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Our Pastor is out-of-town for a few days and so we had a special speaker at church tonight.  Okay, admit with me that sometimes we hear about special speakers coming and we think, “maybe the kids will be sick and we won’t go.”  Really?  You don’t think that?  Perhaps I’m the only wicked one among us.  But, I did go and wow, did God speak to my heart?!?!?!

The message was about Dreaming and envisioning yourself doing big things for the Lord and then watching as God fulfills those dreams.  It was very touching to see a man who is up in years proclaiming the goodness of God in His life and hearing him say that he would change nothing about his life being spent in the work of the Lord.  And based on all that God has been doing in our hearts the past four months, the sermon was very timely.  So much so that my dear and trusted friend, Jennifer Carr, came and prayed with me during the invitation because she knows some of what the Lord is trying to work out in our lives.

Yesterday’s status on my Facebook page read, “God’s calling and leading sometimes come in still and quiet ways.  He is doing some really neat things in our family right now.”  I guess you could say we have dreamed a dream and are now seeing God bring it together.  Most of those who know us remember that a couple of years ago, we seriously worked on the logistics of opening a home for teenage girls.  We put together a board of directors, looked at property, sent in grant proposals and did tons of research.  We were so close, but couldn’t get that final piece of peace from the Lord to go ahead.  After counsel from our pastor, we decided to shelf that dream until Mike retires and we are in a better situation with Emma’s medical issues.

Since then, to be honest, we have been seeking for God’s leading.  Trying this and keeping busy with that, but all the while itching to do more meaningful work.  The part of ministry that we share as a couple is that of missions work.  We love missionaries and support several on our own.  We have taken journeys to other countries and worked to better the lives of those we find in need.  We had written into the girl’s home proposal the provision of taking the girls on a mission journey as they reached the age of 18.  Our belief is that if we can take girls who are troubled, broken, abused, or rebellious, and show them greater need in the world than they see from their current perspective, perhaps that could be a source of healing.

In August, I was blessed to attend a conference with Clay and Sally Clarkson in Colorado Springs, that changed me in many ways.  God used that time away to re-ignite some dreams for ministry in our hearts.  And, the ironic thing is that Mike wasn’t even supposed to be on that trip with me…but he was.  God is pretty awesome!  On the very long drive home from Colorado, we began to talk about how we could affect the world for good through our family.  Thus began a few months of heavy discussions and lots of research and work.  God was chiseling away some rough edges to prepare us for a new dream.

We have now formulated Handfuls of Purpose Foundation as a catalyst for fulfilling what we believe is God’s plan for our family.  We have put together a board of directors and just simply watching God work that out has been amazing and humbling.  We are currently working to file papers to become a non-profit organization and praying that God will make His will known and obvious in all we do.

Handfuls of Purpose will have two divisions.  Hear Their Hearts Cry Mission Journeys will be short-term and long-term mission journeys both domestically and internationally.  We have three trips planned for 2011 so far.  These will be open to any teens ages 15 and up or adults who wish to minister through physical labor, spiritual discipleship, evangelism, and medical assistance.  Hear My Heartbeat Ministries will be the arm that will touch people one heart at a time through the writings and speaking engagements that God opens up to me.  Specifically, my prayer is to write and speak about the following topics: unity among women using Biblical models of friendship and mentoring, helping teen girls who live with brokenness or abuse, equipping moms to fulfill their God-given role to disciple their children, supporting parents who have lost children to miscarriage or stillborn death, and encouraging families who live with a special needs child.

This endeavor will no doubt take us out of our comfort zone and stretch us in many ways.  But Mike and I feel strongly that we need to use what God has done in our home and family as a means to further the ministry of Christ in this broken world.  We are broken people who live in a broken place but we have a God who specializes in taking shattered objects and creating beautiful mosaics.

Please pray for us as we seek the mind and will of God.  Please support us in any way the Holy Spirit lays on your heart.  Mostly, please love us as we will undoubtedly be a target of Satan as He is always out to stop those who want to move forward for the Lord.  And, some will question our decision.  Most things about our daily lives will not change.  Only our efforts to invest in the lives of other people will be enhanced in a different way.

Dr. Jack Hyles said, “Everything begins with a dream in someone’s heart.”  This is a dream God planted years and years ago, and it is time for us to begin.  Sally Clarkson asked us a question at the conference in August that has stayed with me.  She asked, “what if you only had ten years to impact the world for the cause of Christ, what could you as a family do?”  What if we do only have ten years?  I don’t want to spend eternity thinking about what we could have done, I want to spend it thinking about what we saw God do through our lives.

With all my heart…hear my heartbeat,

Renee Parris


About Renee Parris

I write to share the message of grace God has so generously splattered on the pages of my life. My heart beats strongly with love for my husband, children, and those God has placed in my path. I adore the world God has created for us to explore. My heart beats to share, through written words and pictures, my love for nature and the people I meet on this beautiful journey called life.

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