You Make a Difference, More Than You Know

“Watch what God does, and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.
Mostly what God does is love you.
Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.
Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant.
He didn’t love in order to get something from us
but to give everything of Himself to us.
Love like that.

Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message

The “butterfly effect” suggests that the whir of air released by a butterfly’s wings can magnify over time to release a power that can affect weather patterns thousands of miles away.  An unnoticed, seemingly insignificant action can intensify to a storm of consequence. Yes, it may take a long time, but it still ripples into the big story God has planned.

Every act of kindness we make causes a reaction which causes even further reactions. Sometimes these acts will be noticed and appreciated, and other times they aren’t. But God still uses them, regardless of the lack of acclaim.

Sometimes it feels like we don’t make a difference in the world, but we do. One act of kindness at a time. Years ago in a Bible Study using The Purpose Driven Life, I met a single mom who day after day washed bedding in the dark basement of a hospital. She was certain she did not have a purpose that glorifies God.  She wondered – What difference do I make in this world?

She woke me up to how much I don’t appreciate the work behind blessings I take for granted.  Those same clean, crisp, white sheets I have laid on in a hospital bed were washed by a woman who thought she wasn’t making a difference in the lives of anyone.  In reality, her quiet, unnoticed flap of wings has made a greater difference than she will ever realize.

When Heaven Is for Real first came out, a friend bought two copies to share with others. I received one copy and shared it with some neighbors whose lives were touched by it.  One neighbor bought a copy and also passed it around, and that person was so impacted that she bought her own copy to share with others. God works wonders from a simple act of kindness and caring.  A flap of the wings and the power releases.

It has been years since I watched the movie Pay It Forward, but the impact of it still resounds in my heart. Trevor came up with an idea for a seventh-grade assignment.  He would pass on an act of kindness to three people, and each of them in turn would pass on a good deed to three more.  His seemingly insignificant act stirred up a whirlwind of kindness in his school, his community, and even spread to other communities. The ending shocked me, but it portrays reality. Not all people accept or pass on kindness. Still, that doesn’t stop the difference our kindness continues to make on others.

Even a smile, a kind word, a door held open, or some other small gesture can sprinkle hope into someone’s heart, whether it’s a family member, friend, or a stranger. And whether or not they’re noticed or appreciated, acts of kindness not only affect those around us today, but by God’s grace they ripple on and shape the lives of others even years from now.

Now consider… If one pair of wings can gradually intensify into a storm, imagine what we can do together.

"What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.
 The needs are great, and none of us,
 including me, ever do great things.
 But we can all do small things, with great love,
 and together we can do something wonderful."
 ~ Mother Teresa

“Try a Little Kindness”
by Glen Campbell

“May God give us grace
to show the same kindness to others
as He shows to us!”

28 thoughts on “You Make a Difference, More Than You Know

  1. So beautiful and meaningful, Trudy. I love the analogy with the butterfly effect! Pay It Forward broke my heart with its ending but it was a fantastic movie. You are so right. Even a smile or a kind word can change someone’s day and set something much bigger in motion. Thanks for these important reminders, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Candace. That movie broke my heart with its ending, too. I was so engrossed in it and was waiting for those bullies to change, but my heart was devastated at the outcome. But later I could see more of how what Trevor started had not stopped but had spread even more. May we learn to pass out kindness even when it’s rejected!

      Like

    1. Thank you, Martha. Blessings to you, too! I am a believer of this, but sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s not just others’ kind acts, but also my own that can make a difference. Yes, may we continue to show that love and kindness to every soul we meet! Amen!

      Like

  2. What beautiful thoughts today! I love how you tied in something as small as the flapping of butterfly wings with making a difference. We forget that God asks us to be kind to others. He’s not looking for the next big thing because he already did that through his death and resurrection. God is asking us to take that small step each day and show others his love even if it seems insignificant. Love this reminder today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mary. I love what you say about God not looking for the next big thing because He already did that through His death and resurrection. Amen! May we daily show the depths of His love through our love and compassion!

      Like

  3. So true Trudy. No one is insignificant. We do matter and acts of kindness go beyond what we cannot see. The tapestry webbed by God is much beyond our human eyes and understanding, but oh so grand and beautiful! I think we just get a touch of it here when we sometimes see the impacts of our kindness! Can you imagine seeing it all? I think my heart would be open beyond measure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a glorious sight that would be to see God’s grand and beautiful tapestry, Lynn! I think my heart, too, would be open beyond measure. My eyes aren’t always open to see the impact of my kindness. It’s easier to see the impact of others. Sometimes we need to learn to practice more kindness towards ourselves, too, right? May we trust God has the power to impact others with our kind actions, however insignificant they may seem!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Trudy,
    Your words and graphics and the songs you choose are always some of those acts of kindness that I feel, my friend! After I visit your site, I come away with so much encouragement to love like Jesus loves. We just never know how those little gifts of kindness will affect those around us, do we? What a treasure to be able to share with that woman who felt so alone in her work, that you had been blessed on those clean, crisp sheets! I pray that my eyes would be opened more & more to bring those little encouragements that can mean so much. Hugs and Love and Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your kind words bring tears to my eyes, Bettie. It gladdens my heart that you come away with encouragement to love like Jesus loves. I always want to put Jesus and His love first. It’s not always easy for me to see that I make a difference, so thank you. I can honestly say I feel those acts of kindness when I come away from your site, too. I have been trying to pay more attention to those little encouragements I can give others and to the ones others give me. The other day a little boy held a door open for me. I smiled and said, “Thank you, Gentleman!” He had the biggest grin on his face. He hurried to catch up with his family, but he looked back again and smiled so brightly. It struck me then that he not only added hope to my day, but I did to his by my response. It enlightened me to the fact that our appreciation can also be an act of kindness. Hugs, love, and blessings to you, too! May we ever more deeply learn to daily love like Jesus loves!

