Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WE ARE NOTHING. BUT GOD IS BIG!

I get comments about how great we are to take on foster kids...and the fact we want to adopt these kids makes us look like superstars in the eyes of some onlookers. And THAT, my friends,  we are NOT. We are simply followers of Christ pursuing what our amazing God has called us to. We in ourselves are not equipped for this. We live in 864 square feet. Have 3 bio kids, 1 foster kid, and hope to adopt four in our near or maybe distant future. 

We do not posses in our hands what we need for this adventure...BUT WE HAVE A GREAT GOD! All we need is Gods problem. What he has called us to, he will provide. Such as the incredible family to walk along side us and foster some of our kids until we have a bigger house....this family had become so much more than family to us! We have a connection with them that is God-created. 

WE DO NOT HAVE THE SPACE...but God has already provided a bigger house and the downpayment we need as we are about to close as God breaks down the obstacles that the enemy is trying to use to slow us down and discourage us. This is God's victory and God's got this!

WE DO NOT HAVE THE FINANCES TO RAISE THIS MANY KIDS BY AMERICAN DREAM STANDARDS...and the enemy is zapping $$ with two mortgages coming up until we sell our other property. But it's God's resources and he promises to provide...beyond our wildest imagination. Money isn't everything. The American Dream isn't everything. What's eternal cannot be achieved with $$.

WE DO NOT HAVE THE ENERGY. Raising seven kids from 2-14 even part time is hard. Exhausting. And rewarding. When a teen comes to you and asks you to do Bible study with her. When the two year old says "hold you" and melts into your neck. These are Jesus hugs😍. How much he embraces me through his ministry! While the "suffering/struggle" is great. The reward is great. Kingdom living. Not to mention we have amazing friends by our side helping us! 

WE HAVE FRIDGES AND MOWERS AND CARS AND WHAT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING BREAKING DOWN. Our freezer dying and with no money to replace and two friends have offered their extra fridges for us to use free! Drew tried for 2 months to fix our mower and a friend gave us their extra mower! We were rear-ended this summer...but the $ helped make buying a bigger house to house these orphans possible! What the enemy means for bad, God uses for good!

 WE DO NOT HAVE A BIG ENOUGH VEHICLE TO HOLD OUR GROWING FAMILY. God will provide when it's a necessity :). 

WE DO NOT HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE TO RAISE 7+ KIDS...We don't know what to do with teenagers (and we are taking on two!). But we do have God and he gives wisdom in each situation. and friends who have been there :). 

We do not know what tomorrow holds. 
But we have God's people in our church surrounding us and praying, talking, reaching out, giving food, washing our car, being the body of Christ to us and these kids... etc. 


BY FAITH we put two of the kids in Christian School...trusting God to provide the funds. GUESS WHAT!? The school bill is half paid before the end of September from known and anonymous donors! That's almost 5k from Gods people!!!

Until we step out in faith and walk where we know we cannot walk or survive alone we have yet to experience this realm of Gods power and grace.


We do know God has planned these good works for us before time began and HE is the one directing our path as we seek his guidance and the next step on a daily basis. Sometimes one little moment and tear at a time. 

The struggle is real. This lifestyle isn't easy. This lifestyle is HARD. But this lifestyle has been the most rewarding experience and example of the body of Christ working together EVER.

Your calling may or may not be to foster or adopt. God's callings are individual and nobody's calling will be exactly the same. He has you where you are for HIS purpose. We cannot look at what somebody else is doing for Christ and strive to be that person. Let them inspire you to seek God whole heartedly but don't try to be them. Try to be like Jesus. Seek him. Follow him one step at a time. And in doing that you will make the eternal difference he has called you to make from before time began. Have faith and do what he has called you to do - it's crazy, insane, people question you...but there's no other place I would rather be than in God's crazy, insane, humanly-speaking un-abtainable will. :)

We are not amazing. But God is amazing. And without all his people surrounding us and functioning as his hands and feet these kids and our family would not be where we are.  God gets all the glory as we live out HIS STORY in our lifetime. I hope this inspires you to seek him too! He comes through exceedingly, abundantly, beyond our wildest imagination (eph 3:20). Just remember...it's HIS TIMING.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

HOW DECLUTTERING AND MINIMALISM HAVE CHANGED ME

For the last 10 years, Drew and I have been experts at having garage sales to get rid of stuff. The running joke in the family is, "don't give that to Drew and Kimberly because they will sell it in their next garage sale lol."...which is very likely true. haha! However, I knew I still held on to WAY TOO MUCH....thinking "I may need this." or "I'm not sure if I can let go of this." My house proved it. It was ALWAYS cluttered and never organized. Now i KNOW I don't have the gift of organization...my house is still unorganized... I still need somebody to come by and do something about that for me...but just last January, I learned that my BIGGEST problem was not my inability to organize, but my inability to let go of STUFF. STUFF requires maintanence. STUFF requires our attention. STUFF requires being put away. STUFF requires cleaning. STUFF requires energy. And with STUFF beckoning me constantly one way or another, I realized it was robbing me of things that mattered...time with my family and other things i enjoy doing.

Settling for less, we have always lived pay check to pay check. For me, sharing used to be hard...it had always been hard for me all my life. But living one pay check to another definitely brought out the hoarder in me. Left-overs and hand-me-downs were treasures. I would hold on to what I could, and then some. I kinda envied people that could give so freely. People that could just let things go without feeling the need to sell them or make money off a single item to afford the next thing. Once i didn't need an item anymore, I felt the need to sell every little trinket, rather than freely let it go, in effort to stay afloat financially.

