Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

70. From Shame to Encouraging Others with Nancy Stevenson

March 17, 2024 Nancy Bruscher Season 4 Episode 70
70. From Shame to Encouraging Others with Nancy Stevenson
Ordinary People Extraordinary Things
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Ordinary People Extraordinary Things
70. From Shame to Encouraging Others with Nancy Stevenson
Mar 17, 2024 Season 4 Episode 70
Nancy Bruscher

Nancy's story starts with her parents' tumultuous past, carrying a weight of generational pain, which she has learned to transmute into a source of strength and empathy. Her early years were marred by loss and the struggle to fit in, which led her down a path fraught with poor choices and pain. However, it was through this darkness that Nancy's determination, once seen as stubbornness, emerged as an unshakeable faith.

As Nancy recounts her journey of faith and redemption, it's evident that spiritual transformation can be profound and life-altering. Her spontaneous decision to join the Navy became a pivot point, leading her to cross paths with individuals who would influence her faith, and serve as a catalyst for her to embrace Christianity, forever changing the trajectory of her life.


The narrative then transitions into the beautiful, albeit imperfect, love story between Nancy and Myron Stevenson. From a whirlwind romance to the struggles of marriage compounded by personal baggage, their commitment to each other and their faith is profoundly moving. It's a narrative that reinforces the belief that through faith, hope, and a willingness to face one's past, redemption and healing are possible. The power of vulnerability in relationships is a thread that runs throughout the episode, emphasizing the importance of openness and communication in building strong, resilient bonds.


Lastly, Nancy's story is a call to embrace life's challenges with gratitude. The idea that we should continuously seek new learning experiences and growth opportunities, regardless of our age, is both inspiring and motivating. This chapter of the episode is a powerful reminder that life's lessons come in many forms and that recognizing and appreciating them is a form of wisdom.


This episode is more than just a recounting of events; it's a celebration of life's trials and triumphs. It serves as an encouragement to anyone who might find themselves in the throes of hardship or despair. Nancy's story provides hope and serves as a beacon to guide others through their own darkness.


Through Nancy's narrative, listeners are invited to reflect on their own lives, to find strength in their struggles, and to seek joy in serving others. It is a call to action to live a life that is kind and full of gratitude, one that honors the past while looking forward to a future filled with promise. This podcast episode is not just a story to be heard but an experience to be felt and a journey to be shared.



Thank you to our sponsor….
 https://generationstogenerations.com/


You can find “Ordinary People Extraordinary Things” anywhere you listen to podcasts or Check out the Link below....⬇️
https://generationstogenerations.com/podcast

ordinarypeoplestories@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ordinarypeoplestory

https://www.instagram.com/ordinarypeopleextraordinary/

X: @storiesextra

Any advice should be confirmed with a qualified professional.
All rights reserved: Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

Stories shared by guests may not always be shared views of OPET.
Being a guest does not mean OPET approves of every decision or action in the guests' life.

We all have a story, all of us, share your story. You don't have to have the perfect answer or the perfect life - share what Jesus is doing in your life. This is an easy, real way to witness & share your testimony.


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Nancy's story starts with her parents' tumultuous past, carrying a weight of generational pain, which she has learned to transmute into a source of strength and empathy. Her early years were marred by loss and the struggle to fit in, which led her down a path fraught with poor choices and pain. However, it was through this darkness that Nancy's determination, once seen as stubbornness, emerged as an unshakeable faith.

As Nancy recounts her journey of faith and redemption, it's evident that spiritual transformation can be profound and life-altering. Her spontaneous decision to join the Navy became a pivot point, leading her to cross paths with individuals who would influence her faith, and serve as a catalyst for her to embrace Christianity, forever changing the trajectory of her life.


The narrative then transitions into the beautiful, albeit imperfect, love story between Nancy and Myron Stevenson. From a whirlwind romance to the struggles of marriage compounded by personal baggage, their commitment to each other and their faith is profoundly moving. It's a narrative that reinforces the belief that through faith, hope, and a willingness to face one's past, redemption and healing are possible. The power of vulnerability in relationships is a thread that runs throughout the episode, emphasizing the importance of openness and communication in building strong, resilient bonds.


