The Creative Creator Let Loose Through our Works

Hey, Everybody! I think we may be on the verge of some fun in this post. My good friend, Angela Cottrell, and I were talking recently about how cool it would be to hear women testify publicly to the creative ways God has used them to serve people.

All of us who have received Christ as Savior have a divine calling and the spiritual gifting (1 Cor. 12/Roman 12/1 Peter 4:10-11) and the Scriptures to equip that calling (imperative! 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

But one reason many of us may struggle to find our stride is that we shortlist limitless possibilities into categories we could count on three fingers of one hand. We assume that to serve God effectively, it must look like __________________ or be similar to ________________________ or maybe ______________________________. And we don’t feel like those are a fit for us. Or perhaps we don’t have opportunities to serve like that. So, what happens? We sit down bewildered and unsatisfied and feeling lame.

 

But what if we gave God credit for more creativity than that? What if we realized that there are as many ways to minister in the name of Christ as there are needs out there?

 

No matter how familiar Ephesians 2:10 may be to you, read it again:

 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

The same God who created the galaxies in their vast array, the seas in their unsearchable depths, the beasts of the field with spots and stripes, who landscaped the horizon with pines and cedars and sequoias, and set in motion some 37 trillion cells in the human body…

…This same God created us in Christ Jesus for good works.

 

His creativity did not come to a screeching halt on the Sixth Day.

 

He is never uninspired and uncreative in His work. The primary way He spreads His broad hands throughout this needy world is through gloves made of warm human skin.

 

All of us have opportunities and they are as diverse as the people trying to leave their footprints in the loose dust of this passing planet.

 

If all our works in Christ’s name look exactly the same, something has run amok. Massive populations and types of people become invisible in our shortsighted vision.

 

I love the wording of Acts 10:38 – “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

 

Since His ascension to the right hand of God and the coming of His promised Holy Spirit, each generation of Christ-followers is anointed by Him to go about doing good and to see Jesus heal multitudes oppressed by the devil.  And behold, Jesus says, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

 

Shine your flashlight on the less familiar wording of these two segments from The Message, holding it right up close to the catch words of creativity:

 

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.  Galatians 6:4-5

 

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.  Isaiah 40:27-31

 

If God has shown creativity with the way He has used you to serve people OR if He’s done something off the beaten path with your life as a benefit to your sphere of influence, testify! You don’t even have to sit and analyze whether or not your example fits the category of “creative.” Do you get chances to go about doing some good in Christ’s Name?

 

Then share how!

 

And may a whole world of ideas and possibilities open up to some very willing sisters out there.

 

I am so anxious to read these! So much love to you!

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219 Responses to “The Creative Creator Let Loose Through our Works”

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  1. 1
    vanessa says:

    My church opened a Dream Center (similar to a YMCA/Boys & Girls Club) in a neighborhood which is in need of seeing the love of Christ (among other things). I get to coach basketball there on Thursday nights. It’s fun getting to use my talent to reach out to kids (used to play in middle/high school) and just show them the love of Christ. It’s been a blessing in my life.

  2. 2
    Jen Jahromi says:

    Oh, Amen Beth! As an artist, I hate when people tell me they aren’t creative, because I can always spot a talent that they have — they just don’t think of it as creativity. God blessed me with a talent for drawing, and I try to bless others with it. I’ve been making calendars out of my illustrations for 10 years now, and I know I’ve at least blessed or encouraged a few people with that. Thinking of how to make it a ministry… You can see some of my art at https://www.facebook.com/VisionsandVerses

  3. 3
    Seleste says:

    I have a 14 year old homeschooler. It may not seem much but we have focused a lot on love of people of all ages, race, or any differences. To know thru this he has learned how God loves us as well! I hear often lately people thru out our community saying what a gentleman he is or some small thing that he has done for them. We were in the car at a store and he saw an elderly lady struggling with her groceries and, “Mom stop! She needs help!” That just lifts up this Mamma’s heart! That is ministry!

  4. 4
    Fran says:

    Oh Beth..This is what thrills me to no end. I wish I could share the full story of what God has done and continues to do through myself and two of my best friends, Christy and Robyn. In January of 2013, God clearly spoke over the 3 of us to GO on mission trips…2 of us to Africa and 1 to Nicaragua. We are 3 full-time working moms raising 9 children among us and all married to fabulous men. And…funds were limited. We said with so much fear and so much excitement, “Ok, God…we will go but how on earth are we going to pay for this?” He quickly showed us the “how” and we got busy making and selling the cutest stuff ever created (wink). In less than 6 months, we had all 3 trips paid for and as soon as our trips were over that July began working toward the next year’s trips. Over that next year, God multiplied our efforts and allowed us to pay for our own trips as well as bring along our oldest child with us! I mean…how great is He??? We all served in Nicaragua in July and are already back at work again, creating and making,ready to serve Him somewhere in 2015.

    It has truly been the most humbling and beautiful, jaw-dropping experience to be a part of. He takes what we have to offer and allows us to truly honor Him through everything we say and do (Colossians 3:17). We have been allowed to share our story with many women and encourage anyone who will listen to simply get out of the boat and trust Him to do what He calls you to do. HE WILL MAKE A WAY! I believe our hearts, as believers, is in the right place, but so often covered up in fear and excuses.

    The 3 of us continue to get out of the boat with Him and trust that He will not only show us how to serve, where to serve, equip us with abilities and time we could have sworn we did not have, and spread the hope of Christ to all!! We are found on facebook at “More than a Mission Trip.”

    I wouldn’t trade this ride for ANYTHING! It is only by the grace of Jesus that we have the privilege to be a part of His plan.

