Thursday, June 28, 2012

Simplify and some "7"

Some of you sweet souls know that some girlfriends and I embarked on a journey together, June 1st, based on the book "7" by Jen Hatmaker. If you don't know anything about the book, I hope you will check it out. It is full of funny and conviction all at the same time. The Lord has been working specifically on my prideful self the last 3 years and apparently the Lord knew accountability and some friends would be necessary for me to finally lay it down and deal with some stuff in order for this simpler lifestyle to succeed. I'm so thankful He knows all things and orchestrates these details so perfectly, aren't you? Whew. My eyes are wide open with great expectation as to where we are headed.

But....two things I know thus far...... 

After eating the same 7 foods for the month of June....(and yes we wrapped it up early because we really were just done with it and I was leaving town Saturday and we had to get together and discuss it all. Plus...we ended with some fabulous junk food to celebrate our success)....and no, we aren't crazy to be doing this. It really is a God thing. How can we not walk down a path He had been working on behind the scenes in all of our lives and then brought us together oh so perfectly to take this journey together?  Count me in Lord. I might be scared, but I'm game. It's just time. You know.

Ok, where was I? This is what I know about 7 simple foods:

*No sugar is FABULOUS!!!  I will try desperately to not put that back in my life at the levels I had been doing. Bye-bye soft drinks and gross junk. We are done. You really aren't that good. It is amazing how much better you feel when you are eating healthy and simply. Who knew? What a concept. #sarcasm

*I'm just as happy with simple foods as I am with the endless possibilities and more food choices that stared at me from the grocery, restaurant menu, or pantry than one human needs. However...I will say that I never experienced that true full feeling after I ate. Probably why I lost 8 pounds. Probably a good thing to not eat until you feel sick and explosive. That's another new concept, huh? #sarcasmagain

*Food is fabulous and wonderful and who doesn't love the to die for dessert or pasta or steak? Heck, we all do. goal from this point on is healthier eating. Done with the quick convenient junk that is processed and gross and my insides are probably experiencing a slow death. Heck...why not become vegetarian? ;)  I'm going fresh and healthy. I think my body will thank me in more ways than one. 

*We really are spoiled and don't NEED all that we indulge in. This now becomes the bigger picture of 7. Needs vs wants and we say it all the time, but do we really want to sacrifice and become uncomfortable in a culture that screams MORE MORE MORE!!! And, what on earth am I teaching my children about excess?  I think I have been teaching them more about what culture says instead of what God says. BIG FAT OUCH!!  Goodness...this is why it takes time to tackle and make real life adjustments. We already know these things, but for some reason I can't just come out of a one time sermon or teaching and make the adjustment. You have to actually do it. Who knew?  I have been convicted 100 times on things in regards to money and living after a sermon, but didn't really make the adjustment that was needed. These are hard adjustments.This is a journey and requires much patience. This requires patience, time, and great commitment. After all...God is the King of patience and He knows we won't make these massive adjustments without time....and accountability. Don't do this alone. I would have quit 9 hours into it.

The book has lead us through month one with food. We are moving onto month two of clothing. I'm not going into that just yet, but do want to share how God has been speaking to our family about excess... this beautiful weaving of details, God has been showing my husband and myself that we don't NEED this house we live in.'s big and nice and really...too big. There is something that defines us in regards to where and how we live. True? We make assumptions about people and where they live. If their house is big and new and nice then we assume they have money. If their house is the opposite of that then we think they don't. Plain and simple. We all do it. We have no idea though how stressed out they are about that house and know good and well they hate that house payment every month because, well, its just too much.  My husband and I are going against the culture and following God and saying, "Nope...we don't need that or honestly, want it."  Yep...we can afford it. However....I will not simply do and have because we can. I'm praying that God will show us the way to be financially free and not be overwhelmed and anxious through these teenage years, that are already full of stress and anxiety as parents, but show us how to live a simpler life and be very responsible with the money He has provided. I want to be free to give and go and spend and do without the stress of no margin.

Does that make a lick of sense?  We have private school, cars for 3 boys upon us, insurance, gas, living, vacations, dogs, healthcare, college, clothing, food, etc etc etc. I WILL NOT go into these years anxious over a stupid house. If God chooses another route that doesn't involve selling our home, then we will be listening and ready. We are simply hoping to be faithful in the big and small. 

God calls us to be wise. He never, ever says go get more and have more and have have have. He was the simplest man to ever live and my greatest desire is to be more like Him. For all of us, this journey of becoming more like Him will look different. My prayer is that we take time to examine our hearts, our motives, our deepest desires for our families....and GO WITH GOD!!!!

May we be more and more like Him in all we say and do. Follow Him. He won't lead us anywhere alone.

