Andy Andrews has become one of my favorite authors. Over the last two years, I have been blessed to hear Andy speak at the Gaither Family Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. As a matter of fact, the first time I heard Andy speak, I was coming out of that cloud of darkness of having health problems and having to re-define my purpose. It was through hearing Andy speak about Jones, a character in his book, The Noticer where I began to see a new beginning and purpose for my life.
Andy began his talk about his personal life of being homeless at one time. He slept quite often under a pier and just like any other homeless person he would scrape around for food and work when and where he could. One evening, while settling down for the night under a pier, he met Jones. It was in meeting Jones that Andy’s life began to take a turn for the better.
Jones noticed Andy and where he was in his life. He saw what Andy could be and how Andy could use where he was at that moment in his life for the better. Jones began to plant seeds in Andy’s life that made Andy think and reach beyond the moment. Most of all, Jones encouraged Andy.
Jones not only does this with Andy in the book The Noticer but Jones is very attentive to the people who are placed in his life. He sees many people in many situations. The people who cross Jones’ path seem to be dealing with some sort of struggle whether it be marriage trouble, family trouble, or just trying to define their purpose in life, Jones takes time to listen, to sow seeds of hope, and spread encouragement.
I love the paragraph in the first chapter where it reads:
” ‘ So my contention is that your are right where you are suppose to be.’ The old man scooped up
a double handful of the white sand and let it pour from his fingers. ‘It may look like barren sand to you,
but nothing could be further from the truth. I say to you that, as you lay your head down tonight, you are sleeping on fertile ground. Think. Learn. Pray. Plan. Dream. For soon…you will become.’
“Wow!” is what I thought as I read that paragraph. Everything that happens God can use to make us a better person and give us brighter future. As I heard Andy speak on this in Gatlinburg and as I read this book, I reflected back on the previous year and a half. Then, I asked myself; “how can all that has happened to me medically and all the sour stuff from the past make it a better future for me?
” I share in my post Out of the Pit Came Purpose, of how I had to begin to re-define my life and my purpose. Lost and feeling hopeless, it was like a bad hand of cards, I had nothing. At least I thought I had nothing. Then, my son, Drew comes along and tells me I need to put my thoughts into words. Not long after, I hear Andy speak of his story and hear him say ‘everyone can DO something,’ I knew then God was about to use my background, all my struggles to use to encourage and sow seeds of hope in others. What God had been saying to me for a long time finally clicked through the words of my son, through Andy’s sharing and through Jones who had great influence in many people’s lives. I could do something!
Today, you may be someone who is struggling with life. You are at a point to where you are saying “if there is a God, why is this happening to me, where is the purpose in all of this?” Or, you may think, ” there is not a thing I can do because I know I am a loser.” In the words of Andy Andrews, ‘yes, you CAN DO something!’ God has a plan and purpose for you. Believe it or not, God can use you right where you are in that pit of self-pity, hurt, anger and hopelessness. God can include what is happening now into His weaving of a better day ahead.
“You are right were you are suppose to be.” For some of us, it is getting so far down into that pit that the only place we have is to look up. It is when we begin looking up we can do what Jones told Andy to do and that is to ‘THINK. LEARN. PRAY. PLAN. DREAM.” I love the Bon Jovi song Welcome To Wherever You Are. In this song a lyric goes; “welcome to wherever you are, this is your life, you’ve made it this far. Welcome, You’ve got to believe, right here, right now, you are exactly where you are suppose to be. Welcome to wherever you are. It also says …remember that you are perfect, God makes no mistakes.” When we realize that God doesn’t make mistakes, we are perfect in His eyes, and that He can use the fires we walk through for a better tomorrow, it is then we get up out of our chairs and ‘Do Something!’
As you begin to do something, it is then you use your experience to sow seeds in others. You sow seeds through words of encouragement, by listening to someone’s story and see the good in everyone and every situation. Over time, I have learned through every situation I encounter with others and in my personal life, that there are blessings taking place. Sometimes, it takes hindsight to see those blessings but they are ever so present.
This past summer, there was a time where we could go up to meet with Andy, have pictures taken and books signed. When I saw this line, I grabbed Jim and said ‘we have got to go speak with Andy!” As I introduced myself and Jim to Andy, I shared a little of my story of where I had been and how my purpose unfolded through his talks and through his sharing about his relationship with Jones. I told him I went home and did something! My doing something is this website, sharing the love, hope and encouragement of Christ with others. Some of my readers I know personally and others I will never meet. However, it is my prayer that through sharing my story, my thoughts and my love for Christ will sow seeds of hope in those who are looking for a purpose in life and who are questioning their current circumstances.
In the days ahead, I encourage you to notice someone who may be in that pit. Just as Jones did with Andy and just as my son, Drew and Andy Andrews did with me, let them know that they can do something! As the song goes, “God makes no mistakes.” He can take every situation and use it for His glory (Romans 8:28).