children would change by having to bear a little pain for them then I say we need to desparately ask for our hearts to be transformed and filled with the Heart and Love of Christ. We are called to love God first, and to love people second of all. If we could not bear to love the children by bearing pain — not even death — for them so that they would not die, what does that say about our love for them? It says that it is OUR own love and that we have not been filled full enough of the Father’s Love so that it overflows to them. And if our enthusiasm to love and protect the children would be abated by bearing some pain for them — not by even laying our lives down for them — how can we expect to love and witness to anybody that would require similar, yet different, suffering to help “birth” them into the Kingdom of God — to carry them and provide spiritual nourishment for them and help cover them until they are strong in Christ? And would we turn on God — lose our enthusiasm to follow Him — if asked to lay down our lives for Him (as is required, to some extent, of all Christians)? If what you said is true of us about the children, then I believe we would. I believe we would consider the suffering we might have to bear for the cause and like Peter in the Gospels, would try to weasel out of it because we have no “enthusiasm” to meet Him at the Cross. Jesus wasn’t too “enthusiastic” about it either, but He Loved . . . so He bore it. I think this has been a GREAT wake up call for us to realize what we need to do in our time alone with God — we need to ask for His Love to so fill us that and consume us so that we know with conviction that our lives are truly, as Christians, not our own to choose what we do with them and how we might more easily, aside from the Will of God, obey His Commandments and so that we literally Love the children because His Love overflows in us and through us every moment. I know I need to pray that and seek that diligently.

    I cannot apologize for what I said. m.c. was not saying that he/she is for abortion — I noticed that diistinctly before I posted — but he or she was insinuating to a 13-year-old young lady that childbearing abates God’s Love in our lives and to me it sounded like he was saying that it’s okay because many people feel the same way. I wanted her to know that I, and many others, feel — and live and act — emphaticly different than that brand of “Christian.”

    And Handmadiens, that’s alright to break into our discussion about pro-life vs. pro-choice. We are off the original subject to begin with — well, unless you go so deep as to consider that we are, in a few ways, learning how our hearts are and that we need to change if we are going to be witnesses to others like the people mentioned above have been — through doing uncredited, unenjoyable work for the Kingdom (I’m not talking about carrying others’ babies — I’m just talking about bearing sacrifices for others in any form asked of us.)

    This was not written to lash out either, but because I love the children and am pained to read some of what I have read about how we are perceived as being — not because we are that way, necessarily, but because it sounds like we are willing to settle for that. Please take my words knowing how I feel for the children. And know that I considered when I wrote what I wrote how I felt and how I would feel if I were asked now to bear the child my former friend did not want. I knew that it wouldn’t be my first choice of what I would like to do with my life, but I know that if it were asked of me that it would nevertheless be my ONLY choice — as a Christian.

  • Nicole

    One more note: I read what I wrote someone I know who has, in the past, gone through a very painful, 44 hours of labor and she said that bringing people to be born again in the Kingdom of God is MORE painful. I thought that was interesting and insightful (and surprising). It also shone some light, for me, on how far we all have to go to willingly, and in a way worthy of His Sacrifice for us, witness to others daily.

    And also, I wanted to share with you that I believe that when we suffer, as Christians, that it should increase our love (for God and for others). Phillipians 3:10-14 (Amp.) says:

    “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His Resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

    That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] Resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].

    Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

    I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

    I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and Heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”

    As we suffer, we should come to a better (although, not yet full) understanding of His Love and what He suffered to Love us and out of Love for us, and our love for Him should grow because of this (by our growing understanding of what He bore for us on the Cross) so that we more and more seek Him and give our lives to Him, so that He is thus able to fill us more full of His Love.

  • Nicole

    “If indeed you [really] fulfill the royal Law in accordance with the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, you do well.
    But if you show servile regard (prejudice, favoritism) for people, you commit sin and are rebuked and convicted by the Law as violators and offenders.”
    James 2:8-9

    I am convicted by this, too.

  • Emily

    Nicole: I am glad that you have such strong convictions! This whole conversation has really made me start thinking about how much I do the things I have enthusiasm for – yet I tend to neglect some of my convictions because of a lack of enthusiasm. Now… when it comes to politics or evolution, I’m willing to jump in and debate my cause. But when it comes to witnessing, I stand aside in spite of my convictions because I’m not enthusiastic enough. I’ve struggled with it so much and it’s hard not to be discouraged. Anyhow… I really appreciate your strength.

    By the way, I am the same when it comes to avoiding people who have strayed; I’ve wondered whether or not I’m right in doing it as well. I guess it’s just human nature to avoid those people because we [or at least I] have been hurt by their choices – even though they technically didn’t directly affect us.

  • Andrew Branch

    I agree with you whole heartedly Nicole. I did not mean to offend you if I did by what I said.

