Tuesday, May 15, 2018

You Can Wrap Anxious People in God’s Love by Zoe M. McCarthy

You can wrap anxious people in God’s love through your stories and various ministries. Here’s one successful ministry.


The Call. 



My call to start a prayer shawl ministry started with opening my big mouth. In our small rural church, my husband led a Sunday school lesson concerning service. At the end, he asked how we could serve people in our community. The class began the normal discussion. I thought talking about possibilities would be the end of the matter. So I said, “Why do we discuss it? Just do something.”

Right then, God told me to start a prayer shawl ministry for sick and hurting people in our community. Boy, was I convicted of my derisive comment. On overload with a full-time writing ministry and other ministries, I wanted to argue, but I knew I was the one to start this ministry. I’d been a member of a prayer shawl ministry in my prior city church.



Start up. 


God didn’t give me the call then desert me. He showed me that the people who participated in the ministry in any fashion could grow in faith and caring service. The ministry isn’t for the sick and hurting alone. In announcing the ministry in our six-charge churches, I asked church members to invite anyone in the community who enjoyed knitting, crocheting, or quilting.

Process. We meet once a month, bring in our completed shawls, share patterns, and enjoy fellowship. As we work on shawls, we use the prayer list in the charge-wide bulletin and word-of-mouth suggestions for identifying people inside and outside the community who need God’s love. We lay our hands on the new shawls and pray for the people who will receive them. I tie a card to the shawls that gives our church contact information and the following message. We have laid our hands on this shawl and prayed that God’s grace be upon you. May you be wrapped in hope, joy, peace, comfort, and love.



Participants. 


One, who is now with Jesus, was a faithful knitter for two years from age ninety-three to ninety-five. She created sixteen shawls. We named our ministry after her. Three are recent widows. Two are community members that don’t attend one of our charge churches. Two are snowbirds from Florida. Another lives in an adjacent state, a participant’s sister. Two women learned to crochet and now make beautiful shawls. A woman and her husband, who don’t knit, crochet, or quilt are excited to help deliver our shawls and pray with the recipients.

In between meetings, we often invite Sunday school classes, our congregation, Bible study attendees, or women’s group members to come and lay hands on and pray over shawls we want to deliver to others.

I’m convinced our prayer shawl ministry nurtures its participants and others we enlist to get involved, giving them a purpose and a way to share God’s love.

Recipients. 


Anyone needing a helping of love may receive a shawl. We have delivered shawls to our rural community and the three small cities near us. We’ve sent some to people out-of-state. Even though we don’t tell recipients who made the shawls or expect anything in return, we have a fat envelope containing thank-you notes that often tell stories of how the shawls and quilts have ministered to the recipients. One gentleman with terminal cancer always kept his shawl with him and often read the message on its attached card.

The item of love doesn’t have to be shawls. I know and have participated in ministries that collect inspirational books from authors to give to people in prisons, to libraries in third world countries, and to people in hospitals. Like for the shawl ministry cards, loving messages can be written in the front of the books by the authors.

What ministries have you been part of that wrap anxious people in God’s love?

About the Author

Zoe M. McCarthy
A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of The Invisible Woman in a Red DressGift of the Magpie, andCalculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, gardening, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly atwww.zoemmccarthy.com.

 Cooking Up Kisses (Five Sweetly Scrumptious Novellas)


LOVE ON A DARE BY MARY MANNERS
Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.

HUMMINGBIRD KISSES BY DELIA LATHAM
Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right about knowing, but wrong about something far more important: She will never love this man!

HEARTS ON THE HARBOR BY ROBIN BAYNE
Cara Peyton is content with her life, her trendy Baltimore bookshop is perfect for her. But when her ex- turns up to remodel the store, asking for a second chance, she’s torn and unsure about risking her heart again. Can he convince her to trust him, and God, before the job is finished?

HIS VALENTINE PROMISE BY DORA HIERS
Another Valentine’s Day and Quinn Randolph prefers to spend it with her sweet rescue lab. Who needs men and their broken promises? Especially Pierce Karson’s! Years ago, his desertion shattered her. Now he’s trying to steal the property she targeted to expand her florist shop! Pierce only wants to belong…and for Quinn to choose him. His Valentine Promise…

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN IN A RED DRESS BY ZOE M. MCCARTHY
Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!

4 comments:

  1. Love this post, Zoe! It encourages me to step out and do something!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sally, you help a lot of writers. But I'm glad this encouraged you. Maybe God will put something else on your heart.

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  2. Zoe: Just reading abut this ministry blessed my heart today. What a precious, tangible way to encourage someone. Thank you for sharing about this ministry.

    ReplyDelete

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