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What's holding you back?

Posted by Ruthie Hankins , 21 February 2014 · 1366 views

What are your dreams? What is holding you back from pursuing them? What part does the Holy Spirit play in that pursuit? Those were the questions we talked about in our small group last night.

I couldn’t help thinking about my sister Cathy who passed away just 3 weeks ago. Cathy was an international worker with the C&MA for 29 years, teaching math to MKs in Malaysia and Cote D’Ivoire and (after being evacuated from the middle of a civil war) served as bookkeeper in Guinea, "one of the most challenging and difficult places where US Alliance workers serve”, according to Bob Fetherlin. She traveled to 5 continents in her 64 years (missing just Australia and Antarctica) visiting her students’ families on vacation, visiting my family in Ecuador, attending teachers seminars and just GOING to places like the Holy Land.

You might think all that travel sounds exciting, and I’m sure parts of it were. But more often than not it was a struggle for my sister. You see, when she was 15 months old, she came down with polio and was not expected to live through that first night in the hospital. She did survive and spent the next 9 months as an inpatient. The polio (and I don’t know how many surgeries) left her with, as she called them, a "big leg" and a" little leg" and a distinct limp. When other parents feared that her polio was contagious, my parents fought to let her attend with the “normal” kids at our local elementary school. When she applied for student teaching, she was told that “handicapped people cannot be in the classroom”. Cathy appealed that as well and won.

Cathy could have just said, “I’m different, I’m weak, I’m a victim of my physical disabilities” and then taken an easier road. But she KNEW that God had called her to serve overseas, so she called on Him on a daily basis for the strength she needed—to move half way around the world several times, to teach math to 10th graders year after year, to evacuate on a school bus on an African dirt road with just her computer and a carry-on suit case, to regularly read her French Bible with the Muslin guards of the mission compound when no one else thought to reach out to them.

The past year was hard for Cathy. She fell and cracked a bone in her “little leg”; then cancer was discovered and she went through surgery, chemo and radiation before getting the news that the disease had spread to her bones and liver and lungs. But for as long as she could, she remained active in several Bible studies, helped at AWANA, prayed with and for people at her church and pointed them to Jesus.

Cathy wasn’t perfect; she had her quirks and a stubborn streak. But I can say that as far as I know, she did everything the Lord asked her to do, and with a gracious attitude.

So, has the Lord called you to do something for His kingdom? Has He given you a dream, big or small?

Are you focusing on all the reasons you CAN’T do it?

Or are you taking up His challenge to see how His strength will be perfected in your weakness?

  • Kent Copley and Mark D Young like this

Robert Overstreet
Mar 03 2014 06:19 AM

Hi Ruthie,


This is Bob Overstreet,  My wife and I are retired overseas workers with the C&MA, having served in Mali and Burkina Faso, W. Africa, for some 44 years.  We live in Burnsville, MN, and are active in the lives of those God brings across our paths through prayer and counseling.  We have two children and eight grandchildren.


I would like to share a dream which the Lord has laid on my heart, and for which I want you to pray, as well as others who may read this.  To learn about this dream do contact me at: wotkimf@gmail.com.  It involves ministry to others.


Lord bless, Bob Overstreet

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