My plan for Monday was to run errands, do laundry, get some work done and bake pumpkin bread.
On Sunday night, as per usual, I placed my online grocery order and made sure to get the large can of pumpkin.
Then, I woke up on Monday morning to the news of the horrific act of violence in Las Vegas. I sat there in the darkness at 6am staring at the television, knowing my kids would soon wake up and come downstairs and I would have to try to explain to them what was happening. To attempt, for their benefit, to make sense out of something so senseless.
I felt paralyzed. My body didn’t want to move. The magnitude of what I was watching was like a weight holding me in place.
But, my kids needed breakfast. They needed to get to school. I needed to pick up my groceries.
What do we do in these moments? How do we try to do things that are so normal when everything in the world seems anything but?
Upon returning home, I unloaded the bags from my car and quickly turned the news on again, keeping an ear towards the latest while robotically putting the groceries away.
And then I pulled out the large can of pumpkin. Should I still bake today? It seems so frivolous. So pointless. People lost their lives. Others have injuries that will impact how they live out the rest of their years here on earth. Loved ones are grieving.
How can I bake pumpkin bread at a time like this?
But, then I thought, how couldn’t I?
When there is so much that we can’t control, we need to control the things we can.
Yes, we mourn with those who are mourning. And, of course, we pray.
But in times of crisis I also need to feel that I’m actually doing something.
As a family we’ve been watching a show on Netflix called ‘The Kindness Diaries’. I wish I could describe just how deeply it has resonated with us and how many amazing conversations with our children have occurred as a result of this show. We’ve even begun to do some fun top-secret kindness experiments together.
One of the things that always stands out to me in each episode is the reminder of how important it is that we not only look for moments of light in the midst of the darkness, but how even MORE important it is that we, ourselves, take the initiative to create the moments of light. How we are called to embody the love of our Heavenly Father and convey that love to others through our words and deeds.
“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Later on this week our contributor Julie will be sharing with us some beautiful homes all decorated for fall. And, in the wake of recent events, it can just seem so frivolous to talk about pumpkins and leaves falling. But, here’s what I believe.
I believe that we must continue to celebrate the beauty of this world and point people to the ONE who is sovereign over it all in order to combat the fear and the sin and the ugliness. I believe that when things seem so insurmountable, so big, we need to go smaller, simpler.
So, yesterday, I didn’t just bake one loaf of bread. I baked two, plus a dozen muffins. Because, I can think of a couple of friends who are in a stressful season of life right now and would be so surprised to find baked goodies on their doorstep.
It seems small. It seems simple.
But, this, this is what I can control. This is what I can do.
I can encourage. I can bless. I can offer a helping hand. I can give. I can be available.
So, I ask you friends, what can YOU do this week to bring light into the darkness? Let’s take some time to brainstorm and encourage each other as we journey through this together.
Much love to all of you and thank you for meeting me at the fence today,
Such a beautiful post. I know what you mean it’s hard to carry on as normal when horrific acts are happening round the world & so many people are hurting. There are thankfully more good people than bad & we see how people rally round at the worst of times. Carry on with your random acts of kindness.
Beautifully said. Just what I needed to read today. It is hard to focus on the good when tragedy encircles us. I will follow your lead and reach out with kindness.
Lin Mossgrove says
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words gave me comfort and a new way of looking at the chaos in the world. I can’t change the world, but I can try to be a light to my own little bundle of the world. Even just a smile at a passing stranger will brighten the day of two–the giver and the receiver. You are a blessing!
Well said! Your blog always speaks to me but today was especially helpful! I took my daughter to lunch yesterday to “celebrate” her birthday. We almost didn’t go, but decided the time together was needed and boy was it ever. She and I had the very discussion of “why is there so much evil in the world” and “why are all these terrible things happening”? We both felt that prayer and trying to find some way to make a difference is the answer. Then she asked me “Mom, how can we make a difference in this world of hate?” I told her that I thought praying was where we start.
