Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Making a Difference in an Overwhelming World


making a differenceDo you ever feel like a tiny grain of sand in an overwhelming world? We watch the news, and our hearts are broken by mind-boggling suffering. The conflict in Iraq and Syria hits my family hard because it’s relatively close. Kobani, for instance, is 800 miles away from Izmir, where we live. Over a million refugees have entered Turkey, many with only the clothes on their backs.

This is happening at my doorstop. The sheer magnitude of it overwhelms. What could I possibly do to make a difference?

I learned a lesson from my kids.

News reports impacted them deeply. Many mornings they prayed for refugees at breakfast. During a prayer time at church a few weeks ago, I heard Camille and her friend Isabelle praying heaven down over the camps.

But when Andres told me that he, Camille, and Isabelle wanted to hold a fund-raising dinner for refugees, I thought, “Right. That’s a great idea, but it doesn’t sound like a project for three teenagers.”

They said they wanted to have a dinner for 25 people at our church on October 23; I had mixed feelings. October happened to be the busiest month of our home schooling year. I asked Andres if he didn’t think it would be better to wait a month until after he finished his university applications and took the SAT exam.

I was hoping we could make a difference at a more convenient time. They were gripped by the plight of refugees. NOW.

So they printed and sold tickets. They planned a menu and recruited a chef to help them.

Mind you, they did not do things the way my 50 year old obsessive compulsive self would have. They went about their project like three teens would, not so worried about organization and planning.

But what they did was beautiful, and I was so proud of them.

Friday night they shopped for food. On Saturday, Isabelle and Yetkin the Chef showed up at our house at 9:00 a.m. to start work. They made cheesecake, chopped vegetables, and concocted sauces.

prep edit

Later on they transported everything to the church building. They set up tables and made place cards. The kids were still cooking when guests arrived.

edit group

PicMonkey Collage

edit food

Dressed in black and white, they served the dinner. Isabelle showed a video she’d made about the refugees; Andres and Camille made a few comments. Their day ended at 11:00 p.m. with dish washing.

They raised 750 lira.

But the results went beyond that. Adults were touched and encouraged to see 3 teens step out of their comfort zone, step up to the plate, and do something for refugees in Turkey.

Their example challenged me.

How often do I think it would be a great idea to help those in need, but then I never get around to doing anything?

Jesus called us the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Light is good news to the darkness, and salt is certainly good news to food. What can we do today to be good news to our world? Maybe we could make a phone call to someone who’s hurting. Maybe we could actually stop to give something to that person standing with a sign at the intersection on our way to work.

Join me again on Friday, when I’ll talk about practical things that we can do to be good news.


I’m linking up with Holly Barrett today. Check out her Testimony Tuesday for more encouraging stories.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join my community, enter your e-mail in the box at the top right hand of this page. You’ll get fresh installments of Faith Spilling Over twice a week.


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

36 thoughts on “Making a Difference in an Overwhelming World

  1. This is pretty amazing! What a beautiful example being rocked by God and moved towards a cause, then being obedient in making a difference. Your kids are such a wonderful example to me today!

  2. Betsy, what joy must be in your heart! How precious a gift to watch your kids rise up and bless others through their prayers and service–all because of the love and care God placed in their hearts. This statement keeps rolling around in my head: “They went about their project like three teens would, not so worried about organization and planning.” That, right there, is what stops me cold from moving forward in serving others. I have the worldly perspective that it has to be done just right to make a difference. But that’s a lie. And your children proved it. Thanks so much, Betsy, for sharing inspiring story with all of us. May my heart be burdened enough to reach out of my comfort zone and touch the lives of others with God’s love. Hugs!

    • Yes, it is a joy, Sabra, and it was a challenge for me to just LET GO and let THEM DO, rather than insisting they do everything the way I would. I think you’re right. I get stopped cold from moving forward to serve for the same reason! I would have waited until November, and then it would have been Thanksgiving, and then it would have never happened.

  3. What amazing kids you have! Love their servant hearts and willingness to step beyond and do something like this. Love the photos!

  4. Betsy, I so get this. I am often beyond overwhwelmed at life’s happenings. It can be too much. Thank you for a new perspective, fellow Compeller!

