Thy Will Be Done…if I’m comfortable

Thy Will Be Done…if I’m comfortable

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Thy will be done.  Saying those words produces strong feelings in me.  What about you?  Are the words comforting? Do they make you ready to run?  For me, it is both comforting and alarming.  It makes me wonder what is about to happen, but also gets me excited to see what God is going to do.

Thy Will Be Done: How can this be both comforting and alarming?

From my own personal life experience, I’ve learned that when God calls, He typically starts to lead me in a way that changes my world and throws me out of my comfort zone.  I’ve always considered myself a risk taker BUT God’s idea of risk is much greater than mine and yet, it is the safest thing of all.  Because His ways are not our ways, He calls us to something more than this world has to offer.  There have been many times that He has called me away from my wants and desires even when I thought they were based on His leading.

Fighting God’s Will in South America

I’ve seen God test my willingness to follow His lead.  Maybe in actuality, I was the one testing God to see if I could conform His ways to my will instead of the other way around.

As a freshman in college, I was preparing to go on my first official mission trip.  Every week our group of 4 people would meet for training and learn how to encourage open conversation and plant seeds of hope in the lives of others.  We were raising funds and praying over the location we were destined to go.  Four months into raising funds, we learned that our plans were being changed.  Now instead of going to Argentina, which was the ONLY place I agreed to go to in South America, we were told we would be going to a town in Venezuela that was 90 miles from the Colombian border.

I pitched a fit or maybe more truthfully, I refused to go.  I went to the office and stated how we had planned to go to Argentina.  This was the only country I felt comfortable going to and we needed to get back to that place instead of wherever they were now sending us.  I didn’t pray for understanding or for God to soften my heart on this.  Instead, I dug my feet in and tried to fight to go to where I felt comfortable.  God had different plans.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

His ways are not our ways.

God knew I would never willingly choose to go to Venezuela, but He put me on a mission team destined for that very place–a place I soon fell in love with. I came to love Venezuela and it’s people so much that I returned the following summer.

God had big plans. He had been using teams for years to plant seeds in the hearts of people in Merida, Venezuela. That summer, we were able to continue planting seeds, as well as witnessing several dedicating their lives to Christ.  It was thrilling! I got to see Jesus alive and well in the hearts of fellow brothers and sisters.  The passion for Jesus was contagious and I came back living more impassioned for Christ than I ever had before.

Fighting God’s will in America

Years later, after my husband and I had “settled” into our cozy suburban neighborhood and started our family, God once again decided to change our lives.  Looking back now, He called us to something earlier, but we were just to caught up in what we wanted to truly listen to what He wanted.

When we started changing how we prayed and asked God to lead us instead of just blessing whatever plan we had, He took our lives in a completely different direction.  I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t go into details again but I will say that it was this time that God took us away from many of our physical “treasures.” He asked us to treasure Him more than our things. My perspective has definitely changed.  Now, I look around at the things we own and feel as though I am ready to walk away from it all, if that is what God calls us to do.

My Realization

Between Venezuela and many other times when I decided to fight God’s will (did I mention I’m stubborn?), I realized something about myself:

I was determined to love God with all my heart and serve him with all I had, as long as I was comfortable.  

It felt like I’d been sucker punched the moment I realized this truth.  God doesn’t want to live in our confined boxes and He definitely doesn’t want us to.  We can’t experience God’s amazing ways when we aren’t willing to walk in His splendor.

Lord teach us…

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
– Psalm 143:10

I was determined to love God with all my heart and serve Him with all I had

Will their be times of pain and discomfort?

YES! We can see this truth throughout the Bible.  Every single person who followed God’s leading in their life had some form of discomfort.  Why would we think that our lives should be any different?  Do we really think that we deserve the nice house, the nice cars and all are nice things?  Are we willing to give them up if called?  If we struggle with answering “yes” to this question, then we may be finding ourselves only living for God as long as we are comfortable.  This is a very dangerous place to be.  It’s a place that Satan can work to encourage us never to leave.

(Now, am I not saying just because we have a nice house, a nice car, and nice things that we are not living for God?  NOT AT ALL!  But I am saying if we are putting those things before Christ, even if we don’t realize it, then we really need to question, if we are living for God or living for ourselves?)