    In Christ,
    Andrew

  • Nicole

    Emily: It’s interesting that Caitlin brought up about witnessing when we were talking about this because it struck me that what is said by most people is, “Be kind to people and they will become Christians,” rather than, “Truly LOVE them with the LOVE that Jesus talked about when He said, ‘No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.’ (John 15:13 Amp.) Lay down your life for them! Give them Jesus by living the Message He died to bring them!” I read recently on another blog that someone commented that the nicest people they knew are some of the worst sinners they know, and they asked, “Because they are nice to me should I sin as they do?” because the author of the blog had taught that if we are kind to people then they will want to become Christians. I have been shocked lately to realize how our view of witnessing differs from Jesus’ View of witnessing. Hudson Taylor said of the work of witnessing still to be accomplished in China, “This work will not be done without crucifixion,” and also, “If the Spirit of God work mightily, we may be quite sure that the spirit of evil will also be active.” When Jesus spoke the Truth it seems like people left everything and followed Him or sought to kill Him — they loved Him or they hated Him. In a nation where it is pretty much illegal to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” in the workplace and where a judge is fired for displaying the Ten Commandments in a court building, what are we doing? How would they treat Jesus if He walked this earth now? Do they treat us the same? I mean, the little things are important, too. Like, how we respond to everyday questions CAN be used to change someone’s life. But how do we respond to the big questions that peoples hearts ask when they see us? Do we answer those with the same passion that Jesus would? Do we cause them to see Him? Do they either leave everything and follow Him when we reveal Him to them or see us as a threat that needs to be stopped? I am beginning to understand more about not “limiting ourselves” to “small” things. Do you know what I mean?
    And know that any strength I have is not my own but the Father’s — which means you can have it all, too, if you ask for it and treasure the value of obtaining it by seeking after Him with your whole heart, mind soul and strength until you obtain it. And remember that we are only as strong as we are willing to lean on Him and that we are only as empowered as we are willing to surrender to Him. People often thought that Hudson Taylor was a mighty and strong man in the Kingdom, but his response was that he believed that God had only been looking for someone as weak as him so that He could fill Him and fully use him because he would have to rely on His Strength always. Here’s another quote from Hudson that shows us the secret he well knew:
    “It is remarkable how the Lord has chosen His instruments, so that even the most insignificant, in His Hand, are able to be ‘to the praise of His Glory.’ Surely it goes as in creation; there are strong and beautiful oak trees, but there are also little flowers in the meadow, and both the oak and the flower have been placed there by His Hand. I myself, for instance, am not especially gifted and am shy by nature, but my gracious and merciful God and Father inclined Himself to me, and I who was weak in faith He strengthened while I was still young. He taught me in my helplessness to rest on Him, and to pray even about little things in which another might have felt able to help himself.”

    Andrew: I am glad to hear that. Thank you.

  • Handmaidens

    Nicole, we do easily begin to think that being nice is witnessing. We ought be carefully examing the Scripture for the correct way to witness. It also involves being good judge of other people. Jesus responded to different people differently. But what attracted some people and repeled others was His faithfulness and power. This is what ought to set us apart from the world. We are a faithful, consistent people. So hold to your true convictions, as along as they are within God’s thinking. And be careful how you approach others. Some people may see you “railing” against abortion and see (hypotheticly speaking) you are rude to your siblings. If they see this inconsistency, this will turn them off. Here is another instance of little things. While fighting the pro-life vs. pro-choice issue, faithfully complety all your smaller tasks. Raising a child is a big task. We must as young women prove ourselves worthy of the honor of becoming a mother. If I cannot complete the tasks my parents require of me, I am not worthy of the honor of motherhood which the Lord would give me. We certainly can thank God that He gives us the strength to complete the tasks He gives us.
    His Handmaiden,
    Caitlin

  • Amy

    Thanks for the prayers! My sister is doing much better. Did you know that 80-90% of babies with down syndrome are aborted? My sister is a precious gift from God. It’s so nice to be with other youth who abhor abortion like I do.
    Peace,
    Amy

  • Nicole

    Caitlin: Raising a child IS a big task that cannot be done apart from God in a way that honors God — I learned that from how my mother raised me and I apply it daily to how I attempt to encourage and “raise” up in a godly fashion my spiritual children.

    I am weak and inconsistant, by nature, but I will ask daily to be consumed by God’s Character and for Him to Live through me with the Strength and consistancy that is His alone.

    All that I can promise you, or anyone else concerned, is that I will continually rely on Him and daily go to the Cross and ask Him to crucify all that would separate me from Him unto the Resurrection. But as that promise is born by the Promises of the One we love and seek after . . . I believe that it is both sufficient and great and more than you would, or could, ask.

  • Nicole

    Amy: I would bet that people with down syndrome more commonly have hearts for God that are greater than our own. Imagine that anyone could consider destroying that? It’s fully destroying something that would bring God’s Heart Joy! Same applies to all abortions because it is children who are being destroyed and God called us to be like children when we come to Him. It is truly an injustice against His own Heart that is being done with each and every abortion. May God make this nation’s heart more like yours in the ways that you please Him and love Him and help bring love and joy to Him. I am so glad that your sister is doing better! Thanks for letting us know. It was good for me to be encouraged by your comment. Thank you!

  • Emily

    Nicole I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about all of this. I guess that my mind has taken various rabbit trails and I’ve gone from abortion to witnessing to the basic Christian walk. I have been realizing more fully how shallow I’ve been. I’ve been sticking with the ‘little hard things’ like getting along with my siblings, taking initiative around the house, etc. So yeah, I’m “Doing hard things!” But… I’m missing out on the opportunities to do the real hard things. Like witnessing. I tend to take the easy route of being nice to people, etc. But as you said, that’s not truly witnessing. Sure, it’s good to be nice & I know that people see a difference in me [they’ve told me to my face] -but it’s just not the same as telling them of Christ and His love.
    Thanks for the reminder of the source of your strength. It’s wonderful that I have access to so much through Christ! I just need to ask for it.

    Amy: I am so glad to hear about your sister being better! I hope that God will continue to bless you and your family.

