Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ruth freaking rocks!

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My Bible study started Ruth tonight, and man am I excited. We all know the story, but how much more there is in there to learn. My two favorites from tonight: 1. How plain it is to see the way God orchestrated everything in Ruth’s story and redeemed, redeemed, redeemed. I LOVE seeing this in the Bible (and it’s all over). It comforts me so much to know that He is involved in all the details of my life, directing…purposefully. 2. Because of Naomi’s depressed state in the beginning, she was unable to see the hope and future she had. After losing her husband and two sons, she thought God had it out for her. I get that. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that’s where my faith goes…which leads me to a tiny little victory I had today.

We are 1/12 finished with the Radical Experiment, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing. Of course, I knew there would be attack. On Thursday, I had my first-ever migraine. I definitely thought I was having a stroke and would die at any second. Then, the bad strep came on. Now, I have a cold. And, our dryer is dead. Today was sucky with several small things building to a meltdown. Usually, I will head straight for all the negative thoughts, like the Lord has no plan for my life, nor does He care what happens to me. BUT, I felt it coming on and by-passsed all that crap, by His grace. I just told Jesus I needed Him to SHOW UP. I will be waiting for His provision.

Also, a friend shared some information about an upcoming trip to Honduras. It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for in a mission trip. It’s “orphan-focused,” too! Who knows if it will happen, but I’m really excited about experiencing something like that. Here are a few reasons why it’s going to be very difficult: childcare for a week, being away from my girls, nursing/pumping/milk supply issue, taking off time from work, paying for the trip for both of us. Here’s what I keep telling myself: The Lord will work it out. The Lord will work it out. That has to be our response for everything, right? What I would just love would be to sit in an orphanage and nurse babies all day long.

Back to Ruth. I love to think about all the decisions, trials, and “surprises” that happen in my life and know it’s just one more thing that He’s put into motion. I rest in the truth that my life is one big redemption story, with a bunch of tiny redemption stories intertwined. I’m going to soak it in tonight.

Gratitude #7+: I’m thankful for my health. Never really appreciate it, until I’ve lost it. I’m thankful for Scripture that speaks to me like it was written  yesterday.

My crappy faith

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When God tells us to give extravagantly, we can trust him to do the same in our lives. And this is really the core issue of it all. Do we trust him? Do we trust Jesus when he tells us to give radically for the sake of the poor? Do we trust him to provide for us when we begin using the resources he has given us to provide for others? Do we trust him to know what is best for our lives, our families, and our financial futures? -David Platt, Radical

We’re 25 days in to the Radical Experiment. I’ve been feeling pretty good about how things are going. If I’m honest, I’ve been proud of our sacrifices and willingness to do this. Of course, I needed to be smacked in the face with some humility. Thanks, Lord! I was rereading Radical tonight and the above quote really hit me. Yes, Grant and I have put a few things in place to be intentional about being in the Word daily, praying together, giving, etc. But, I’m definitely still holding on for dear life to a few things. I’ll explain.

We have a leak in our shower. I knew we had to call a plumber and was dreading what that would cost. I was praying this morning that the Lord would intervene, so that we wouldn’t have to pull any money from our “giving account.” We have money in savings that could and should be used to cover this expense. But, I don’t want to touch MY savings! Apparently, I can fully trust and obey Him, as long as I have my savings intact! Isn’t it a downer to realize the crappy faith we have sometimes? I love how the quote says that we’ll be using what He’s provided for us to give to others. But, if we use all of what He’s provided to us to serve and support others, what will happen to us?!? Isn’t this where faith comes in?

Grant and I are debt free, except for our house, and we have some money in savings. We’re on a tight budget and have decided to give everything outside of what is needed for living expenses. I’m thrilled to give away every last penny each month. BUT, I also have money in savings if any emergencies come up. Not too risky. I think I’d feel differently, if I knew there was no cushion, no safety net. Now, am I saying that you shouldn’t have savings? No. I know that’s Biblical. I did see today, though, how desperately I’m holding on to that money. I’m basically telling the Lord that I’ll give all our money…except for what’s in savings. Yikes for me and my faith.

Do I REALLY trust Him? If He asked me to use the money in savings for something radical, would I trust that He would provide for us?

Gratitude #6: I’m thankful that Grant and I are home together with Ez and Evie. What a blessing for all four of us to be together so much. I don’t ever want to take this time for granted.

