She Did What She Could:
Five words of Jesus that will change your life
Most of us care. We really do. We care about poverty and injustice, about orphans and the sick. And yet, weighed down by the everyday load of bringing home a paycheck, putting food on the table, and taking care of our family demands, we question our ability to make a difference. Bombarded by one celebrity help-the-world-athon after another, we shrug our shoulders in futility and do absolutely nothing.
Enter She Did What She Could (SDWSC). Based on the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume in Mark 14, SDWSC provides overwhelmed, yet service-seeking, significance-starved readers a realistic response to the seemingly unmeetable needs around us.
For group study:
She Did What She Could includes a Study Guide to help you integrate the concepts taught in the book into your life in a practical manner. This six-week study uses interactive activities, discussion questions, and thought-provoking messages.
She Did What She Could Stories
Once people read She Did What She Could, they started sharing stories of how they have taken steps to use their influence in the world around them, one person at a time.
Karen lost one of her six children. Perhaps a better way to put it is that if all of Karen’s children had lived, she would have six rather than five. Or would she even have the five without the loss of the one?
First came a son. Then another son, who lived only a few hours. Then a gorgeous baby girl. Then a healthy boy. Throughout the journey in – and out - of parenthood, a desire to adopt had grown in Karen and her husband’s hearts.
As the years passed, Karen continued to yearn for children she didn’t know, had never seen. At first she and her husband were drawn to Brazil and journeyed there to investigate the possibility of adoption. But they found the doors closed and they obligingly turned toward home, only to find their hearts leapfrogging across the Pacific toward Africa, researching, praying, waiting, working, mobilized to act in response to the HIV-AIDS pandemic. Fighting and finally winning, they adopted a brother and sister.
Karen and her husband weren’t completely selfless souls who, Mother Teresa–like, wanted to care for the orphans of the world. They were a couple in need of children to complete their family.
Three children instead of four led to five children instead of three. They did what they could.
I just finished the SDWSC book, and have to say it has been one of the most life changing "heart attitude" motivating books I have read.
Last night, already running late to meet family for dinner, my dad asked me to make a quick drive to a local store. As I pulled in the parking lot I saw a lady trying to start her car. As I went to leave, she was stilling trying.
I stopped and got out to see if there was anything I could do. Together, we still couldn't do any thing. At the time, it was cold and pouring down raining. I ask if she lived near by and offered to take her home. She was grateful and accepted.
Not living far from where we were, and not far from my own house, I wrote my name on a card that also had my single mom's life group meeting times at church. I told her she could call me if she needed a ride anywhere and asked if she would like to join us at church. That we were a group of ladies helping each other get thru the hard times. She said she would like that and accepted the card.
As we drove away my sons commented, "That was a nice thing you just did Mom."
"I just did what I could," I answered. Suddenly I smiled because I remembered the book and what I had just said. Life changing words from Jesus himself ... "she did what she could."
Thank you for doing what you could ... for writing this book. I have already bought an extra copy for one of my friends and hope to buy more in the near future. I want to get as many copies as I can into the hands of my friends ... even if I do it one book at a time.
Linda's Christmas SDWSC Story
I just finished Elisa Morgan's book & found myself so grateful that many years ago God taught me the joy of simply "she did what she could."
Every year during Christmas time I am reminded of one of the most special Christmas presents I ever gave. I was in the produce aisle picking beautiful golden delicious apples for "Santa" to put in the Christmas stockings. There was a older lady next to me & she would pick one up & hold it like it was gold, put it back, then pick up a red one & set it gently back down. With a deep sigh, she mumbled something about the price & then moved on. Something about her touched my spirit and we kept bumping into one another throughout the store.
I kept picturing her picking up the apples & every time I placed another item in my cart, I could see the bag of large, unblemished, goldens there. In the baby food aisle I saw her again buying baby food apple sauce! God spoke to my heart & said, "Go back and fill a bag with the most beautiful apples you can find and give them to her."
Without hesitation, I listened and made my way to the check out lane where she was headed. I made it there first and paid for my groceries (including the extra bag of spotless golden delicious apples). As I was leaving the lane, I picked up the bag & handed them to the lady & said, "Merry Christmas." She was speechless & had tears in her eyes. I turned & went home, knowing the joy of "SDWSC," and obedience to God.
To this day I am reminded every Christmas of those apples. I never saw the woman again.
My friend went to the MOPS Convention in the fall of 2008 and brought back the short story of SDWSC. I had recently lost a surprise pregnancy (2nd loss out of 5 pregnancies) and was struggling to grieve and still care for my other 3 kids. SDWSC released me from all the "shoulds" of mothering: the competitiveness, the pressure, the awful wondering if I will measure up to some unnamed ideal?