  • Becky

    Hey Guys, I have a question?
    What do you think of home churches? I know Godly families who attend large congregations and those that have church at home with just their family. I know that the Bible says. “Do not forsake the assembling together”, do you think this is a command to attend a traditional church?
    thanks for your time,
    Becky

  • Amy

    Nicole: Thankyou for your kind words.

  • Nicole

    Emily: Yes! This has helped me grow too. As I write, God teaches me. It’s incredible when God teaches us lovingly One on one and together. I’m amazed at His Perspective. I have had ALOT of moments when I first glimpse His View of something and I realize how shallow I am and how HOLY He is.
    Keep going deeper in Him. Keep asking. Never, ever stop.

    Amy: Thank YOU!!

    Becky: I used to attend church, my family used to have church meetings in our home, and for a long time as of recent I have not had either but have still gathered with whoever will seek God wholeheartedly — usually just one other person — so I have a little experience with the things you mentioned along with not attending origanized “church” at all. My advise to you is this: Ask God to Guide you every day to make wherever you are a church — a sanctuary of worship that glorifies Him with witness and with song — unto Him. And also, wherever you are you should be growing (as that is the purpose of the church — to help each other grow in love and service to God). If you don’t feel like you are growing, ask God if there is something that He has for you to do to spur everyone on or if He wants to move you into a different environment ask Him to make you willing and ready to do so and to direct your steps from each “level” of growth to the next.
    To me, THIS is church. My bedroom is church. The kitchen is church. The car is church. Anywhere I yield in obedience to God and thus bring forth His Kingdom to IS church — the kind of church God still “attends.”

  • Emily

    Becky: As long as you are having fellowship with other believers, it doesn’t matter where. At least that’s the conclusion that I’ve come to. And the number of people doesn’t matter a whole lot: it’s just important to be in contact with other believers so that they can strengthen and encourage you and vice versa. My family just recently left a small church (3 families), and we were meeting at the Pastor’s house on Wednesday nights. We rented a school for Sundays.

    The ‘church’ has become more of a place to people these days when in reality, the church is the body of Christ. Therefore, where two or three are gathered in God’s name – that’s the church. You yourself are part of the church even if you aren’t joining with a local congregation in a church building simply because you are redeemed by the blood of Christ.

    So… those are the thoughts of a 16-year-old who doesn’t know as much as she probably should. 😛

    Nicole: You are so right! I find myself getting proud sometimes, then God shows me something to make me realize just how small I am. But more importantly, He also shows how big He is. We serve and incredible Savior!!

  • Hannah Williams

    Wow!Nicole,thank you for replying to so many post.I really enjoy reading your comments.
    And where can I get that book about the danish man?And about how God has used being an abolishtionist in my life,it would take a rather enourmas e-mail to tell.
    In a short story,in everything I do that honors God brings me closer Him.
    And what I tell people when they ask “Why bother with something that does not effect you?”To me its the same as the war,We can run but we can not hide.We can spend our lives just pretending there is no slavery or war or abortion,But God will judge us for not doing anything.H e will punish us for if we do not use the gifts He has given us to glorify Him.I do get discouraged at times,when the going gets tuff.But I have to remember,this is not my life to live.This life is a gift from God.I am a pastors daughter.So I move a lot.I am almost 13 and Im about to move for the 14 th time.I tend to get full of my self and I feel real sorry my self some times.But the bible the says the things of this earth will not last,but God last forever.In all of this I get closer in my relationship with Christ.
    Adn I am glad so many people saw my question about abortion.Thank you all for commenting back. Your sister in Christ,Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    Hey Victoria,Can you call me?

  • m.c.

    Nicole,

    I never made the argument that abortion was okay. I ask you questions such as these:
    1) How many children have you adopted?
    2) How many down-syndrome children have you adopted?
    3) Would you be willing to go through the shame of having to have a rapist’s baby?
    4) Would you be willing to give up any future plans (marriage, college) to have a baby you did not want?
    5) Would your family be willing to pay higher taxes to support babies of unwed mother’s who choose not to get an abortion?

    Nicole, I want to stress this point very clearly: You are absolutely right when you say that your or my answers to these questions in no way change the fact that abortion is wrong. If you answer “No” to every one of these questions, abortion is still wrong. My point is simply this: If you can’t answer “Yes” to all of them, get off your high horse and stop criticizing women who have abortions. You’re acting the classical self-righteous Pharisee: “I thank thee oh God that I’m not unholy like other women who have abortions”. Recognize you’re a sinner, you’re former friend is a sinner, and move on. You’ll be closer to God and have win back your friends when you realize a non-judgmental person is not only more righteous before God, but also before Man.

  • Nicole

    m.c.: I am really angry today at exactly this kind of religion — the kind that doesn’t witness an attitude of constantly seeking to be transformed, and that calls those who have been humbled enough by their weaknesses to do so “proud.” And it makes me even madder knowing that you are someone who people know of as a pro-life advocate. And that you are someone who people I know look up to.

    1 and 2) No, I haven’t adopted any children with down-syndrome or any other children. God has caused me to be too busy about His other work for me so far in life. But through the work He has so far set before me, I hope to “adopt” millions of children spiritually as He provides for and enables me to do so. If, and/or when, He leads me to literally adopt a child — or 20 children in quick succession — I immediately will adopt whomever He leads me to.