    We are also in the choir with our beloved Travis and we will be singing our hearts out this weekend in Memphis. We are expectant and we are believing Him for a powerful time in the Word!

    Love you so much! Thankful for you always,
    Fran
    “More than a Mission Trip”

    • 4.1
      Michelle Baylerian says:

      Fran,

      I so very glad you said YES to God!! I agree that you are making the cutest stuff ever. See you soon friend xo

    • 4.2
      ELizabeth says:

      What a tremendous story! Can you share links to cute stuff or a blog or anything that would allow us to read / learn more?

      • Michelle Baylerian says:

        Elizabeth,

        Just go to More than A Mission Trip facebook page. You’ll find everything there. Enjoy!

    • 4.3
      Angie Sarich says:

      I love you Fran Thomas! You encourage my heart so much, and I am beyond blown away with what the Lord has done in you and with you 🙂 Thank you for letting Him pour into you so you can pour into others…in so many different places! So dang proud of you! 🙂 – ang

  5. 5
    Michele Gibbons says:

    Hi Beth, thank you to you and Angela for sharing this very encouraging word. Most of us are not known beyond the families and neighborhoods we live in. If we were to measure our worth by how many people “know” us, I for one, would be worthless. Thank God it’s not like that at all! We all are important in this world. I thank God for people like you (the seen) who have a call on their lives to stir up the gifts that God has deposited into our lives. God has placed me in a family and community that has unlimited possibilities for ministry and insanity, if I so choose. I choose to give my life to Jesus every day and submit to Him as clay to the potter. Prayer is my #1 and Bible Study is my #2. My #3 is whatever God can do with my #1 and #2. Thank you Ladies for encouraging and building up the body of Christ.

  6. 6
    Michelle Baylerian says:

    I had to think about this for a while. One way He is using my nursing degree is to come alongside friends/family as a patient advocate. Went to Oncologist fwith a friend battling brain cancer & told her Dr. that should WOULD NOT do any more Chemotherapy! The doctor wasn’t happy with me but I told her it was ultimately the patient’s decision. Now that was one bold move. All this to say that this is not how I would choose God to use me, but it’s His decision not mine!!

  7. 7
    Joni says:

    In 2005, after doing Breaking Free, I began meditating on Scriptures dealing with overcoming anxiety, fear, and panic. I eventually typed them on my computer and began carrying them in my purse so I could meditate on them whenever I had to leave the house. These Scriptures helped me overcome the fear of leaving my home and helped calm me down whenever I had a racing heart. Then God began putting women in my path who needed those Scriptures, and after telling my story of how they helped stop my panic attacks and helped keep anxiety levels down, I would give them my set. I always printed out another set and put them in my purse when I got home. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to replace my original set as people start talking to me about anxiety, depression, or panic. I am introverted by nature and do not start up conversations with strangers, but when they start talking to me, I sense a “wait for it” in my spirit. Back in 2005, I never imagined He’d use me in this way. Glory to God!

    • 7.1
      Naomi says:

      What a beautiful story, Joni! I too have had to overcome anxiety through Scripture and belief in what God says He will do (through the Believing God study – I am who God says I am!). My anxiety stemmed from what others thought of me. Your story blesses me, what a way for God to turn what Satan wanted to do into something for His glory!

    • 7.2
      Brooke W. says:

      Joni,
      That’s great! I recently went to rehab and found many others struggling with anxiety on a daily basis. When it was appropriate I would lead others through a few calming yoga poses and we would breathe and look at the amazing world around us that God created. He is so good! When people ask me why I dance or smile or laugh – I say because I can, that’s the way God made me 🙂
      I would love to look at the scriptures you found to meditate on. I’m currently pairing scripture with my daily affirmations.
      BE BLESSED

    • 7.3
      Bethany says:

      Please share those verses if you don’t mind 🙂 I’d love to have a set for me and for my friend as well.

  8. 8
    Sister Lynn says:

    Well, He certainly called me off the beaten path!! Jesus has led me to a life of prayer and contemplation in a convent (in the middle of nowhere). And even as I discerned this call years ago, I struggled with “is it enough?” I know now, it is more than enough…prayer is the most powerful thing we can do. The mission of my community, and my mission is to be a powerhouse of prayer… to pray with Christ, “for all people, of all places, at all times”

    So my dear sisters in Christ (and brothers!) – know you are held in prayer. always

    Peace and blessings – S. Lynn

    • 8.1
      Michelle Baylerian says:

      So grateful for your prayers!!!

    • 8.2
      Mary G. says:

      Sister Lynn,
      You have a beautiful soul. If you are half as gracious in your prayers as you are in your words on this blog and I’m sure in all you encounter, then may I say dear sister we are truly blessed to be in your prayers.

    • 8.3
      Angie Sarich says:

      I will forever think of you when I think of how much I love my church…:) Thank you so much, Sister for your encouragement in getting me to give a church I visited another try…:) 3 years later lol..

    • 8.4
      Sister Lynn says:

      You all are too kind… many blessings to you dear ones!

  9. 9
    Kristy says:

    I’m participating in a huge children’s consignment sale where a portion of the money each consigner earns will go directly to missions. Also, you can choose to have your unsold clothes donated to needy children at the end of the sale. Also, the gospel is shared to the people shopping at the sale. I have tons of nice clothes my children have outgrown. By consigning these clothes and also shopping at the sale for bigger sizes, I’m contributing greatly to missions. The money raised has been significant! Also, it is a ministry to the shoppers as they can get cute clothes at a reasonable price, hear the love of Jesus, and be involved in helping missions with their purchases. We have a fall sale & a spring sale. The stuff is not garage sale stuff, either. Most of it is boutique stuff. People love this sale because they can find darling children’s clothes at a bargain, earn some money on their clothes they sell, and have thirty percent (or more if they choose) going directly to missions. It’s been a blessing to participate in this because I have a heart for missions. Busy moms may not be able to jet off on a mission trip right now, but they can do this.

