Archive for the ‘Collective Soul Blog’ Category

Humility, obedience … the items I left at the grocery store

It has probably happened to all drivers at one point in time: it was late on a Thursday afternoon, and I had decided to make a quick trip into our local gourmet grocery store for one last item I needed to make a new recipe. It also happened to be one of THE WORST times to decide to go get something, because everyone in Dallas had the same idea!

I rolled into the parking lot and saw a driver getting ready to pull out of his spot- right next to the front door! The parking fairies decided to bless us this day!

And then it happened. As I was patiently sitting, waiting with my blinker on, as soon as this person drove out, another tiny little car whipped into the spot. I was so angry; I quickly laid on my horn and started to yell at this poor person. There is an iconic scene in “Fried Green Tomatoes” that encompasses the entire moment.

As much as I wanted to “Towanda” this driver, only then did I notice that this was a mother with two babies in the back seat. She sheepishly looked at me, waved and pulled out. Immediately, I was convicted.

She needed that spot way more than me, a person perfectly capable of walking with an almost 4-year-old a few extra steps from a spot further away.

Foolishly thinking Oh well, it’s over, my daughter asked, “Mommy why did you honk at that lady?”

I tried to brush it off and just said something to the effect of “She took Mommy’s spot.”

Within about 20 minutes of shopping in the store, I saw the mom and her two adorable children and I immediately felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to go and apologize to her! I paused for a minute, seriously thinking about my sanity and what others around would think, and also, would this woman start a scene? I then blatantly, and completely disobeyed. I purchased my things and walked out of the store.

It’s not often that I deliberately turn my head the other way when asked to do something, help someone, give away my prize possessions to someone in need – whatever the case may be. My ‘love languages’ are gifts and time, of which I have NO problem giving freely! But when called upon to humble myself to apologize to someone I didn’t know, for doing something that everyone else in the free world would also do, I found myself failing.

It was a lesson in humility I needed to learn that day. How much did that woman and her children need to see the love of Christ, and I refused? What did I teach my own daughter about loving others and putting them first? I clearly still have a lot to work on.

I know God can and will use others when those He calls fail to do what is asked.  I sincerely hope that another brother or sister stepped in and filled the gap for me that day.  The question is, what blessings do we miss out on in our lives when we refuse to show kindness and grace to those who we don’t think deserve it? If we let our pride get the best of us, eventually we will crumble.

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

 1 Peter 5:6


PS: The meal that I made that night with my “special ingredient” I just had to have? It was terrible…we ordered a pizza.

The Unbroken Courage of Louis Zamperini


On Aug. 1, 1936, when Adolf Hitler opened the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin, he envisioned them as a showcase for Nazism and Aryan racial superiority. But history remembers them for African-American Jesse Owens winning four gold medals in track and field.

After Owens won the 100 meters, Hitler refused to shake his hand, even though tradition called for the leader of the host country to congratulate the gold-medal winner. But he did single out America’s top finisher in the 5,000-meter run for a handshake after a blazing final lap.

There was something special about Louis Zamperini even then, although he didn’t achieve widespread fame until many years later. When he died about month ago, at 97, People magazine said, “One of the most incredible American lives of the past century has come to an end.”

Zamperini became an overnight celebrity in 2010 when critically acclaimed author Laura Hillenbrand published a book about him, “Unbroken.” It has spent more than 170 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and hit No. 1 again shortly after Zamperini’s death.

Unbroken cover (2)

A. Larry Ross Communications helped Random House publicize the book, and it was obvious that his dramatic story captured the imagination of millions of readers.

His running career was cut short by World War II. In 1943, his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and he floated for 47 days on a raft, surviving shark attacks, a typhoon and an attack from a Japanese bomber.

Captured by the Japanese, Zamperini spent more than two years in a series of prison camps, where he remained defiant in the face of horrible abuse. Liberated at war’s end, he returned home a deeply haunted man.

Then one night in 1949, his wife persuaded him to go hear a young evangelist named Billy Graham preach in Los Angeles, and he committed his life to Christ.

Later, he returned to Japan, met with most of his captors and forgave them.

Although Zamperini’s story of survival captured the imagination, his tale of redemption and forgiveness appealed to the heart. Years after the book was published, our office continued to receive calls and emails from people who wanted to meet him or hear him speak.

He seemed to establish an emotional connection with everyone he met. Angelina Jolie, who directed the upcoming film version of “Unbroken” and became close friends with Zamperini, issued a statement after his death: “It is a loss impossible to describe. We are all so grateful for how enriched our lives are for having known him. We will miss him terribly.”

Hillenbrand called him “the grandest, most buoyant, most generous soul I ever knew.” When he died, the statement she posted on her Facebook page said, in part: “His story is a lesson in the potential that lies within all of us to summon strength amid suffering, love in the face of cruelty, joy from sorrow. Of the myriad gifts he has left us, the greatest is the lesson of forgiveness.”

Jolie and Zamperini Image courtesy of