    3) I would. And I would rather a thousand times go through the innocent shame before the world of having a rapist’s baby than to go through the entirely guilty shame before God of having killed a child He Breathed life from His own Being into and formed with sweet, tender, gentle care.

    4) I have given up all plans for God (including marriage — so far — and college) — and all else for God. So yes, if He allowed it it would become His Will for me to keep all that I have already surrendered to Him in His Hands so that I might raise a child by His Guidance, Compassion and Love.

    5) My mother — my only true family — and I would be willing to give all our money to pay for children to live instead of giving part of our money through taxes that helps kill children.

    I do thank God, daily, for His Grace. I often think that the fact that He Saved me shows that He could Save anybody. I, alone, am unholy, a sinner, and a murderer in the worst way — of Jesus Christ, my Lord — and I deserve only death and Hell for eternity. Only by the Grace and Love of God am I, or do I witness, anything good, beautiful, Holy, or pleasing in His Sight — you’ll probably notice I capitalized “Holy” and that is because I realize fully that it is the Holiness of the Holy One of Israel and never my own. My own holiness is as filthy rags and putrid rubish before the Lord who I seek to Glorify.

    I do thank my God that I He enabled me, through His Mercy and Compassion alone, to not make assumptions of and judge you as you have just done towards me. I was angry — very angry — so it is only by His Love that I pray the best for you still.

    And you are right if you are saying that if it were not for God, then there would be no reason why I would not be a worse sinner than my former friend — I do not deny that one bit, but I admit it fully, and with a grateful heart for His Sacrifice and Work at the Cross to Save me even then, to the Glory of a Great God.
    And you’re right on the last recount, too, only in that all unrighteous judgement is spitting on God’s Compassion (especially towards His children) — so it needs to stop.

    PS – I advise you to ask God for a MORE “Eternal Perspective” . . . please?

  • Nicole

    Hannah: It is so true that all that we do in seeking to honor God does bring us closer to Him — and to a better understanding of His Grace to grant us that we CAN honor Him! I am just astounded today that we — human beings, so fallen and corrupt, and so useless on our own — can truly honor a Holy God. I mean WOW! That is LOVE for Him to even ALLOW us to come before Him on bended knee. But then to enable us to then do something pleasing to Him? I am beyond words grateful today.

    As Christians, everything that is wrong should affect us because we should be deeply tied into and affected by God’s Heart and Feelings. I am so encouraged that you seek this and already bear the signs of it by what you believe and want to do. Thank you so much for sharing!

    I am older than you, and in a few years, you will be older than 12-year-olds who, like you right now, want to follow God. It is right that we are to lead those younger than us to God’s Heart. But the fun thing — once you begin to do that — is that those younger than you will help “lead” you deeper into God’s Heart. It soon becomes the older person’s job to encourage, while the younger challenges and “leads” the “race” ahead into purity and holiness with passion for God.

    I pray that God will help me to keep up with those who are younger who challenge me — and to continue to challenge and encourage them equally.

    Keep pursuing God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength — relying on Him to provide the strength and love to persevere in glorifying Him. I have learned that it is not so bad to be discouraged, because in discouragement we realize that we need God’s Strength and Love. Ask Him to help you learn the right things through the discouragement and to help you to remember to and continue to apply what you have learned — relying on Him — when the going gets easy and you might think you COULD do something on your own.

    PS – I would love to recommend some books about the Danish resistance movement, but there aren’t any REALLY good ones in print! The book where I got the story about that man is a little bit harshly written so I am not quite ready to recommend it to you. I’m sorry! I will keep an eye out, though, for ways that I can pass the good stuff about that part of history on to you (I think there might be something out there that I came across a while back — I’ll have to research it when I have another break). Sorry!

  • Kensington

    M.C., Thank God for women on “high horses!” My mother became pregnant with me when she was in the Air Force. She looked for the quickest way to remedy the embarrassing situation, since she was not married and my father was married to someone else. She decided to abort me. She wrote to a close friend of hers asking her to look up places that she could have it done cheaply. Instead, the friend sent back information of a place where she could go and have me and then put me up for adoption. I’m glad it wasn’t left up to my mother, who obviously did not love me or care for me, but someone else stepped in, perhaps, a woman on her “high horse” who believed that everyone should be given a chance to live. 9 months of pregnancy is not too much to ask for a life. My mother even played on the Air Force women’s basketball team while she was very pregnant with me. I have a friend whose older sibling was aborted because his parents, who were married, at the time, decided that they wanted to become more financially stable before having kids. I wish they knew someone on a “high horse.” Life has got to mean something beyond our petty inconveniences and selfish desires. Jesus died for each soul created and each one has immeasurable worth to Him. Then it should to us, too. Abortion is murder. It is the taking of a life that God created. I met my mother once and we seemed to bond somewhat, but then she sent me a letter that said “Please let me forget that you ever existed.” Easily done, but I do matter to God and I am loved by God and I am immensely grateful for a friend of my mother who thought that I should be given a chance.
    Another perspective, M.C., sometimes people, those who we think are friends leave us because they will not listen to truth, not because we are being judgmental. Jesus didn’t have too many flank his side and He even asked them if they were going to leave, too, because He had spoken of drinking the blood and eating the body. M.C., I will pray for you to know truth and for you to no longer judge those who speak and write truth. Yes, I will mount my “high horse,” humble myself before God and pray for you for I believe you are “fallen and can’t get up.”