God had spoken to me shortly before: care for those I have, let him care for those I don't have. SDWSC went right along with it.
Just 6 weeks later my family was in a rollover car accident (we had hit black ice on a highway) and I fractured a vertebra in my neck. I was clearly in God's hands because my surgery went quickly and I have no long term damage, even my surgery scar is fading nicely!
But in the next 3 months of being in a neck brace and restricted from lifting my children (one was not yet 2 years old!), I leaned on SDWSC heavily. Anyone could clean my house, only I could mother my kids. I let go of appearances and embraced the hard work of parenting and consistent discipline. I had nearly 3 months of physical therapy to regain the strength to do everyday things like laundry, hold my dear baby boy and empty the dishwasher.
SDWSC has been my near daily companion for a year. Thanks to the new book I am embracing how this can be applied to relationships and evangelism. Thank you for bringing this and exposing the simple truth!
I had been reading She Did What She Could, that I got at the MOPS Convention this past September in Nashville. It had been calling me to act, but how?
Then I got a call from one of my MOPS friends. They are foster parents, as is my family. We have a connection. She and her husband are fostering a 15 year old girl whom they took in while she was pregnant. Their daughter had recently had her baby, a boy who is so precious! She was calling because our MOPS group had not yet brought them the meals that were promised. She had been sick, as had her two biological kids, and her husband had been caring for their teenage daughter and her baby as they recovered (and tried not to get sick too).
I listened to her stressed out voice, and said simply, "What can I do to help out?"
"I don't know." Her voice cracked.
I had a lasagna cooking for my family for dinner, and was trying to manage the chaos of homework and bath time at my house but out of nowhere came the words: "Do you have dinner for tonight?"
She began to cry and out spilled the story that she and her husband had fought the night before because he couldn't work, care for the baby AND make dinner. She couldn't bring herself to ask him to "deal" with dinner again.
The verse came to mind where Jesus tells the disciples if someone is hungry and you offer them a stone or if they need clothes and you don't respond then your faith is useless.
Then the thought: She Did What She Could. I told her I'd be there in 1 hour with her dinner.
I didn't have any idea what I'd do or how I'd get "my stuff" done but that didn't seem to matter. I sat my kids down and explained to them that we were going to bring dinner to someone that really needed it and I needed their cooperation and flexibility at this moment. They agreed.
Then it hit me—bring her your dinner. My dinner? The lasagna we were going to eat? It didn't seem like much and what would we eat?
I knew it was God talking to me and that I needed to obey so I threw together a salad (because every mom knows you have to have veggies to make it a healthy meal) and I packed up my kids in the car and took her my hot lasagna, fresh from the oven.
She smiled so big when I knocked on her door. Sick, and sweat-panted she answered the door with tears in her eyes and carried in the food. Her husband thanked me several times. It felt so good to be able to help out! Such a simple thing.
Oh, I called my husband on the way home and he was so accepting of the fact that I'd just given our dinner away. He returned my question by asking, "so how can I help you?"
He picked up pizza on his way home from work and we pulled in the driveway at the same time. He was smiling because we had done what we could!
I was in attendance last week at your break out seesion at Iron Sharpens Iron. I spoke with you briefly and said I would send you my story.
Here goes: The Thursday night before the conference I was still undecided as to what break out sessions I wanted to attend. I prayed on this and asked the Lord to guide me to where he wanted me to go. Well, I had seen your bio and thought, I want to go for me not for my pre-schooler, as this is what i originally thought you were speaking on. I then saw the cover of your book there, mind you I did not see that on previous trips to the web site ... Anyway, it spoke volumes to me and I knew that this is where I needed to be.
Friday morning, my daughter was at pre-school and I was on a mission to get my errands done before picking her up, so I could go home after getting her, and pack for my night away. God had other plans. At a red light I noticed that on my side of the road, but facing me on the other side of my red light was a car that was just sitting there. As I passed this car there was a young girl inside, who was clearly upset. I of course kept driving; I was on a roll and I had enough time to get done what I wanted to and pick up my daughter. The voice within kept saying, "Ann—she did what she could," and I kept saying, "but I can get my errands done ..." and the voice kept saying, "Ann turn around—she did what she could." I knew then that I needed to turn around and go help.
As I pulled up, I stopped and asked if she was alright, and she started to cry and said no. I told her let me turn around and out of the way. As I approached she opened the car door and told me she thought she ran out of gas, that her car just stopped in the middle of the road and 2 guys pushed her off to the side (on the wrong side of the road, facing on-coming traffic).
