My book, Handing Out Life, is certainly having an impact. I’ve written before about a local realtor, Kristy Cantleberry, who has been touched by the teachings in Handing Out Life and has become a dear friend. She sends out a monthly newsletter as a mass mailing to clients and others in the community. This month Kristy shared her very moving testimony related to the work God is doing in her life. I’ve received her permission to share the content of that newsletter below. It appeared with a picture of the front cover of Handing Out Life along with a picture of her, Heather and me. I should also note that Kristy reported to me just today that the newsletter has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. In fact, one reader sent her a check for $100 to go toward buying and sharing more copies of Handing Out Life. God is awesome in how He touches people you’d never expect in ways you’d never expect! Read Kristy’s testimony and join her and me in thanking and praising Jesus for His awesome grace!
I DO BELIEVE
I hesitated for a few months wondering if I should share my story. It is extremely personal. Please don’t judge me, but for some reason I feel that I must share.
For over 25 years I have struggled with my faith. I am extremely spiritual but have not been sure what I believe. Growing up, we always attended church but I stopped going after I was married. I just never felt comfortable attending. I felt like everyone was always trying to push their religion on me and that caused me to withdraw even more.
I do believe in faith and that everything in life happens for a reason, exactly when it is supposed to.
A few months ago, I debated whether to get up a 6am to attend the monthly Grand Blanc Chamber networking breakfast. My alarm went off and I told my husband that I wasn’t going so that I wouldn’t interfere with his workout. For some reason, Dave insisted that I go.
At the breakfast, I started to meet new business people and one of them introduced himself as Pastor Todd. He gave me his personal business card and I took a seat and waited for the speaker to start. To my surprise, Pastor Todd was the scheduled speaker! He spoke in a way that touched me beyond explanation. He spoke about everything that I really believe in. He mentioned The Five Love Languages and the Wheel of Life. He brought it all together in a down to earth way that made total sense to me. I was shocked.
As you probably know, I am not shy nor do I have a filter. So after the breakfast, I approached him and I asked, “Who are you and where did you come from? I am NOT religious and I don’t even know what I believe. I cannot believe I am even up here talking to you but for some reason you touched me.”
Pastor Todd NEVER judged me, he never forced religion on me, he just listened and for some reason I listened too!
I left the event and within minutes he sent me an email to invite me to have a cup of coffee. I thought to myself, “What would I talk to a pastor about?” I am always challenging myself to do something each day that scares me, so I agreed to meet him. When we met for coffee, I was not a bit shy in reminding him that I wasn’t religious. He again never judged me but proceeded to explain why I should believe. It actually made sense! I left feeling a bit different that day. Little did I know that my spiritual life was about to change.
For some reason, I liked this guy! He challenged me and boy did I challenge him! I ended up having him meet my husband and I also had Pastor come into my team meeting and speak. It sparked a great conversation about life in general among the team.
The next day, I got another email from Pastor Todd, it went something like this: I don’t meet many business people in the community that I have an instant trust with but for some reason I have that trust with you. I would like you to read my manuscript that I am working on and write a testimonial.
I couldn’t believe that he wanted me to read a book about religion. He knew darn well that I would NEVER choose to do that, but I did it! He knew exactly what he was doing by challenging me!
Dave and I both read it and it made perfect sense. I was honored and humbled to write a testimonial for this man that I have so much respect for. I thought I was done with religion but Pastor Todd kept showing up in my life and for some reason, I was ok with this.
Dave and I eventually attended a church service. I was extremely nervous because I wasn’t sure what to do or if people were going to judge me. Pastor said “Kristy, it’s not about you, it’s about the gifts you give to others.” I had never thought of it that way. The service was amazing. Pastor’s wife and daughter sat with us and the message of the sermon fit perfectly with what had been on my mind that week.
Everywhere I go, I talk about Pastor Todd. Although it still seems strange for me to speak about religion, for some reason I feel like I have to pass my story along. It is natural and comfortable for me to talk about it and I feel like it is my gift to share with others. I don’t share my story for any other reason except to say that everything really does happen for a reason and it happens exactly when it is meant to. That has always been my belief.
If any of you would like to meet Pastor Todd, I would be honored to introduce you to him. He honestly has changed my life. And as you all know, I like to give back, it is what I was meant to do in life. So my gift to all of you who always support me is to offer you a copy of Pastor Todd’s upcoming book, Handing Out Life: The Simple Way to Rewarding Relationships in All of Life. Just call me and let me know that you would like a copy. I promise it will touch you like it did me. Remember, I have already read it and my testimonial is on the back cover!
Thank you Pastor Todd and God bless all of you!