Hands & Feet

Today, this brother

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Is flying to meet up with this girl (and some other people)

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To serve these people

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In this country

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Together they are being the hands & feet of Christ. In Africa, they are serving…here at home, they are inspiring this kid

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Who is attacking lessons in reading & writing so he can study scripture and will be prepared when his time comes to go tell and he is looking for opportunities to go tell right here at home…at 6 years old.

I am humbled and convicted. My eyes are blurred with tears.

The world is full of needs– from the homeless in your neighborhood to orphans in Guatemala to widows in Uganda and so many more! Do you care? Are you praying, giving, going? Are you being the hands & feet of Christ? Are you letting His light shine through your life…not just in big, get-everyone’s-attention kind of ways but in every little choice you make each day?

Are you living your life to make great the name of God or to make great your own name?

When I say “you” I hear the question pointed at myself. What about me…what am I doing? For today, I am praying…for the group in & headed to Uganda…for my son and his burning desire to go tell…for you, as you muse with me on how we can be hands & feet.

Rocking & Winning

– sisters rock. Especially mine. 2 have had babies in the past month and the other completed a 5k mud run. They are awesome friends and support and they tell it like it is. We can converse in movie quotes and disagree without having a falling out. I’m telling ya, they rock.

– my kiddos understand the meaning of the number 24601…that’s a win

– one of my kiddos dubbed a local pond “the lake of shining waters” – also a win!

– a group of men from our church took time out of their busy lives and drove to Georgia this weekend to attend Johnny Hunt’s men’s conference so they could grow and be challenged as men, husbands and fathers. That ROCKS.

– introduced my kids to this secret buddy idea (http://www.jessicalynette.com/12-habits/games-that-encourage-the-habit-of-noticing-others-needs/) and they took action on it, before I even assigned buddies! WIN

– texting and blogging is turning an acquaintanceship into a friendship…even though we live an ocean apart. (ok, technically, its a gulf but its still A LOT OF WATER!) That rocks!

– my baby brother taught my son to tie his shoes. That’s a win!

– my reluctant reader decided to teach a younger sibling to read…the lesson was successful. That’s a rockin’ win!

– long-overdue date with my Hero…great food and conversation. Win!

– and speaking of my Hero…he ROCKS. Just sayin’.

– Jesus has more grace for us than we can handle. That rocks.

– actually, He doesn’t just rock, He *is* the Rock and He has defeated the enemy eternally. That means, because of the ROCK, I WIN.

What’s rocking and winning in your neck of the woods?

Works for me: The Spouse 4 Gift Formula

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Christmas is coming! Are you ready?

I don’t know about you but we try to keep the presents from holding center stage in our celebration.  They are, however, a part of it.

There are all sorts of suggestions on how to give gifts to your children– 3 gifts to represent the Magi’s gifts, 4 gifts (want, need, wear, read), no gifts and donating or giving to others instead– but what I want to know is: what does one give a spouse?!?!?!

I think there are a few people who do well at this, you know, the ones with giving gifts as a love language.

Then there is the rest of us. The ones who said “lets not do gifts” but then, suspicious that the other spouse did rushes to CVS on Christmas Eve to find something…anything.  Or the ones who bust the budget on a completely misguided attempt at what they wanted or needed.

Why is it that the ones we love most and know best are the hardest ones to choose a gift for? Argh!

This year, I am saying “no more!” to my gift giving frustration and I am offering my formula to you in hopes that your gift-giving and Christmas celebration will be more relaxed and enjoyable as a result.

**A few notes: Consider this formula fodder for brainstorming,a place to start.  Each gift can be adjusted to fit your budget (from on-the-cheap to extravagant) and personality (if he doesn’t like to read, ignore the book suggestions…unless he might like an audio version).  Also, as a wife, I wrote this thinking about my husband but I believe the formula would work just as well for husbands to choose gifts for their wives.**

The Spouse 4 Gift Formula –

1) A gift for him as a man. This could be something he needs or wants (like clothes, shoes, a book) or something for his favorite hobby (fishing rod, golf balls & tees, a specialty tool) or something you know he likes (gift card to his favorite restaurant or store) or an item for his collection. This is where you really consider his tastes and interests, things he has mentioned wanting, and how he likes to spend his time.  You could stretch this category to include something he may need for work.

2) A gift for him as a Christian.  It is important to encourage our spouses in their personal walk with Christ, so give a gift that does that. Print out & laminate verse cards for the passage he wants to memorize, a devotional or Bible study book, a new Bible…maybe even arrangements to attend a Men’s Conference.

3) A gift for him as a husband. Plan a special date night or a whole year of dates, find a book you can read & discuss together (so many options here! Could be about marriage or any topic you are both interested in or the latest fiction bestseller or a classic), create some “love coupons” or buy something for you to wear for him…not gonna go any further on this one, I think you get the idea.

4) A gift for him as a father. Plan a family fun day, a gift card or supplies for an activity he can do with the kiddos (model to build, puzzle, bowling, movie…) framed pictures for his desk at work, put together a Hero kit. This is a great time to have the kiddos make or choose a gift!