We do not need to be afraid of any pain or discomfort that will come when we are walking in God’s will! God will give us a perfect peace when we follow Him.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Thy Will by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family

Every time I hear this song, Thy Will, on the radio, I can’t help but pray that I will allow my comfort zone to fade away so that God’s will is also fully my will no matter what the cost.

Are you ready to make that same commitment?  

Don’t wait any longer to see God’s awesome power in your life!

 

Thy Will Be Done pinterest
What Bible Time with Our Kids Looks Like

What Bible Time with Our Kids Looks Like

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

this-post-may-contain-affiliate-links-for-your-convenience-and-at-no-extra-cost-to-you-1

As a mom of 5, our Bible Time has looked different over the years. The last two years we have settled into a pattern that I am loving and the kids seem to do well with too. Since a friend asked what Bible time with our kids looks like, I decided I would share and hopefully encourage you in your Bible time too!

I posted a sweet picture of our 3rd child on Instagram and Facebook prepping the table for our Bible Time mid-morning snack. I am always amazed at how God’s word delivers exactly what we need to hear. On this particular day, we needed to be reminded that we are each invited to feast with God, but in order to do that we need to put ourselves and our excuses to the side.

What Our Bible Time Looks Like

1. It’s Flexible

We try to have our Bible time daily, but that doesn’t always happen. I would say at the moment we are running at a 90% success rate. We typically have Bible time around mid-morning, once all the kids are awake. We have one late sleeper. Since we homeschool, we can be flexible and I really enjoy it.

So sometimes we have our Bible Time at mid-morning, sometimes during lunch, and sometimes we have it at night over dinner with their dad. And other times we do it before heading off to bed.

Again for us, being flexible is key. Every day looks different, but most days, we have it mid-morning.

The location is flexible too. Many times we gather together in the living room, sometimes at the kitchen table, other times on the back porch while they snack and draw with chalk, and sometimes on the school room floor while they are putting puzzles together.

As long as they are paying attention and not causing a distraction, then I will allow them to color, play with legos, or color when I read longer passages.

2. Start with Songs & a Chant

Once the snack has been prepped and my precious daughter, who loves to present the food prettily has done just that, we start to sing. First, we sing the Books of the Old Testament, then the Books of the New Testament.

Then we pat the Bible while we sing the “B-I-B-L-E” song and add “YIPPEE!” to the end. It just makes it more fun!

Then, before I open to the passage we are reading for the day, I say/chant the following:

The Bible is the Word of God.
Everything in it is true.
It tells us all about how much God loves YOU!

Now, that our kids have heard it so often they, I pause and they fill in what I underlined above. Often times, they race to see who can say it the fastest. Sometimes, they finish before I can even start.

Recently, I also started asking if both the Old and New Testament go together or if they should be kept separate. I want our kids to understand this is one seamless story. We can’t just pick up in the New Testament and think we will understand what’s going on. We need to know what the Old Testament says to get a complete picture and understanding of the Bible all together.

3. Fuel the Soul & the Body

I typically present a snack along with our Bible time. This is for a few reasons:

#1 – It helps them gather together. My family eats several times a day. For some the mid-morning snack is what they call second breakfast and they will always come running when food is available.
#2 – They are eager for me to start. Mainly, because they are not allowed to start eating their snack until I have started the Bible lesson.
#3 – This keeps their mouths closed so they can listen better. When you have 5 mouths that like to give commentary, it’s a nice treat to be able to keep them engaged and listening.

4. Now, it’s time for the Bible lesson.

Several years ago, I became convicted about what we were reading for our Bible lessons. At first, I was using children’s bibles. They were ok, but they left out all the good details and even many of my favorite stories.

I believed that it was a good thing to read the whole Bible in it’s actual context to our children, instead of just working on surface details. God is in even the smallest details and I didn’t want them to miss out on his amazing ways by skipping what He has deemed important to share with us.

Of course, I remember praying about this and thinking,

“God, there are some parts that aren’t really rated G but your word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is good for teaching and rebuking and our family really needs to be taught, so as we come to the parts where I want to cover their ears, please help me explain it to them in a way that honors you and teaches them how to love you.”

And what God started teaching us was truly amazing!

Now, I will say, that I may wait to read over Song of Songs until their married. That book just might be a marriage gift to them. It’s a great book, but obviously still praying about that one!  LOL! 