      Like

  5. So true- the little acts of kindness can have more impact than we expect. Just a little word of encouragement or act of love can brighten someone’s day. I love “Pay it forward” too and it really illustrate the knock-on effect that an act of kindness can have. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love and hugs to you, too, Lesley! It’s easy to be discouraged and think that our little acts of kindness make no difference, but God can work through every kind action, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us or others. May His love fill our hearts to overflowing in kind actions towards others!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Dolly. Love and hugs to you, too! And thank you, too, for the difference you have made in my life and the lives of others with your writing. I love butterflies, too! They remind me of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us enabling us to fly free in Jesus. Too often I forget though… Seeing a live butterfly always lifts my spirits. 🙂 I have a Special Olympics calendar beside me at my desk, and this month’s photo is of a butterfly just out of its chrysalis and drying its wings with the word “transformation” underneath it. Beautiful thought, isn’t it? May we become more and more transformed into the image of Christ and use the wings He has given us to fly for Him!

      Like

  6. Trudy, I didn’t know that about butterflies’ wings. How cool is that! This is such a wonderful message … and I love it even more because it’s something you exemplify in your faithful encouragement to your readers (including me)! Hugs, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lois. Hugs to you, too! I love how you exemplify kindness to me as well. I’m grateful to have “met” you. 🙂 May we daily remember to exemplify the love of Jesus to all we meet!

      Like

  7. Hi Trudy! I just LOVE that thought about the butterfly effect. I’ve never heard of it before, but it’s so soul-lifting. How little it takes to make a difference. How complicated we make it, wondering if we’ll ever make a difference, if we can help at all.
    I’m going to keep this thought with me today. Really, so powerful.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad this spoke to you and encouraged you, Ceil. Yes, it truly is soul-lifting. I know that downhearted feeling, too, wondering if I’ll ever make a difference. It’s hard, but I try to tell myself to keep spreading seeds of kindness and leave it to God to make it grow. And Ceil, you certainly do spread those seeds! You have made a difference in my life. 🙂 May God lift our hearts when we get discouraged and help us to keep spreading those seeds!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Trudy,
    It’s nice to be back reading your words again from my little hiatus! 🙂 But the thought of how our lives intersect randomly or not-so-randomly with others is something a friend and I were talking about recently. The smallest action or word or deed can deeply impact another {friend or stranger} while you have no idea and think you don’t have much to offer. This is a thought that’s so worthy of being in the forefront of our minds and I’m so glad you reminded us of it here! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you’re back, Valerie! Did you have a fun and relaxing time? I’m looking forward to you sharing your photos and adventures. Especially about the goat farm! 🙂 That’s cool how you and a friend were recently talking about how a small action can deeply impact another while we have no idea and think we don’t have much to offer. I know I definitely need to keep that in the forefront of my mind, too. May we keep planting those seeds of kindness and leave the impact to God!

      Like

  9. Trudy, there is such power in kindness! I’ve been trying to help my boys see the power of kindness . . . but they’re still in training. 😉 Even more, I need to remember the value of kindness. When it’s lacking, I can get frustrated (picture trying to make a left turn out of the school parking lot and no one is giving me the chance). This happened this morning, and it has challenged me to be more intentional about doing kindness when it’s within my power to do so. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m still in training, too, Jeanne. 🙂 How true that we also need to see the value of kindness, to appreciate more the kindnesses people give us. I know how frustrating that can be when no one gives us a chance to turn left or switch lanes. Yes, it challenges us to be more intentional with kindness towards others, especially when they didn’t show us the same courtesy. May we be intentional about showing others the same kindness Jesus shows towards us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Trudy- Thanks for the encouragement here in this wonderful post. I didn’t know that about a butterfly! Thats amazing! What a great example ! In our area we have a thing called the drive through difference- On Thursdays people sometimes will pay for the car behind them in the drive through line! I have done it and it was wonderful to bless a total stranger like that! Thankful for a kind father who teaches me to be kind too. sending love xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sending love back to you, Susie! I’m glad you were encouraged here. How nice of you to pay for the car behind you. I think sometimes it’s more fun to give than to receive, don’t you? 🙂 Yes, I’m thankful for such a kind Father, too, who teaches us to be kind. May our hearts take in the depth of His kindness towards us and may we in turn show kindness to others!

      Like

  11. Trudy, before I had even read a word here, I smiled at seeing those gorgeous, colourful butterflies! With this seemingly small and insignificant image, you helped brighten up my day, and that was just the beginning. Reading on my smile grew broader by the minute. Your words have always impacted me with their kindness, as much as their insight, encouragement, inspiration and grace. Each time I alight on your site I feel able to breathe more freely. This is a welcoming haven to pause, relax and learn, no matter what topic is being discussed. I love the song, book snippets and examples you’ve shared. They are so inspiring. Thank you for equipping us to test out our faith wings and fly more freely in God’s soft current of grace. Blessings and hugs! xo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your kind words bring tears to my eyes, Joy. You always encourage me so much on this journey. It’s a kindness I appreciate so much. Yes, aren’t those butterflies hope-inspiring? I’m so glad they brightened your day, also the other messages here. It is my heart’s desire that this place here will feel like a “welcoming haven.” Thank you again. Yes! May we fly more freely in God’s soft current of grace! (I always love the creative pictures you paint with your words.)

      Liked by 1 person

Your voice matters! Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s