Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'll take "God's Timing" for 500, Alex....

Hi All! It's been a month since GBTG's last endeavor and I'm sure you're all wondering where we went! Well, I now have the chance to tell you about two exciting things. 1. GBTG was lucky enough to help bless another person's life this past week. 2. I have tomorrow off and I'm planning to spend as much of my day as I can tomorrow going into the city and looking to help people out so more stories to follow.

You know how every once in awhile you get to spend a little unexpected but much-needed one-on-one time with a friend? Well, I was lucky enough to have that happen to me last week. I was catching up on everything with a sweet friend and she mentioned to me that her mother was going through a hard time right now and really struggling with making ends meet financially; specifically in the area of gas money. She's going back to school and has to commute so the miles add up. I completely identify with her in the commute situation bc I have one of my own three days a week and I understand how fast that adds up. Now, the cool thing is my friend was very aware of GBTG but I don't think it ever even occurred to her that her mother was a great candidate for GBTG. It was all I could think of the whole time she told me her mother's situation. I had refrained for someone reason (now I know why) in using much of GBTG's funds but I just hadn't felt led to use the money that I was so graciously donated by an anonymous follower of the blog. It was so cool to listen to her concerns for her mom and knowing that at the end of the story, I was going to be able to give her something that would be a direct help!

Anyways, GBTG was able to give her mom a good chunk of money to help her on gas. This is where the story REALLY gets crazy. I was able to follow up with my friend yesterday and she told me of her mom's reaction to the news. She said that the night we met and I was able to give her the $, she told her mom and her mom remained completely silent on the phone throughout the explanation. At the end of it, she could only say how crazy this was and how she couldn't believe the timing. Apparently, she herself is involved in a self-created ministry serving widows all over her town. Unfortunately, the ministry involved a lot of driving to these widows and that requires money for gas. She had almost passed up the opportunity that night to go minister to these people because of concerns over where her next gas money would come from but she was faithful and trusted God would take care of her. A few hours later, post-serving, she received a call from her daughter saying an organization wanted to donate $ to her specifically for gas.

Well, if that doesn't give you chills and make you want to sing "How Great Thou Art" then I don't know what does! It has been reminded to me over and over again that God's timing is not our timing and that when his people are being faithful and trusting in Him that he takes care of us. This is not to say that if you are faithful to God, people will randomly and freely offer you money and tangible gifts but he will answer our needs accordingly to his perfect plan.

So many things are left up in the air as "coincidence" but this is just one of those sweet times that one can not do anything except be humbled by "the greatness of our God."

I am so thankful for the opportunities so far that GBTG has brought across my path and continue to look forward to my next encounter(s) with others. I am SO grateful for those of you who have reached out to me AND reached into your pockets to support what GBTG is trying to do in Nashville. Your selfless giving does not go unrewarded. You have no idea what you are doing in these people's lives and I wish all of you could be with me to see the looks on their faces when they find out what they've been blessed with. You can do this too and if you're reading this blog and thinking about something you've always wanted to start but didn't know how, JUST START. There's no right or wrong way. I have no clue what I'm doing but I'm taking it day by day and letting the Lord lead me however he wants to.

Peace out brothas and sistas :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's the catch?

Well, today was the first day of Grace By The Gallon in action. I had the day off and I decided I would give it a go. After being so excited about this opportunity, it surprised me that I got nervous as soon as I had made the decision. The gas station attendants probably thought I had a bomb in the back of my car or something because I sat in the parking lot of Exxon for at least 30 minutes trying to get up my nerve.

(By the way, if you're just tuning in to my blog, you might want to scroll down and read what this is all about because you're probably pretty confused right now. Ha! I don't blame you.)

After wrestling with silly insecurities, I decided it was now or never. Just then, an older lady pulled up in an Explorer and I though, today's your lucky day. :) She got out of her car, and I hurried over to catch her before she paid saying, "Excuse me, may I ask you a question?" Well, I've never considered myself to be one that looks like I'm going to mug someone but apparently I did at that moment because she looked pretty startled and hesitant to talk to me. I mean I know I wasn't wearing makeup and I had just finished working out, but seriously? I then asked her if she would allow me to pay for her gas. She pretty much looked at me in disgust like I was playing a mean joke on her or something and asked me "Why?" like I was a crazy person.

I preceded to tell her that it was just something that the Lord had laid on my heart and I would like to do it for her if she would let me. She was completely dumbfounded and after a few seconds, she agreed. I swiped my debit card and started to talk to her and ask her questions about herself knowing I had about 3-4 minutes to let her fill up her tank. The next 3 minutes just completely affirmed my decision to start GBTG.

