Friday, October 3, 2014

France 2014 Promo Video

If you want a snapshot of what the need is in France, check out our promo video here.

Thanks for following our progress, please consider joining our team where we can make an impact in France together!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Timothy Benjamin - Son of My Right Hand

Me & Tim 2007
I have been thinking a lot about my role as a parent this week. I don't know why this week instead of any other, but probably because Michelle is out of town visiting her sister this week, so I have been left to see just how poorly I parent as a single dad! It has been quite humbling and I am only more grateful for Michelle and all that she does.

On Monday of this week, I took Timothy to Children's Hospital in Dallas to get an MRI done for a growth that he has on his tongue (I'll spare you all a picture). The doctor's weren't worried that it was cancerous or anything, but the MRI is supposed to rule that out. It took the doctor a few days to get back in touch with me with the results, but here is a summary.
  1. They think he has a lymphatic malformation.
  2. They think it is benign.
  3. He was probably born with it and it just surfaced for the first time.
  4. Even if they do surgery to flatten it out and carve down the worst of the swelling, it is likely to resurface at some point again.
So as a parent, I understand that means that I'll have to see my little boy go through surgery more than once. I called Michelle and we both grieved over our sweet little guy having to go through something so tough.

Timothy was there when I talked to Michelle and it was the first that time that he got to hear the results too. We had to get going after dinner because Emily had a choir performance tonight, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him and see how he took the news.

After we got home from Emily's performance tonight, I sat Timothy down and just talked to him one on one. I told him again what the doctor said, how they want to treat it, and that it may come back. His eyes got really big and he said, "What?!? You mean they'll have to do it again?!?"

I answered him full of sorrow for what it might mean and how he might take the news and simply said, "Yes, that's right."

His reply, with a smile on his face, "Well, that's ok, I'll probably get used to it."

I love that boy.

We picked the name Timothy because we wanted him to serve the way Timothy did in the New Testament, and I chose Benjamin because it means, "Son of My Right Hand." From a personality standpoint, Timothy is definitely the most easy-going of all our kids, and his personality matches mine in a lot of ways. But tonight I saw how differently he trusts than I do. He has a childlike faith because he is a child. He trusts. He trusts his parents, the doctors, and his Jesus.

Lord help me to have the same faith and trust when I face difficulties...

Timothy 5/19/2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wallace Clan - April 2014 Update!

Click below to read our most recent update!

We need 167 people (or families) that will commit to donating $25/mo in order to reach our fundraising goal. Can you help us? Click on the Donate link above or here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Simple, Profound Comfort

This morning. Ugh.

I often struggle with recognizing my emotions. It takes others drawing them out of me most of the time (namely, my wife!), but this morning was different. As I was going through the routine of getting ready for work, jumping in the truck and driving to Starbucks for my morning coffee, I noticed a deep sense of discontent. I wish I could say that it was "Divine Discontent," but that just wasn't true. I felt disappointed, envious, lustful, angry, greedy. All of these emotions permeated my soul.

I didn't want to want to stay in that place, but I also knew that I couldn't just go through my "normal" routine. I tried reading a couple of devotional emails, but they only served to prove that I'm not the husband, father, brother, pastor, or believer that I want to be. Instead I noticed how far I was from how Scripture calls me to live and be.

Filled with inadequacy, I went for my journal and just started writing all of this out to Jesus. (Sometimes it is actually easier for me to write my prayers than to speak them out loud.) I confessed that I didn't deserve His grace; I confessed my weakness in trying to live or do anything right; and I told Him that I was just so consumed with this world and the desires I have for wanting to be fulfilled by everything else but Him.

I hesitated in my written prayer - knowing that I needed to ask for His comfort and encouragement - but feeling so unworthy to ask. He's already given me everything that I need. My very breath is His blessing, who am I to ask for anything more? He is after all, the God of the Cosmos. He's pretty busy keeping all of this stuff going, and I have nothing to offer to Him. On my best day, I do a poor job keeping my eyes fixed on Him.

In the past, I would stuff all of these emotions and look for other ways to quell the pain - the hunger and thirst for more - I would look at porn, I would watch TV for hours - anything to escape. But over the years, I am learning to just go to Him. The Bible says that He is sufficient for our needs. I've learned how to "sit in the funk" and allow Him to heal. I have to confess that I still don't do this often enough. I still try to stay busy or change the subject or do anything that I can to decrease the pain that I feel in this life. I know that it is only His grace that allows me to trust and obey Him, so I continued to pour out all of this negativity on the pages of my journal. I look now at the words I wrote and I can barely read them, they are so illegible - filled with angst and despair.

