I’m delighted today to give you a peek inside The Simple Difference by Becky Keife, Dayspring’s (in)courage Community Manager! This book has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and I’m so looking forward to reading it soon.
THE SIMPLE DIFFERENCE: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact
GENRE: Christian NonFiction / Spiritual Growth
RELEASE DATE: October 5, 2021
When the world’s problems loom large and your ordinary life stretches you thin, it is still possible to be a difference-maker–and it’s simpler than you might think.
Rather than telling you to do more, The Simple Difference shows you how to see more: more of the people in front of you, more of God’s lavish love for you, more of His power within you. This book will help you
· move beyond your own awkwardness, insecurity, or cynicism and discover countless opportunities for meaningful impact right where you are
· realize your limitations don’t disqualify you from being a world-changer because your not-enough is exactly what someone else needs
· stop going through life on the autopilot of distraction and convenience and learn to live eyes wide open to the individual beauty and needs of the people around you
Our small, sometimes barely perceptible acts of love, kindness, and encouragement can not only put a little ripple in the currents of hate and blame, loneliness and hopelessness, they are enough to actually turn the tide.
My feet pounded the pavement as I strained to propel my precious cargo forward. I pushed harder, trying to relieve the pressure that pressed from the inside. I was out of breath before I made it to the end of the block. The boys babbled to one another about kitties perched in picture windows and earthworms squished flat on driveways.
I battled my thoughts.
Just go home! You’re sleep-deprived and out of shape. Why torture yourself this way? Turn on the TV for them and go back to bed.
But then I’d hear, No, you need this. Stay the course. You’ll find your rhythm. It will get easier. Just breathe. Just breathe.
As much as my legs hurt and lungs burned, I had to keep going. Fresh air and moving your body—no matter how squishy it is—gets the endorphins flowing. The combination is like soul medicine. I needed a strong dose.
I turned toward the foothills aglow with morning light and made my way to the quaint main street just coming alive. Shop owners turned on lights, hot coffeepots steamed as servers in maroon aprons filled mugs for customers huddled around small sidewalk tables.
The wobbly left stroller wheel clunked hard over another concrete bulge. The baby kicked his legs and his tiny sock fell off. I paused to pick it up, sip some water, kiss each toddler.
I kept pushing north until the shops fell behind us. Historic bungalows and craftsman homes now lined the wide street. Ample sidewalks flanked each side. A tree overloaded with bright yellow blossoms popped gloriously against the blue sky.
My toddlers both started to squirm under their buckles, fussing that they needed more snacks. Noah dragged his foot against the sidewalk. Elias leaned over the edge of the stroller, stretching his chubby fingers toward a nearby rosebush. He shrieked when it was out of reach. I turned at the top of the long street to make our descent. My back was aching, and Jude was stirring from his short snooze.
“No, Mommy doesn’t have any more Goldfish, and your buns need to sit down right now!”
By the time we walked back down the street, I’d stopped a dozen times to discipline, soothe, or redirect a child. I may have breathed through gritted teeth a bribe involving sitting nicely without whining and getting to watch Curious George when we got home or threatened an unpleasant alternative.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, the Village shops and stores were bustling with more people, which somehow made me feel both comforted and more alone.
I looked ahead and saw customers filling the outdoor seating area of another little breakfast diner. A group of older men crowded around two tables pushed together. Their chairs spilled over into the sidewalk. It would be tight to squeeze by.
“Keep your arms and legs inside the stroller,” I reminded the boys as we approached. I was sweating.
Just then one of the gentlemen stood up. I thought he was going to scoot his chair out of the way to give me more room to pass by, but instead he started clapping. Then he declared in a deep booming voice, “Here comes Super Mom! Make way for Super Mom! Let’s give her a hand!” And together, as if on cue, his retired comrades all joined in a spontaneous standing ovation for me and my little crew.
“A round of applause for Super Mom!” he cheered.
I was so caught off guard all I could do was offer a bewildered smile and keep on walking. But it didn’t take too many paces before my vision blurred with tears.
This unexpected kindness struck me to my core.
I was walking downhill, but it was hard to catch my breath. What could have prompted such a spontaneous act of encouragement? This grandfatherly man might have been impressed to see a mom with three tiny kids out and about so early in the morning. Perhaps I looked like a motherhood pro with my three brown-eyed sons lined up in a row. Maybe he had a daughter in my same life stage and knew how much moms need encouragement. Or he could have been just a jolly soul who liked stirring up attention and making people smile. Whatever the reason for his sidewalk outburst of applause, there’s no way Mr. Kind Stranger could have known that beneath my sunglasses and smile was a mom barely hanging on.
Tears eventually slid down my cheeks as I turned onto our street. But they didn’t fall on the strained grimace I wore at the start of the walk. No, I let that Super Mom smile stay stretched across my face, catching every salty drop of gratitude. Simple words of encouragement are the uncomplicated gift we can give without cost or limit. A genuine compliment, a heartfelt thank you, a sincere apology. There are a million ways to tell a neighbor or stranger that you see her, that she is not forgotten. You are valuable. Your pain matters. You’re doing a great job. You inspire me.
Do not underestimate the power of kind words.
I thought about that Super Mom comment for weeks. As I took my kids to the pediatrician, as I struggled to find another way to cook chicken, as I buckled under the weight of taking care of three littles while working from home at a job that was not my joy but helped pay the bills, in the rare quiet moments before I drifted off to sleep, the refrain of encouragement quietly rose in my heart. “A round of applause for Super Mom!”
Each time I recalled those words, I took a deep breath and knew that I could keep on keeping on.
Taken from The Simple Difference by Becky Keife. Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2021.
Used by permission.
Becky Keife is the community manager for DaySpring’s (in)courage, a widely followed online community. Through the power of shared stories and meaningful Bible-based resources, (in)courage helps women build community, celebrate diversity, and become women of courage. Becky is also a popular speaker and is the author of No Better Mom for the Job: Parenting with Confidence (Even When You Don’t Feel Cut Out for It) and the Bible study Courageous Kindness: Live the Simple Difference Right Where You Are. Becky is a huge fan of Voxer, Sunday naps, and anything with cinnamon. She and her husband live near Los Angeles, where they enjoy hiking sunny trails with their three spirited sons. Connect with Becky on Instagram @beckykeife or at beckykeife.com.
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What about you? What makes you want to read The Simple Difference by Becky Keife?