  • Kensington

    Caitlin, I don’t believe that our greatest witness to the world is our faithfulness and consistency. There are people in all kinds of occupations, all kinds of religions that do it better than we do. I believe that our witness is God’s love through us unto sacrificing our lives for those we are trying to reach. Is it right to sacrifice your life to save the lives of unborn, unrepresented children? That seems like love to me. If my brother or my sister were about to murder someone, I would, with all the might I could summon and then asking for God’s Might, ask how I could prevent the tragedy. I believe that God sees abortion as murder and I also believe that within the family of God, someone with enough of God within them could never deny God nor murder, especially an innocent child. Why won’t people stand up and defend the children and yet, they are so concerned that people will look at our lives and judge if we measure up by how we treat others who murder. Something is wrong with this whole picture. I believe that perhaps a servant of God could murder without a conscience, but a true child of God couldn’t. Is it right to stay a “handmaiden of God” when God calls us to become sons and daughters, friends and then the Bride? Why is there no progression into the family and the family’s likeness? I could never brag about being a servant, when I have been invited to become a true child. Move on and stop wondering about what people think. When you get enough of your Heavenly Father within you, you will simply live out his LIfe and no longer consider the responses of those who don’t have His Heart. We are to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbors, as ourselves. Looking good and right and faithful and kind and pleasant, and self-assured is so much less than that. Jesus never ever once worried about the opinions of others unto His own death. He lived out the Father’s love even unto rebuke of the religious ones – Matthew 23. I believe with all my heart that Jesus appeared rude to countless people in countless situations because He had a higher calling than appearance. He was called to speak the truth. May we be the same.

  • Nicole

    If threatened with death, with torture, with inconvenience; would I deny the Lord’s Name and bow to the evil one?
    By the Grace of God, I can say NO! And I can know with conviction that this is true.

    If threatened with shame, with discomfort, with pain; would I make the choice to kill a child?
    By the Grace of God, NO! By the Grace of God, that child would live.

    But how do I obtain the Grace of God?
    I am fallen man, a sinner, a criminal condemned to die and spend eternity in Hell. I am unworthy to deserve such a thing — such a glorious Mercy bestowed.

    How, then, do I obtain the Grace of God?

    I can but bow and repent with my all letting the Blood and Water pour over my head from His Heart that broke for my sins — and that broke as I murdered Him. I can but trust the Love that Bleeds and cried out with Compassion for Forgiveness to be bestowed on this sinner I am that knew not her King.

    Yes, Grace is mine — but at what a terrible price it came! Now, Grace is mine, thus I will not crucify again with a heart of murder the One I adore with thanks.

    And Grace will be mine, but only as I surrender and rely alone on Him who died to bring this Life to me — to offer Strength and Love to me.

    I trust You, Lord, though I am weak, that You have Strength enough for me.

  • Nicole

    This last year, I read some about the story of a woman named Rita Fedrizzi, from Italy, who found out that she had cancer and found out that she was pregnant at the same time. The doctors recommended that she kill the child through abortion to save her own life — through treatment of the cancer — but she refused and gave her own life, literally, to save her child.

    Just 3 minutes ago, I came across the following two articles about a woman who just very recently gave her life — and surrendered her chances of fighting cancer and perhaps living a few years longer — to save her child.

    I am grateful, so grateful, that this woman allowed God to enable her to give a beautiful baby boy — young Liam — life. I didn’t notice the articles mentioning God, but I know that He is the only way anyone — any human being born fallen and cursed — could have the strength and love and compassion to do this . . . this incredible thing. I cannot put into words how it makes me feel.

    Pray with me for the two families as they grieve and go on in life in, and because of, love.

    Let us also honor the sacrifices these two women made by asking that God will make our hearts like His in all the ways that their hearts were.

    Thank You, God, for Your Gift of Love through these two women to our generation! Thank You, thank You, thank You!

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325458,00.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/womenfamily.html?in_article_id=510308&in_page_id=1799

    (I am also posting the full text of the articles below because online news articles sometimes quickly expire and become unavailable. I do recommend also going through the links as long as they are working, though, to see the wonderful pictures of this family.)

    “Mother Delays Cancer Treatments So Baby Can Live”
    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Expectant mother Lorraine Allard learned the devastating news that she was in the advanced stages of liver cancer when she was four months pregnant, according to the Daily Mail.

    Allard, of St. Olaves in the U.K., had a choice: Delay treatment to save her baby, or terminate the pregnancy to save herself.

    She chose the former, waiting until the fetus was viable before scheduling a Caesarean section.

    “If I am going to die, my baby is going to live,” Allard told her husband, Martyn, according to the Mail.

    The baby came a week early and Allard, 33, gave birth on Nov. 18 to a healthy but premature boy she named Liam.

    Exactly two months later, Allard died. She’d begun chemotherapy just after her son’s birth. But in the end, it was too late.

    Doctors believe Allard had bowel cancer that had gone undetected for years, eventually spreading to her liver. She realized something was wrong after she began suffering from stomach cramps, and tests revealed that her liver was covered with malignant tumors, the Mail reported.

    “The doctors said they couldn’t do anything because she was pregnant,” Martyn Allard, 34, told the Mail. “She told them straight away they were not going to get rid of it. She’d have lost the will to fight.”

    The courageous and selfless mother was able to get out of bed and hold her tiny son several times beside his incubator before her death. Liam is the Allards’ fourth child and first boy; his sisters are Leah, 10; Amy, 8; and Courtney, 20 months.

