Influence in Action

I have known for years that writing makes me come alive, but it wasn’t until last fall that God gave me a clear purpose for it.

Influence.

Since the weekend that He first gave it to me, that word has rooted deep and is woven throughout everything I write. Every part of my life, the good and the bad, has the potential to influence those around me. What kind of influence do I want to be? How can my influence make a difference? And how can I spur those around me to make the most of their influence as well? The answer to these questions and others came down to a single thought.

By being faithful.

God is my reason for all of it. Serving Him, loving Him, and glorifying Him are why I am on this planet. I am passionate about my love for Him, and about passing that passion on to all the lives I am privileged to touch. That is why this past weekend was very special to me.

An event took place at my church…”Sew Powerful & The Purse Project.” This wasn’t just another event for me. It is very near and dear to my heart, and I will tell you why, but first a little about what we did.

The project was two-fold.

First, gently used purses were filled with necessities and gifts for the homeless women of our local area. These purses will be distributed by women in our own church, one of which who was homeless herself and knows the depth of that struggle. She is now acting as the liaison between us and them. Talk about a powerful and faithful influence!

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Hannah & Camille Mueller putting purses together for the homeless, along with Pat Bauslaugh.

Secondly, using the model that Sew Powerful has laid out for us, we sewed purses for girls in Zambia. In a nutshell, from the Sew Powerful website, this is why:

“The purses you provide are used in local schools and clinics in Lusaka Zambia as part of Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) programs. This simple gift – combined with re-usable sanitary pads and health information can make a tremendous difference in the lives of adolescent girls. Read about our Sew Powerful Purse Project here. Our ministry partners work hard to educate and inform the girls in their community so that they stay in school and grow in confidence and self-esteem. It really is sew powerful!”

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So, on a Saturday morning, at our little corner church a few women and a lot of helping hands came together in a very unique way. My 10 year old daughter, and a couple of her friends, were there as well and I couldn’t help but think of the influence this was also having on their lives. The girls cheerfully gathered up supplies and stuffed purses for the homeless, and when they were done with that they babysat for some of the younger moms who wanted to help with the Sew Powerful part of the project. And all those who were sewing had an abundance of options to chose from thanks to a generous donation from Calico Corners in Vero Beach, FL. Sometimes a simple opportunity is all it takes to find the servants in our midst.

As I reflect back, I am still overwhelmed by all the different ways influence intersected that day. You see, Sew Powerful was founded by my sister and her husband almost 5 years ago. (This is the very “near and dear” part that I mentioned earlier.) Their vision is already reaching hearts and lives that I’m sure they will never know about. But the stories they do know about, like this one, the one where their 10 year old niece was part of an event that is something bigger than herself, or the one where their use of purses gave someone else a spin-off idea that purses could also be used to reach the homeless, or better yet, the one where awareness grew, and those who were there only wanted to do one thing when it was over. More.

This is what influence is all about. Being faithful in your part, however small it may seem, knowing that it will be magnified through the lens of God and spread in directions to numerous to count. It always starts right where you are. It’s that child who needs a little more attention. It’s that pencil you need to pick up and use to write the first word. It’s that idea that keeps rolling around in your head that just needs to be put into action. God is calling you to be a faithful influence, and trust me, if you answer that call the only thing you will want to do is more.