Using a Chronological Bible

We started reading the chronological Bible, which was fantastic for me too. I wanted our kids to understand the timeline of the Bible. I remember being so confused as a kid and an adult about what happened when, so the chronological Bible allows us to read the Bible as one whole story instead of a bunch of little stories.

We have had many wonderful conversations around stories that I may have skipped over had it not been for asking God to help guide our conversations and their hearts.

For example, when we read the story of Lot and his daughters. I remember thinking,

“What in the world am I going to say?”

It was just like the Holy Spirit gave me the words and helped me out.

We read the passage then talked about how God created marriage with Adam and Eve. Anything outside of what that relationship looks like is wrong. We don’t have to talk through every wrong situation and I didn’t even point out the details after reading over it. We simply reflected on that if we know what God is wanting us to do, anything outside of that isn’t following His ways.

One of my older son’s favorite stories is when the ground opened up and swallows Korah alive. Now, that’s a story that definitely speaks to many things, especially how to react in a situation when you don’t agree with the leader God has appointed and how to handle your anger.

I can’t help but think about the richness our kids would have missed had we decided to hang back and wait to expose them to God’s word until an appropriate age.  What age is that any way?

Using the Timeline

Every now and then we have to pull out my favorite timeline to figure out when someone lived or what time period an event happened. I love to be able to place the Bible timeline along with what we learn in history, because surprise – it’s all part of the same history!

When we pull out the timeline, I’ll remind our kids that they too are part of this timeline. They are just as important as the people that we read about in the Bible. God has a calling for their lives too. He wants them to share God with others and encourage others in their faith just like those in the Bible encourage us to follow God too.

Reading through the New Testament

Reading through the Chronological Bible with kids takes a looong time. We still aren’t finished!

Sometimes we will read one little passage and discuss it. Other times we will read pages and pages. It just depends on their temperaments at the time and where our conversations take us.

We made our way up past Job and past the conquering of most of the Promised Land. We read through the teachings in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, some of which are hilarious!

Then, I decided to jump to the New Testament. We read all of Acts and now we are reading Luke!  LOL!!  We totally got that backwards, but that’s ok. I love reading Acts, so we will probably read it again after reading Luke. Then go back to the Old Testament.

I love reading the New Testament in light of the Old Testament because pretty much every principle mentioned in the New Testament can be found in the Old. So we like to talk about the similarities and see the points Jesus makes about each topic.

Family Time Training

We also like to throw in some Family Time Training Activities. They have a free activity every month. But they also have an activity vault filled with activities on almost any Bible subject you might want to delve into and help your kids understand.

5. We Pray

We tend to close out our bible time with kids in prayer. It is a good time to practice letting the kids pray. Allowing them to think of things they are thankful for and who we can pray for, provides glimpses into their hearts. It even lets us hear what they picked up from the Bible lesson that day.

These are the things we do during in our Bible time with kids. Some days go exceptionally well and the discussion flows and other days they are eagerly awaiting when they are excused. But what is important is that they are hearing God’s word. They are being trained to listen to it, absorb it, and talk about it. They are hearing the truth so they will know how to fight the lies with the truth.

Each time you choose to sit down with your child(ren) and study the Bible, the devil will not like it. He will try to make it not worth your time and wish it was just over and done with, but take heart!  Getting God’s word into the souls He created is so worth it. When it seems like a struggle, know goodness will eventually come from those moments!  May God bless you as you dig into His word with His children!

How do you do Bible Time with your kids? 

 

Check out these great lessons for kids!

Knocking Sin Out of Our Lives Kindness Cookies Prayer Wall Delayed Gratification

The Bouquet of God and His People

The Bouquet of God and His People

Amy B

Amy B

God has blessed us with a great big world, and I try to go see it whenever I can!Admittedly, I have an unusual life where I get to teach what I love 8-9 months out of the year and then go travel and serve the Kingdom in my other home the rest of the time:Edmond, Oklahoma and Vienna, Austria. A lot of what I write revolves around what God teaches me through those experiences and I invite you to "travel" with me in those times! Basically, I want to be Rick Steves (the travel writer) and Lysa TerKeurst (Proverbs 31 Ministries) when I grow up! :)

I have a bunch of college "kids" I call my own, 2 dogs named Abby and McGee (yes, I love NCIS) andI get to be "the cool aunt" to 2 beautiful nieces and 3 handsome nephews.They make great play dates!