    “Lorraine was positive all the way through,” Martyn Allard told the paper. “She had strength for both of us. I can’t begin to describe how brave she was. Towards the end we knew things weren’t going well, but she was overjoyed that she had given life to Liam.”

    “Mother sacrificed her life by refusing cancer treatment so her premature baby would live”

    Lorraine Allard lost cancer battle three weeks after giving birth

    By ANDREW LEVY – Last updated at 13:42pm on 26th January 2008

    Four months into her pregnancy, Lorraine Allard was devastated to learn she was in the advanced stages of cancer.

    Doctors advised her to have an abortion and start chemotherapy straight away.

    Instead, with steadfast courage, she insisted on waiting long enough to give her unborn son a chance to survive, telling her husband Martyn: “If I am going to die, my baby is going to live.”

    A caesarean delivery was scheduled at 26 weeks, but Mrs Allard went into premature labour a week before and Liam was born on November 18.

    She then started chemotherapy, but died on January 18 – having left her bed a handful of times to cuddle her son beside his incubator.

    “Lorraine was positive all the way through – she had strength for both of us,” Mr Allard said yesterday.

    “Towards the end we knew things weren’t going well, but she was overjoyed that she had given life to Liam.”

    The 34-year-old oilfield technician from St Olaves, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and his 33-year-old wife already had three daughters – Leah, ten, Amy, eight, and Courtney, 20 months – when they learned they were expecting their first boy

    “We were going to have the full set and didn’t plan to have any more children after that,” said Mr Allard.

    But in October last year, his wife started suffering stomach cramps and tests at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston revealed tumours on her liver.

    It is believed the disease spread from bowel cancer that had been growing unnoticed for years.

    “The doctors said they couldn’t do anything because she was pregnant,” said Mr Allard.

    “She told them straight away they were not going to get rid of the baby. She’d have lost the will to fight.”

    Mrs Allard went into labour a couple of weeks after the diagnosis and gave birth at the Norfolk and Norwich University NHS Hospital in Norwich.

    “Liam was so tiny, just 1lb 11oz, so the nurse picked him up and allowed Lorraine to give him a little kiss before he was taken to an incubator,” said Mr Allard.

    “She was so emotional. She had been so determined to give him the best chance and was happy that he had been born naturally, which meant she wouldn’t have to recover for a couple of weeks after a caesarean before beginning the chemotherapy.”

    The treatment began almost immediately and Mrs Allard spent her time recuperating at home, apart from four visits to her newborn son.

    The first was when he was two weeks old, during which a treasured photo of her cuddling him was taken.

    Liam has responded well to his care and it is hoped he will be sent home from hospital in early March.

    But his mother’s health started to deteriorate just before Christmas and a scan on January 17 revealed the tumours were still growing.

    She died the following day. Mr Allard said: “The doctors had said the cancer was no longer curable, although they were trying to shrink the tumours – which they thought might give her a couple of years.

    “On the day Lorraine died, she hadn’t eaten for two weeks and couldn’t drink.

    “I laid beside her and she was gripping my hand quite tight.

    “We were like that for about half an hour. I could feel against my chest that her heart was slowing down. She just slipped away after that. It was very peaceful.

    “When Liam is old enough, I won’t tell him that Lorraine gave her life for him, but I will say she made sure he had a good chance of life.

    “She told me she didn’t want him to feel bad about it.”

    Mrs Allard’s father, Tom Berry, said: “I was overwhelmed by the way Lorraine took it.

    “She lived for her husband and children. She was a big personality with a heart of gold.”

    Babies born at 25 weeks have a 50 per cent chance of survival.

    This goes down to 39 per cent at 24 weeks and 17 per cent – or a one in six chance – at 23 weeks.

  • M.C:

    It sounds like you are creating all these criteria that people must meet before they can attempt to hold someone accountable for a wrong action. If indeed abortion is wrong (and it certainly is), it should not matter what another’s actions are regarding it. Someone should not have to follow all those guidelines you thought up in order to confront whoever it is who is sinning.

    Nicole did NOT infer that she was judging her friend, nor did she act like the Pharisees when they were expressing their self-righteousness. There is QUITE a big difference between acknowledging a sin and judging the sinner. She was not “criticizing” women who have abortions. Nicole was simply acknowledging the fact that the abortion is wrong; not placing judgment on her friend’s (and other women’s) head(s).

    A child can not help who his father is. A child is still a child, whether or not he is the son of a felon/rapist. He deserves just as much love and care as a child who is wanted by both parents; even if the time in which he arrives (and the circumstances in which he was conceived) is inconvenient or difficult. If the mother places the child up for adoption, he would be spared a hideous death. There should be no guilt on the mother (though she may feel like she alone bears the shame) if she is attacked. The shame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the attacker; not the victim or the child’s. If she compounds the problem by aborting though, she willingly becomes a participant in a murder. For this she ought to feel guilty.

    Some parents cannot qualify to adopt, either by age or by other circumstances. Whether or not they could adopt a child (or a special-needs child) does not matter. Our family is trying to adopt two little boys: one from Kazakhstan, one from Kyrgyzstan. But our doing that does not make us any more qualified to confront someone who is actively sinning than Nicole (or any other Christian).

    Finally, if I had to choose between my taxes paying for an abortion or my taxes paying for the support of a child whose life was spared, I choose LIFE!

  • Nicole

    Thank you, Kirsten! Those are very good, entirely true, well made points. I have been praying for the kids your family is adopting. That is SO cool. I am sort of jealous of you guys for getting two little boys to love and care for. I want one! You and your sister will have to send me pictures!