Need your help!

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Have you ever seen God work in a crazy way in your life? Has He shown up right at the last second? Has He given you the tiniest burst of hope or confirmation that got you through a tough time? I would love for you to share any stories you have experienced or heard about. A friend emailed me some really awesome “God” stories, and it was so encouraging. It reminds me that He is always working and is involved very intimately in our lives. Hearing these stories from others should cause us to LOOK for what He’s doing and EXPECT to see Him move. Please share in the comments! (p.s. I think I fixed the settings, so you can post anonymously, if that’s what you would prefer.)

I’ll share one. This is from an adoption blog, posted on Facebook. Adoption always brings out some crazy God involvement:

http://flanneryadoption.blogspot.com/2011/11/bake-sale-manna.html?spref=fb

Gratitude #5: I’m thankful for quiet, early mornings. I’ve been staying up after Evie wakes up for the first time. I was downstairs this morning at 5:30. While I typically despise being up early, it’s nice to get things done in absolute silence.

Learning how to obey

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I’ve had a shift in my thinking recently, regarding what it looks like to obey Jesus.

For far too long, I have half-obeyed, rationalizing myself right into disobedience. I’ll obey you, Lord, as long as: 1. It’s convenient for me. 2. I’m at the point in my life that it would seem logical. 3. It doesn’t involve that much risk. Is that really obedience? When you think about how the Lord works, how often is it logical and safe? Rarely!

Perhaps the biggest fear I have in full-out, hold nothing back, type of obedience is this…I won’t WANT to do whatever it is He’ll ask of me. That’s pretty ridiculous, though, isn’t it? My Creator, who knows everything there is to know about me, knows how many hairs are on my head, knows what I need or want before I even ask…He’s going to call me to do something that I hate?!? That doesn’t even make sense!

Will complete obedience be easy? Of course, not. But who better to decide the direction of my life? If I really believe He is who He says He is, then the only way I can live is in 100% obedience. Just watch…my next post will be that we’re moving to the jungle 🙂 But, if He calls me to do something that looks completely ridiculous, I can only expect Him to provide and direct in an even more radical way!

Gratitude #4: I’m thankful for my praying friends. I’m thankful that I can text most any time of day, and I have instant prayer support. If you don’t have people in your life like that, find some!

Walk the walk?

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Have you ever had what seemed like an amazing “coincidence”? I don’t really believe in coincidence. Rather, I know how intimately God works in our lives and just try to recognize the ways He orchestrates our lives…and, sometimes, He lets us in on it.
 
Last night, I received an email about a newborn baby girl needing adopting. She has Down syndrome and was born about a week ago prematurely. It was forwarded to me (and many other families) from the director of Ezra’s preschool. I felt very strongly the Lord wanting me to reach out about this baby, so I responded saying that Grant and I are interested.
 
There are a hundred reasons why we should not or cannot adopt a special needs baby.  But, again, I felt like the Lord wanted us to at least send an email, so that’s what I did!
 
Let me back up. In the past week, I have had several small things happen that seemed to culminate last night with the email:
 
1. About a week ago, I was rocking and nursing Evie. I felt this sense that we should adopt next, rather than try to get pregnant.
2. If we are able to adopt, I would love the Lord to provide in such a way that I would still be lactating; thus, I may be able to breastfeed the adopted baby.
3. I read this article a few days ago about forgetting the “rules” of adoption like birth-order or any preconceived specifications: not adopting a certain race, not adopting special needs, etc. Forgetting all that stuff and just adopting if the Lord is saying NOW.
4. I have come across two blogs in the past few days about a baby born with down syndrome.
5. I definitely feel the Lord trying to teach me something about babies/children, as I have been so emotionally affected by “baby/kid events” this past week: Tripp!, a friend’s baby being protected in the womb, Ezra doing crazy stuff, praying for a friend’s adoption.
6. Last night, minutes before receiving the email, I was thinking about all my friends who have adopted…what their families look like, if they adopted the “right way” concerning birth order, etc. Then…my phone dings with the email.
7. Got a text from a friend today. Her friend’s cousin was this baby’s nurse.
 
