Maureen Biddinger-Grisius tells her story of courage in caring for the sick as a nurse on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid the violence in Chicago, Jennifer Maddox is dedicated to giving young people on the South Side a safe space to learn, grow and succeed.
Through her "brilliant bus," Estella Pyfrom brings computer-based tutoring to low-income students in Florida.
Yolanda Fisher is a cafeteria worker at T.W. Brown Middle School in Dallas, Texas
I’m still going to work because we’re still feeding the kids—it’s not just kids that attend my school, it’s any child that stayed in Dallas and they need a meal. And if a family is really in need, we give the adults a meal as well. When it first started we would come in from 6:30 in the morning until 5 in the evening, working weekends and stuff, but now it’s leveling off. I’m loving it because I miss [the kids’] faces. You miss hearing their noise. We are feeding our community, and I love that.
I’m very nervous [about contracting the virus]. I have two grandchildren at home, aged 4 and 9. I could harm my family if I bring something home. That’s always in the back of my mind. We have gloves, we wash our hands, we have sanitizers. The mask I have I purchased on my own—the school didn’t have masks. They told us we could tie a bandana around our face, that that would work.
My daughter takes my temperature every day I come home. If she wants to spray me down with Lysol that’s fine, anything to alleviate her fears. My daughter at one point said, "Mom you’re older, older people are dying, you can stay home." But I was like nah. Jesus was a server. He served. That’s my purpose: to serve. That’s why I’ve been in this business 26 years. Most people look at us as a cafeteria lady, I look at it as a service. If there wasn’t an epidemic we would be still serving kids who probably would not get another meal until the next day. It’s an honor for us to serve those kids.
—As told to Alana Abramson (TIME https://time.com/collection/coronavirus-heroes/5816885/frontline-workers-coronavirus)
God is continually calling us to new life - as we are. We may have thought that God calls people only once, for just one purpose. In reality, it is safe to say that God calls us many times throughout the seasons of our lives, and each call challenges us to stretch further than we might have anticipated or imagined.
How might you discover your calling at this time in your life?
Watch the video, Discerning God's Call, by Jennifer Haworth and then use the reflection questions below to help you discern God's call.
Consider these three insights as you begin discerning how God is calling you at this time in your life.
1. Pay attention to your daily experience and what it stirs within you.
In the stuff of everyday experience - your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your routines - God is at work, inviting you to notice what brings you joy, what you're good at, and what others need you to do. Pay attention to where God is active in our life.
2. Reflect on what you notice, sorting and sifting in order to understand what is leading you to an abundant life and what is not.
Understanding develops through reflection, taking the time to see the patterns in your experience, and grasp their significance. While you can begin to notice and interpret God's action in our lives individually, if you want to hear deeply, see clearly, and choose wisely, trusted companions on the journey are essential.
3. Take loving action on what you have learned.
Discernment does not end with becoming aware of how your experiences are drawing you closer to or further away from God. You must eventually decide what you want to do with this knowledge. How will you act on what you've learned?
We grow into our distinctive callings if we are willing to become aware of God's movement in our lives, to reflect on this movement prayerfully alone and with others, and to take loving action on what we have learned.
Questions for Discernment
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff--
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
(Psalm 23:1-6, NRSV)
The God who breathed this world alive
and sustains it day by day,
whose hands flung stars into space
and controls our destiny
says, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you."
The God who filled the ocean depths
and set tides on their way,
who caused mountains to be raised up
and rainbows to display
Says, "I have called you by name, you are mine."
The God who made the fertile earth
and seed within to sow,
whose artistry creates butterflies
and the early morning dew
says, "You are precious in my sight."
(From: Faith and Worship. https://www.faithandworship.com/prayers_Love.htm)
The C3 Project is a service of Vibrant Faith funded through a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its Called to Lives of Purpose Initiative with the purpose of assisting congregations in developing and testing new ministry models for helping Christians discover and claim their callings.
Vibrant Faith: https://vibrantfaith.org