Given the opportunity, I want to encourage people when I can and remind them of the power of God in their life...or help them find Him in different ways.Fair warning:I'll ask you the tough questions!I treasure deep relationships - especially ones that will allow for "iron sharpening iron."

I love being outside, and I'm a huge fan of turning off the phone whenever possible to soak up God's creation! Actually, I'm a huge fan of turning off the phone in general...as the phrase goes: "Wherever you are, be all there", and if you are where I am, then I'm going to be all there!

I'm flawed, but saved by grace and learning daily to be loved by God.I'm thankful for the times he lets me wrestle with him because he knows my heart of hearts, and I'm ok with my hip being messed up (Genesis 32: 24-26) because growth comes from it.I encourage you to join me in the journey!

Love well...breathe deep....show mercy!
Amy B

Latest posts by Amy B (see all)

When you look at this bouquet, some might see flowers, some might see weeds, but I just see God and his people.

These flowers came from one of my favorite places on earth: Schwarzwaldeckhaus. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?! Sitting on top of a mountain in the Austrian Alps is a three-story cabin that serves as a retreat center for youth camps, church retreats, and other fellowship times. It is a place that has been very near and dear to my heart for many years.

IMG_8731

Because the house sits on top of a mountain, the views are breathtaking, the cows are entertaining, the sunsets are exquisite, and the stars are indescribable.  The quiet is deafening, but the time there–no matter how it is spent, alone or with others–is refreshing.  It truly is a place to breathe in God and all that he creates for us to enjoy. If God were to have an earthly throne room, I think it would be here, on this mountain top.

IMG_8646

A while ago, I had the honor of taking two dear friends, a son and his “seasoned” mom, up to the house (haus, in German).  For one, it was a time to reminisce about her experiences from her younger days; for the other, it was his first view of the mountains. Like many before them, their reaction was similar to most–awe.

She related memories of being at the haus with college students and how they would walk the mountain trails, breathing in the clean air, and the soul-refreshing moments with God and each other.  But one story in particular caught my attention.  On one of her early morning walks, she decided to pick one flower, and only ONE, of each kind she found growing on the mountain.  By the time she got back to the haus, she had a large bouquet of flowers in her hands.  The week after their visit, I was blessed with time on the mountain by myself (well, and a black lab named Cara) so I decided I was going to test her story myself.  You know what I found? The Church.  I found God.

Cara and I started our walk down the mountain trail and I began to do the same thing my seasoned friend had done those many years before.  I picked one flower of every kind I could find. It was amazing to notice how many different kinds there were.  Although I walked only twenty minutes away from the haus, my hand was getting full of flowers so I decided to turn around and walk back.

I began to really admire all of the variations in my hand: the diverse, rich, and beautiful colors, the different shapes and sizes, and the beautiful intricacies of God’s designs.  It was fascinating!

As I walked back towards the haus, I found other flowers I hadn’t noticed before because my perspective had changed.  And, when I started to REALLY notice ones I had never seen up there before, it made me want to look even deeper into the fields of flowers.  It became a source of joy and reflection of how powerful God’s hands are and the creativity in his creation.

But then, I realized I was putting God in a box by even saying he was “creative”…that was almost too “human” of a word to describe him.  It’s cool to know that he didn’t really have to “think” about his designs–he just spoke the words, and they were!  Admittedly, the designer in me loves to think of God, sitting in front of an enormous marker board, dreaming up every flower imaginable.   A storyboard for every season, every climate, every country.

And, as random as this is, I loved that they all had one thing in common–a green stem.IMG_8707

Cara and I returned to the haus with our bouquet of flowers.  I was curious to see how many different kinds there were, so I laid them all out on the kitchen counter.  There were thirty different kinds of flowers, some with many similarities between them, but they were all still different.

 

After arranging them into a bouquet, I put them in water and enjoyed them the rest of the week…and what God was teaching me.

Faith-Building Moments

I’m sure you can extract your own faith-building moments from the story, but these were some of the things God spoke to me about:

The Lord has no equal and all that he has made is good!

Isaiah 40:14 and 26 says, “Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?  Does he need instruction about what is good? Look up into the heavens.  Who created all the stars?  He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name.  Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing!”

You could say the same thing about the flowers…he created all of them, they all have a name, and they were created exactly for where they belong, and even for the proper season to flourish in.