I KNOW that it is crazy to think we would be in any position legal or otherwise to adopt this baby. Maybe the Lord was just seeing how obedient we’re willing to be. We’ve told Him we’re open to whatever it is He wants us to do. We’ve said the words, prayed it, discussed it. We’ve certainly talked the talk.  Are we going to walk the walk?
 
ETA: We have not heard anything, nor do I really expect to receive any response. We have not had a homestudy or any type of training. BUT, I know the Lord wanted me to contact them. Plus, if this is what He wants for our family, He’ll work it out.
 
Gratitude #4: I’m thankful that the Lord directs my steps. I’m thankful He lets me catch a glimpse of His plan for my life sometimes.

“Sacrificing” the American way

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We CAN’T WAIT to figure out to whom we can support with our sacrificial giving. We think there are two ways that we can approach our giving this year. 1. Give as need arises, supporting individuals or organizations with small donations. 2. Choose one cause that we will focus on all year and give a lump sum. I know the Lord blesses any type of sacrificial giving, regardless of the amount. However, we’d really love to be able to find one organization that we can pour into, funnel all our funds, and passionately support its cause.

The question is…WHICH ONE?? There are so many awesome groups that have found creative, effective ways to help abolish poverty, protect orphans, and rescue traffic victims. Grant and I recently bought watches that went to supporting African men’s education. Ezra used her savings to buy a week of hot meals and blankets for a child. There certainly is no lack in finding a neat way to donate.

I love to go out to eat. I could go out every other day. Our “radical” budget allows for one or two restaurant meals a month. Sucks! Only 19 days in, I really want El Rancho fajitas, but we already used our “going out to eat” money for the month. We have to eat leftovers and what we can find in our cabinets, because I spent the grocery money, too. Really, Kellee?? I do look forward, though, to having a specific organization in mind, when these situations come up. I’m not going to spend $70 on these jeans, because I can buy a goat for a family that provides them milk and cheese. Even, I’m not going to spend $5 at Wendy’s, because that can provide milk for a child for a week. We’ve been praying about where we can give. I am so excited to decide, so that we can know exactly why we’re “sacrificing.” (It’s sad that we Americans can describe giving up a restaurant meal or a nice pair of jeans as a sacrifice.) 

Love this quote from Radical: “When we consider the promises of Christ, risking everything that we are and everything that we have for his sake is no longer a matter of sacrifice. It’s just common sense. Following Christ is not sacrificial as much as it is smart.”

Gratitude #3: I am thankful for my precious Evangeline Jane. Happy 9 months to Evie today! After two miscarriages, I thought I deserved the easiest baby ever. Also, have you met my other daughter, Ezra?? I was due an easy baby. The Lord decided to give me a rough 6 months, though, and I’m thankful for the learning experience. She’s just fantastic now, by the way. Thank you, Jesus, for my Evie!

Who needs my clothes?

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About a year and a half ago, our church did a series on materialism.  We went through our closets and purged big time. We both probably set aside close to 50% of our wardrobe. At the same time, a house church was holding a huge rummage sale, so many donated their items there.

We decided to look through our clothes again this past week. The amount I still have is unbeliveable, and I have barely shopped since the last clean out! I work from home, so I need a substantially smaller wardrobe than others. I decided to really pare down. Now, we have a “garage sale / giving” room in our house, completely devoted to all the things we’d like to sell or give away. Ideally, I’ll hear about someone who is my size, and I can just give her all my stuff. (If anyone knows of anybody, please let me know!!) I fear that the longer I have it, the more tempted I’ll be to decide to keep certain items. I’ll rationalize by saying that I might need it someday and end up with a full closet again.

My identity used to be so closely tied to what I wore. I’m thankful I’ve gotten away from that, but it certainly is still a struggle. When I taught in the classroom, I had enough outfits to wear something different for at least a month. What I would like to do is have a few days worth, and that’s it. If you know me, you understand what a stretch that is. If I’m serious about this experiment, though, wouldn’t that be a logical step?

If anyone has any ideas on where we can donate our clothes, please leave a comment. We can always take them to Goodwill, but I’d really love to share with a family in need, worthy organization, etc.

For your viewing pleasure… I did NOT include the boxes of clothing that did not fit in my closet.

Before:                                                     After:

                

Gratitude #2: I’m thankful that Ezra and Evie are healthy. I was really affected by a precious little baby’s short life, Tripp Roth. Please check out his mom’s blog. http://randycourtneytripproth.blogspot.com/