I needed comfort, someone to wrap their arms around me and tell me that it will be ok. When I feel this way, I really start to miss my mom. Moms are the one person in the whole world who will always affirm you. It has been over a decade since she passed, but these moments are the times when I miss her most.

As I looked at the bottom of the page of my journal that Michelle bought me for Valentine's three years ago, I noticed a verse. I never read the verses! I just write and don't think about it, but today my eyes scanned down to the bottom of the page and this is what I read, "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you. (Isaiah 66:13)."

I closed my eyes and began to shake. I covered my face with my hands to keep others from seeing how undone I had become in that moment. Tears began to flow, emptying my soul, but my heart began to fill with His love. I was overcome with the simple and profound comfort that our Father pours out on His children. I am no one, but He knows me. I have nothing to give, but He continues to give me everything that my heart longs for.

What permeated my soul only moments before was replaced with the Holy Spirit filling me with a most tangible expression of love. My heart filled with His goodness, His promises, His faithfulness, His gentleness, His peace...

I love Jesus. I am indebted to Him daily for the work that He has already done for me on the cross, but also for the way He leads us. I thought of the words of Peter in John's Gospel when Jesus asked the Twelve if they were also going to abandon Him because He asked His followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood. John 6:68-69 says,

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God."

I don't share any of this to show my goodness or faithfulness or how I've grown. I only share this detail of my daily life with you to point to the goodness of our Savior. I am no one important or special. I have no significance on my own, but He calls me His. I am His child, and our God does an amazing job caring for His children.

If you are overwhelmed, please trust Him. His Word proves Him faithful, and I'm daily seeing the proof of His promises fulfilled in my own life. 

Thank you. Thank you, Father, for your simple, profound and eternal comfort and love.

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year - New Goal, New Growth

I haven't made any New Year's Resolutions for the past couple of years. I have in the past and at times they have been helpful. At other times, I, like so many others, didn't last beyond the first month of my "commitment." What I have done in the past that has been helpful is something that I'm going to do this year, and I just thought I'd share it for the mutual benefit and accountability. I got this idea several years ago from a good friend and mentor of mine, Jesse Martin (you can follow him on Twitter at the handle @jmartincoaching).

At the time, I was a full-time youth pastor and I got to spend a great week in Austin, Texas with him asking a lot of questions about his ministry approach. One of the principles that I took away comes directly from scripture, and it involves personal growth. Luke 2:52 says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and with favor in God and man." Broken down, this shows four ways that we can set goals and grow over the next year.

Wisdom - Jesus grew in wisdom. What are you reading? What classes are you taking? Whether you are learning a new language, taking a finance management course, or intentionally keeping up to date with current events for your job, being intentional about growth in this area is vital. What are some ways that you can set goals for growth in this area?

Stature - Jesus grew in stature. At the time of his life when this was written, Jesus was around 12 years old. He obviously had some growing to do physically. What goals can you set for yourself this year in the physical arena? Make it measurable and let it stretch you. Maybe it is finally your year to do a 5K run; maybe you just want to set a precedent to walk daily, whatever it is, define it and execute it!

Favor in God - How did Jesus grow in his favor with God? He was already fully-God, so what could he do? Scripture tells us time and time again that Jesus went alone to pray. He was learning and growing in his relationship with God through prayer and the Word. Although it can be difficult to define spiritual growth (that is the job of the Holy Spirit), I think that you can establish some disciplines to help you prepare your heart and mind. What are you going to do differently this year than last? What are you going to add to or fast from that will foster spiritual growth; how are you going to serve others in new ways; or how are you going to find ways to daily express that the fruits of the Spirit are showing in your life?

Favor with Man - Jesus was relational. How are you growing in your marriage or as a parent? How are you allowing your friendships to deepen? Are you regularly engaged in accountability and discipleship relationships? It would be beneficial to look at ways that you can grow relationally.

I'm not a fan of taking one scripture and basing a lifestyle around it, but I think that the proof in Jesus' life can be traced back to how he grew. A lot of the growth that we will experience in our lives comes from places that we've never intended it to come from, however, we want to be good stewards of the time and resources that God has given us. When thinking through these categories, write down some realistic goals that will stretch you. You are far more likely to achieve results if you write them down. Also, make sure to share them with others. Work with a mentor or a friend to help craft your goals, and once you write them down, share them with the people closest to you who want to help and support you. This will help you stay accountable and bring others into the process to help you grow.

I hope that this can offer some help to you. Michelle and I both believe in growing and helping others grow. I'm still working on my list for this year. Keep checking back on our blog this week to see my plan.