Lastly, Nancy's story is a call to embrace life's challenges with gratitude. The idea that we should continuously seek new learning experiences and growth opportunities, regardless of our age, is both inspiring and motivating. This chapter of the episode is a powerful reminder that life's lessons come in many forms and that recognizing and appreciating them is a form of wisdom.


This episode is more than just a recounting of events; it's a celebration of life's trials and triumphs. It serves as an encouragement to anyone who might find themselves in the throes of hardship or despair. Nancy's story provides hope and serves as a beacon to guide others through their own darkness.


Through Nancy's narrative, listeners are invited to reflect on their own lives, to find strength in their struggles, and to seek joy in serving others. It is a call to action to live a life that is kind and full of gratitude, one that honors the past while looking forward to a future filled with promise. This podcast episode is not just a story to be heard but an experience to be felt and a journey to be shared.



Thank you to our sponsor….
 https://generationstogenerations.com/


You can find “Ordinary People Extraordinary Things” anywhere you listen to podcasts or Check out the Link below....⬇️
https://generationstogenerations.com/podcast

ordinarypeoplestories@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ordinarypeoplestory

https://www.instagram.com/ordinarypeopleextraordinary/

X: @storiesextra

Any advice should be confirmed with a qualified professional.
All rights reserved: Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

Stories shared by guests may not always be shared views of OPET.
Being a guest does not mean OPET approves of every decision or action in the guests' life.

We all have a story, all of us, share your story. You don't have to have the perfect answer or the perfect life - share what Jesus is doing in your life. This is an easy, real way to witness & share your testimony.


Speaker 1:

Welcome to Ordinary People Extraordinary Things. I'm your host, nancy, and I get to talk to ordinary people just like you about real stories, stories of faith and hope. I have a challenge for you. Would you share ordinary people extraordinary things with four people today? Four people I picked four because it's my favorite number but would you take the time today to share hope and faith with someone that you know, maybe share your favorite episode or episodes, or something that your friend or your family member is going through? That would encourage them. I am asking for this challenge for people today to share ordinary people, extraordinary things. Are you ready? Can we pray first? Yes.

Speaker 3:

Father, god, thank you so much for this opportunity to share my story, a story that you have given me to share, that I was ashamed of for so long, and now I see you using it all the time to encourage others. I pray that you would help me to listen to your Holy Spirit today and to only say what you want me to say, and to say it clearly, without stuttering or stammering, or I don't want Nancy to have to do a lot of editing after. So, lord, just help me to bring you glory in all of it, and I pray it in Jesus' name Amen.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for that. Well welcome to ordinary people. Extraordinary things. I'm here with Nancy, and you are one of the only other Nancy's I know there aren't too many of us anymore, I know. I know so whenever we're in the same circles around church and so whenever everyone's like Nancy and I was like what, oh, they're talking to Nancy Stevenson, because I don't really get that that often yeah.

Speaker 3:

Are you the same? I am, and sometimes I get emails that I think were intended for Nancy Brusher that come to me so yes, it works both ways, girl.

Speaker 1:

And it's a. It's a calm. It's not like a strange name, but it's just not used very often.

Speaker 3:

It was very common when I was younger, okay, but but yeah, you don't see too many people your age and younger.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, well, just had to start out with that. So if people don't know you. What are three words or phrases to describe you?

Speaker 3:

I think the first one is determined and my mom, if you'd asked her that question when I was a kid, she would have said stubborn and I think sometimes Myron would say the same thing my husband but when I make up my mind to do something, I'm pretty determined to finish when I start.

Speaker 3:

Nice, I think I'm faithful and loyal, is another that I stand by the people that I love and I don't easily walk away from relationships. I'm pretty organized. I kind of I thrive in organization. I don't do real well in chaos, and so when my mind, when I need a break just from working and thinking about things, I'll go in in a room and organize it.

Speaker 3:

I mean that's just kind of what helps me to relax, and sometimes that can be annoying for people, but I think it helps me to be more to do my job well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

To be organized.