  • M.C.

    Kirsten, you wrote this: “There is QUITE a big difference between acknowledging a sin and judging the sinner. She was not “criticizing” women who have abortions. Nicole was simply acknowledging the fact that the abortion is wrong; not placing judgment on her friend’s (and other women’s) head(s).”

    I completely agree with you about there being a difference between acknowledging a sin and judging the sinner. I acknowledge abortion is wrong. So do you. But let’s look at Nicole. She would not even TALK to her friend because she had an abortion. In fact, she RAN in the other direction to avoid talking to her. That sounds like it would meet the biblical definition of “judging” someone. She’s doing a bit more here that simply acknowledging abortion is wrong. If you don’t consider that judging someone, let us turn to the fact that Nicole has implied that she is militantly 100% pro-life (probably not more moderate like others). I presume that means she would favor jail terms for women who have abortions, no? I mean, if she had her way, her friend would be in jail now. Nicole is not someone who “judges not”.

  • Hannah Williams

    Everyone,I did not give my point of view on the matter,when I asked the question.
    So now I will.The bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” It does not say don’t kill unless some one inconvienes your schedule.So that answers the question completly.And Nicole was right when she ran away.If she felt that she was not ready to handle that then okay.The bible say’s to keep your heart and mind away from evil.God may not have prepared her heart to handle that yet.I do not think she was judging her friend.She was just protecting herself as the bible say’s to do.Your Sister In Christ, Hannah

  • Nicole

    m.c.: I see that you were unable to respond, in a respectable way, to my response to you. I consider it awfully rude to, when you just don\’t have a good answer, turn and talk to my friend, asserting assumptions that show that you never gave me a chance to answer to or defend myself from your view of me in that area. I do not appreciate that at all.

    I do not know why you consider me \”militantly\” pro-life. If someone murdered one of your daughters or sons, would you want them behind bars? Yes! Would it be your job to condemn them to serve a prison sentence? No! Should the younger a victim of a murder is determine how the murderer is punished? No. Should God determine how, and the measure in which, a person who has commited a crime is punished? Yes. Do I have a part in deciding how ANYONE on this earth is punished (besides myself — by what crimes I choose to commit or not commit)? NO! I am someone who does not condone violence. I am someone who did not condone \”Christians\” (I don\’t know — haven\’t read much about him and couldn\’t make the judgment if I did) like Bonhoeffer plotting to murder hitler! Why would I be \”militant\” (except in the spiritual realm to, through prayer, set the person free or to stop them from continuing to harm) against someone who killed one life when I would not be \”militant\” against someone who killed MILLIONS?

    I am 100% pro-life. Jesus was 100% pro-life. He did not moderate His Convictions. Should I moderate the convictions He has placed on my heart? No, I choose to submit to them FULLY, by the Strength of God alone, as Jesus did and created me to. Does that bother you? Then, please, if only for the sake of the kids who read this blog, set your heart before God and pray Psalm 51 until you feel about the children — teens and kids, born and unborn — as He does. Until you love them with the kind of Love God offers to fill you with so that you, in His Footsteps, would lay down your life for each and every one of them — regardless of if they were wanted or unwanted or have a disease or are healthy or are the children of pastors or authors or scientists or musicians or criminals or hypocrites . . . because remember: We are all sinners — and the sons and daughters of sinners — but Jesus died for every one of us, just the same. A sinner is the worst thing any of us could be. Sin put Jesus on the Cross! Sin pierced His Hands, His Feet, His Side, and broke His Heart. Who are we to judge who should live or die, be saved or not saved, when we ourselves are sinners; only living, only saved, each day, by the Grace of a Great and Merciful God? I request that you please direct any more of your comments directly to me. Or better yet, set this whole situation before God and give it to Him.

    Please do not take your (apparent) anger at me out on anyone on here. Remember, it\’s the Harris\’s blog. Let\’s respect something they\’ve put a lot into and let\’s be careful with our comments that they are honoring to God and His Truths and Law and that they don\’t interfere with the message these two young men were called to bring to the world: To never limit what God can do through you for His Glory and to never bow, as an individual or as a generation, to the low expectations of the world, but to bow alone to God and to trust and rely on Him that He will enable us to do what He created us to do.

    Jesus created us to live our lives for Him, but first, and foremost, to lay down our lives for Him because we are not our own. If He created us for a great purpose — to love Him — He expects GREAT things of us! Because He knows that if we surrender and obey, if we ONLY surrender and obey, then He can empower us and fill us with His Love and it will overflow, first to Him, and second to one another. Does abortion sound like loving God or loving one another? Does God expect us to rely on His Grace so that we can love Him and love one another? Whose expectations should we encourage those younger than us, and should we be encouraged, to meet — those of this world or those of the God we claim to serve?

    Should I in my heart condemn my former friend to prison when I myself deserve to be condemned to hell for eternity? I am not the one to choose.

  • Nicole

    Hannah Williams: Exodus 20:13, in the Bible I have at hand (NLT), puts it even shorter and simpler. It just says, “Do not murder.” You’re right. That settles it perfectly. Good comment. Thank you.