Now compare that to God’s people and his church!  We are all created differently, each of us with our own particular details and intricacies given to us by God, and that is what makes us unique.

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it!” Psalm 139: 14.

we-are-all-created-differently-each-of-us-with-our-own-particular-details-and-intricacies-given-to-us-by-god-and-that-is-what-makes-us-unique

God has placed us where we need to be to bring him the most glory.

John 17:4 says, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

And while he may only put us where we need to be for a season, his ways are always higher.

“Who knows if perhaps you were made for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14).

 

God doesn’t call us to understand the season, he calls us to be faithful!

1 Peter 5:12 encourages us, “…what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you.  Stand firm in this grace.”

And another favorite of mine:  “Now if you will obey me and keep my commands, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.” (Exodus 19:5)

john-17-4

Perspective is also beneficial as God’s people

We all come from different situations and life stories. Yes, they make up a part of who we are–or at least who we were–but looking at people through eyes of love and God’s grace allows us to see the embraceable differences we have that make up the body of Christ.  “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multiple of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.

Looking deeper into people’s lives also opens up the door to ministry and sharing the Gospel, as Philippians 2:4 suggests: “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.”

 

We are unique, we are different, but when we are all put together, we’re beautiful because of Christ! That “green stem” is Jesus.  As a body, we have in common the forgiveness he offers us and the ability to live for him, bringing him glory.  What a humbling honor!  That the God who knows my name calls me to be his own: “…he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.  And having given them right standing (righteousness), he gave them his glory!” (Romans 8:30)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Now go pick some flowers!
The Bouquet of God and His People

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

I’m a natural saver. I blame it on my dad. From the age of thirteen (and my first official job), my dad taught me to save. His method for my paycheck savings involved putting 50% in a bank account to be “saved” and the rest I could spend however I wanted.  I later figured out the purpose to my “saving” was so he could “borrow” (and not necessarily return) the money for family expenses that he and my mom couldn’t afford (or didn’t budget for).  Sometimes that meant 50% of my paycheck went toward groceries, school supplies, or gas for the car.  While this is not an example I would encourage parents to follow, it did get me into a habit of saving.

With Dollar Bills Come Great Responsibility

Over the years, I’ve read books and blogs, watched videos, and taught courses on how to save and spend wisely.  That by no means makes me an expert, but I have learned a thing or two about making the money that comes in last as long as possible. (I attribute this newfound interest in learning to my husband, who is an excellent teacher of good methods of handling money and all things finance-related.)
Every dollar is important (of great worth), and we have a God-inherent responsibility to be a great steward of each dollar we get.

(Insert song: She works hard for the money!)  We work hard for our money, don’t we, friends? Since we work hard to earn it, we need to learn to work hard to save it and spend it.

Today’s post is about spending!  It’s a little bit about saving too–frugal ways that allow us to hold onto those dollars so they last a little longer.

Couponing Done Easier

Ok, I’ve tried the whole Extreme Couponing thing. It doesn’t work for me!  To those of you who do it well, I commend you!  I’m not going to teach you anything extreme.  Instead, I’ll show you slow, diligent moderation.  If you want extreme, check out some of the Queen C’s (C for Coupons!) online like: Krazy Koupon Lady.

Frugal Couponing:  Guidelines I use when couponing

1.  Only coupon what you normally buy anyway.

I used to get caught up in all the coupons: “Buy 2, get 1 free.” “Buy 2, save 50 cents.” “Save $ on over-priced items that wouldn’t normally end up in the shopping cart and are a more expensive alternative even with the coupon.”

Don’t fall for these marketing techniques unless it’s:

a) something you need,
b) something you’re buying anyway,
c) something you need that quantity of, or
d) the best alternative, price-quality wise–if there’s a cheaper alternative you and your family can live with “this time,” then save and go for the cheaper alternative.

Side Note about “This Time”:  Part of being frugal (and a good steward of resources) is to keep a “this time” attitude.  It puts into perspective the short life of each purchase. When comparing brands and prices, think about the life of the product.  How long will it last? One week? A month?  Will my family survive with (cheaper toilet paper or generic ketchup) for just this month?  What about every other month?  Can they handle a cheaper, generic brand just this one time?  You might argue that the difference in price is only a dollar, or even only few cents.  

