open heart. open hands.

Open heart. Open hands.

Open heart. Open hands.

open heart open hands open heart open hands.

Those are the words that have been the heartbeat and heart cry from me to the Lord for over a year now.  I have spoken those words over my life.  I have spoken those words over the life of my little tribe of people.  Those words are the desire of my heart.  I openly speak them to the Lord day in and day out.

Open Heart. Open Hands.

Lord, Let it be all about you.  Lord, mold me into the woman of God that you have called me to be without my even knowing it.  Lord, set our family apart and let us look different than this fleeting world.  Help us to shine your light.  Help us to shine your light not so we can receive praise, glory and honor but so that you can receive praise, glory and honor.  Jesus. Only Jesus.

The daily cry of my heart, is for our family to have open hearts and open hands.  A heart open to living like Jesus, loving like Jesus and looking like Jesus.  Open hands to extend and receive all blessings that flow from Heaven.  We are blessed people. We proclaim the name of Jesus as Savior… our eternity is secure… we are blessed.  Everything else… is just extra.  But I never want our lives as Jesus followers to become mundane, stale… common.  I want us to daily remember to live our lives in such a way that we are in tune to ways that we can bless others, reach out to others and prayerfully point others to Christ.  I want our daily lives to shine the light of Christ in such a way that people are drawn to the Lord because His love seeps through everything that we do.

Jesus, how can we be like you today? How can we love like you?  How can we reach out and spread the peace and joy that only you can give?  Jesus, what can we do to look like you and not the world, to point others to your saving grace and not the world?

We can do that in big ways and even in the tiny, mundane days of our lives.

One way that we love to have open hearts and open hands is to not just walk past people on the street, but to actually look up and see them.  Sometimes it may simply be through a smile. More times than not, your smile may be the only smile someone else receives all day.  If you walk past someone and notice she looks lovely… tell her so.  (okay, please don’t if you are a male… that would be an entirely different post for another day)… but you know what I mean, don’t be afraid to compliment others… even complete strangers.  My little girl is so good at complimenting others, as a matter of fact, she tells just about every cashier we encounter, that she likes their nail polish or earrings. Those compliments didn’t cost her a dime… but they were worth more than gold to the person on the receiving end.  In giving out those compliments, my little one is living a life with an open heart and open hands… giving and blessing.

Our family loves to have open hearts and open hands to those who are less fortunate than ourselves, in particular people who may be living on the street.  Do we stop and give money to every single person that we pass who we think is homeless? Absolutely not.  If we feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to give money, we do… but more times than not, we simply stop and talk to them.  We ask them their names, and treat them like a friend.  It is absolutely life changing to actually take the time to stop and talk to a homeless person… and man, what an honor when they allow us as a family to stop right then, on the side of the road, and pray for them out loud.  Not long after I began praying to have an open heart and open hands, the Lord allowed our family to meet a homeless man on the street and he actually came to church with us.  I cried for days and thanked the Lord for such an amazing, life changing opportunity.  Not only did the Light of Jesus shine into the life of this homeless man, Mr. Jack… but it changed my life and the life of our children for sure.  My kids still pray for Mr. Jack from time to time.

Here is a pic of Mr. Jack worshipping with my hubby…

  
Now that we travel the country with my husband for his job, we have had the opportunity to spend time in numerous major cities across the U.S.  We always make sure we have extra crackers, granola bars and bottles of water with us when we are out venturing in a new city so we can use it as an opportunity to meet homeless people and hopefully have an opportunity to pray for them.  Open hearts. Open hands. Open hearts. Open hands.

In the last city we were camped at, we purposely frequented the same grocery store every week so that we could build a relationship with a lady we met there. We didn’t once openly witness to her, or share the gospel verbally, but when she told us she had a rough day, we were sure to bring her an extra special treat from the bakery.  By the end of our time there… she questioned what was different about our family.  Jesus… Only Jesus!  Open Hearts. Open Hands. Open Hearts. Open Hands.

Same is true in another city we were at for several months. We befriended a worker at the laundry mat.  Yes… you heard me correctly… laundry mat.  Oh the joys of camper life… you have weekly visits to the laundry mat (insert sigh). We could have chosen to grumble and complain about having to hang out there weekly, but instead, we chose to go to the same mat on the same night of the week, every single week so we could see our friend who worked there on that particular night.  She looked forward to our visits.  We always spent time talking with her and getting to know her.  And she really loved our kids because they would clean the play area for her before we left, even though they weren’t the ones who made it a disaster… and in return, she would bring them popsicles. 🙂 Again, we didn’t openly share the gospel… we just prayed that His light would shine through us in our ordinary lives.  Open hearts. Open hands. Open hearts. Open hands.

The idea behind open hearts, open hands is to be open to blessing others, impacting lives for Christ and pointing others to Jesus.  The flip side to that is true as well, when you open your heart and open your hands to shine the light of Jesus, you are open to see and receive blessings from others as well…

During our very first adventure in this “new life” of living in a camper and traveling with my husband… we were blessed beyond measure by parking our camper next to the sweetest family.  Our first few months traveling was difficult and even depressing at times.  We were in the dead of winter, in a new town, with new people, and far away from home, family, friends and what we considered normal.  Before moving into our permanent camp spot at the KOA, I prayed and asked the Lord to place us by the exact people that He wanted us to live by.  Thank you Jesus for blessing us beyond measure! The Howells were the best first family we could have ever imagined camping next to! It was an instant connection of friendships. I wouldn’t even have enough space in this blog post to count the ways they blessed our family. Lifelong friends for sure… (got that Amber :))

   
 My sweet friend Amber and all our kiddos during our very first outing together! Instant, God ordained friendship for sure!
We have been in several cities since we first embarked on this adventurous life… and yet the Lord continues to bless us beyond what we could ever ask or pray for.  We loved the campsite that we were staying at during our current location.  We were enjoying the pool, the walking trails, and the beautiful area that surrounded us, when out of the blue, to make a long story short, the owner of the camp site blew up and started yelling at my husband in ways that terrified our children (although I am certain my blog stats would sky rocket if I shared the juicy details… I’ll refrain from posting them at this time)… but due to the craziness of that encounter, we chose to leave the campsite… but had nowhere else to stay because the other campsites were currently booked.  We stayed a few nights at a local state park… and just so happened to meet up with a mutual friend of several of my Georgia friends.  We had never met in person, but Donna and I had attended the same church in Georgia for years, and had several of the same very dear friends.  Coincidence?  I think not.  God’s perfect timing and blessings? I think so! And to make that long story short… the Riddle family offered for us to park our camper and live on their acreage for the remaining two months that we will be in Minnesota.  Can we say… open heart, open hands??? Absolutely!!!! This family has extended blessing upon blessing to our family and we daily pray for the Lord to send them blessing upon blessing in return.

Here is a pic of all our kiddos at a recent Farm Day festival…

 

Open heart. Open Hands.

How have hearts and hands been opened to you lately?

How can you shine the light of the Lord by having open hearts and open hands?

  
Ephesians 3:20: “now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”

Matthew 5:16: “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

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