But What Can I Do?

But what can I do? Maybe like me, this is the thought that goes through your mind when you watch the news or see a news pop-up on your computer. Sometimes all there is to do is overwhelming!

One thing that has helped me is not doing things alone!

When Amy Carroll and I were writing Esther, we fed the draft chapter by chapter to a team of readers, sometimes called a Manuscript Development Team, who gave us feedback. We are so grateful for their help, which made the study stronger.

Two of our most faithful encouragers have guest posts going live today. Here, you’ll read a post by Cecille Valoria. Would you please encourage her in the comments? Our other friend Shelley Boulos is sharing on Amy’s blog: How to Steward Your Sphere of Influence.

From Cecille:

Mordecai’s words for Queen Esther resounded through my ears and sent a lump in my throat, but
also encouraged me to ask “But what can I do?”

“Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, ‘Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace
you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and
deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.
And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’” Esther
4:13-14 ESV (Italics added)

Esther’s story was not unfamiliar to me, but I never studied it in depth until I became part of
Amy Carroll and Lynn Cowell’s Manuscript Development Team.

As I delved deeper into the study, questions stirred my heart. I remember asking, “What can I, a
retired schoolteacher staying home all day long to take care of my 94-year-old dad, to make a
difference to the least of these, my brethren?”

I didn’t know the answer to that question. I didn’t even know what cause I must fight for. Nor
did I know just how Esther’s story would impact me. I was oblivious that after fasting
for thirty-eight days, I, too, would go through a “listen-feel-do-speak” process.

But I knew:
· God calls each one of us for a particular purpose, for a specific season or time.
· I want to make a difference.
· I want the same clarity Amy and Lynn had of God’s leading.

But what can I do? Was it for orphans, the homeless, or the sexually trafficked? I
dabbled before with a little of this and a little of that to help these vulnerable groups, but what
burning passion did God put in my heart for this period in my life? Queen Esther had the Jews.
Lynn found hers with a group of incarcerated ladies. Amy, with a multiracial group of women.
Have you ever asked yourself who God is calling you to speak for and serve?

My conversations with friends always centered on my taking care of Daddy. I hardly talked
about my caring for my brother who is in a nursing home three hours away. Physically, I am not
there getting him in and out of bed as I do with my dad. I am not there taking him to and from
his doctor’s appointments. But I attend his quarterly medical meetings. I keep track of his
finances. And most recently, I walked through God’s process to stand up and fight for his life.

The Process:

I tuned in to God’s whispers of hope instead of the medical personnel’s blaring declarations of
hopelessness. Throughout the three months, my brother was in the hospital moving from the
Intensive Care Unit to the Transitional Care Unit and back to ICU and TCU, God impressed on
me to choose life. Repeatedly, God reminded me, that it is He who gives life, and only He who takes
it away.

The pressure was on. I felt the push. I felt the spiritual battle raging. Words and phrases about
suffering and quality of life were thrown at me left and right. They talked about comfort care.
And I struggled. Like a game of Tug of War, I was pulled between the words my physical ears
heard from the experts and the words my spiritual ears discerned.   

I wrestled with the weight of those words and their meanings. God gave me clarity. He gave me
unwavering faith and peace amid the crashing emotions I felt. Equipped with God’s strength
through His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit that was stronger than the hopeless words of
the world, I stood my ground for my brother.

 I gave voice to the defense my brother could not. And I’m prepared to speak in defense of
others who have no one advocating for them. I will speak for those who don’t have the capacity
or boldness to ask questions and are pressured to make choices without knowing the
consequences their actions may entail.

When we look at the world and feel our hearts heavy at the darkness we see, like Lynn,
we may ask, “So what do I do?” May the words of Pastor Andy Stanley encourage us, “Do for one
what you wish you could do for everyone.” 

God faithfully took me through the process of listen, feel, do, and speak. Most amazingly, He
made me see His glory shine in the miracle He did to keep my brother alive.

Will you trust Him to guide you through whatever process and purpose He has for you for “such
a time as this?”

He is faithful and will show you!

