Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What are you living for?

I wrote a brief Facebook post last night in response to an article Dave Ramsey posted on his blog. You can read the original post here:

Someone had posted it to Facebook and it piqued my interest. I came away from reading the article completely torn and honestly feeling a bit off-put. Maybe it's because I grew up poor or maybe it's something more.

His (Tom Corley not Dave Ramsey) 20 habits are all good habits and things that everyone should try to do, sure. The problem lies in his assumptions. He bases this article and hid book Rich Habits off the assumption that it is these habits that made people rich. That there is causality, not merely correlation. Causality and correlation are worlds apart. Sure these habits may very well correlate with being wealthy but that does not mean they cause wealth.

I think the hardest part for me in reading this was how it led me to view the poor. This list puts people into categories, rich vs poor. Let me tell you from experience, poor people do not often choose to be poor. They are goal setters but typically that goal is either to survive or to find a way to make enough money to simply put food on the table. They are often hard workers who have lacked the opportunities afforded to more affluent families like education, books, and gym memberships. There is a cycle of poverty, one that takes immense effort to break free from. People do it everyday, I did it, but even though I already practice many of his 20 habits I am no where near wealthy. Which brings me to my final point.

What are you living for? Are you living to acquire wealth and riches. Is that the end game? Sure we all would like to be financial well off or at least stable, but is that your goal, to live a comfortable life? To keep up with the Joneses? Or are you living for Jesus? Are you willing to do what Jesus asks of you? Are you willing to sell all of your possessions and give to the poor if that's what he calls you to?

Mark 10:21-25 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him,“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 

Psalm 37:16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of the wicked. 

Psalm 49:16-17 Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he does he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down with him. 

You see, God will bless some and they will be wealthy and others he will call to poverty. In the end we can't take anything with us. We can't make ourselves rich, God is our provider. He is our source of everything good. He provides what we need, not always what we want. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years. 40 YEARS. Are you ok if God calls you to wander the desert for 40 years. To be forced to trust Him and his provision and not in your abilities to make yourself wealthy, healthy, and wise? 

The rich young man went away sorrowful because he had put his trust in the provision. Not the Provider. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Little Update

I felt the urge to write while Ellia takes an early nap, but honestly I am having a hard time deciding where to place my focus. So, lets just do a little post on the random thoughts that tumble through my brain.

1. Baby Time! In somewhere around 7-8 weeks we will be bringing home a new baby. I still cannot fathom how quickly this pregnancy went. I am getting more and more excited to meet our little warrior and we finally have a middle name. However, I feel completely unprepared this time and that is causing my nesting instinct to freak out a little.

2. I feel hopeful lately. For quite some time I have felt very dry, and very stuck in our situation. Things are still tough but I feel God beginning to move things around. I don't know if its just that I have become more grateful for what we do have or if there really is something brewing, but I am hopeful. I feel like this season of drought might finally be coming to an end. I hope and I pray it is.
hope shines brightest in the darkest moments... Above all things.. Hope!

3. Worry steals, joy gives life. You will never regret a moment spent in joy, but you will regret those lost to worry and fear. This thought hit me last week. I have worried so much in my life. I worry about everything and it often succeeds at stealing my joy in most situations. Instead of excitement over meeting our little boy I have been racked with fear. The enemy comes to steal and destroy, and he does so through worry and fear. Jesus comes to bring abundant life full of joy and hope. So I choose joy. I don't want to waste my life worrying about the would be's or could be's. Instead, I want to enjoy the is's and are's.
4. Happy Holidays. This is my very favorite time of year. Since we can't travel for christmas this year my family will be coming to us. I cannot tell you how excited I was to find out that they were all willing to come to us the weekend before. So thankful!

5. Prayers, please. There are some opportunities that may be making themselves available to us. We desire God's will over all and we know that it is only by His will that things will work out. So we ask and pray and hope that God will move in a mighty way. I know its all very vague, but please just pray that God would be moving in our situation and that His grace and His glory would prevail.

6. Update on One Thousand Gifts. I am still working on writing things down. I have not done the best job recently but I do feel it continually shifting my view from the negatives to the positives. I am thankful for the change in perspective. We have so much to be grateful for, but life often distracts us and pulls us away from the good in our lives. I keep jotting new things down and God continues to remove the scales from my eyes one by one.
gratitude- this is so very true and what I live by- quit griping people and suck it up!!!! God bless you today! :)
7. Happy little E. E is such a joy. I honestly could not have asked for a happier child. I prayed often before she was born that she would be full of joy and boy did God answer me. She makes people smile everywhere we go, and I pray that God would continue to grow that joyful spirit that she would just be such a light in the darkness. She is to me every single day.