Turns out, Pam had her two grandchildren in the car and she drives up once a week to keep them for her daughter who's going through a divorce. She began to tear up as she talked to me, explaining that this wasn't even her car but her daughter's and how her daughter was really in need of this right now. Every minute or so, she would start laughing and say, " Honey, this just doesn't happen! There aren't people like this in the world!" How sad, I thought, that people think that there aren't others who want to do things for people like Pam without some kind of re-payment. Definitely got my wheels turning.....

She went on to tell me that her son was an actor in L.A. and she never talks to him or gets to see her grandchildren out there.

The reason I'm sharing all of this with you is I've realized lately, that you NEVER know what someone's going through until we stop and take the time to listen. I don't know why she opened up to me the way she did but maybe she just wanted someone to talk to or needed to get it off her chest because she was frustrated. This world is so full of hurt and everyone has something they're going through whether big or small. I hope that her day was brightened a little bit (and not just by the lit up Exxon sign). I also hope that GBTG was able to give her hope that there are people out there who care about her but more importantly, that there is a God who loves her and cares for her. I don't know if today really affected her but I can tell you that her demeanor from the moment she got out of the car to the moment she drove off was that of two completely different people. Maybe she'll "pass on the love" and maybe she'll wonder if there really is something more to the reason I did that for her....maybe not, but what if she did?.....

Thanks for tuning in. I'm so excited to see what the Lord is going to do through this organization. Please let me know if you would like to contribute to GBTG whether through committing to praying for it, donating financially, or coming along for a ride to the gas station and experiencing the power of God's grace.

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's GRACE that he LAVISHED on us with all wisdom and understanding."
Ephesians 1:7-8

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just for laughs

So, I ran across this picture the other day on google images and think it perfectly describes why Grace By The Gallon will be so effective.

Some gas station attendant somewhere has a pretty cute sense of humor.

Anyways, stay tuned for my first GBTG endeavor which should be happening this week! woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Let's Get It Started.

Well, hello blogging world! It always takes me a little longer than everyone else to warm up to the newest "social networks" but I am READY. And I officially sound like my mother :). Delightful.

I think i'm ready now because I feel like I have something worth writing about. Something I want to share with all you little speed-typers out there. And, perhaps, seeing Julie and Julia gave me a little nudge in the blogging direction...(see that movie if you haven't yet... like today).

Introducing............. "Grace By the Gallon!"

Not long ago, I attended a church in Murfreesboro, TN ( about 30 minutes south of Nashville for all of you non-Nashvillians). A good friend of ours, David Peacock, is the amazingly pastor there. Currently, there are about 350 active members at River Oaks Community Church (ROCC). Brett and I were so impressed with their members from the moment we stepped out of the car to the minute we left the after-service church members meeting. The hospitality was completely evident in it's sincereity, the dedication very apparent, and the servant attitude, incredibly infectious. It was perhaps this servant attitude that sparked my latest idea.

David was reminiscing over some of the church's latest means of serving the community of Murfreesboro through small acts of kindness such as buying groceries for those in need, installing AC units, purchasing gas cards for people, and so on...I don't know what lit a fuse in me when I heard David mention purchasing gas cards for people but my mind started racing. I began brainstorming then which was about 1:00 and by 5:00 I had a complete game plan, name, and strategy for getting this thing going.

And so begins "Grace By The Gallon." I have decided to take my tithe and put that money every month towards buying gas for people around Nashville. These days, I think we all know that gas has not only become a necessity but a little bit of a burden at times. Especially, for those of us who have a sweet little commute to work :). The reason I want to share this with you is not to toot my own horn and display what a great person I must be for doing this because, believe me, I am far from that but to inspire you to figure out a small, easy way for you to contribute to not only your community but to the kingdom of God. I can only hope that these small acts of kindness will spark some conversation about the Lord with a total stranger who I might never come in contact with otherwise and give me a chance to possibly encourage and pray for them.

I realize that with my meager, microscopic pay check, that I won't be able to do this often AT FIRST but I feel so strongly about this cause that I know the Lord will be providing the means to make it work. How, you ask? HMMM....I don't know :) That's the trusting part, I guess. I'm trying to get better about that.

I can't wait see all of the different reactions I receive from doing something like this. And, I'm not gonna lie, I am a little nervous. My grandfather would say I have the heeby-jeebies. haha It's a good nervous, though. I plan on blogging about all of my encounters with the "receivers" of GBTG. I am sure there will be those who are more receptive than others and I look forward to hard questions, interesting conversations, and Lord-willing a chance to share the gift of salvation with many. And if all else fails, I like the smell of gasoline. It's a win-win.

Stay tuned on how you can get involved!