Remember our goal: to hang onto each dollar a little bit longer. That includes those few cents of savings on each item in the cart. It’s the small things. In order to be more frugal, we have to learn to make small changes now. Small changes now will turn into big changes later.  Every penny counts.  Don’t spend it “just because you have a coupon.”

2.  Use coupon apps.

There are so many money-saving apps out there. Depending on your city, some work better than others.  It might take some trial and error to find the apps that work best for you and your region, but if you want to save money, it’s worth the time to figure out.

Personally, I only use apps that give me real cash savings or cash back, not the ones that work on a points system.  There are some good points systems, but right now, I focus on real, immediate cash.

My favorite apps are:

  • Walmart Savings Catcher – download your receipt after each purchase and watch the real cash grow.  Transfer to PayPal or a Walmart gift card.  They also have an online version: https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/.
  • Kroger and Whole Foods coupon apps–because I don’t have to print anything.
  • I check the Krazy Coupon Lady app just for things I’m going to be buying anyway, so I don’t get caught up in the hype of spending gas, printer ink, and time running all over town to get free things or ‘money-maker’ things that I don’t need.  Time is worth spending frugally too!
  • Ibotta has become another favorite app.  I look for items I plan to buy, and then scan the item and receipt for cash back via PayPal or gift cards.
  • This app doesn’t usually have many items that I normally buy, but for the little time it takes to scroll through and upload receipts, I still consider Checkout 51 worthwhile.

Even if you average 25-50 cents per shopping trip (like me), that small change quickly adds up.  I’m currently at $5, but hey, that’s a free coffee!  Who doesn’t like free coffee? With Checkout 51, I can cash out when it reaches $20, in which case, who doesn’t like a free movie?  Or one hour of free babysitting? Compliments of a grocery app–yay!

3. Stay on Budget and Just Say No.

Have you noticed we live in an extremely high-consumption society?  The rest of the world calls us consumerists and gluttons.  Why do we let ourselves get caught up in the hype?

Part of frugal living is just saying no.  No to things we don’t need.  Delaying ‘wants’ until we’ve saved up to pay cash for them, which means saying ‘no’ for right now.  There is a time to spend.  Our culture is REALLY good at it.  Admit it, so are you!  I definitely am!

First, though, we need to learn to save.  Save for future needs, for emergencies, for wants.  Save just to save.  If you’re wondering why we learn to be frugal, it’s for those reasons just listed.

A Side Note on Saving:

Saving is the foundation to Big Giving.  Do you ever wish you had enough money to support a missionary for an entire year or build a hospital in a small village? Do you ever think about what it would be like to fund an entire non-profit event?  Or sponsor your kids’ sports team or band trip?

People who give big first had to learn to save big. I recently read that somewhere.  They learned to say no to things they didn’t need so that later, they could enjoy (and appreciate) the things they wanted.  To learn to save big, start small. Start with small, frugal decisions.  Talk it through with your spouse, kids, and friends.  Get them on board and excited.  They’ll hold you accountable and learn along the way!  Who knows? Maybe they’ll do this with you!  It’s so much more fun together!

Being frugal doesn’t have to mean turning into a skimpy cheapskate, but if we learn how to be thoughtful and conscientious about our spending–and saving–we will be on a good path to better things in the future.

Have any other easy couponing tips or apps to share?

hanging on to dollar bills_by tina
God Answered a Prayer that I Did Not Mean to Pray

God Answered a Prayer that I Did Not Mean to Pray

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

I sit here in awe of God, once again, as I remember how God answered a prayer that I did not mean to pray!

How He Answered a Prayer that I Did Not Mean to Pray

What actually happened was that my heart and body called out to God because I had no idea what we would do. For the first time in my life when finding out I was pregnant, my heart sank, I balled my eyes out, fell to my knees, and cried out to God:

Now? What are we going to do? God my husband still doesn’t have a job! I can’t handle another c-section. 

Please don’t misunderstand. I was not upset about the beautiful life growing inside me. It had just been a loooong 17 months. We had been taking care of my husband’s grandmother and my husband had not worked that whole time.

Not only that but not three weeks prior I had gotten rid of practically all of our baby items including clothes. So the things “we needed” we no longer had and there was no job available to provide for it.

And the c-section. That 4th c-section in conjunction with Diastasis Recti had taken so long to overcome that I did not want to have another one. I was told by my current OB/GYN that I could have up to 8 c-sections, but I knew there would be a price to pay for doing that.