That’s it.  Now I haven’t told you exactly what to give but hopefully I’ve given you a starting place to think about your man and ways that you can bless him in each area of his life.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Don’t forget to came back after Dec 25th and let me know what you gave. 🙂

A Journey of Thankfulness – Day 11

I am thankful for my heritage.

I come from a line of hard-working, God-fearing people. I have had the privilege of knowing all of my grandparents and 6 of my great-grandparents. My three oldest children can boast that they have known all of their grandparents and all of their great-grandparents.

I have listened to their stories and learned many lessons from their wisdom.

I pray that I have the same kind of influence over the next few generations that they have had over me.

I am so blessed.

A Journey of Thankfulness – Day 8

I am thankful for our home.

Although I take it for granted too often, I love our house. I fell in love with it first time I saw it. Since then it has become more than just a building, it is a home.

As the weather turns colder, I am reminded how grateful I ought to be for a cozy house that protects us from wind and rain and cold. Or in the summer for shelter from the blazing sun and, of course, air conditioning!

I could look around and list all the to-do, fix-it-up projects I would like to do but today I am simply grateful. Grateful for a nice house, warm beds and people I love to snuggle up with.

I am so blessed.

A Journey of Thankfulness – day 1

A few years ago, I got into the habit of spending the month of November listing things I am thankful for. It seems appropriate. I decided to blog my thankfulness journey this year but I want you to know that life is crazy right now…and not just normal crazy, we have had an extra dose the last month or so! I may not get these posted consistently every day this month but I’ll try, and my heart is in it even if it doesn’t get posted ‘on time.’ You are welcome to join me and add a link to your own Journey of Thankfulness blogposts in the comments.

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Day 1 – Family

I love my family ya’ll…they rock! We have our issues and arguments sometimes but when push comes to shove we are in each others corner and willing to do whatever it takes to support and love on each other. You can’t beat that, knowing that you have someone on your team– actually a whole team on your team!

Nothing gels us together like difficult circumstances. Right now Nana is in the hospital and someone needs to be with her most of the time. No worries, we got a rotation set up. The ones who aren’t at the hospital are watching kiddos, making dinner and playing taxi. (and working!) And everyone is praying.

See? I told you…this is something to be grateful for!

I’m not just talking about my parents and siblings either. The people God has added to our family by marriage fit right in and are as much a part of the Wall family as anyone else.

I’m so blessed!

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Musing on life and death

My grandfather passed away on October 14. In a way, it was expected. We knew it was only a matter of time. But in the end, it seemed sudden.

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Years of fading away due to dementia can’t prepare you for the phone call…”you’d better come now, it won’t be long.”

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The family came from far and wide. There were flowers. There was a funeral. There were tears and some great memories shared. There were a lot of conversations with my kiddos about death & heaven.

My Papa was a precise man, into details. He kept the books for his church and could account for every single penny.

He never bought a new item to replace an old one if there was any chance at all that he could fix it. I think he loved the challenge of fixing things, solving the problem.

Perhaps my clearest memory of Papa Jack is his shirt pocket. It was always full. He had the necessities– pens & pencils, toothpicks & cough drops. But he also carried a yellow, laminated card with the “Romans Road” printed on it. Simple truth and always ready to share it.

All of this got me to musing…on death but also on life.

What is life but a vapor, a breath? A finite and temporary existence. Yet often we live like this is all we’ve got. We cling to our stuff and to our loved ones as if this is what it’s all about. We say we believe but we are unwilling to give up our comforts to share Truth, to give others a chance to know Christ too.

We value stuff and having more and convenience.

God’s economy doesn’t work that way. Jesus had IT ALL yet He inconvenienced Himself, gave up every comfort…gave His life. And for what? So we can live in comfort, knowing our “fire insurance” is in place? Hardly.

So what is it all about? Why are we here? It’s the question of the ages, isn’t it?

The answer, for me, is at once simple and impossibly complex.

Simply, we are here for His glory. We are here to worship Him.

Digging deeper, every facet of our lives– whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’– is connected to this purpose. The choices we make should reflect our relationship with Christ. We should be known at work, at school and among our friends and family as Christ followers. In our reactions, others should see the peace that passes understanding. We are to be like lighthouses…letting His light shine through us.

(More on lighthouses another time.)

There are many ways to worship God, to let His light shine through us: Prayer, singing praises, using the gifts that He has given you, expressing gratefulness, telling others about Jesus…to name a few.

That’s why Papa carried that yellow card, always ready to share about Jesus. He probably started by asking, “if you died today, are you 100% certain that you would go to heaven?”

Then the card would come out and he’d share the Romans Road…

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.
We were born under the power of sin’s control.
– Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23a “…The wages of sin is death…”
Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain.
– Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23b “…But the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can’t
earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.
– Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love for us, in
that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!”
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin’s penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!
– Give your life to God… His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you — not religion, or church membership. God loves you!

Romans 10:13 “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
– Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 “…If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
– If you know that God is knocking on your heart’s door,
ask Him to come into your heart.

Death often comes unexpectedly but even when someone lives to a ripe old age, death can come before we are ready. So I must ask you, are you ready? If you died today, where would you spend eternity? If your eternity is sealed by the blood of Christ, are you ready to share that hope with others?

God was glorified in both the life & death of my Papa. He was ready. Are you?

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