  10. 10

    I’m 27 and a house parent at a golf academy. A fellow house parent in her 50s was stressed to the max feeling very overworked and tired (she gets her value based on her performance to others so she takes on more than she ought). I bought her some orange-colored roses, as their amber color reminds me of God’s warmth and glory, and this house mom radiates with echoes of God’s glory (although she’s completely unaware). I put the roses in a large, clear plastic cup (didn’t have a vase) and attached a handwritten note. I just said in so many words that her value is constant and unchanging because God calls her valuable. She is valuable whether she puts in a hard day work, volunteers to help someone, or simply walks into the room, because her value doesn’t stem from what she does or doesn’t do. Her value is who she is. I wrote in the note, “You’re value exceeds earthly calculation, and is simply WHO YOU ARE.” I told her I hoped she would find rest in that.

    She texted me later that much more was going on with her personal life than she had let on to anyone, and the note was exactly what she needed to hear. She said it made her cry and she thanked me for awhile after that day. I told her a couple days later to consider that as Big Man watching out for her.

    God’s eyes are all over the earth, seeking out the obscure loner on cliffs who thinks no one will notice if they fall off the edge. GOD NOTICES. He delights in finding the alone and the obscure and calling them Sought Out, and A City Not Forsaken. He provides money to individuals (like me for buying the flowers), alters their plans, orchestrates a series of events all to touch one person to say He loves them. He goes to so much work to release love to the hurting and minister to the victim. He is love and His work to love others never ceases.

    Oh if we would always be willing vessels to heal the hurting around us! Oh if the sight in our eyes would be illuminated by the heart of surrender to the free flowing love of God… oh to be used by most high God as He reaches through the clouds and the rain and points at the obscure house parent and says, “Today, now, I have a touch of love for you, because you are my child and I created you and I love you.” Oh He is so good. So so good.

  11. 11
    Linda says:

    God led me to go into the local jail and share His Good News with the sweet ladies who were in what I call a “big time out”. This was certainly outside my comfort zone, but probably the most fulfilling and amazing ministry I’ve ever partaken in. Shining light in a dark place is His specialty!

  12. 12
    Chris says:

    Because I had a really tough time as a child and struggled horribly with loneliness and insecurity…I was the kid who never really fit in, things were hard at home…I have had a tremendous passion for at risk kids since coming to know Christ. I also love and am passionate about horses. In ways I never could never have imagined, God has brought these passions together. We now run a farm which taked in rescued horses and pairs them in a unique mentoring and discipleship program which is offered free to at risk kids on our community. Kids are invited to come be a part of the rehabilitation process for these horses. Over and over we have watched God use the horses to break down walls in the hearts of hurting kids in ways that give our mentors the opportunity to love them, enter into relationship with them and ultimately share the Gospel with them! Our God is infinitely creative and uses every bit of His creation to draw His people to Himself!

  13. 13
    Trinna says:

    Beth,

    I do feel lame! I work as an engineer 40 hours a week. My free time feels limited, so I try to spend a lot of it with my 6 year old daughter and my husband. I try to love people in Christ during the everyday, mundane tasks in my job and at home. Most recently I have started to help lead Sunday school for our church’s large group of preschoolers. There is never a dull moment! Sometimes I wonder if anything sinks in, so I just pray they feel loved in that space and know that some grown-ups are excited to teach them about Jesus.

    • 13.1
      Michelle Baylerian says:

      Trina,

      Never say you’re lame. You’re a Child of the Most High God. Called to raising your daughter is huge. Way to go helping in Sunday a School. Oh be assured that what is said sinks in. My grown daughters still talk about Sunday School teachers a& their impact!! His Word never returns void. Have a great day sister 🙂

  14. 14
    Teri Butcher says:

    It’s an honor to serve God as we serve people. After a very busy season of serving in the church God lead us to a different type of service. I struggled with it at first because all I had ever known was ministry through the church. Sure there were opportunities to “go into the world and make disciples” but it was always church organized. Looking at my community, and my sphere of influence as a mission field was so foreign at first. When we became less busy with volunteering in the church it opened up the much needed time to volunteer in the community. It also opened up time to serve our friends and families in a more dedicated way. While I don’t look at it as being super creative, the opportunity to serve one of my dearest friends as she battles cancer has been a great privilege, and one of the deepest honors of my life. It is not a journey for everybody, but I’m thankful God chose me for this one. She’s brave. She’s fought hard for six years. She’s brought light and life to those she’s come in contact with because of this ravaging disease. Her journey is ongoing, and it is truly a blessing to be alongside her as she continues to battle. We’re all familiar with the course of many cancers; to be intimately involved in her care will always be a place of deep gratitude for me, because I assure you, I have learned and experienced much of the love of the Father.

  15. 15

    One way God is using me is through blogging. He placed the thought in my mind to blog specifically to women on how to deepen their relationship with Jesus, and make the transformation from surviving mother to thriving mother!
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  16. 16
    Tisha says:

    I work in a Rheumatology Clinic. Most all of our patients are in some sort of pain, whether from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, of just life. God has given me a love that only comes from Him to love on these patients. I hurt for them, but most of all I pray for them. It is amazing how many people are seeking for God and wanting someone to care. We keep a prayer book and ask how we can pray for them. Most are overwhelmed that we would take the time to do this. It is to His great praise that we have the opportunity, ability, and honor to call on His great name!

  17. 17
    Jenn says:

    I am an elementary school teacher and my focus now is on kids who need reading and math intervention. Oftentimes we receive the kids who not only need academic help, but emotional and behavioral as well. Many times, these kids just need support in all areas. Including friendship.