Speaker 1:

I see a lot of those traits that you just said. Thank you, so we get to talk about your faith journey. Yeah, kind of broad like whoop, just throw it out there, okay.

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm almost 68 years old in April, so my story is a long one. I lived for a long time. I'll try not to get into too much detail, but my story really starts with my dad's story, because my mom and my dad both, and they both come from very dysfunctional, broken family lives. And so my dad when he was five years old. They were very poor. They lived in the little town called Tipton, oklahoma, and my grandfather would go out and try to find work every day in construction, and there were five boys and he didn't have money to go out and buy them toys, and so what he would do is leave his rifle there for the boys to play with, unloaded, and that would be their toy.

Speaker 3:

That would be the toy that the boys would play with. And one day my grandfather forgot to unload the rifle and my dad, when he was five years old, picked up the rifle and shot and killed his brother, and so his life, as you can imagine, was full of shame and pain, my grandfather's too. He was an alcoholic most of his life.

Speaker 1:

Because of that or before that.

Speaker 3:

Because of that I think honestly.

Speaker 3:

I don't know too much, but I think it was because of that. He had so much shame and guilt about forgetting to unload the rifle and he took a lot of his internal anger out of my dad, and so there was a lot of brokenness there. He was angry. He came from a broken marriage before he met my mom, and my mom too, had a pretty good life growing up, very poor, but then she married a man when she was in the Navy. She was in the Navy in World War II, really Part of the waves, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Wow. And she married I believe he was Army, a guy who you know. It was a whirlwind romance and she had my sister early on and when my sister was, I don't know, probably about a year old, he said he was going out to buy cigarettes and never came home. So mom was abandoned. You know, to raise a daughter by herself.

Speaker 1:

And this was in World War II or after. It was after, yeah, after the war.

Speaker 3:

So, mom and, dad found each other through a Phillips petroleum company. They both worked there. They found each other. I think it was kind of a marriage of convenience because they both had a child that they wanted. You know, they wanted the other parent to help them raise and so they raised my sister and my brother, never telling my sister, who was just a baby, that she was not my dad's daughter.

Speaker 3:

Oh, really yeah and so she grew up thinking that my dad was her dad. So there was so many dynamics to the family mix that were pretty broken. And then a few years later, quite a few years later actually, my mom was 35 when she had me and I still don't know if it was planned or an accident. I have a feeling it was probably not planned, but not an accident to God, not an accident to God. He knew, he knew what he was doing. My dad tried really hard to take care of the family financially. He worked really hard. He did all he knew how to do to raise a family, but didn't have a clue how to have a relationship. Mom took me to church at a very young age. I grew up going to church with mom and hearing about Jesus and knowing the basics of the Bible stories, but I never knew that it could be personal.

Speaker 3:

That I could have a personal relationship with him. So I listened and I learned as much as I could, but it just never really hit home with me and so went to church but never really grew in my relationship with Jesus. And then when I was 12 we found out my dad had stomach cancer and so when I was 13 he passed away. Oh wow.

Speaker 3:

When that happened I think I took on a lot of his anger that he had growing up because he was not kind and drank too much and it was just not a healthy family.

Speaker 3:

So I took on a lot of his anger and made some really bad choices. When I was in high school I looked for friends who would just take me in, as I was as broken as I was, and a lot of times those were friends who were also broken and I got involved in drugs and alcohol and all those bad choices, sex when I was very young, and it was not a happy life, but it was all I knew, and so I barely got through high school. I did actually quit school at one point when I was a sophomore, just because I just felt like Bible Church and you know from the city Чер Coloff out of place there. I remember after my dad died some kids came up to me afterwards and they walked right to me as if they were going to say something and then they didn't know what to say so they walked away. And that was kind of how I felt in high school. I just never quite felt like I fit, because now I realize that they just didn't know what to say.

Speaker 3:

It wasn't they were trying to be unkind, but they just didn't know what to say. They never had a friend who had lost a parent before, and so I felt very alone and that made me drift towards people anybody really who would accept me.