    To tell the truth, I am not completely sure why I ran from my former friend. I saw another former friend right after that (who was personally unkind to me) and without thinking, I went up and started talking to him and his sister. In the middle of the conversation I began to think, “What am I doing? I don’t want to be talking to him.” But we continued talking and it was good. He was doing a little better, I think. I read that 1 in 4 people have had abortions. I don’t run from every 4th person I meet. I don’t know why I ran from my former friend. Someone nearby was smoking so that half got my feet running since after being around smoke in the past I have gotten very severe migraines that temporarly partially blind me so I can’t do anything for a whole night. But I was also half considering my friend turning her head and looking at me and calling out my name and stopping me to talk like she always used to. And I saw the soccer ball in the back seat and I thought, “She’s having fun with our old friends and she should be having fun with, and caring for, her child — who would be about 4 now. Imagine what he or she would look like. Man . . . that is so sad what she did!”

    Anyway, thanks for your defending me. You could be right that I would not have been ready to talk to her. It would be worse, perhaps hurtful, and more judgmental to talk to her with a wrong heart than it would be to run from her with a sad, upset heart. I will continue to pray, though, that God will make my heart pleasing to Him and that He will Direct my paths (and the speed of my steps!)

    Thanks again, Hannah! I really appreciate that you shared with us your perspective.

  • Nicole

    Hannah: PS – it has also been my experience that sometimes I don’t speak to someone when I wonder if I should because their hearts are not open to hearing the truth yet and so if they heard it at that time it would be so unwelcome that they would actually turn more away from it than they were already. Sometimes God has allowed me to speak to people at times like that to show why I no longer need to continue to tell them something. Other times, He has directly prevented me from speaking to someone so I have assumed that He knew what was best and when to keep me silent and when to help me speak. I also pray that He keeps me from speaking when it is not His Will or things that are not according to His Will. The best I can do is trust Him and obey Him when He does lead me and trust that He will stop me or push me when I just don’t know, but have submitted the situationn to Him.
    Again, I don’t know what happened exactly when I saw that former friend. I don’t always know whether God is protecting me or the other person — or whether I am stepping over my boundries and making a choice that isn’t mine to make. But I pray I accomplish His Will Perfectly, and that He will make me ready to, from here on out. I have made mistakes in the past and will make mistakes if I don’t rely on Him . . . but I will submit those to Him, too, and ask that even they will be made right and that I will glorify Him through each one of those instances by returning to rely on Him even more so than before my fall. I am fully weak when I rely on my strength and think that I am strong. But when I realize that I am weak and rely on Him alone then His Strength is made Perfect in me and I am able to do anything He Wills (by His Grace alone). I cannot even trust Him without His Strength — without relying on Him. And it is a constant, daily choice to rely on Him.

    I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good beside or beyond You.
    Psalm 16:2

    But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
    2 Corinthians 12:9

    I will [not merely walk, but] run the way of Your commandments, when You give me a heart that is willing.
    Psalm 119:32

    (I came across the first 2 verses here yesterday — http://www.therebelution.com/blog/2008/01/blowing-dust-off-last-years-resolutions-2/#comments )

  • E.A.H.

    Nicole: Thank-you for sharing the links for the story about the woman who didn’t abort her child just so she could live a few years longer – it brought tears to my eyes and reminded me once again about what is really important.

  • Hannah Williams

    Nicole,thank you for sharing the bible verses.I think a lot of christians do not share unuff bible verses in their every day life.One of my favorite bible verses is Psalms 31:8-9,
    “Speak up for those with no voice,for the justice of those who are dispossessed.Speak up,judge righteously,and defend the cause of the oppressed and the needy.”god bless. Your sister in Christ, Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    Will some one fix my mistake when I did not upper case God.I’m so sorry. Your sister in Christ,Hannah

  • Amy

    “It actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has hid fathers wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already JUDGED him who has committed this, as thought I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?”(1Cor.5:1-5)

    There is clearly a time for judging other believers! I got the impression that Nicole felt great grief for the loss of her friends morals. If that woman was a believer she actually had every right to judge her sin. Let us not become so desensitized that we start rationalizing and excusing sin in our midst. 1Cor. has a lot to say on this matter and would be a good study for those feeling that we should not JUDGE the murder of children. By the way, MC, my sister has down syndrome and guess what? She is ours through adoption! We chose her, as would so many others.

  • Amy

    Sorry for the typing mistakes. The man did not hid his fathers wife, he HAD his father’s wife. It might have been better for him if he had just hid her! hee, hee.

  • Adda

    Lately I have been wanting to serve God. I keep thinking, “Once I get ‘such and such’ I’ll be able to serve God.” I am slowly learning that this isn’t true. I can and need to serve him now. There is no reason for me to wait because time is precious. As my pastor says, “There is no dress rehearsal, this is it.” We won’t get another chance. It is slowly dawning on me how important it is to grasp every chance we get to do hard thing, whether big or small. Another lesson God has taught me is that we can’t impress him, and if we can’t impress him then there’s no point to trying to impressing men since God is the only one who matters.

    This site has encouraged me greatly and caused me to set the rule for my life of doing hard things. I was sitting in a coffee shop making a sign that says “do hard things,” as well as one that says “take small steps”. While I was creating them these two guys walked by and red the signs and asked me what they meant. I did my best to explain. The guys said that it was a good goal to set. Since then I have put the signs on the outside of a three ringed binder that holds my Bible study stuff. Hopefully they will daily encourage me. Anyway, thank you to all you who participate in running this site as well as all you who post. A great deal can be learned from reading what others have to say and what they’ve gone through. Christians are supposed to unite as one body, but how can we do that unless we communicate with one another.

    Keep running the race. Adda

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