    This summer, with the help of my teaching partner, we created a Summer Sports time each Friday at a local elementary school. We gather together for soccer, kickball, 4 square, basketball…hang out with these kids, laugh and play together. We always bring books for them to take home and read, as they do not have a big library at home, especially in their home language. We end with a popsicle and a hug. Many of the kids come each week and brought their friends.

    I know that doing something like that seems simple and a bit unimportant in the scheme of life, but for some of these young ones, it was a highlight of their week.

    So, God has been teaching me that we ALL need friends, that I can do some simple things for an hour a week, and reach out in Christ’s love to a needy group of children.

  18. 18
    Betty M says:

    Dear Beth,
    This will be interesting to read. I do all the normal things like teach Sunday School to wiggley second graders, facilitate an occasional women’s Bible study. Some of the things I do that to me seem to be serving Him are the welfare of our animals our here on the Dakot a landscape.
    Every time I groom my favorite trail horse and know I am making her feel so good I glorify God with each sweep of my grooming brush. when I make my minischnauzer more comfortable by clipping her heavy coat or bathing her on hot days I get a sloopy kiss and I know it is serving these we are commanded to have dominion over.
    One of the most creative but not very glamourous things I had done at one time in a human care activity at a women’s retreat was the making of sanitary napkins for young women and girls in third world countries. Those gals do not have all the convienences we take for granted here and often must stay out of public eye those days every month. Imagine that??
    I too am anxious to here what gals are doing creatively and will read these posts with great interest maybe I can pick up afew more ideas!
    Love ya’ll
    Betty M

  19. 19
    Heather Marsten says:

    I’ve been working on a memoir. My priest has been editing it for me – he told me he’s used information gleaned from it to help three people. But the most unusual way the memoir has been used is to minister to some people in the new age and occult. When I was hurting I gave up on God when I was eight – spent forty years in the wilderness before I finally came to God. My pastor told me God would redeem my past by letting me minister to those from my past. Recently one of the new agers had his wife die. I wrote him a note thanking him for being there when I was eighteen (ready to die), told him that the group he was a leader of and he gave me the unconditional love that let me decide to live and not die. I told him I was now a Christian, but firmly believe God used his group to save me until I could come to God. The guy said I was a better Christian than most – more loving. We are corresponding & he is reading memoir – Can’t wait until he gets to the good stuff – my relationship with God.

  20. 20
    Marjorie says:

    Beth,
    I am a registered nurse in surgery. (Came to the nursing profession later in life after having a very sick child most of his life). God uses me daily to help pts with fears of surgery, either before or after their procedure. I have prayed with, prayed over, recited scriptures for some, and been able to just be a calming touch in a fearful, tense situation for both patients and families. And, while I am not perfect, I also witness of God’s movements in my own life and in those of my family with my coworkers and other staff in the hospital.

    I count it a privilege every day to be employed in a field I love…all the while being afforded the opportunity to help people in a tangible way. We are a small facility so I have the opportunity to work both pre-op, post-op, and during surgery (depending on the day).

    After leading women’s bible studies for years with “church ladies”…. God took me out of my comfort zone and placed me in the “world”. And, for that, I am thankful.

  21. 21
    Andrea S. says:

    Oh Beth,
    How often I let myself stumble on things not being BIG in my life. But God has used me in so many ways to touch and minister to others and I pray that He does not stop! 🙂

    I lead a women’s Bible study at church and have been doing so for 3 years now. When I first approached our director of Women’s ministry at church 3 and a half years ago about needing a women’s Bible study, she responded with the fact that she was needing someone to step up and lead one, as she just couldn’t fit it into her schedule. I kept approaching her for 6 months, and always got the same response. It finally dawned on me that it was God asking ME to step up. I wrestled with this, as it was not in my comfort zone, and continued to ask God if he was sure he had the right person! It was so far out of my comfort zone! My precious group of ladies has been with me for 3 years now, through the stumbling and bumbling of me at times, but none-the-less they have been faithful to God! We started with a core group of 12 ladies (I think that number is no coincidence), and we now have about 20 women for each study we do.

    God has also used me to be a mother to my 3 beautiful step-children. I know every day that I am privileged to love on and raise these kiddos up in the ways of the Lord. He has also placed 2 nephews in my path to repeatedly pray for, love on, care for and be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially in the turmoil in their lives.

    God uses me as a prayer warrior for my friends and family. I feel called to pray very specifically for friends and family and that is such an honor for me.

    In Him,
    Andrea

  22. 22
    Kelly L says:

    I’ve always loved making new things from old and this year I turned that into a social enterprise (Unshattered.org) raising money for the Walter Hoving Home (www.walterhovinghome.com), a spiritually based residential program that helps women whose lives have been shattered by drug and alcohol addiction.

    The Hoving Home (NY, CA, NV) is a non-profit org run solely on donations and fundraising, no woman is ever turned away who can’t pay.

    The ladies in the program design and make handbags out of repurposed materials such as leather and suede coats, tablecloths, etc., which we sell via Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/UnshatteredNY) and events. Watching these gals bring something of beauty and value to the world out of discarded scraps is fulfilling and amazing.

    Here’s my story of why I started Unshattered
    http://unshatteredny.wordpress.com/why-unshattered/

    Unshattered: Repurposed Materials – Wholeness from Pieces – Unshattered Lives

  23. 23
    Kelly L says:

    I’ve always loved making new things from old and this year I turned that into a social enterprise (https://www.Unshattered.org) raising money for the Walter Hoving Home (https://www.walterhovinghome.com), a spiritually based residential program that helps women whose lives have been shattered by drug and alcohol addiction.