Speaker 3:

So I made really, really bad choices and did end up going back to school after I had quit and got through, mainly because I started focusing on business as what I was really good at and so when I started focusing on that, it was a little bit easier for me to get through the school part of it, but I still was very alone, and when I got out of school every day I would go find friends and drink and do all the things that I shouldn't have been doing, but that's all I knew, and so, by the time I was, I graduated high school and then I went to college at Oklahoma State University. I grew up in Bartlesville, oklahoma, by the way, and went to college at Oklahoma State thinking that maybe there I felt like I had a sign on my back that said vulnerable girl, please use me and I thought, maybe when I left Bartlesville, that that would go away, but it didn't.

Speaker 3:

There was just something that people saw in me, I think, that was vulnerable and broken, and so the same things kept happening. When I went to school there and got involved with a really bad guy who we found out later, actually spent 13 years in prison for attempted murder.

Speaker 3:

And so no, this happened after I met him Myron did a little bit of research on him and found out that he was really a bad guy and he used people to get money. And he did that with me, and I was so broken after that that I really didn't want to live anymore. I just had lost my desire to live. And so one night I went with a friend and drank probably a half of a fifth of tequila and somehow or other managed to get from the friend's house back to my apartment.

Speaker 3:

I drove I don't know how in the world I feel like angels must have been surrounding that car, but I drove home and when I got home I swallowed about a half a bottle of Tylenol. I don't remember any of this, but I don't know if it was because I already had the horrible hangover of a headache or if I really was trying to take my life. I don't know what my motivation was, but all I know is I woke up the next day in the hospital and my friend, who was mad at me, came looking for me in my apartment that night at 2.30 in the morning.

Speaker 4:

This is such a god thing.

Speaker 3:

She came looking for me. She happened to be a nurse, so she gave me CPR and called the ambulance, and so I ended up in the hospital the next day, and that's when I realized I had to get out of there. I knew that I had to get away from the town, away from all those people, and so, as I told you before, my mom was in the Navy, and so was my dad in World War II, and there was a little recruiting office right behind where I lived in my apartment, so I walked over there and I talked to the recruiter, I did all the testing and ended up in the intelligence field with the Navy, and God in his wisdom, when I went to boot camp in Orlando, florida, he put a young lady, I believe her name. Her name was either Eve or Grace, I can't remember which one. It was a biblical name, though, and she was on the bottom bunk and I was on the top bunk, and she would read her Bible. When the rest of us would be out taking a smoke break, or anytime we got a break, she would read her Bible and she would tell Jesus about how much he loved me.

Speaker 3:

This was really my first experience with a Christian, with a believer who was willing to share her faith with me. I wasn't quite ready at that point to make a decision for Christ, but she definitely planted the seed and I can't wait to meet her in heaven and tell her you started all of this. You know just that moment that she had with me and I know that she prayed for me and made such a difference. And so then I went to them as well.

Speaker 3:

First Pensacola, florida, for my training and then to Masawa, japan, was my first duty station, and it was there that God brought a young Marine named Michael Keefe, who was from Moscow, idaho. Mike was such a strong, passionate believer that had so much joy in his life that when you know, after hanging out with him just for a few nights on the mid-shift, two in the morning, you know I would see that joy in him and he just radiated that he would sing hymns completely off key but, eating, care, you know, there was just so much joy in his life, and so he invited me to come to a meeting at a little.

Speaker 3:

It was a little mission, really, for a Christian servicemen overseas called the Hospitality House, and it was there that the missionaries shared the gospel with me in a way that I'd never heard of before. You know, just it was. He talked about forgiveness and how I, no matter what my story was, how I could be forgiven for all of those bad choices that I made, and that there was hope if I would just let Jesus be the Lord of my life. And so there was a lot more to it than that.