  5. You’ve got a beautiful family. Learning should never really stop even after we quit school. Aren’t the lessons learned from kids or those younger than us refreshing?

  6. Oh how I love what your kids did! And I’m totally with you about how I might have done it differently or at a “better” time. Congrats to you for letting them follow what God had laid on their hearts and to them for the success they experienced from their hard work! Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday.

  7. I loved this, Betsy! For most of my life, I’ve looked up to people who were older and wiser than me to be my spiritual teachers. But I have to say, for the past several weeks, it’s been the YOUNG people in my life who’ve inspired and taught me most and now your children are added among them. I jokingly remarked on Facebook last week that there’s no age limit to awesomeness and it’s true! All it takes is a heart that’s willing to listen and the faith to step out and try. I think your kids are pretty awesome and so are you! 🙂

  8. This is so inspiring! I’ve been praying to find ways for my kids and me to help. I’m going to show this to my kids. 🙂

  9. Betsy, this is a heart moving story of real teens with with an incredible heart! I am sharing this today on my Facebook page “Life Bubbling Over”. Stop by for a visit. Many blessing to you and your family! I also subscribed to your blog.

  10. So proud of them. Also you are a great mother being a beautiful example to them on caring and loving their neighbors.

  11. This is a wonderful Betsy!! Your kids are beautiful – and I think you are a cool…inspiring mom! Love you friend! Great writing!

  12. Wow. Just wow. How often do I hesitate to do something until it’s more convenient for ME (and how selfish is that?!). Their beautiful act of service will stand as a reminder that I need to do things NOW, when God asks, not later, when I feel like it.

  13. You are raising such loving and caring people to lead the next generation of hard-working Christians. They learned from the beautiful example you set and the values you taught them. You must feel so thankful and proud of your selfless and motivated kids, Betsy! Thanks for sharing this story.

  14. Thank you for sharing this!!! You have some wonderful and thoughtful kids. I love the pictures you shared. Your message touched my heart on many levels tonight. I pray that my kids will have a heart to serve. And I pray that I will be a good example.

  15. No other word but awesome kids!!! Blessed, you are!

  16. Betsy, what beautiful kids you have with beautiful hearts! That is so awesome. They have inspired me, too. It is true; so often I want to help but then think of a million reasons why I can’t. God recently prompted my husband and me to open our home for a weekly Bible study, and it has already been a huge blessing. He continues to challenge me, and I hope to grow and be molded in the process instead of resistant. Thanks for sharing! Loved this.

    • Wos, Abby, that is SO great that you’ve opened your home for the Bible study. I know what it is like, a blessing, and lots of work, too, so may God give you lots of grace and joy as you serve in this way. 🙂

  17. Betsy,
    What a great example of what God can do in and through us if we are willing to open our hearts to His will and His timing. Your kids are a great example that each of us CAN make a difference in this dark and hurting world in which we live. You deserve to be a proud Momma!!

  18. Betsy how proud you must be of those kids! The pictures are wonderful. Your family is impacting the world where you live. Amazing!

  19. Betsy, Yes…Salt and Light! I was studying Mark 9 yesterday, and in it is the salt stuff! I recently traveled to the beach with friends…salt water is brimming with sea life…we saw a manatee and a ray. So amazing…God is truly a God of LIFE. Even though we are oceans apart from some of God’s people, we can pray for them. I am thankful your children reminded me of that. I often get caught up in my immediate world…my family…my city….my country. No, God made it ALL! I need to pray bigger prayers. I love that your kids have soft hearts and big love for God. What a testament to you as parents for raising them with that love for others and the willingness to pray! Glad to have met you via the blogging world. Jenn (aka graceglimmers)

    • I’m glad to meet you too, Jenn. It’s so true that all of us get caught up in our immediate world. When we widen our horizons and look at how others are living, sometimes it helps us be more grateful for all we have! And yes, it starts with PRAYER! 🙂

  20. There are no words that can express how this makes me feel. Kids doing something to help is always so amazing! They don’t think like we do, like they can’t make a difference. They just do something. Bravo kids!

Leave a Comment

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s