    The Hoving Home (NY, CA, NV) is a non-profit org run solely on donations and fundraising, no woman is ever turned away who can’t pay.

    The ladies in the program design and make handbags out of repurposed materials such as leather and suede coats, tablecloths, etc., which we sell via Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/UnshatteredNY) and events. Watching these gals bring something of beauty and value to the world out of discarded scraps is fulfilling and amazing.

    Here’s my story of why I started Unshattered
    http://unshatteredny.wordpress.com/why-unshattered/

    Unshattered: Repurposed Materials – Wholeness from Pieces – Unshattered Lives
    Reply

    • 23.1
      karen says:

      youtu.be/A29S6cn0nig

      I think Reba McEntire did a good job of demonstrating this.
      see her you tube …pray for peace and her inspiration behind the song. It is a gift.

  24. 24
    Terri says:

    When I retired from 32 years of classroom instruction, I was amazed at the number of telemarketing calls coming into my home every day. I went to great lengths to try to avoid them or to get them to cease. Then I began answering these calls with “Good morning! Thank you for calling me. How can I pray for you today?” While many hang up, I have had opportunities to pray for and with people I will never know! God showed me how to turn a nuisance in my life into a true blessing!

    • 24.1
      Carolyn says:

      Oh, I so appreciate this! While I am polite if I wait until there is a voice at the other end, all too often if there is that “dead” couple seconds, I just hang up. A quick prayer for guidance will help as I apply this idea to my life. Blessing on you for sharing!

  25. 25
    Mary Lou Menning says:

    I am a homeschooling momma to 5 beautiful girls (ages 16, 15, 12, 10, and 6). I am starting my 11th year. I direct VBS at our church. I play piano on the worship team. I can about 400-500 quarts of food every year for our family. I am starting a program at our church to come alongside young parents and help them train their children in the things of God. I went on my first missions trip this past July to Romania with my two oldest daughters. I love to read and write and hope someday to write my own children’s books and curriculum. God has given me the gift of teaching and there is nothing more I enjoy than teaching/telling children about God and the world He created.

  26. 26
    Mary G. says:

    Dear Beth,
    Loved this post and the pictures! That baby, oh my goodness! I want to hold him/her right now! I used to do patient care and take care of children with cancer, heart problems, everything you can imagine. Oh how I prayed over them. I still work in the Pediatric Intensive Care, but because of lack of mobility I work as the Secretary. I am hoping to return to patient care someday as mobility is getting better slowly as I had gastric bypass on June 2nd and have lost 60 lbs so far! Yay! I loved being the hands of Jesus caring for those children. But I find even sitting at my desk I can do that in another way. I encounter parents, siblings, family members of children who are critically ill and are standing at the door of eternity. I have wrapped my arms around many parent’s quaking with fear as they wait to hear if their child will survive. It means everything to be able to say I am praying for your child and for you. I remember talking to a little seven year old girl whose baby sister had just passed. I felt so inadequate in that moment, but thankfully Jesus never is. He gives us the heart, the words. I am so thankful. I will be sharing Jesus with my brother soon who has emphysema and is in heart failure, an not long for this earth. I know he has heard the gospel before, but I am praying this time his heart will be open.

  27. 27
    Gretchen says:

    At 50, I have never been married or had children, even though that is what I always wanted. But God (!) has given me a career where I work a lot and travel a bit. It’s an interesting and challenging life as a follower of Christ in the workplace. I’ve had opportunities to speak to people I never would have apart from this job. I’ve had the priviledge to give to missionaries, ministries, and the local body I never would have had if I were living a different kind of life.

    A couple of years ago, I was out for a walk struggling with God in my thoughts and lamenting that I didn’t have a ‘ministry,’ when the Holy Spirit said very clearly: “What if this IS your ministry?” Woe – that really caused me to start thinking differently about what the Lord has given me to do in my job.

    It is not an easy thing to live a ‘set apart’ life in the midst of the carnality of the business world. But God (!) has somehow used this sin-sick woman to have some impact on others for Jesus. May He multiply it a thousand times for all of us to the praise and glory of His merciful Name!

    • 27.1
      Jeanette Dahm says:

      Hi Gretchen, I loved this response. My daughter is a working, single woman as well and wishes with all her heart for a family too. But she is fulfilled in her job and spreads the joy of her faith to people in her workplace and just about anywhere else. I have felt the Lord say to me too that the workplace is a big mission field that needs Christians desperately . It has changed our outlook of purpose in work. Thanks for sharing your heart.

      • Gretchen says:

        Thank you, Jeanette. Your comment blessed me. There are worse things than being single, and many blessings to it also. It means that my life looks different than most of my friends and family (and the world), which can be hard. But, it also means that there are many opportunities that I have that they don’t. We don’t know how long we will be single – the Lord can change that at any time He desires, if that is His will. I do still pray that the Lord will bring me a godly husband, again, if it is His will. I know that I wasted way too much time waiting for that to happen, and I regret not really living while nuturing my ‘hurt.’ I’m so glad that the Lord gave me a level of contentment. While I still feel a sense of loss (sometimes more strongly than others), there is work to be done and if not me, then who? I will pray for your daughter – that the Lord would bless her abundantly with a full and rich life, no matter what His will is for her. Thanks, again, for your encouraging words.

  28. 28
    phyllis says:

    okay, I guess my “creative” gift is telling about things God has done in other’s lives. I really like to share good things that I have learned or have seen. I bet some ladies can relate.
    Anyway, a fella from our church shared how he had randomly learned a specific video game 30 years ago.. This fella was on a local “Love Does” mission trip as an outreach in the community….and it turned into something that God used to connect him with a young man in a laundromat recently. That young man in the laundromat just happened to be playing that very same game from 30 years ago. Don’t know the end of the story, but it sure encouraged me that God will purpose the most mundane things, years later, to weave our lives together with someone. Such a God of then and now and later on! Wow.