Speaker 3:

A lot I don't remember, but but that's what sunk into me, and so I lived in Barracks then, or old World War II Barracks that we had in Miss Owah, and I remember going back to my room that night in the Barracks by myself and just laying it all out for the Lord and I just told him that I couldn't keep going the way that I had. I didn't want to live the way that I had been anymore. I wanted to let him be the Lord of my life. There was no scripted prayer. There was, you know nothing that I looked up in a book to pray. It was just what God laid on my heart and I really do believe that was the Holy Spirit just making it so clear to me what I needed to do and I'm so glad, knowing myself the way that I do, I'm so glad that happened that way because I feel like if it would have been someone else kind of coaching me through that, I may have doubted it later.

Speaker 3:

I may have questioned whether it was really real, but I know without any doubt that that moment, that first moment that I really had with Jesus was, was very real and my life did change Not that it became perfect at all. I still made some bad choices even after that, but I knew when I did that I could turn away from it and get back on the path that he wanted me on.

Speaker 3:

And so then about a year later, another big strapping marine walked in to where I worked. His name was Myron Stevenson and we met. There's a little bit of dispute whether it was May or June when we met. I think it was June, he thinks it was May, he thinks it was June. But anyway, on June 24th we were engaged. What I know, I still can't believe it.

Speaker 1:

So at the very most two months, yeah, at the very most, and we both just knew Sorry, were you or Navy? I was Navy.

Speaker 3:

And he was Marine.

Speaker 1:

Marine goes under the Army. No, no Marine is with Navy. Oh, ok, although they don't like to admit it. But yeah, the Marine. Ok. I was like, how did you guys meet?

Speaker 3:

OK, so, Missal, the base that we were at had all four services there.

Speaker 3:

Oh, ok, so there were Army Air Force, navy and Marines at the space, and so we worked on the same shift and he came in I think it was a night shift when I first met him and we just both knew right away he had been a believer his whole life. Really he calls himself a nursery baby. He grew up in the nursery at church I like that, yeah and when he was 12 years old he came forward at a revival at his church to ask Jesus to be his savior. So he'd been a believer for a long time. I was still a new believer, excited on fire, and in December December 8th of that same year, 1978, we got married.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's a whirlwind romance.

Speaker 3:

It definitely was a whirlwind romance and there were a lot of bets going on about how long this marriage was going to last, and I think if a lot of those guys that we knew back then could see us now, they would be shocked because it's been 45 years that we have been together, and so it has not been easy.

Speaker 3:

We've had some struggles. I, as you can imagine, brought a lot of baggage with me into the marriage. It was really hard that first year for me just to learn how to let somebody in, to trust him, because I had been hurt so many times and I was. I wanted a relationship, but I didn't have a good example growing up of what a healthy marriage is, and so I had no clue how to be a good wife, how to be a loving wife, and he had some baggage that he brought with him too, as we all do, and it was just really hard at the very beginning and even in the first few years, I would say after having our first baby.

Speaker 3:

We were two and a half years in the end, I think, when we had Jake, and of course that brings another kind of stress into relationships, and so when we had been together for about eight years, he just had had enough.

Speaker 3:

Honestly, he wanted to love me and I didn't know how to let him, and so he decided that we would take a break for a while, and so he moved out. We were separated for about a month and thankfully, god really worked in both of us during that time that we were separated. I really dug into his word and read through Job, strangely enough, and that was really comforting to me to know that even in these really difficult times, that God is still with us and he redeems us through them. And so we've had a lot of struggles in both of our lives, both separately and together since then, but God has been so faithful to help us to learn to trust in him, and about seven years ago now I think it was oh gosh, it's been more than that 2015,. In April of 2015, I went to a women's retreat that we were pretty much I was pretty much forced to really dig into my past and pull out some of that baggage and look at it and lay it at the foot of the cross and give it over to Jesus.

Speaker 3:

And that was really the beginning of sharing my full story with Myron. As much as I wanted to tell him before, I didn't know that he could still love me if he knew all of the things in my story. There was so much shame around that story. So you had been married for a very long time, very long time before I really shared.

