Monday, March 8, 2010

That's My Girl!!!

Yesterday, my daughter participated in a Public Speaking contest.  She had to decide on a topic to speak about and write a speech about it all on her own.  As I sat there listening to her deliver her speech, I had goosebumps!  I had read her speech before but it would be the first time I'd hear her deliver it orally... she did it with such passion!  Let's just say, I was one proud mama --- my heart was overflowing!!!

As I listened, my heart truly beamed!  I was extremely humbled... standing before me delivering this speech is my daughter, a young lady that is living out her faith.  It is truly in spite of our parenting... it is truly the work of God's Spirit, Holy Spirit, in her young life!  And for that, I give God praise and thanks!

Here is the text of her speech.  She wanted to share about her faith yet according to the rules of the contest, she wasn't allowed to talk about God or her faith at all.  I do think that she did an excellent job achieving both criteria.  Please read on... and you'll see why I'm one proud mama!!!

As tears slipped down the little girl’s face for the 3rd time that day, I sighed as I sat down beside her. I didn’t mind if she cried when she got hit in the head by a football, but this time, she was crying for no reason.
I was volunteering at Ignition Sports Camp: a low-cost and fun day camp. As I sat with this girl, I remembered why my church ran this camp. We ran the camp to help. To help! This girl, along with many of the other boys and girls had probably been through more hardships in the past year than I had all my life. And they were seven. I was twelve.

Later that day, as I signed out kids, I received many “Thank Yous.” I smiled at parents and told them it was our pleasure. As I did this, I wondered why no one had ever decided to run a camp for only $25 a week before. Why are families like the ones coming to our camp not being helped? Why is it all being left to “someone else”?

I realized how much being a part of Ignition and my church had changed me. My eyes were opened to all the things that before I had overlooked. We all know about poverty in Africa and the war in Afghanistan, but what we don’t realize is that there are big needs right here in our own communities and cities. My church often does things in our community on Sunday mornings instead of having a service. Collecting food for the food bank is one example. Did you know the local food bank in Pickering serves around 600 different families a month? Imagine how much food is needed! A lot. Visiting the elderly at the local retirement home is another example. Or serving hot chocolate at the Santa Claus Parade.

Those are big things, which someone with limited resources (like me!) couldn’t do alone. But then you don’t necessarily have to put together a sports camp to make a difference in someone’s life. Small things can make a huge difference in someone’s life as well. Buying a coffee and bagel for that guy near the highway exit who always seems to be there, asking for spare change. Bringing cookies to our firefighters, cooking dinner for a family with a lot going on right now, or simply picking up someone’s dropped groceries in the parking lot are all examples of random acts of kindness. People appreciate the fact that you just went out of your way to help them. And it’s actually fun! I love the feeling of knowing that I just caused a smile in someone’s day. Don’t you?

Human beings may all be different, but we all share one feeling: the need to feel loved. Many of us feel loved every day. Others hit problem after problem without anyone to help them, and they suddenly feel that, even though they share this world with almost 7 billion other people, they are alone. I think back to that person who I helped pick up groceries in the parking lot. I will never know what else could’ve been going on in their life that day. If their life was as I just described, that they feel alone, then now, in a small way, I had just made them feel loved, and not so alone after all. I can’t help but think, if I had just simply walked by, they would’ve thought that I don’t care either, and that nobody cares. By helping them, I just gave them hope. Hope that someone does care! And we all need our daily dose of hope. Think about your life without hope. No hope for anything. Your life would feel pretty empty.

As you’re listening to me, you might be thinking, “this girl thinks she has everything right,” but really, I don’t. Everyone has one of those days, those days where every little thing gets on your nerves. I know I’ve had plenty of those days. On those days, it’s super hard for me to reach out and help the people around me, because I’m thinking, “Why should I help them? My day’s going awful, they could help me!” I know on days like that, I’ve spoken harshly to my brother, rolled my eyes at a kid who need help again or simply gave someone a dirty look. But sometimes, helping someone or even just smiling at someone who looks sad is just what I need to lift my own spirits. It helps to take a step back and think about what other people go through and suddenly my problems seem tiny in comparison.

Small random acts of kindness as well as taking part in big worthwhile causes can both make a positive difference in someone’s life. So next time you think about rushing out the door without holding it for the person behind you, or telling yourself “I have no time” when someone asks you if you’d like to volunteer at the food bank, think twice. Think about what kind of an impact you could make with your decision to help. I know I will. Thank you for listening.

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