  29. 29
    J says:

    As a stay at home mom with 1 year old twins, I don’t have a ton of time to be out and about serving others beyond my own home. So I do the small things I can: share my faith with my reincarnation believing physical therapist, write a card to a “matriarch” of my church back home who is ill, mow the new neighbors lawn just after they moved in (I sure hope in the private being made public here I don’t lose my heavenly reward – not sure of what it means by serving the Lord in secret – vs let your light shine before men – anyone?) made the neighbors a meal to welcome them to the neighborhood, cooked a meal for another neighbor that I don’t know personally who lost a child to SIDS, although she was never home the 3 times we tried to deliver it. Not gonna lie I cooked like 7 lasagnas one day just to get it over with because I really don’t like cooking. Haha But hey, it’s the thought (and the obedience) that counts. Sometimes I wish for a more exciting serving life or at least more opportunities but I will say I am taking advantage of this time I have at home to spend time in the word learning, memorizing and in prayer. I really do delight in that and honestly am a little resentful when I can’t find the time for it. So perhaps for me this is obedience for my season now and my obedience might look different in a later season.

    By the way, Beth, in your James study, you mention in week 2 day 5 that you finally found the perfect gift for Keith! But, you didn’t tell us what it was!! How did your editor let you get by with that?! Ha! Come on now, it’s killing me not to know! You can’t just bait us like that. 😉 (I’m guessing it’s fishing related).

    On another note, I appreciated your testimony on week 4 day 5 that you had been one bitter woman, but not anymore. I don’t hear many testimonies of God making the bitter, sweet nor how to change but it is very encouraging to me as I’ve let myself become bitter in some ways that I would obviously like to change.

    I look forward to reading for more creative ways to serve. 🙂

    • 29.1
      Jeanette Dahm says:

      I loved this response. I struggle with small acts of kindness not being big enough works being created to do by an awesome God. He must want something big from us. But if I were on the receiving end of your kindnesses I would truly feel blessed. I also struggle with uprooting bitterness and what that looks like. I love your words of making the “bitter, sweet”. You have encouraged me to keep doing whatever small things I can do and be humble about them and show God’s blessings to others in unexpected ways. People don’t expect kindness, sadly enough.

  30. 30
    Leslie Crawley says:

    God has creatively gifted me with a capacity for being involved in the lives of internationals – those who are new to our country or live here but have never had an American friend. I love to be hospitable to international students who are away from their families for the first time and who need encouragement as they adjust to a new land and language. I also love using English to help in sharing the Gospel. I love to learn about the worldview of other countries and seek to interject with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit a Biblical perspective and worldview. I love to make people “think” through their beliefs through the study of Scripture and to challenge their belief system as we are confronted with Truth together! I love walking with a group of women through the pages of Scripture in Bible study and to watch the Spirit empower them with healing, peace, encouragement, direction and ability to minister in His Name!
    Thanks Lord for creatively gifting us for our sphere of influence and for our speck of history on this planet! May you empower us to be even more effective with the filling of YOUR Spirit! We love you Lord – may we love you more tomorrow than we do today! Amen!

  31. 31
    Susan Crouch says:

    My joy is to echo the beauty of our great God and His creation through watercolor. Yes, it’s hard sometimes because this doesn’t fit neatly into the “Spiritual Gift Survey”. But, oh, I’ve seen His hand at work – and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve through this gift. http://www.susancrouch.com

  32. 32
    Kelly Garcia says:

    After choosing a church’s parking lot as a lovely place to eat my lunch and listen to a Bible Study, God brought along the grardgardener, who ultimately told me of his upcoming missionary trip. I joyfully prayed with him for God’s power to provide all that he would need. After lunch, I peeked inside the church windows to see what it looked like. Since it was a Friday, and all locked up, a young lady saw me and asked if she could help me with anything. Turns out she was the assistant pastor’s daughter, waiting outside for her dad. The Lord inspired her to share her present situation of trusting the Lord to provide her with what to share at her devotional for the Junior High girls. God gave me the priviedge of not only sharing with her, but also joining her in witnessing a fresh Word from the Holy Spirit for both of us right out of my own mouth! Afterpraying with her, iI strolled back to my car giggling with Heavenly joy for the two Heavenly appointments in a random church parking lot on a random Friday with a very amazing God!

  33. 33
    Nancy from Atlanta says:

    I have had the joy of developing a very sweet community of seniors through Zumba Gold which I am an instructor at a church. Through the Lords Holy Spirit he has knit the hearts of these women together. What started out as an exercise class has developed into a small community of ladies ministering to each other and reaching out to those outside the class. What a blessing it has been to see them come along side complete strangers and pray and encourage them. They are truly a blast!

  34. 34
    Betty Murphrey says:

    Praise God for His grace and goodness in my life. In my earlier years (in my 50s and early 60s) I knocked on many a door and handed out many invitations and shared the gospel as many times as I was given permission. But now the times have changed and at age 74 and my health not being as good, that time of my life as it was then is basically over. However, God is not done with me yet!! For about 3 years I have been an online missionary with Global Media Outreach and through that have visited over 50 countries and ministered to over 500 people I have never seen — but God has. I also financially support several missionaries and I always thank them for going in my place. I have really started to reach out to and love on the youth in my church. I also serve on prayer teams and am frequently called out to intercede for the pastor and others. I am loving it!