Speaker 3:

He knew top level, high level about my story, but never the depth of the hurt and the pain that I had been through including my story with my family early on, and so finally digging that up, talking about it and bringing the shame out into the light made it lose its power. And so he also went to a men's retreat the same organization, cross ministry group as what it's called and kind of worked through a lot of his stuff Because, as you can imagine, he had a lot of hurt and pain from all the years of trying to love me and me pushing him away, and so we both were so impacted by that and have been given a lot of tools to help us work through when things do get hard. Wow.

Speaker 4:

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Speaker 1:

I have heard some of your story. We sat down several years ago but not all of this and I'm sure there's more you know yeah but what I want to say is thank you. Thank you for being vulnerable, because that's really hard yeah and.

Speaker 1:

But I love what you said about is when we let it go, then it doesn't have this power anymore. So that's why I'm just praying for someone who's listening today of just let it out, because then it doesn't carry that weight anymore, it doesn't have that power over you because it's out. And something else I just I just loved when I was hearing you is you know, I've only known you for the last few years and I see you as not a perfect Christian at all, because none of us are perfect. But oh my gosh, she's got it together. Look at her, she's amazing, which you are.

Speaker 1:

I'm not trying to say that, but I love that you're sharing this part of your story, of your history, of your past. To say, you know, it's okay, because I think this might be part of our problem in Christianity is, once we come to Jesus, we want to pretend like nothing. None of this past ever happened, and that's great because we have freedom in Jesus. But also maybe we've lost the opportunity to meet someone, where they are, who's not a part of you know, jesus's family, yet that doesn't know him, because we've put ourselves on this well, I don't know what you're talking about, kind of thing. I've never lived that kind of life. You know, I have it all together and your story of of a lot of I. Maybe I'm saying it badly, but bad decisions can actually show someone from the outside like, oh, it's okay, it's okay to come to Jesus. When I'm like this, he understands. Someone else was like this too. Did I say that somewhat? Well, yes, that's great and I.

Speaker 3:

I have learned through sharing my story over the last few years.

Speaker 3:

One of the things when I first started in my job that I'm doing now, I just felt like God was telling me to sit down with our volunteers and get to know them and hear their hearts, and part of that I learned was that when I shared my story, that they were much more willing to be vulnerable and share their stories with me, and so I have shared it probably over a hundred times in the last five years and so that that too, there's so much healing in that piece, in just telling it over and over and over again, and it does lose its power and it does help the people who were hearing to know that, hey, I don't have to be perfect, I don't have to be in a perfect place before I come to Jesus.

Speaker 3:

I can come to him just exactly as I am broken, lost, afraid, hopeless, and he will take me in and love me, and that's what I want anybody who hears this story to know. It doesn't matter what you've done yeah, at all. There's a lot more to my story that I didn't share that some of you I know what identify with. But I'll be glad to sit down and have a cup of coffee with anybody who wants to hear it, and so that you can know that you are not alone, first of all, in your journey, and and I want to be able to help, and story is a great way to do it.

Speaker 1:

So I'm so thankful, nancy, for what you do, yeah, in helping people share their stories yeah amazing well, I just love that and I love that you said also because I think this could be a missed thought that some people have is okay, you said yes to Jesus. You know you had this, this moment, but things weren't perfect after that no and you made mistakes, but I still love.

Speaker 1:

I love also that you said you know I looked for him for forgiveness and I got back on the path, yeah, so I love that, because obviously we make mistakes, but we don't want to just sit in our mistakes either, right like there's a there's a balance. So I love that you said that absolutely through difficulties.

Speaker 3:

It's how my faith has grown through struggles, when we had the hard times in our marriage, when we struggled with raising three boys and not really knowing how to do that well because, again, I didn't have great examples growing up. When I've had difficulties in my work life. God has walked me through those times and those are the times when I have really dug into his word and and learn to rely on him more than any other. I'm thankful for the great times that we've had and I try to always remember to be thankful and to be grateful for those times.

Speaker 1:

But times of growth, I think, come out of hardship that's what I've I hear over and over and over again, and none of us want that right, but I think it's so true. Romans 5 3. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame what you were talking about, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, spirit who has been given to us.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that's those things in the Bible where you're like, yeah, is that true, do I want it to be true? But it is.

