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When Frugal is Out of Your Price Range

2012 - 2014 were especially hard years for us. Here's why . . .

Breath caught in my throat.

For two weeks I had told myself  "if we can just make it through this two weeks". And the end of two weeks came and we had even less money to buy groceries.

When we finally committed to paying all of our bills consistently, our life didn't change all that much. We still had to juggle our bills. We had to choose which bills to pay. We rotated them.

But the juggling act didn't always leave room for groceries. More than once I had $40 to buy groceries for our family of 7 that needed to last two weeks. I did the best I could, and "just make it through these two weeks" became my mantra. Except, sometimes when we got paid again, there was NOTHING left for groceries. So, I had to figure out how to make the $40 worth of groceries I had bought two week before, stretch for two more.

And you know what?! We survived.

We did not eat three meals a day and our meals did not loo…
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M.Y.O.B.

Sometimes I say I'm doing something for God, and then I obsess over how well I did or didn't do it. Or what other people think of it.

Take being hospitable for example, I apologize for my house because I'm not a great housekeeper. Even when I've spent hours getting it ready for company. I apologize for the food because I'm not a great cook and I feel bad that they have to eat my cooking when they come to my house for dinner.

But if I'm REALLY doing it for God's glory, then why do I obsess over my performance?

If it's really for God's glory and not seeking my own, then God is my focus. Not how well I did. Not how smoothly things did or did not go.

If it's really for God's glory, it doesn't matter how many followers I have or who wants to publish my writing.

If it's for God's glory and I am doing the best I can, it doesn't matter if the chicken is the best chicken my guests have ever eaten or if the loaf is evenly cooked and ea…

Judging Peter

I've judged Peter before. But not today.I imagine the wind sweeping through his hair, blowing into his face as he calls out to Jesus.Words come out of nowhere, "Bid me to come to you on the water!"Peter steps out onto the water and. . . things change. The impossibility of walking on water and virility of the wind just gets to him.Talk is cheap. It's the doing that costs.I feel called. I dream and scheme. I make a plan.But the moment I take a step toward actually DOING the plan . . . a big step that could be life changing and devastating if I heard God wrong.I can't catch my breath.Panic.Can I undo this? This is crazy! Why did I think this was a good idea?!I think of Peter. And I don't judge his fear of the wind.My plans are God's. He can do with them what He will.I am not looking at that wind.I am not questioning the mechanics of the impossible. That's not my job.It's my job to put one foot in front of the other . . .and to keep my eyes on Jesus w…

Battlefield of Another Kind

Air stale. Putrid.Thick.
Gunpowder. Rotting flesh.
Graveyard of unburied bodies. Flies.
Explosions, gunfire fly like cars on the Autobahn in heavy traffic. Body no longer reacts to the sounds.
Weapon hugged to chest.
Eyes meet. Recognize.
Dirt and soot and sweat cling to skin like mask.
Those eyes . . . a respite from the battle. For a split second, we are not on the battlefield, not in war...home. And I know, the ugliness won't consume me.
We didn't know each other before our world became life and death. Miles apart. Contrasting sides of "the tracks". Interests, viewpoints, life goals separated us like roaches when you turn on the light.
But here.
Here.
In the trenches. Through the battle.
Brothers. More than blood. Soul-mates.
Reason to keep walking.
Sustainer through bitter cold and deep weariness when feet refuse to carry on.
Doctor wounds, tell stories, live our faith that someday this will be over. Carry each other through gun fire, darkness and despair.
N…

Parenting: Ambassador to My Son's Heart

Eyes filled to brim.
Body shaken and tense.
Confusion, disappointment contort the face of child at jagged edge of manhood.
He didn't get in.
Questions, tears escape together.
"Why is he luckier than me?"
Spiritual warfare wages. This boy formed in my womb, knows of God. But doesn't know the Father who can only be known through time and trial and...seeking.
Teeth clenched, heart aching. Determined. Satan will not win. Not this battle. Not. this. boy.
"Satan, get away!"
Words come. God's ambassador to this boys heart. I tell him about the Father I know.
Higher ways. Wiser thoughts.
Good. My good. The good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
Faith. Without knowing. Without seeing. Abiding.
And . . .
It's okay to be angry. But tell Him. It's okay for the words to be raw. He'll hear your heart.
Tell Him. Ask Him. Trust Him. Thank Him.
Decide.
Lies seem true. But they are lies construed to deceive. To trap. To kill.
Seek God. W…

What Freedom Feels Like

The patchwork quilt lays quietly in ripples across the sea of grass growing wildly and abundantly into the sky.The breeze swirls and dances through the peach fuzz on my arms.Sunshine seeps into my soul and feels like being baptized in God's love.I breathe in the honeysuckle sweetness and breath out the toxicity poisoning my spirit. The heaviness that bearing the weights of my world impales into my heart.This world is beautiful. But broken.I am broken. By my own sin. By others' sin.In my brokenness, I pick up the pieces and clumsily tape them back together. Like trying to mend the pieces of remaining flesh after a lion has feasted on his prey.Believing that it must be done before it can be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Before the spiritual act of worship.But duct tape and clumsy hands cannot repair. The heart is too complex, too essential, too. . .Broken. Shattered. Incinerated. Obliterated.Pieces too small for human eyes and hands to maneuver.It is God's wo…

How to Distinguish Truth From Lies

I cower like a whipped puppy. When accusations are hurled at me or someone disagrees with me. I cower. But I am learning that just because someone else sees me and things a certain way, doesn't mean they are that way. So I am learning to sift for truth. Here's what I am learning... 1. Pray. Tell God explicitly that I am confused. Ask Him to reveal the Truth to me. Even if that means convicting me of sin. I ask Him to reveal any area of denial that I am in and any lies that I am believing. 2. Seek wise counsel. 3. Check my heart, admit and repent of any pride or defensiveness or other sin. And make sure that I am open to being wrong. 4. Trust God to give me the answers I need and to direct my steps. Because He will. Jesus said that if I continue in His word, then I will be His disciple and I will know the truth and the truth will set me free. 5. Seek God with all my heart. Worship Him. In song and in life. And in His word. 6. Give it time. It doesn't always happen ov…