  35. 35
    Stephanie says:

    I had to laugh – this may not seem creative, but our Heavenly Father was SO creative when he took a woman who really isn’t that crazy about other people’s children and burdened her for foster children!! My husband and I have since taken in a 15 year old foster daughter and this year we adopted her! What a blessing she has been to our family. I have always wanted to help other hurting women get past their past (as the Lord helped me do), I just had no idea it would be a 15 year old young woman! Looking forward to helping other foster children in Christ!

  36. 36
    Bety says:

    Years ago my elementary sons and I raked our neighbor’s yard while they were at work and didn’t tell them. The boys loved being sneaky and doing a good deed that we would not get thanked for…it must have made an impression because my son mentioned that memory the other day and he’s 30 now!

  37. 37
    Punky Tolson says:

    I love this, Beth!
    Well, even though I serve God in full-time vocational ministry by discipling women, the Lord put something on my heart a few years ago when SIX of my friends experienced the death of their husbands…within 12 months! Some were long-suffering illnesses, and some were sudden deaths…from aneurisms to suicide. Tragic. I felt so helpless, since many of them lived out of town. But the Lord started waking me up most every morning with a Word of encouragement specifically for each friend, and I would pray and text it to them. I’ve prayed Isaiah 50:4-5 for years and so this was a new and CREATIVE way for me to live that verse out. He also led me to do the same for my fellow “Bosom Buddies” battling breast cancer, and to begin tweeting the hashtag #PrayFor(name of friend), along with a Scripture. The tweets and posts have spread beyond the original recipients. I have kind of a love/hate relationship with social media, so this has been one way that I’ve been able to use it to encourage and build up the body of Christ…and to share the gospel with people who read these tweets and FaceBook posts. It has been a blessing.
    Thanks for encouraging us today!!
    Much love, xo – P

  38. 38
    Kristy says:

    Oh, Beth! Thank you so much for this. Hearing you back in February at our last Bible Study here in Houston, I was called to get creative. I chose to leave my teaching job once my sweet baby girl was born a year and a half ago, but I began to get antsy in the home. I missed spreading the love of Jesus to others. I found that I was able to do that as a teacher, and I missed it dearly. Still do. Not that I am not spreading love to my daughter and husband, but I wanted to do more. So I started a blog about my faith and my family. Blessed be His name for giving me a community to share! You are one of the vessels He used to get me going, so THANK YOU. I have “met” more women than I could have ever imagined with my blog, and I have shared my faith with so many…all thanks to a little blog. Renee Swope said it best, “Sometimes the best ways to share our faith is to simply share our lives and our stories.” 🙂 Blessings always!

  39. 39
    sue powell says:

    I just retired & was walking on the Del Mar Ca beach where I had just moved. God spoke to my heart so clearly…. YOU ARE GOING TO BE A MINISTER! I immediately thought “then I best find a church”! I had no church and did not even know the bible. 30 years of study & counting, & 20 years working with grief counseling, I am a Hospice Chaplain!! YEH GOD!
    Who knew… oh, yes, GOD KNEW! THANK YOU JESUS! who takes a little abused girl from Bakersfield Ca. with no training and leads her to the water? GOD DID!

  40. 40

    My husband & I lead a small group in our home. We do Bible study. We also support the members with what their needs are — food, money for school supplies, babysitting, prayers, encouragement… When 1 person leaves the group, another comes with different needs. Although the group is smaller than we 1st envisioned, we have the right people who need the help we can provide. Each person has such different needs, yet God brought them to this group. It is humbling to serve Him in this way.

  41. 41

    I was with a young gal the night her second child was born. Her husband was in Afghanistan. Six months later, as she prepared to welcome her husband home and to introduce him to his infant daughter, I arranged for a whole crew of Merry Maids to come to her home and clean it for her. I was working FT or otherwise I would have been over there cleaning it. Sometimes the best way to minister to someone is doing the practical thing. Mowing. Cleaning out the cupboards. Changing the sheets. Painting the porch railing. It may not seem very creative but to the person in need it is a ministry.

  42. 42
    Tanya says:

    I’ve shared books that helped me. I’ve made baby blanketed and given them as gifts with a Bible because the Bible clearly says that children are a blessing and a gift from God (even to singleand unmarried moms). Simply expressing care for the sick and tired is huge. I took Beth’s mothers day prayer verses and made pinterest frames….clip one verse on the frame every week and then change…she put about 50 verses up so there are enough prayer verses to cover about a year. I am giving these as gifts to mom-friends. And mostly I don’t give up. And trust me here it hasn’t been any cakewalk and I’m sinful right down to my bonemarrow….but my daughter asked me to think of an adjective that fit me and started with my fist innitial. Tenacious. Thoughtful. Tanya. Amen.

  43. 43
    Julie L. says:

    I love taking photographs, most especially of God’s creations in nature. I will often post these on Facebook giving God all of the credit for His works. There are so many “friends of friends” out there in social media that do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It always struck me as an easy way of keeping God front and center so others are reminded of Him.

