Honoring Our Fallen

Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetery, Courtesy of morguefile.com

A day we’re called to remember.

This is not a day to wish everyone a happy day, it is a day to pause, reflect, and remember.

Who Is In The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

Approved by Congress in 1921, this monument holds the remains of four unknown soldiers representing:

  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Korean War
  • The Vietnam War

With today’s technology, it’s become easier to identify soldiers’ remains.

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Which US war suffered the most casualties?

In order of casualties they are:

  • The Civil War:  500,000+
  • World War II: 400,000+
  • World War I: 100,000+
  • The Vietnam War: 58,200

Gettysburg Courtesy of pixabay.com

No matter the war, no matter the numbers

we honor the men and women

who gave their lives

for our freedom.

Come To Serve, Not Be Served

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

This week I flew to Orlando. No, I didn’t go in search of the fun most people think of when they think of Orlando, Florida: no Disney World, no Universal Studios.

Instead, I went to serve.

One of the truths of serving others is we gain more than if we’d gone in search of being served.

My class was fantastic. They were fun. They listened, engaged with me, and embraced the training I provided.

I haven’t had much opportunity to travel in the past two years. Being the guardian of two young children tends to rein in the ability to leave town for several days week after week.

My grandchildren’s counselor got excited when I told her I had been away for three days. “Did you read? Did you relax? Did you get some peace and quiet?”

Nope. I got less sleep than I would at home. I worked right up until bedtime preparing for the next day. I spent as much time as I could with the other trainers when I wasn’t in the classroom.

But I found joy in this.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus found times of peace and solitude, but he came to serve, not to be served. And in so doing, I believe he found joy. If he’d grumped around tired and worn out, no one would have followed him. Just a few verses later, Paul alludes to this:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

So serving is where it’s at.  I served and through that service I received:

  • Time with old friends
  • A new friend whom I hope will become a great friend
  • Conversations with people about what matters to them and seeing their eyes light up
  • Laughter, lots of it
  • Heartfelt thanks for helping people do their jobs well
  • The camaraderie of 45 trainees I will probably never see again, but who touched my life in a very positive way
  • A change of pace for a few days
  • Service from those hired to make sure I had everything I needed to do my job well, including:
    • Waiters who brought me non-dairy milk
    • Food servers who replenished the buffet just as I reached the empty dishes
    • Meeting event people who made sure I had everything I needed and did so without complaint
    • Trainers who jumped in with tips and tricks
    • Several assistant “trainers” who made sure my classroom kept moving forward
    • Managers (internal and external) who checked with me on time and needs
  • Safe trips there and back
  • A husband who stepped up to care for the grandchildren by himself while I was gone (I know how hard this is)

Where do you serve?

 

Using Your Passion to Give Back to God

cropped-barbara-evers-2-finalrt2.jpgOne of the challenges I’ve faced while writing this blog has been demonstrating a balance between explaining the crises in my life and sharing the blessings. No matter what the crisis, I know my life led me to my faith.  I wouldn’t change a thing, but I wouldn’t want to repeat any of it, either.

I’m a better person because of what I went through and have lived a fulfilled life, so far.

I didn’t remarry for twelve years after my divorce although I seriously dated two people.  They didn’t work out, and I’ve realized that’s a good thing.  If someone is not right for you, you don’t want to spend your life with them. God knew what I needed, and I eventually found the right man.

In the meantime, I established many friendships, discovered truths about myself, and found ways to reach out to others who suffered in ways I had.

Believe it or not, I got a job because of my story. Most job interviews don’t include conversations about your experience as a pregnant teen leading to an early marriage, a divorce due to domestic violence, and the struggles of single parenting.  That’s definitely not the information you want to share, unless it applies to the job.  In my case it did.  I got a job directing a welfare-to-work training program thanks to my background. This happened ten years after my divorce. My story got me the job, not my degree and work experience. I’ve often thought about how God’s timing works, and how He takes the messes we make of our lives and uses them to help others.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

When welfare law changed, I moved from the non-profit world to corporate training.  Thanks to that one job, I discovered my passion:  helping others achieve success in their lives.

If it hadn’t been for the trials and hardships in my life, I might never have found my career.

Training others increased my opportunities to speak to groups, and over time, I found ways to share my story with church groups.  Except for the urban league position, for many years I didn’t discuss my sordid history with others.  The people I knew then didn’t know about my background, so it frightened me to lay it all out there. The first time I shared my story in a church setting, I felt ill, but I discovered that people appreciated it.  They needed to see me, a professional woman who had gone through the fire and come out stronger. By telling my story, I gave them hope.

Most trainers and speakers write, and writing was my passion from an early age, so it wasn’t a reach for me to start this blog. This blog isn’t the only thing I’ve written, but it has been the hardest. The spoken word can be forgotten. The written word lasts. I know I’m helping thanks to the people who comment either here or to me directly. Someone might discover my posts a year or two from now and find the hope or the courage they need to take that first step toward faith and a better life.

Sharing my story has become one of the most significant acts I can give to my Lord.

Do you have a significant act (or acts) that gives back to God? It doesn’t have to be huge, it just needs to glorify Him and reach out to others while doing so.

I would love for you to share your significant acts in the comments.  If you don’t think you have one, ask someone who knows you well. You might discover you are providing something without even trying. If you still don’t think you are, then it might be time to look at your passions and find a way to use them for His glory.