on being the hands and feet

“for I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’

“then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  when did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?  when did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’

“the King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'”  ~matthew 25:35~40

friday, february 19th started just like any other day.  josh left for work and the kids and i left for school. we pick up one of amelia’s friends on our way to school and when we pulled in her driveway, my cellphone rang.  it was josh.

me~”hello?”

j~”hi.  i just got let go.”

me~”what?  are you serious?”

j~”yes.”

me~”what are you doing?  do you have to stay?  can you come home?”

j~”i am coming home.”

me~”i am so sorry.  i love you.”

j~”i love you too.”

i cried.  i prayed.  i called my best friend.  i called my parents.  i called my sister.  i came home.  i hugged my husband.  i cried.

i sent an email asking for prayer to the ladies in my discipleship group.  the following are some of the messages i received:

“oh no!  yes…i’ll pray!”

“consider it done.  it would be my honor to pray with you.”

and an actual prayer that brought me to tears.  the hands and feet of Christ just lifted my family and i in prayer.

we had plans that night that we now weren’t sure we were going to keep.  i shared the job loss news when our cancellation was decided.  our friends were so kind and understanding.  another set of friends immediately reached out and invited us to a low-key, carefree dinner at their home.  they have two boys the same ages as our boys and the kids all love to play together.  we accepted their invitation.  being hit with something so heavy in the morning, it was so nice to have an easy evening. the hands and feet of Christ just hosted us in their home.

the next day, as i went to get the mail like i do every day, i opened a card from one of the friends we cancelled on the night before.  i read, “how wide and how long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” ephesians 3:18 on the outside.  and on the inside, “praying God’s heart brings your heart an even deeper way of seeing and knowing the depth of His love for you.”  and attached to the card was a giant eagle gift card.  i stood in the middle of my driveway and cried.  the hands and feet of Christ just sent me ‘money’ for food.

and that night i saw a dear friend who gave me a gift, a beautiful purple glass ball.  the card along with the gift said the following, “put me in your window and let me shine…just to remind you of His love and guiding hand over you and your family at this time.”  my dear friend being the hands and feet of Christ by reminding me of His presence.

that monday i sent an email, requesting prayer, to the ladies i lead in our young mom’s group at church.  again, some of the messages i received:

“my husband and i will definitely be praying for your family and for God’s leading for a new job. thinking and praying for you all.”

“i’m so sorry to hear the news. i will definitely life you and your family up in prayer.”

“i am so sorry to hear this news.  we will definitely keep you in our prayers, and please let me know if there is anything at all that we can do to help you out!”

“i’m praying for you, josh and your family! my husband unexpectedly lost his job eight months ago and this week he’s finally getting to decide between job offers. it’s been a long wait, but the one thing we’ve seen over and over is that the Lord provides. He has been faithful during all of the unemployment, and has really blessed us — spiritually and materially — through other people. i hope this will be over quickly for all of you, but that most importantly, you’ll be able to truly find rest and peace in Him.  ‘my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.’~philippians 4:19”

“i’m so sorry.  i just stopped and prayed for you and josh.  we have been there, and i know it’s hard news to hear.”

“we love you and are here for you if you need anything, even a date nite!”

“i am sorry to hear this- i have been through it and it is tough- is there anything you need?”

“we will definitely pray for your family.”

“i’m so sorry, kirsten.  i know it’s hard– we went through a similar situation last year. it was overwhelming to see the way God provided.  i’ll be praying that His hand will be just as evident in your lives.”

the hands and feet of Christ were offering prayer, support, and reminders of the promises in His Word.

at church that wednesday morning, february 24th, as i was setting up for our mom’s group, a sweet, sweet friend of mine handed me a starbucks gift card.  “i know you don’t need this,” she said, “but i thought it would make you smile.”  the hands and feet of Christ just unexpectedly touched me in such a special way and yes, made me smile!

as i got things started that morning, i made a brief announcement that we were doing okay and i thanked the ladies for their prayers and kind words.  i made some other announcements and opened our time together in prayer.  just as i started to introduce our speaker i was caught off guard by a prayer being offered up for me.  the hands and feet of Christ stood embracing me in front of a room full of women. i thought i was going to fall over, but instead i was held tightly as my dear sister in Christ spoke beautiful words to our Savior on my behalf.

after our time that morning, this same sister told me she was bringing dinner to our family that night.  we’ve never had anyone do that before.  i told my friend that i’d be out her way in the afternoon and i could stop by to pick up the food.  the hands and feet of Christ just prepared a meal for my family.

while at my friends house she told me she asked the other women in our mom’s group if they’d be willing to prepare meals for us as well.  she didn’t inform me that she was going to ask them because she knew i’d say ‘no’.  she was right!  the hands and feet of Christ reached into my community and rallied support in our time of need. the responses from many were immediate.  the hands and feet of Christ in my community responded to our need in an overwhelming way.

