I love Peter's experience of walking on the roaring sea with Jesus. But the thing is, Peter's story is often misunderstood. Do you have a step you need to take?
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This post continues the “Stories from Ukraine Series.” To see the first post, click HERE.
I do not have a sister by blood, just two – much taller yet younger brothers.
I do not have a daughter, just three – still shorter but growing way too fast sons.
I’m still very much a tomboy. I love tech toys like drones and television boxes. When my boys and I journey to the local trampoline park, I leave just as exhausted as they do (but totally worth it!). I like monster trucks and old mustang cars with amazing v6 engines and shiny rims. I have successfully trained my children in the way they should go as all three love the University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball.
Tomboy all the way.
If I could get away with it, I would wear a t-shirt, comfy shorts, and a baseball cap.
This tomboy went to Ukraine and returned with 2 new sisters – not by blood of course, but through Christ.
As our crowded van pulled-up to the apartment complex that first evening in Ukraine, my name along with a teammate was called. “This will be your host home for the remainder of your trip.” A few team members helped us up the stairs with our luggage and just as quickly as we had come, the van left.
There we stood.
Two exhausted American travelers.
We stared back at a somewhat confused woman.
With motions and grunting noises, she showed us to our room, pointed out the bathroom and the kitchen area.
Then God created Google Translate!
So, God may not have created this genius smartphone app, but it sure helped out our “Babbel” moments.
Vera, our host mom would say a sentence or two in Russian into her phone and suddenly English phrases would come streaming audibly to our ears. We would meet her eyes and an amazing connection would be made. We literally had hours of deep conversations speaking through our phones across her dinner table.
Over amazing meals, we would share about our hopes, dreams, families, and churches – all using our phones to connect. By the end of the week, we were actually catching onto Vera’s Russian!
One of my favorite evenings was spent with our host mom and her two daughters. My teammate and I began the evening by surprising Vera with gifts (we had purchased items previously from America not knowing who we would be staying with).
I smiled as I handed Vera a very special box. “Your name means faith,” I said. “You have increased my faith big time this week and I will always call you my Ukranian mom, but I also call you sister. You see, before I left America, I purchased these bracelets – one for me and one for my host family. But right before I purchased the two bracelets, I felt God telling me that I needed a third. I went back and purchased all three of these friendship bracelets not knowing anything about you or how our team would be divided for host families. Now I understand.”
I put the first bracelet on Vera’s wrist and the second on my teammate’s wrist. The third dangled from my wrist as the word “sisters” seemed to glow off the silver exteriors of all three bracelets. God brought me halfway across the world to share with me that I did have sisters through Christ.
As my teammate and I treated our host mom, both of her daughters and their families to dinner that evening, I thought how amazing this reality is – a huge, global family of God.
Yet, many times we still feel alone. We still believe we are the only ones who understand our story.
Vera’s story that she shared over the meals with us made me cry, smile, laugh and brought me closer to God. She held nothing back, even with the translation barrier. That ability to sit around the dinner table with a stranger from another country and share your soul without fear – that friends is love through Christ. This is a miracle.
You do not need to buy a plane ticket, travel halfway across the world and sit across from a stranger to feel seen, heard and loved as we did that week. No.
So Bethany, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own child. Now you call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with your spirit to affirm that you are God’s child Bethany. And since you are His child, you are His heir. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if you are to share His glory, you must also share His suffering. (Romans 8:15-17 NLT)
Because God has seen, heard and loved you, sweet friends, you can be the brother or the sister that someone needs today.
You can be the one sitting across the table and through Christ break down barriers.
You can be the one to speak, to share, to invite and to love.
Since returning from Ukraine, I still have little packets of coffee that Vera gave us. I have purposefully saved a select few. I have them placed in our pantry where I see them every single day. They remind me that I am a daughter of the King and a sister to so many amazing women all over the globe. These coffee packets remind me to never be comfortable but to always keep looking for creative ways to connect with those around me.
I mean, c’mon, no Google Translate needed!
Go love a sister or a brother today in Christ.
Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!
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