  44. 44

    Recently I was so excited to receive in the mail a $50 Starbucks gift card as a thank you for my participation in a survey. (When I say excited – I mean, like, I called my mom just to tell her kind of excited – LOL!) While I was out running errands I sensed the Lord was telling me to give that card away to someone who was homeless. I wrestled with whether that was really the Lord telling me to give it away or just my own self trying to guilt me out of the enjoyment that I had been blessed with. Furthermore, I wasn’t in an area where I usually see people in need with signs by the street corners, as is more common closer to the city. I discussed this with the Lord and told Him I would of course give it away if He was really asking me to do that. The feeling in my spirit wouldn’t go away, so I finally concluded that if I saw a homeless person on my way home that I would pull over and give it to them (not really expecting to see anyone). Lo, and behold, as soon as I said that I saw a man on the side of the road with a sign that said he needed a ride. He looked much older than he probably actually was and I could tell that he had probably lived a pretty difficult life. All of a sudden, I felt a rush of compassion for him flow through my heart that I knew was a taste of Jesus’ love for him. I pulled over in a parking lot next to where he was to see if I had something to write on or to put the card in. I opened the glovebox to see that I just “happened” to have a little gift card holder from a gift someone had given me, but they hadn’t written on the card holder. The Lord took over and told me to write “Jesus” in the “From section and in the “To” section He had me write, “A man who is deeply loved by his Heavenly Father”. I wrote out some Scripture on the inside, and then proceeded to get out of my car and gave it to the man. I told him that I wasn’t there to give him a ride but handed him the gift card and told him that Jesus had told me to give this gift to him. As I got back in my car, I thought about the fact that although I knew nothing about this man or what he had been through, that God knew every detail of his life. He was there when this man was born into this world as a precious little baby and He was there when he was just a boy who I am sure at one time had dreams of growing up and doing something great with his life. He has seen every hurt this man has experienced and used a random stranger to let him know how much he was loved that day. The Lord was going to love on that man that day whether I had been obedient or not, but I am so honored to have been given the opportunity to participate in being the one that God used in that creative way. 🙂

    By the way – ever since that, I have been getting the most random free Starbucks from various places. The Lord not only blessed me by using me to bless someone else, but He still graciously blessed me with my free Starbucks! He is the sweetest!!! 🙂

    • 44.1
      Jeanette Dahm says:

      I love this idea. Thank you for sharing what God inspired in you. I struggle with how to handle the people with the signs also. But This idea is a blessing to each person that receives it regardless of their circumstances.

    • 44.2
      Tonja Weed says:

      My church gives the Sunday school or bible study leaders “thank you” gift cards to Starbucks or Panera. I have a little collection of them and this summer on a couple of mini-vacations, I started giving them to hotel housekeeping as a tip for cleaning the room. Really, I didn’t have cash, but I wanted to leave something, so I left some scripture and the gift card. My hope is that the person will feel loved by God and special and that they will enjoy the treat. I also hope it is an answer to a prayer, so that God gets the glory for meeting a specific need. My God is creative like that!

  45. 45
    Stephanie says:

    Years ago I had the opportunity to go to Israel and since then I have such a love for Gods chosen people. About 8 years ago I met a women at the barn where I boarded my horse who is Jewish, we have been good friends all these years since.
    She knows that I’m a Christian and we’ve had some small but sweet conversations over the years, I try to be sensitive with Jewish people, some are very leery of Christians. Recently we were talking about our president and Israel and all that is going on in Israel right now. I was able to say to her that the Jews are God’s chosen people and their enemies are God’s enemies and that His and the Jews enemies are my enemies and that I stand with Israel. She was so appreciative of my words and support. I didn’t say a lot, I didn’t try to convert her(that’s God’s job), but who knows how God will use that in her life.
    Sometimes I think we think everything we do for God should be these earth shattering moments, when some times it’s a just simple word or sentence or touch to or upon someone God has brought into our lives. It’s about the relationship. For me it’s learning to listen to that ‘still small voice’ and follow that prompting.

  46. 46
    Karissa says:

    I feel like I wear so many hats, but the biggest of all right now is mama. I am leaning into God to show me ways to minister and teach my 9 mo old, and I feel like it is using all of my creative juices! Thank you Lord for creating us to do your good works, which you customized and laid out specifically for each of us.

  47. 47
    Brenda says:

    A listening ear…as I was reflecting in how God made our ears different…in color…big and dainty (mine stick out)..some with moles and some smoothe…yet all made to listen, some not audibly but with their hearts. He gives me the opportunity to listen and care for…from young girls to older women and all in between. We need each other. A few years ago he brought a young woman into my life and who asked me to mentor her. Little did I know; God was placing her there for me as well. When our church when through a hard season as a pastor’s wife; I had someone outside my church family to trust and share with. I have often thought how many times do we miss out on sweet, creative and loving times by not being feeling we measure up; not making time or being creative in the way He made us!! What a wonderful thing to blog about! Bless you all.
    Are you listening?

  48. 48
    Becky says:

    When my husband and I got married in l968 a wonderful lady in our church volunteered to do our wedding for us–purchasing, preparing, decorating and undecorating–asking for my colors and style and going with it. So to pay it forward, over the years, I have (with the help of my husband and family) done the same for about 20 Christian couples in our church who needed some loving help. It was our gift of ministry in the name of Jesus to get them started and our JOY as well.

  49. 49
    Sheila Bragg says:

    In 2011, my life totally changed…for the better. I was pushing 300 lbs and had been begging God for help in losing weight. That year, I could barely walk because I was in so much pain. He led me to a book (“The Metabolic Typing Diet”) that was so very much a specific answer to prayer. In about a year, I lost 150 lbs. I got my health back.I was able to come off anti depressants. I am able to share with others about how to eat for their health. It led my daughter to change her diet, rid herself of depression and anxiety and now her current course of study in college, nutrition. We are both learning together all of the wonderful things that good food does for the body, compliments of our Creator. God is just amazing in what He has done in our lives by changing our eating habits. We both share with anybody who is interested. It opens a lot of doors of conversation. People who see me are floored because they knew me when I was huge. 2011 was a major turning point in my life. All because I prayed so fervently for help and God answered. 🙂

  50. 50
    lynda rickey says:

    I like to sing and dance. Two things that I do not do well. Thank goodness the Bible says make a joyful noise not a beautiful one. So I use this crazy silly like of mine to sing and dance in the nursery at church. I take care of infants to toddlers. They love to laugh at me while I sing and/or dance with them. They are precious and I love them all.