I called the police, who when he arrived told me there is nothing that he could do. He would have her towed and she would have to figure it out, to which she started crying harder. I could tell she was extremely down on her luck, as her clothes and hair dryer were in the back seat of her car. The officer stayed and I ran to the gas station and got her some gas, and when I came back another man had stopped to help. He went back to his place and got his flatbed truck (as an empty tank was not the problem). He did what he could, he towed her back to his garage. The voice then said to me, give her some money. All I had was 3 one hundred dollar bills that my hubby gave me for the conference. My car was parked a little bit away and once again I did not initially listen. After picking up my daughter, the voice grew louder, so I drove to where she was and gave her $100.00. I would not tell her my full name, and explained to her that if she came to know and give her life to Jesus that he would carry her burdens.
I am normally a person who loves to help others, but his voice rang true in my mind for me to "do what I can." I don't have to start anything big, but love others one little step at a time.
My husband had a different reaction to this story and I will paste his story at the end of this one. God is amazing and I am so happy and I have gained so much by hearing you speak. I am using your concept "she did what she could" when I speak on Monday to an assembly at school for the middle school, to help out with Operation Christmas Child. Your concept is so important, and if we realize that we can make a difference one person at a time that it will add up to many people.
Thank you for your book, your session and for the fact that I was able to meet you.
God Bless, Ann
Ann's Husband's Story
Friday morning before I was going to work, I asked my wife if she needed money for the Iron Sharpens Iron conference. She said no, but I gave her 2 one hundred dollar bills. I then said here’s another hundred in case you need it. When I got home from work and Ann was packing the car to leave she told me the story of how she met a girl that was having car troubles and was distraught. Ann assisted her along with others who came. Then she gave her one of the hundred dollar bills. When she said this I couldn’t believe she had given her that kind of money in this situation. She was a young kid that would probably blow our money; 20 bucks would have been enough. I couldn’t get over it. I can see helping out but that was too much!
Then Ann Left for the conference.
After dinner, I went to my chair for my Bible reading when I read "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me," Matt 25:40. The Lord saw fit to teach me a valuable lesson right away. He spoke to my heart. He said, "How could you place restrictions on the amount of money is given? How can you place restrictions on what 'type' of person gets the money? How can you place a restriction on what she may use the money for? Who said it was even your money to give? You give away thousands with the stroke of the pen to make your 10% tithe. You give it away with a good heart yet you look for the thank you from those who you give it to. You want people to know you are generous. Matthew 6:1: 'Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.' I’m telling you that what Ann did with 100 dollars is far greater that what you have done with your thousands. She gets it. Ann gave willingly with an open and generous heart, anonymously. Your giving means nothing until you learn how to do the same."
I was ashamed that despite how hard I try to be a good Christian, this was my reflex position when Ann 1st told me the story. I was also convicted about how I always say that I’m a steward of God’s money, yet when I had a chance to prove it, I looked at it as "our" money. I admitted my wrong to Ann and repented, asking God to forgive me and change my heart. In Matthew 6:2 Jesus says, "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you." Jesus promises that "your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." I will be mindful of this lesson daily.
The Lord works in wondrous ways. That 100 dollar bill helped not only the girl who was in a difficult position but taught me a valuable lesson as well.
I pray that someday our paths will meet again. You are an inspriration to me and i will continue to do what I can to reach out to others in Jesus' name. Thank you so very much.
*Rebecca’s story has been replaced with Julie’s Story for lesson 6.
I was in a Starbucks with my friend Christina. It was a warm day, so it was pretty crowded. While waiting for our drinks, an older Asian man was asking people around him if they could help him connect his camera to the Internet so he could send some pictures to his family. We noticed right away, people were ignoring his request for help. So I asked him, if I could help him. We had a small language barrier. But thru the use of some forms of hand signals and a few words he understood, we were able to figure out what he needed.
His camera was older and took a few minutes to figure out how to navigate through it. My friend and I were both experienced in the technical field. So it became humorous as we tried to first figure out how to use an older camera.
We struggled, but both determined we would not give up on it. We finally got the camera connected to the Internet and his photos were sent to his family.
The excitement in his face, when he called them to verify they had in fact received his pictures. It wasn\'t a big deal to us, but meant the world to him.
He gave us both a hug and had tears in his eyes of gratefulness and joy.
This gave us as much Joy as he had. We both left that day feeling better than when we arrived. At the same time, we were a little sad, that so many people would not take a few minutes to help him.