Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Humble Pie and a List to Live By.

Don't they look so sweet and angelic here?

My friends, my children have humbled me. I mean it. I have found myself flat-out speechless, dumbfounded, and convicted by their sweet hearts and wise words. They have given me the hope and camaraderie I have desperately been seeking for. 

Since my trip to Africa I have not been able to process what to do with all of my "stuff".

When I returned home, I went on a tear going through our closets to give stuff away to the poor, but after a while I was back in the rush and bustle of ministry and life with three active and involved kids.

 When our schedule slowed down, moments would occur when I would once again look at all that I had and feel overwhelmed...where do I start? I really don't need this stuff. I wanted it, but I didn't need it. (Sadly I know I bought it because I had convinced myself that I needed it. Oh the tangled web I can weave.)

Now, back to my kids. I am looking at our new school year and praying, asking the Lord... No.  Let me be honest here, I was anxiously begging the Lord to show me how to teach my kids to live like missionaries. To love like Jesus loves.

How do I keep them from getting caught up in the consumer nature and craziness of our country? I don’t want them always "needing" more “stuff”. Isn’t “need” a funny word to us? We have stretched it and molded it to be mainly an excuse to buy what we “want”.

Finally the other day God put it to me quite simply.

 "Daughter, go and talk to them. Share your heart, your struggles, and then ask them about me."

So I did. I called my oldest children to the table and I began to share the struggles I have faced with wanting more stuff. (By the way, I think there is a reason the magazine is called “Better Homes and Gardens”. It’s because those homes are always better than mine, but I must digress.)

I shared my struggle with not wanting to give things away because I have a crazy sentimental attachment to it. They nodded their heads and my son gave me a skeptical look. His sharp young mind was whirring at a hundred miles per second trying to guess where this was headed. I then asked them,

"What did Jesus ask us to do in the Bible?”

I had my blank sheet of paper ready and a pen in hand, waiting.  There was only a moment’s pause before my 7 year old daughter started with a barrage of ideas flowing from her excited little lips. She waved her arms about and occasionally jumped up from her seat as a new thought would occur to her. 

My friends, it was a constant stream of thrilled chatter that filled the air and covered the front and back of my paper. Honestly, it was hard to keep up with them. Occasionally I had to ask my children to pause while mom finished writing. I then proudly reread the amazing list to them out loud.

I was humbled and in awe. I sat there quietly mulling over the list again. I whispered silent prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, for their pure earnest hearts.

Here is their beautiful and humbling list. I tried to stay true to their own words as they were speaking.

 “What does Jesus ask us to do in the Bible?”
  • Give stuff to people.
  •  Love People!
  •  Be nice.
  •  Love our enemies.
  • Only worship God! No other god’s before Him.
  • Pray for people
  • Tell people about Him, most of the time!
  • Celebrate Jesus and especially at Christmas we do, but really we should every day.
  • Help people! Even if they are on the other team and you are in a race. You should stop and help them!
  • Give food to people
  • Help the poor
  • Travel to tell people about Jesus in other places.
  • Follow the 10 commandments.
  • Don’t leave anyone behind. Go find them if they are lost.
  • Help people who are in trouble.
  • Listen to our Mom and Dad.
  • Be happy with what God gives us.
  • Give presents to others.
  • Send His message to people who don’t know Him.
  • Take care of what God gives us, like our home, animals, the earth, and our things.
  • He wants me to just be me. I don’t have to try to be someone else.
  • Keep my promises and don’t lie.
  • He always wants us to give, learn about Him, and worship Him every day!

At this point I was getting a bit teary eyed. (Note to self; I must thank our amazing Sunday School teachers at church!) I swallowed the tears back and finally asked them,

 "How can we start doing these things every day? How can we live this out?”

They sat there quietly thinking for a moment... Then once again my daughter excitedly hopped off the bench and said in her sweet sing song voice,

"Mom, let’s go through my toys and stuffed animals. I should give them away to other kids who don’t have them. Can we do it right now?"

I was in shock. Instead of the normal whine of my children

"Mom you are so meeeeaaaan! Why do I have to sort through my toys?" 

My daughter excitedly raced to the work. As we began to go through her toys, her younger sister joined in and within an hour they had 3 garbage bags full of toys to give away.

Let me tell you, these were some really nice toys too. Sadly, oh for the shame of it all friends, I had moments where I struggled with their choices. I struggled because I knew the cost or the identity of the gift giver for each item they were giving away, but then…

How could I destroy what God was clearly doing in their hearts? These precious girls even kept a few toys to the side to give to their friends because those were the toys their friends always wanted to play with when they were over. It was…

Well…

Absolutely beautiful.

I found hope that day.

I know now, I am not alone.

Like Jen Hatmaker writes in her book "Seven. An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess",

 "Jesus, for your kingdom to come, mine will have to go."

Please Lord let us not be caught up in this machine of constant consumerism again. Thank you for the freedom that comes from desiring you and your heart first!

What about you, my friends? Will you join us?
Please sign up and follow this blog with your email address. It’s absolutely free. We will just be fellow adventurers on a journey to follow Christ.

Would you like to join me in reading “Seven” by Jen Hatmaker? Please, leave me a comment or any questions that you may have about it. (Or join the women at (in)courage in the Bloom book club as they take us through the book including special interviews with the author!)

Now this is more accurate than our lovely photo at the beginning of this blog. (Please excuse the ketch-up on their faces.) Let's just be honest, our family is a goofy and fun loving bunch. ;)


Tomorrow, I will be posting updates for you on our journey with the “Free the Girls” drive. Also, I will fill you in on the next challenge that my children and I will undertake in our adventure to live the way Jesus asked us to. 
Please continue praying for the children at Compassion to find sponsors or consider becoming a blogger for Compassion.

I am praying for you today friends! Remember don’t limit God this week; He has BIG plans for each of us. Take time to praise Him and thank Him for the big and the small. He is truly amazing.

God Bless you greatly!




8 comments:

  1. I loved reading this! Thank you so much for sharing. Also, as I read the list I was thinking that you must be doing a great job teaching them, Mama! :) I hope to get to know you more. This post was an inspiration!

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  2. Thank you for stopping by! I am pretty sure my kids have some amazing Sunday School teachers because I am not sure I covered all of that. I am definitely thanking the Lord for them. :) And will be writing them a thank you as well.

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  3. Our children are so smart, aren't they? They see Him so clearly...who would have known we'd be learning more lessons on this parenting journey than they are...

    I'm on the waiting list for this book and just checked. I'm #7 in waiting! haha...but as soon as I get it, I'll be reading along!

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  4. You said Nikki! Sooo very true. I am so excited for you to get to read this book! I feel like she is inside of my head. She cracks me up and yet she is just giving it to us straight. Its a favorite now! I love a challenge. :)

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  5. Stopping by from Duane's place today.

    Don't you just love the way God can flow like water into whatever little crack we pry open? Or allow to fall open?

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  6. Out of the mouths of babes... I LOVE this post and the insight of God's desire through your children. I'm happy to see so many beginning to hear God's voice. It's definitely time to declutter the stuff and reclaim the sanity! Only then can we remove distraction and focus on the One who matters most.

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  7. It's funny how we think we are always molding them when in fact they are shaping us. Love how you write about involving your kids in missions too. It's not just about us. It's about giving them a voice!

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