Stories from Singles
At Long Hollow, we want our single moms to know how much they’re admired and appreciated. It’s a pleasure to offer The Gift again this year to help with that!
Saturday, December 5 Nashville-area single moms are invited to join us for breakfast and lunch, unique sessions created especially for single moms, quality programming for your children (6 weeks old-5th grade), giveaways, and more. Jackie McDonald has served at the Gift in years past, and cannot wait to be a part of it again. She tells us more about serving at the Gift below:
The first time I was able to serve at The Gift was two years ago. I had heard what a great event it was and what a blessing it is to so many single moms, but I had no idea the impact it would make on my life. It TOTALLY WRECKED me and broke my heart as I heard so many stories from these ladies. I have met ladies from all walks of life, all ages, and in all different situations. Some have shared how this event helped them get gifts for their children, connect with other single moms, gave them a day out with childcare, and one even continued to come to church and was baptized!
It opened my eyes to what God is calling us all to do.
You see, for me, it didn’t just end with serving at The Gift. I felt compelled to do more. On the way home, I kept thinking of the verse where Jesus said,”From everyone who has been given much much will be demanded; and the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) The more resources, talents, and understanding we have, the more we are responsible to use them effectively. This does not necessarily mean financially, although it could.
As I prayed, I felt so overwhelmed and said, “But Lord we can’t help everybody.” I felt him say,” NO, but we can help just ONE.” And I was reminded of the story of the ONE sheep, the ONE coin, and the ONE son. This has been my prayer each year as I meet ladies at The Gift. Lord, just send ONE who needs to see YOU in some way.
The Gift is one of the best ministries we have here at Long Hollow, and I can testify just from the two years I have been involved that I have seen the impact it has made on so many single moms lives. But it also has had a tremendous impact on my life.
Being able to serve these ladies who are being both mom and dad is not a duty, but an honor I GET to do. I look forward to each year.
You can sign-up to serve at The Gift this year at longhollow.com/thegift.
Several months ago, Terri was struggling to find peace where she was in life. She really didn’t feel like going to church; and yet, God led her to give Long Hollow a try. Once she did, she was amazed at the amount of peace she found by being here. In fact, each week, she couldn’t wait to get back to church. It had become her weekly time to refuel. She said, “My time at Long Hollow – between the message, worship, and friendliness of people – has allowed me and my family one hour of peace and rest. I can put aside all my worries when I am here.”
After attending for a while, she heard Pastor David’s call for 400 people to start volunteering. Inside, she felt Satan whispering to her “No, you can’t do this. You are too busy. You have too much going on.” And all she could picture was Jonah trying to run away from God’s call. And she also felt like God was asking “Will you teach my children? Will you teach my children?” And finally she answered, “Yes”
Terri was so glad that she decided to serve. We have a quote of her saying, “I feel like the kids bless me more than I could ever bless them.” It also gave her an inside look into the kid’s ministry – which was important, because it made her feel confident to invite others to church, especially her friends with kids.
So, at this point in the story, Olivia is still nowhere to be seen. But Terri is attending Long Hollow and she’s plugged in serving with the children’s ministry. At this point, Terri invites one of her former coworkers, whose name is Nadalie:
They had not talked in a while, so Terri decided to text Nadalie and check in on her to see how things were going AND to invite her to church for Easter. Nadalie was a little hesitant at first. She replied to Terri, “We have given up on church because the girls were so anxious about going into class. It’s just not worth the battle.”
Terri understood the hesitation, but didn’t give up because she already knew how good the children’s ministry was at Long Hollow. So, she told Nadalie, “If you will give church one more try, I promise you’ll find that there is no better place than Long Hollow to bring your kids. I am confident because I am a part of serving in the ministry and I know your girls will love it.”
Terri’s text messages were a tipping point for Nadalie and her family to get back in church again. In fact, Nadalie and her husband got so excited about it, that they decided to start coming the week BEFORE Easter! They showed up on Palm Sunday with their daughter, Kerra, who originally had a lot of anxiety about attending church:
After the first service was over, Kerra came running out of the Children’s service and said, “Mom! Can this please be our church?” She had absolutely LOVED it!
The second time they came was for the first Easter service in Hendersonville on Friday night. This time when Nadalie went to pick Kerra up from Children’s service, Kerra shared that she had asked Jesus into her heart that day! Nadalie was blown away. This confirmed to her why God had been calling her family back to church again.
So now, each week, Kerra loves coming to Long Hollow. She’s hearing the story of God’s love, she’s singing songs of worship to Him, and she’s discovering the value of her life. She loves coming so much that she eventually invited one of her neighborhood friends to church – another young girl named Olivia.
And that… is how Olivia heard about Jesus at Long Hollow.
This story carries with it the same beauty of the Samaritan woman’s story in John 4: Terri experienced God’s peace firsthand, and was bold enough to tell others about it. And because she did, they came and experienced it themselves.
God has poured out His living water at Long Hollow,
so that the living water could get to Terri.
And He gave this living water to Terri,
so that He could also give it to Nadalie.
And He gave this living water to Nadalie,
so that He could also give it to Kerra.
And He gave this living water to Kerra,
so that He could also give it to Olivia.
And He gave this living water to Olivia,
so that right now, as you hear this story,
He could give this living water to you.
That’s the length that our God will go to reach us.
Jesus is saying to us what He said to that Samaritan woman: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”