God’s Gentle Reminder

In the midst of my ugly cry, I felt God say,

“Have I not taken care of you?”

That was enough to calm my spirit. God had definitely taken care of us for the year that we had been taking care of my husband’s grandmother. Actually, he had been taking care of us our whole lives!

So armed with that reminder, I dried my tears and asked God to help me trust Him.  Never realizing that he would answer something in that prayer that my heart longed for but my brain would no longer dare to ask.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:25-26

Two Weeks Later God’s Answers the 1st Part of My Prayer

Within two weeks, my husband had two job offers!  One was within two hours of where we lived and was my top choice. The other was in a place that I had been to decades before but sadly, all I could remember about it was counting the roadkill as we drove into town.

After visiting both cities with my husband and praying about them, I was overcome with another ugly cry.

Apparently, my 5th pregnancy was filled with lots of ugly crying!  Lol!

I knew in that moment that God wanted us in the city that was four and a half hours away and lined with roadkill!

God always has a plan. Sometimes we see some of the “whys” immediately and sometimes we do not.

Within a Month – Surprised with Gifts!

Upon learning that I was pregnant again, friends reached out to me and gifted our family baby items they no longer needed. From a car seat to a breast pump to clothes to cloth diapers to a jumper, all the basics that we needed were taken care of. Once again, God was reminding me that he would provide.

Every time I use one of the items gifted to us, I say a prayer of thanks to God and for those who shared their blessings with us.

Within 6 Months – The Prayer I Didn’t Mean to Pray Was Answered

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect God to work things out the way He did after we moved to Texas.

The quest for a doctor to deliver our precious daughter began. Within a few weeks, a hope began to rise that I never thought was possible. A midwife had told me about a doctor in Denton, TX that specialized in Vaginal Births After Cesareans (VBACS) after multiple c-sections!

God was answering the prayer for which my logical mind couldn’t even ask. I didn’t dare ask because I knew it was impossible. But God isn’t limited by the impossible!

No hospital in Oklahoma, that I knew of, would perform a VBAC after having 4 c-sections. Yet, here, in another state that God had sent us to, there was a man who was willing.

I sent my records over to this OB/GYN hoping and praying that he would accept me as his patient.

At 35 weeks, with eagerness and cautiousness, I saw Dr. Cummings for the first time. After discussing in depth with him my desire, past medical history, and my understanding of the complications, he agreed to allow me to not only be his patient but to have a natural birth. I was going to get my VBAC4!

I must stop here and explain before continuing. 

It was my greatest desire from my first pregnancy to have a natural birth. I know c-sections are needed in some cases, but after having so many, I have to admit that it takes a toll on the body. It is major surgery. Our bodies were not made to be cut open again and again and again and again.

Every time, recovery was a little harder. Every time, my longing to be able to have a child the way God intended grew, but with every c-section my hope faded away until God made it happen! 

God Made It Happen

On June 16, 2017, our family welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family. We would have rejoiced even if I had another c-section, but we were in awe of God rose up a doctor who loved him and believed with all his heart that God made women’s bodies to give birth.

He was humble and trusted God through the whole process and clearly stated this when I asked him,

“Why? Why do you choose to do this when other doctors won’t?”

His answer was simple. He said,

“I’m a believer. And I believe God made women’s bodies to birth babies. I’m just here to help them along.”

Now, I have a bold new prayer!

I pray that God will raise up more OB/GYNs like Dr. Cummings. He is one man. He cannot do it all and there are many of us, who know our bodies can deliver a child the way God intended, even after having a c-section. We want the chance to have a natural birth. We want hospitals to allow this to happen. And so I pray with all my heart that other doctors will trust God the way Dr. Cummings has trusted God. I pray that with a humble spirit they will be willing to wait for a woman’s body to give birth, encourage the mother to wait for God’s perfect timing in when their child should enter the world, and be ready to step in when it’s necessary.

Being able to have a VBAC4 was a redemptive experience for me. It allowed me to grow closer to God in ways I didn’t realize and brought a new understanding to light, but that is another post.

For now, I’ll just continue to be in awe of how God takes care of each one of us!

 

My Personal Babel and Making Much of Me

My Personal Babel and Making Much of Me

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

I’m pretty sure I would have been the one to lay the cornerstone for the Tower of Babel.