that friday we received another giant eagle gift card, this time from my in~laws.  their card read, “before the Lord began your day…He carefully planned each step of the way.”  and my mother~in~law added, “we often suffer, but we are never crushed.  even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.  in times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.”~II corinthians 4:8~9(msg).   again, the hands and feet of Christ just sent us  ‘money’ for food and encouragement from God’s Word.

the meals started coming from friends at church and a friend that i’ve had since jr. high also offered to bring us a dinner.  people taking their time, their resources, to provide for my family and i, i have never felt so awkward and so humble at the same time.  and i started to see how God’s provision really can come through other people.  through other people being the hands and feet of Christ.

last wednesday, march 3rd, during our mom’s group Bible study, we were talking about God’s promise of friendship, psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”  i was able to share with our study leaders how overwhelming it has been to receive such blessings from the other women in our group.  through tears, i was able to express my gratitude to those who had been the hands and feet of Christ to myself and my family.

thursday march 4th started as a rough day for josh and i.  some large bills needed to be paid friday and we had barely enough money.  add to that wondering what would happen once that money was gone and we were trying not to worry.  i believed with all my heart and mind that God would provide.  i didn’t see how, but i chose to trust.

i thought it would be good for us to get out of the house a little.  after we dropped all of the kids off at school, we decided to go to wendy’s for lunch because they have a 99 cent menu.  i thought spending a few dollars would be okay.  we spent $7.36.  then we went to the at&t store to get josh’s cellphone transfered from his former employers control back to ours.  he didn’t have all of the information he needed so off we went, feeling pretty discouraged.  we meandered through the mall and then picked the kids up from school.  once home, i pulled up to the mailbox and inside found an envelope marked ‘the smith family’.  i recognized the writing, my best friend’s, and thought, “what did she do?”

we unloaded the kids and i went inside and opened the card.

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and inside the card was an abundance of gift cards~giant eagle, red robin, mcdonald’s, and even some money.  i stood in my kitchen and cried, and cried, and cried.  i called my friend and couldn’t even get words to come out of my mouth.  talk about God’s provision through others.  i don’t know who donated to our plight, but i do know that many of my fellow believers were being the hands and feet of Christ as they made their donations.

that night another meal was provided by a dear friend.  along with the food, she brought various things: body wash, cereal, cookie mix, deodorant, muffin mix~because she had extras of these things, a pizza hut gift card and two, TWO bottles of coca~cola.  through my tears i tried to convey my gratitude.  she reached to give me a hug.  as i wept in her embrace she thanked me for being able to walk this road with me.  the hands and feet of Christ walking with me on this unknown road.

i am overwhelmed with God’s provision.  i am overwhelmed with the love and support we have received from others.  i literally cannot find the words to express our gratitude.  my prayer is that the Lord will reveal to each and every one of you just how He has used your prayers, your hugs, your reminders of His Word, your meals, your donations, to be His hands and feet to us.

“how beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news and the love of the King
how beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
how beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ”
~twila paris

january 2010

my last post was kind of heavy.  a lot of people in my life have been dealing with very heavy things lately.  infant death, a father on the verge of death, a grandmother in the hospital after an accidental fall, a mother who has been suffering from the effects of a stroke almost three years ago, job loss-the list could go on and on.  a lot of my thoughts are pretty heavy.  although, they are also very hopeful.  hmmm.

so, to avoid more heaviness, i thought i’d sort of do a month in review via pictures.  just random ‘life with our family’ stuff.  i’ve been having big thoughts, big awakenings.  posts for another day i guess.

so, here we are from january.  the kids watching a tow truck pull the neighbor’s car out of the snow, playing with amelia’s microphone(notice her adjusting it for wilbur as if he couldn’t figure it out on his own),  the gingerbread house the kids made with grammy and gramps(orville did not want to be in the picture),  the gingerbread house after our dog got to it, me (with a bottle of coke!!!) at fondue night, finally remembering to get a Christmas tree bag(after forgetting for the past three years) and joking it was for the kids(which they thought was hilarious!), legos, legos everywhere!, having mother/daughter night & breakfast with amelia, playing with fruit by the foot at grammy’s, josh rummaging through the island drawer at grammy’s(something he’s known to do at least once a year), our trip(eating subway for lunch)to a somewhat local mall so i could go to a bareescentuals boutique, josh and the boys pretending to fall asleep while amelia and i were in the bathroom(men!). 

i’ve been closely following my friend kate’s adoption journey.  she shares an amazing story.  she is a very gifted writer.  she just adopted an adorable little boy.  you should take a look.  her heart is beautiful.