Eyes open and feet ready! Let's go!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I wanna move, Lord!

Well we are!!! Take a minute and let it sink in that we are HALF WAY THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE MEMORY YEAR!!!!!! Holy cow that is crazy! Whether you have 10 scriptures memorized or only 5 or only have more memorized than you did last year! Pat yourself on the back...shout out a "GO GOD!" and dig those heels in and finish the year up STRONGER than you were January 1st.

This I know...the more I say my scriptures over and over the better I know them, the more likely I am to pray that Word out loud for someone else, pass along to someone who needs a word, and simply just fall in love with His word more than ever. It's my kind of addiction.

My verse for June 15th is a shorter verse, but powerfully packed. My oldest son, Clay, has been with our high school youth group to camp and they have been learning, studying, and talking about what it means to move with God. I was able to watch their worship service from Panama City Beach this past Wednesday night and able to get a sneak peak into what they were learning. It was such a treat to see the kiddos, but more importantly get a feel for what they are learning and being challenged by. What a great opportunity to open up conversation about "moving" with God. They all were being challenged to NOT just be a fan of Jesus, but to walk it out openly and beautifully for all to see and know Christ is your Savior!

I want to desperately move with God! This is my verse..."Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works." James 2:26 NLT

Faith without action is dead and I don't wanna be dead in my faith! MOVE ME LORD!! I'm also claiming this verse over my son and all the other amazing teens and leaders who are being challenged to MOVE!

Ok....lemme hear it...whatcha got?

Love y'all and am so proud to walk this road with you! Accountability is the key!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some scripture and some 7 and some Lord, help me

Holy cow!!!! It is June people! JUNE!!!! And school is out! And we sing songs and praise God and dance that all the kiddos passed and are movin' on up in the fall. Whoooooo hoooooooo!!! June also means that those of us memorizing scripture are at the halfway point in this journey. I feel like we get to this point and we are energized and excited and fired up to finish strong!

When I go through my spiral I absolutely love reading through each verse and remembering why I chose that verse and how that verse has spoken volumes in my life and maybe even someone else's life. Just so cool, huh? I say it all the time, but it's true....the word of God is alive and active. ALIVE AND ACTIVE!!! And that's a scriptural fact, too. (Hebrews 4:12)

Ok, let me tell you about a little something that a couple of friends and I are about to embark on and hope to high heavens that people don't think we are flat out crazy..... Ever hear of Jen Hatmaker? She also has this book out called "7" that you may have heard of. If you know anything about this book I think I just heard you mumble something under your breath or gasp or say "no way Jose'." And, I get it. I really do. And if I'm going to be fully honest with you, let's just blame all this on David Platt and Radical a few years ago because in all reality....the problem started there. Did I say problem? I meant journey.

You see....that is what God does....He starts off with a teeny tiny seed planted in your heart and then with beautiful patience and time and a bunch of Jesus and church...BAM! He has somehow threaded a lot of events and people together and before you know it, you find yourself doing something crazy that He planted inside you way back in the day. And because of this great thing called "community" that He throws us into we actually have other crazy people He has been working on and they want to walk this road with you....and HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE!!! He's a clever fella. Oh, and there's obedience. I really am learning this...failed more than succeed, but time is ticking and I don't want to miss a thing with Him, so let's just suck it up and GO!

 And, everyone pray now because it's real.

This is what Barnes and Noble says about "7." American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born. 7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

So....we are crazy, right? 7 starts June 1st with food. I'm eating the same 7 foods for 30 days and praying that I don't die or cuss someone out because I NEED CHOCOLATE PEOPLE or a Diet Dr. pepper. I know it will be rough and uncomfortable, but surely to goodness I can handle this. Don't  talk to Jesus about rough and uncomfortable, right? I mean...seriously....I know my family has more than enough food and has never known hunger or want. Food is always there. I'm learning to say less of me and my junk and more of Him and His Kingdom.

God has been working on this path for quite some time and honestly...I'm just so happy that He lets me, little ole me, walk alongside the Him, the creator of the universe. How cool is that? I think we'll be ok.

I know you are curious so here are my 7 foods for June: chicken, turkey, bread, tomatoes, corn, apples, and eggs. Sounds divine, huh? ;) I will update quite often on twitter how I'm doing...the good, the bad, the heavenly. Jesus already confirmed to me today in the most random way that me and my friends are exactly where He wants us. I cried after that tender moment. I then said to Him in my car..."I'm in, Lord. I'm in. Whatever you want to do, I'm in."

So...all this to say...He is indeed doing a new thing in my life for the remainder of the year and I couldn't think of a more appropriate verse, that I happen to love, as we kick of this journey....  

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

I'm so anxious to hear your verses!!  Ready, set, go!!

Love y'all! 

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

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