That was all over, but sometimes it is nice to just sit and reflect on what God is doing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Men and Women Want

Before I get into my point I should warn you, I haven't been single since high school. I won't pretend to know the struggle of waiting day after day for my prince charming. However, getting married young and moving forward has been challenging in its own ways and altered the course of my life in ways that being single wouldn't have. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but know that it is a challenge to be married as well.

I have been seeing a lot of articles circulating about facebook titled things like What Men Want in a Godly Woman and What Women want in a Godly Man

I have read both and wholeheartedly agree with many of the points made, but I have some reservations about what singles may take away.

I fear women and men will read them and think; OK, I'll just fix this, this, and this about myself and then a man will come. Then Jesus will finally approve of me enough to send me the desires of my heart. I will be whole and therefore ready for any man who rings my bell, and by golly he will be The One. If I can be all of these things I will be worthy of a husband/wife. Then, they try and try to fix all their faults, to be better, to be less emotional or more masculine and nothing happens. Men/Women don't come flooding in and they are left wondering what else they need to change to finally be lovable.

Women are always comparing themselves to each other. We want to be like Sally, Josie, or Betsy, because they are married and happy and have everything they have ever wanted. They shine like beacons a midst a grey and dingy world of singleness. Single women are left wondering what is wrong with them that they don't have that? What is wrong with them that they haven't found their partner, their helpmate?

Here is the thing. Women, you will never be wholly what a man wants. Men, you will never fully live up to a woman's expectations. We have ridiculously high expectations. These articles, although true and good, read as though you can make yourself those things and then a man will want you. Until you realize that living for the approval of a man is useless, you will continue to try harder to be better and keep failing. The only man you need gain approval from is Jesus. He is the only one you ought to be living to impress.


Here is the kicker, if you are truly living for Jesus, those things will fall into place. Many of those attributes are attributes of God. Honestly, loyalty, masculinity, right emotionality. Those are God traits, that is why we want them in our men and women. Women want a man who loves Jesus with his whole being, because if he does, he will no doubt be honest and loyal. Men want a woman who has a heart of compassion and loves like her Father loves. Jesus is faithful as we follow Him to make him more like us, to make us new creations, over time.

God is God of your love life.

However, and here is the second kicker and probably biggest challenge. You will not find a perfect man. The man God intends for you will not be perfect. (Men, neither will the woman). He will fail you, and heaven knows you will fail him again and again. I fail my husband weekly, if not daily. He fails me just as much.  We are human. Sinful, messy, humans. The perfect man for you will not meet every item on your checklist, and you can bet your bottom that you will not meet his. As long as you are itemizing every character trait that your future spouse must have you have completely forgotten grace. Grace is what keeps us going in life, and especially in marriage. Without grace, we are nothing. Without grace in a marriage, it will fail. (This is not saying you should be unequally yolked, but that's another discussion for another time)
"I will hold myself to a standard of GRACE not perfection." Anonymous
So rely on Jesus, hide yourself in Him, clothe yourself in his righteousness and accept His grace and love. In doing so, you will be able to show grace and love to others. You don't need to be better, you need more of Jesus. We all need more of Jesus.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Single Digits

As I was walking with my friend last week we were chatting about my current pregnancy and she asked how far along I was. I am 31 weeks along and she exclaimed, "Oh! Your in single digits" and I thought, "Oh crap, I am"

Where did the time go? I remember waiting for what felt like an eternity to reach my due date with E. It feels like Baby G just started cooking yesterday.

31 weeks.

Less than 9 weeks to go.

January 3rd is now less than 2 months away.

What. Is. Happening!

I still don't feel like I have fully wrapped my head around what it will be like to go from a family of three to a foursome. Often, I get excited thinking of what little G will look like or be like, but just as often I worry about what an upheaval this will be for E. I feel sad that her reign as an only child is coming to an abrupt end and she isn't even old enough to fully understand what is happening. I know she will be a wonderful big sister and the fact that she is young should actually work to her advantage in the long run, but its odd to think about her not being the "baby" anymore.

If you haven't noticed I tend to worry a lot.

Fear is something that has ruled my life for quite some time, I am often fearful of most things. So it is only natural for me to fear what this means for my family and my sweet girl. Thankfully, most things rarely live up to my fears and even if they do I often handle it far better than I imagine I could. God truly gives us the strength we need when we need it. So I may freak out now, but I know that all will be well in the end.

Speaking of upheaval, if any of you out there have tips for how to help an 18 month old transition to siblinghood, please please share the love! Even just thoughts on going from 1 to 2 children would be greatly appreciated. It is amazing how God equips us in the moment, but I also fully believe in the mantra "it takes a village to raise a child." Villagers, what say ye?!

2 months.

2 months until we meet our little man, a little boy. 2 months until our house goes from pink to blue and bows and ribbons turn into bow ties and suspenders. What a wonderful worry to have, that I have been graced with 2 children to love and parent. What a blessed mess of a life.