Your post about starting “in your own home/backyard” is perfect. We can plant a mustard seed and watch it grow.
My daughter teaches at a Christian school and wants to have an open to the public prayer session, which I think is a wonderful idea. She knows her principal will agree. So, that is where we are going to start and have it on a Saturday morning. Hopefully every inch of that property will be filled with people praying for our community, our state, our country and the world we live in.
So very glad I found your blog several months ago. I’ve cried, laughed and been so inspired by your words.
Vanessa (yes another one out here 🙂 )
Beautiful post and so very true. These events are so random and commonplace now that it could happen at any time, any place. It’s so sad that this is what our world has become – like mini wars everyday instead of world wars. We need to band together and open our hearts, live out of love and not fear. If we can spread love with simple acts like baking for friends, brightening someone’s day by doing something kind and most importantly teach our children to live from their hearts with love and not hate and fear so that they can be the generation to stop the madness. Wishing you a joy-filled day!
Colleen Martinez says
Thank you for the wonderful thoughts.
Vanessa, you never cease to amaze me with your words and deeds. Thank you for this wonderful message.
Janet Sample says
I am thrilled and inspired by your proactive response to the difficult situation that we all find ourselves in. In times of sudden disaster it’s incredibly helpful to hold on to the good things in our lives and share them with others. And – on a small note – boy am I ready for pumpkin bread!! 😊 Thanks for helping turn around a week that started so badly.
As a new member of this blog, I thank you for your words and wisdom. It is true , we all need to be the light for others to guide them to the one true light. There will always be suffering, but if we can be a blessing to others as we are blessed, oh how sweet. Have a wonderful day.
What a wonderful post. Thank you.
I needed this reminder – because it really does all seem so overwhelming.
God bless you.
Sonja kaiser says
Very good insight into starting small in making a difference. If everyone just helped out in their communities, with even something small, it does make a difference. I’m going to be doing that shortly in a grade school and at church. Just behind the scenes helper when I can.
Jennifer Ross says
I agree with you Vanessa! Jesus said that we will have trouble in this world but to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. In this broken world we live in we need to point others to Jesus but sometimes it may not be like we think. Of course, pray and love others but also continue the creation he began and bring glory to Him by continuing to create. It isn’t frivolous. Let’s continue to celebrate the beauty of this world through our creating and in so doing we don’t know how God might use that to touch others’ lives.
It’s usually the simplest of things that has the biggest impact! Thank you and may God bless us all and shine his light us . . . we sure need it 🙂
Bless you, Vanessa! I, and I’m sure so many of your followers, needed to read and absorb this today. Smaller and simpler – I can do that! Pumpkin bread, a note or call to a friend going through something, a good long talk with my sons or hubby. These things I can control. And in this whacked out world, that will be enough to get me through. Thanks so much. You have reflected His light in a powerful way today. God bless.
doris hall says
Enjoyed your sharing your feelings and the pumpkin bread We have videos on you tube we want to share with all of you. We have a new one Hurricane Harvey Dedication All In The Family Singers Please go watch it and share it. Thanks so much We need all of us to grow to The Lord and Pray these are really bad times. I read some folks said something about the eclipse I do not believe everything I hear but something terrrible is happening. I believe people are searching for help and help cometh from on high. Let us share whatever way we can in these hurting times.. thank you so much and GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU
Well said. These horrific things that have happened since Nov last year have had my emotions running crazy.
Norma Rolader says
It was such a hard day on Monday due to this unnecessary violence Thank you for mentioning all those in Las Vegas Prayers for comfort for the families whom lost someone and prayers for the victims that were hurt may God give them strength
Mimi Matthews says
So well said! Beautiful.
Mimi Matthews says
Well said. Beautiful.
Marie in Florida says
Until kind, compassionate people do more, nothing will change. While the bread is baking, consider calling your Representatives and urging commonsense gun control laws.
Thank you for sharing. Your words really resonated with me.