Speaker 3:

It is definitely true, and that's a great life verse for me. That's not the one that I had brought with me today. That is a great one because it does the suffering, produces perseverance and it keeps us going and builds character. There are times when I think okay, God, I've had enough character very much.

Speaker 3:

I've got it. I've got it. But he's used all of those times to help me grow and to help me realize that he has a plan for my life. And that's what has really amazed me, I think more than anything else about my journey, is how he's used me in these last six years, since I've been on staff at Southeast, in ways that I never really thought was possible.

Speaker 3:

I never considered myself a leader. In times that I have been put in leadership positions, I always kind of felt like I was a reluctant leader. I'll do it if I have to, but this is not my thing. And in the last three well six months now, I guess, since I started in my new job, where I'm leading people in ways that I felt totally unprepared for, but I realized that God has used the experiences that I've had in my life, even the ones that I had early in my life, to help me to lead people well and to understand people a little bit better and to have grace with people who may be struggling, who may say things that are not kind and should try and dig in and understand why what's going on.

Speaker 3:

So I'm just amazed at how God uses us broken people in ways that can bring him glory. We've got all kinds of people on our team who would say the same thing, who come from a past of brokenness, who are now serving God and being the face of God in our church, Not necessarily because of the brokenness, but because of the healing that God has done since then, and it's pretty amazing to watch. It's my favorite part of my job.

Speaker 1:

And so you're passionate about serving.

Speaker 3:

I am.

Speaker 1:

What would you say about like, if someone's like well, what is serving, or how do I serve, or I don't have time for that?

Speaker 3:

Well, what I've learned is it's not just going in and filling a need. I really truly believe that everyone has a call to serve. I think something we can all do is listen well, be there and be observant of the people around you. You can serve somebody, sometimes just by smiling at them If they've had a rough day. They've just come out of their job and they work with people and somebody just reamed them on one side and down the other, and then you see them and you smile at them or say something kind. It can change their whole world, and so I think that's something we can do. Every day. You see someone who has a particular need, whether it's a neighbor, or, again, someone in the grocery store who can't get something off a high shelf and you help them and you smile and say here, let me help you. I think there's opportunities around us every day when we can serve others. We can make a meal for a neighbor who's sick. You know there's lots of opportunities, we just have to look for them.

Speaker 1:

Things were looking for the right time, like, oh, when I'm older. Oh, when I'm retired. Oh, I'm retired now, I don't have to do it. Oh, after my kids are grown. And I think that if we do that, we might never serve Right or we're losing out.

Speaker 3:

And we're missing opportunities that. God always gives us opportunities. If we ask Him to, he'll put them in front of us.

Speaker 1:

You talked a little bit about kindness. This is a new question I'm bringing in. What kindness have you shown or what kindness have you seen from someone or gotten in the last week.

Speaker 3:

I love that question and it was a lot easier for me to answer the kindnesses that I've seen in others than the kindnesses I've shown, so I just I listed a few here.

Speaker 4:

So I'll just read them off.

Speaker 3:

really good, so my friend, ronnie, brought me a buntini cake the other day. She knows a little bit discouraged by something that had happened and she went to the buntini store and brought me a cake just to encourage me. Carrie, who is our admin on our team at work, is always asking ways she can help and she does. She steps in. I was a little bit stressed about having to feed a team of people that were doing a class four on Sunday and she said let me help you, I'll order the food, I'll go pick it up, you don't have to worry about that. And it was just it took so much off my plate and took stress off of me.

Speaker 3:

Tim, you know Tim always stops every time I see him and ask how I'm doing and he actually stops and listens yeah, actually yeah, and cares about it. He'll take the time to listen. A friend that I met with Michelle the other day visits a lady in long-term care who is my age actually but had a stroke years ago, can't communicate, can't really do anything to reciprocate her care, but she's there every week loving on this lady. Our staff is so great about stepping in. When any of us need help, they step in and just do it. Ask how can I help? Which is so kind, sue. Our dear Sue brings dessert every single Monday morning to our staff to enjoy on Mondays.