My Personal Tower of Babel

I didn’t always think this. In my blind pride, I used to read the story in Genesis 11 and think, “Good night moon! These people are really thickheaded!”

But here’s how I know I could have been the one to place that stone; I have thought to myself what they said out loud at Babel,

“…so that we may make a name for ourselves…” (Genesis 11:4, NIV)

I confess, I have wanted to make a name for myself.

I have craved all the glory for a job well done.

I have thirsted for all the recognition for doing “good” deeds.

I have hungered, above all else, for the love and approval of people.

Though these are broad examples, you can probably imagine some specific ways these general desires might manifest in my life or maybe even in yours.

The truth is, all of the craving and thirsting and hungering leaves me empty no matter how much I receive. And leaves me in shambles when receive none. This name for myself is a dangling carrot that is never caught, and like an addiction, always leaves me grasping for more. More glory, more approval, more…

It never satisfies.

It is exhausting.

But I know that an exhausted, unsatisfied, shamble of a life is not what Jesus means for any of us. He says he “came that they may have life, and hive it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)

Jesus says there is more.

That more is this truth:

I was not created to have a Name.I was not created to have a Name.

In vain, I have searched the scriptures trying to find justification of building myself a tower; for making myself a name. It isn’t there.

But, I did find a Name. It just wasn’t mine.

“My name will be great among he nations from where the sun rises to where it sets… my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 1:11, NIV)

I found God’s name.

He says His name WILL be great.

One example in particular struck me hard. Jesus calls for God the Father’s name to be glorified.

Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28, NIV)

I claim to be a follower of Jesus. What have I not been following Jesus in this? I’m struck with this discrepancy in my Christianity. The truth is that I have been so occupied elevating my name, that I lost sight of the only Name that is worthy elevation.

Searching the scripture, I found that everything I am and everything I do is actually for the glory of God’s name, not my own.

I am created for the glory of His Name.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

Not that the task of elevating His name is mine to bear with my deeds or my life. Oh no, God is not depending on my performance to make His name great. What trouble He would be in if He were to depend on me with my false tower of Babel building and other missteps!

It is freeing to worship a God who is so powerful, He needs nothing from me. He needs nothing from me, yet He offers me a place to work by His side. He is a God who gives and has no need to take.

Now that is One whose Name is worthy of glory. Not mine.

So, I have come to the point where I am earnest about tearing down the idol I’m pointlessly trying to build of making a name for myself. I’ve been asking God to change me. To crumble my personal Tower of Babel. And because He gives, God is changing my heart to not just want, but to actually crave to place God and His Name in the rightful place: glorified above all else. And I am enjoying the freedom that comes from it. 

John the Baptist is an inspiring example of one who did not seek to make a name for himself. Ironically, he did in a way have a name for himself. People came to him to be baptized and forgiven of their sins. He actually had his own disciples!

Then Jesus comes on the scene.

When people around John see that those who were his disciples are leaving to become followers of Jesus, they say, “…-look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (John 3:26, NIV)

John replies, “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him… He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30, NIV)

Now, instead of thinking what those at the Tower of Babel said aloud, “…so that we may make a name for ourselves…” I think I need to start thinking what John the Baptist said aloud.

“He must become more, I must become less.”

I’m trying to filter my actions and thoughts through this one question: How can I make more of Him and His Kingdom and less of me in this situation?

I am Free

With this in the front of my mind, I am free in Christ to serve Him.  Free from the weight of bearing a name that I can never obtain because I was not created to bear a name. I can just be me.

I am free to be nothing because He is everything.

I am free to fail because He has already succeeded.

I am free to be rejected because He accepts me.

I am free to be me, when I recognize God for Him: Glorious.

I am realizing that this is where my cravings, thirst, and hunger for a name will be satisfied. It’s not in trying to fit into a role I was not created for. Much like pants that are too tight, I’ve been uncomfortable in my misplaced striving to make a name for myself. But in starting to live to make much of Christ who loves me and you more than His own life, I feel as though I’m slipping into my favorite jeans. It fits well.

Cravings are ceasing.

Thirst is quenching

Hunger is fleeing.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35, NIV)

Jesus, I come to You and I place Your Name high.

Ah, satisfaction.

In what ways do you make a name for yourself over making much of Christ?

If you can’t think of any, ask the Lord to reveal to you if you are missing anything. I am asking Him that too.

 

Pin It on Pinterest