About Cecille:
Cecille Valoria indulges her passion for encouraging others through her devotional writing, blog,
and her podcast, “Digging Deep for Treasures.”
She is the founder of A Simple Touch Ministry, a nonprofit organization that delivers flower
arrangements to patients in convalescent hospitals. Cecille published her memoir/self-help book,
“Slaying Your Fear Giants, Moving from a Jungle of Terror to a Garden of Peace,” in November

  1. It chronicles her battle with anxiety and is her personal testimony of God’s healing and faithfulness in her life. You can connect with Cecille through her blog



  1. Vicki Lawrence says:

    This was very encouraging
    . Thank you

    1. Hi, Vicki. Thankful that these words God gave me to write are an encouragement for you today.

  2. Cecille thank you for blessing me with your writing today. May the Lord bless you today! Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Brianna. Praising God that the words He gave me are a blessing to you. Have a blessed day!

  3. Thank you Cecile for sharing this. I find it so beautiful that God birthed in you to expand and grow a passion He had already birthed in you. You cared for your dad and He answered the question witj what you could do by showing you your brother and now others.
    Thank you for sharing that example as an answer!

  4. Thank you for this perspective and encouragement- very timely.

    1. You are welcome, Dana. I find myself more in awe of God each time I witness how He provides everything we need at just His perfect timing! Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Cecile, your words spoke deeply to me. I am in the middle of applying for guardianship for my adult son. He is a quadriplegic and lives in a group home. He wanted the opportunity to be his own guardian and I wanted that for him as well. After many years of watching to see if he would be bold and speak up, ask questions and learn, it’s become clear that he is unable to do this.

    I have been working through so many doubts and disappointments. The Holy Spirit has assured me through your words that I am indeed on the right path. Thank you!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      This is so beautiful, Crystal. God’s timing to encourage us is perfect!

    2. Thank you for sharing your story, Crystal. Your son is blessed to have you as his mom. I can relate with you about times of doubts and disappointments, I’ve had many of them, too. But God confirms either through His Word or sometimes circumstances or people and gives me wisdom to know and the peace to proceed. Praying for you and your son!

  6. Nancy Silvers says:

    Beautifully written and so encouraging Cecille. I often wonder what I can do due to physical and financial limitations but I can see through your testimony that helping one can lead to helping another making a difference in their world. And that is what it is all about-saying yes to Jesus and serving where he leads. I am reading Esther now and it is SO good!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      For sure, Nancy! The differences we can make in our world are all around us!

    2. Thank you for your kind words, Nancy! Yes, like what Pastor Andy Stanley said, right? I love Esther!

  7. Beautiful affirmations of listening and following God’s purpose in our action to be there and speak up for others who cannot speak up for themselves, being the hands and feet of Jesus.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Yes! It’s in our every day lives that we can make huge differences!

  8. Shelley Kaur says:


    What an encouraging and empowering testimony.

    I often get stuck and I love the emphasis on focusing on the one in front of you.

    Thank you for this precious reminder to be fully present.

  9. This resonated powerfully with me, Cecille. I loved your reminder that God gives clarity when you ask and obey.
    (Did you literally fast for 38 days, though, girl??) Your mission was to be the warrior-advocate your brother needed, as well as caring daily for your dad. I sense that there is no such thing as “just” this or “just” that in God’s individual calling. What a great reminder that though my work may feel insignificant, I am the conduit of life when my hands and voice are submitted to Him.

    1. Hi, Leslie. Thankful that this resonated with you. I fasted for 38 days not with food but with all my social media. This was something I knew God wanted me to do. It felt like the worst time for me to do this because I was just gaining my audience in my podcast, but I needed to follow and obey and to leave the result to Him. He knew I needed to fast because of what I had to face after the fasting. I love seeing the pictures of your travel on FB. Miss talking to you. Take care always. Yes, your work is significant when it is what He calls you to do.

  10. Thank you Cecille for the testimony of encouragement. I’m on the board of a charity that reaches out to people living overseas. It could be overwhelming as so many travel for work and mission, raising families in a culture that doesn’t match their passport. We’ve started “Each One Reach One,” and take it one day at a time. Your writing is a blessing.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen! And so is your ministry!!! I love the name, too. May God richly bless you as you continue to minister to this families.

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