Speaker 3:

So those are just a few. I see it around me all the time and I learn from them. I try my best to stop and listen when I have a chance to have a conversation with anyone. Sometimes it's hard, especially on Sunday mornings because it's pretty busy, but I'll try and stop and pray with people. If I know that there's a need to pray for, I will stop right there and pray. And that's always a kindness when we pray for people, something we're all called to do.

Speaker 1:

That's good. I just find that more and more, we're bombarded with the idea that people are bad, that there's not kindness, and so I just felt like it was really important to start sharing that. I think if we look for it, we'll see it Right.

Speaker 4:

But if we look, for the bad.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's not hard.

Speaker 3:

That's absolutely true. You can find that anytime too, right, right, yeah, I try real hard to look for the good in people and the kindness that people do. Yeah, it's a great question. Well, thank you for that.

Speaker 1:

So what is your favorite Bible verse? He said you like the one that we talked about, but you have another one?

Speaker 3:

Yes, well, I'll tell you the first one, as a new believer, that I memorized was Romans 8, 28. And we know that all things work all things Sorry, Let me try that again. And we know that in all things, god works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose, and that's a verse that I've held on to tightly through a lot of the struggles in my life. I think right now there's a verse in 1 Corinthians 12, 27 that says all of you together are Christ's body and each of you is a part of it. And that's really what I'm focusing on for this job that I have as the volunteer coordinator is to make sure that everybody understands that there is a part for them to play in this kingdom role that we have to serve others. So that is definitely a favorite too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the idea that we can't all be the head or the eyes but we need a foot, we need a finger, we need everything right and a big toe.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we do, and there's a place for everyone.

Speaker 1:

When you were saying that God works, I'll butcher it, but the Romans one that you just said, that I just felt that one as well when you were talking about how the bad things that happened, but God did use it and you've seen that and that's so beautiful, so many times yeah. So beautiful.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

He's faithful. Well, our last question what are you grateful for?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I'm grateful for my family, especially for Myron. He loves me so well and I finally am learning how to receive it, and he supports me and we are able to support each other now. It's so cool that we've come full circle. We started out working together when we were in the military and now we're working together again at Southeast. He's the director of security there, and it's so fun for me to see him at work, because for 43 years he was in the Intel community and I didn't get to see what he did. So now I get to actually walk alongside him and I've learned so much from his leadership in my role too. So I'm very thankful for that and for my three boys three grown boys two live here and one's in Houston, and I'm so proud of every one of them and the men that they've become and the women that they've loved too, and my six grandchildren.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, they're all amazing. The youngest is Joseph and he's six months old now. He was born on August 31st and he's just so amazing. The oldest is 21 and will be 22 in April. His name is Jonathan, and they're all amazing and I'm so thankful for each of them. I'm also thankful that at my age, I'm learning something new and trying something completely outside my comfort zone that God has called me to and is challenging me every day, and I think it helps me to stay a little bit younger by trying new things and learning new things. And then I'm very grateful for the people that he's put in my life in this long, long journey that I've had. I'm very grateful.

Speaker 1:

Well, I love your to the point where I've heard it before is that you can retire from a job, but you can't retire from ministry. That's right, as in just our ministry to love people and love God. So I like that.

Speaker 3:

You're saying I'm trying new things, so yeah, yeah, and it's been scary and fun and challenging and all those things, but I'm very grateful for it.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you for being on, thank you for sharing a little bit of your heart, thank you for sharing your story Absolutely, and I'm just praying for every person. I know that different people are going to grab different things right. As far as, like, I connected with this, I felt this, but I'm just praying over this podcast and everyone who's listening.

Speaker 3:

Me too. Niazi, Thank you for what you do in allowing people to share their stories and to bring these stories of hope to the world.

Speaker 1:

I love it, thank you. Thank you for listening. I hope that this has inspired you and, as a reminder, please take the challenge to tell four people about ordinary people, extraordinary things, and thus spreading faith and hope in our communities.

Faith Journey of an Ordinary Person
A Journey of Faith and Redemption
The Power of Kindness and Service
Embracing New Challenges and Gratitude