Tag Archives: human spirit

Always Grateful

nov20_2016

Point to Ponder:
Who or what do you need to be grateful for?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

With family coming to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, I hired my friend’s housekeeper to clean our home. We haven’t had our house professionally cleaned since June and it was in desperate need of a good scrubbing. Erica, my friend’s housekeeper, let me know that she was going to get a friend to help her, and to insure that the house got as clean as possible, she was going to take her time. From 7:45 a.m – 5:30 p.m., Erica and Anna cleaned! I never imagined that they would or could clean for so long, but they did. Needless to say, the house is spotless and orderly- like a model home. It looks wonderful and feels even better! However, while our houses cleanliness is a delightful thing, is it temporary. It will soon look like a jungle gym and a stuffed animal, marker, crayon and Lego bomb exploded. However, what is permanent is Anna’s impact.

Prior to yesterday, I had only met Erica once and I had never met Anna at all, so throughout the day I would strike up various conversations. I tried not to bother them, but I wanted to get to know them. By their actions alone it was clear that they were both extremely hard workers and take pride in their work, but as so often occurs when conversing with people, it doesn’t take long to be reminded that everyone has a story and the human spirit is nothing short of incredible!

As soon as Anna finished up cleaning the very last thing, we began talking and she let me know that twenty-five years ago she moved from Mexico to San Diego. She became a US citizen, got married and had three children. Her children are twenty-two, twenty and sixteen. To use her words, she is unfortunately divorced from her children’s father and while he is a part of their lives, her children live with her, she is the provider and she is their rock. Her twenty-two year old son is in the Navy, her twenty year old daughter is in college and her sixteen year old son attends a high-school academy in San Diego. And, as I continued to ask her questions, she let me know that after dropping her son off at school every morning she goes back home to prepare meals for her family, studies and then works as a custodian at a middle school, from 2:30 – 11:30 p.m. When I asked her what she is studying, she let me know that she is striving to get her GED (her high-school diploma). As I nodded my head in disbelief and amazement of the character and strength of this woman, she let me know that she is fifty-two years old and that the only thing she can attribute her strength to is God. She is faith-filled, grateful and she blew my mind!

When Erica and Anna finally finished I gave them both a hug for all of their hard work, but more than making my house look amazing, I was thankful for the opportunity to get to know them. Not only was I reminded of the blessing of being able to afford someone to clean our house (something my mom or my husband’s mom, both single-moms, never had the luxury of being able to afford), but most importantly, I was reminded that despite life’s disappointments and challenges, the blessings of each day outweighs the burdens, attitude is everything, having faith is essential and living with and in gratitude is the only way to live.


Action Item:
Whether it be verbally or in a hand-written note, thank someone you are grateful for and/or give thanks for what you are grateful for.


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It’s Not What You Endure, It’s How You Endure It

 

iGnite - unshakeable faithiGnite Members Christie Skinner (left) and Kerrie Pennington (right) at Christie’s home while the iGnite Community helped her sort through her salvaged items on Sunday.

“Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control: your attitude, your faith, and your perspective.¬†Choose to make the best of every situation that comes your way.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
How do you tend to react when faced with personal loss or tragedy?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As our iGnite community received word of via email this weekend, on Tuesday iGnite member Christie Skinner’s home burned. Upon learning the news, I sent Christie a text extending my sympathy, care and prayers. Honestly, I was nervous to reach out because I feared my text would be burdomsome. But, I tried putting myself in her shoes and I knew that I would appreciate friends reaching out. I didn’t expect or need a response, though what I received just minutes later blew my mind. Here is our exchange:

Neissa: “Hello Christie, Kathleen let me know about your home and I want you to know how very sorry I am. I am so thankful you all are okay. Please know that Russell and I are praying for you all and will continue to pray for you throughout the recovery process. Know that you are loved and being thought of.”

Christie: “Thanks!! It’s pretty sad but it’s just stuff!! And amazingly we are in the process of buying a little condo on Lake Austin so God’s timing is really good!!”

Neissa: “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

Christie: “You can bring me a Diet Coke on ice anytime you happen to be around.”

My initial reaction was, “Really? Did I read that correctly? How is it possible for someone to have lost so much yet have such tremendous perspective? And, she’s only asked for a Diet Coke? I can do that!”

I was briefly able to stop by Christie’s home today, Sunday, while our iGnite community helped her sort through her items. I’ve always thought that if a big project or job needs to get accomplished, the quick solution is a group of committed women. Indeed the job was getting done, and Christie’s spirit was contagious. She was positive, smiled and did what she needed to do. The entire sight was inspiring, like Christie’s faith and attitude.

I am always amazed by the events, circumstances and losses that the human spirit is able to endure. Most everyone faces some type of tragedy or difficult circumstances in their life, though what distinguishes one person from the other is not what they endure but how they endure it. The way I see it is we have choices: we can either (1) endure alone, without faith, think that life is out to get us, God is trying to punish us, give up and have a bad attitude — or, we can (2) let go of our pride, let others know how they can help us (even if it’s simply a Diet Coke on ice!), pray for unshakable faith, ask for others who have unshakeable faith to pray for us and trust in the plans that God has for us: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

While we all will not experience the tragedy of a burned home, we all will experience loss in our lives. It is for this that having an unshakable faith, never underestimating the power of prayer, surrounding ourselves with a community of people who also have unshakeable faith, and trusting in the promise of a future is crucial. There’s no doubt that life is going to shake us over and over again, but it doesn’t have to break us. Thank you, Christie for showing us this!

Action Item:
Contemplate Christie’s response to the events of the past week and be inspired by her unshakable faith and ability to accept help in such difficult circumstances.

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