The change God made in me last January (2015) has forever changed everything. The great purge of possessions began. This initial purge was so ginormous that I sold the items in a consignment sale and made about 2K for our family missions trip to Haiti! (about 75% of it was stuff I had waiting for use around the house). I don't think the timing was a mistake. God, in His sovereignty had that all planned out. My sweet little 7 year old at the time, caught a glimpse of what matters and also wanted to sell all her toys to go be friends with the little kiddos in Haiti. Now God has set me free. Free from the feeling that I need to make a penny off every item  that leaves my house. Free to give it away to someone else in need who can use it more than me.

Lately, I have realized that I don't feel the need to hold on to things "just in case" anymore. The more I declutter, the less attached I feel to my belongings. Today i was thinking, wow, if something happened that completely destroyed all of my earthly possessions, I would NOT be devastated. If i have my family and friends (and of course God;), that is ALL i truly need. I am content. And it is a great place to be. 

God has grown my heart HUGE in this last year. He has replaced my selfishness (hoarding) with a huge desire to give and serve and invest in others however I can...however He leads. And it started with decluttering to live minimally. living minimially doesn't mean living with nothing. You define your own minimalism. Minimalism to me is living with what we NEED and USE and that's it. If we don't play with a game or a toy or don't use a utensil then it needs to go. We still have some left overs that need to head to charity. But we have made huge progress as a family in the last year. And I see God working at my children too with their willingness to hold earthly treasure loosely. It's easier for one than it is the other two....but it's God's timing! And they are learning!

Stuff and clutter takes up mental space. It creates visual unrest and keeps us from fully relaxing. It robs us of peace of mind. It robs us of time spent on what matters. If I could change one thing about my life it would be that I would've realized this a long time ago. I do my best to teach this concept to my kids. Less is more. Stuff doesn't satisfy. Contentment is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and with investing in right relationships and serving God down here.

I have not arrived...but I sure have come a long way. And i have a vision for where i am going in this declutter/minimalism process...and I plan to get there in 2016 :).

Thursday, December 31, 2015

10 YEARS TODAY!


 (Grand Goave, Haiti - Hands and Feet Children's villages)

I hit snooze this morning...then woke up a few minutes later to Drew hugging me and whispering in my ear, "Happy 10 years! I couldn't have dreamed of marrying a wife as amazing as you." Talk about MAKING MY DAY! I am a huge "words" girl...my love language is words of affirmation all the way...

Today...I have been married to this guy...for 10 years. TEN YEARS! I cannot believe how the time has flown by. 10 years ago, we said I DO. We had met just 10 months earlier and dated over the phone, from TX to MI for three hours a night for a week. We talked God, missions, children, what we visioned the rest of our individual lives looking like and realized that with the similiar visions God had given us for what our lives were to look like, we could learn to love each other...so i moved to Texas and moved in with his parents, to date my fiance in person before we got married lol...and the rest is history in the making. There were no butterflies. Crazy sounding - i know. But there was a huge desire to spend time together and serve God together with our family however God leads for the rest of our lives. Best commitment I have ever made. Life-long. Forever. No Regrets. No turning back. Everybody's life has challenges...that's how we grow. Nothing worth having is easy. But life is good. God is good. Serving him is good! And I have the best man ever to serve God alongside. His passion for missions and desire to lead our family to Love God and Love People is constant. I love you Drew and I am such a lucky girl that God gave me YOU!

I thank my God every time i remember you! - Philippians 1:3

2015 Review

WOW...When I started 2015 last January, I would have never predicted that God would have brought me to the place that I am...in SO many different areas of my life. 2015 was definitely an amazing year. One that I would repeat in a heartbeat.


JANUARY 2015
I started last January in a 2k square foot house with a LOAD of excess/clutter. I had been trying to organize that clutter for...ALL MY LIFE...and in January, it clicked. You can't organize excess. And taking care of excess takes away from things/relationships that matter. One evening, as I listened to some TEDx talks on youtube on minimalism, the lightbulb turned on that I need to get rid of what I don't use/need. Have/keep only what I use and let the rest go. Believe it or not, I am still working on this, but this is where my large strides of decluttering began. Joshua Becker quickly became my favorite minimalist speaker. He can be found at becomingminimalist.com. You can also find him on Facebook. Crazy-inspiring Christian, husband, and dad.

We also started raising money to take our family of 5 to Haiti in January. Our goal was to raise $7500 by the end of August for our trip in October. We put the word out and started to search for fundraising ideas.

FEBRUARY 2015
A friend came by and wrote us a check for $1500 for our trip to Haiti. God had blessed them. They wanted to bless us. WOW GOD...that's a huge chunk of change. And a real servant of Christ. God is good!

MARCH 2015
Drew went to Tres Dias...he had put this off for EIGHT years. He went skeptical and came back on fire for God and to lead our family, as well as extremely motivated to move back to P-town. So we started praying about moving back and discussing the pros/cons and weighing our options.

APRIL 2015
Yes, I had still been on a minimizing rampage since January. The bug didn't go away. I had cleaned out my house so much, that my friends would walk in and ask where on earth everything had gone lol! It felt so refreshing and peaceful (kinda like that feeling you have when you go on a vacation and walk into a hotel with just your bare necessities...well some of us lol). With all the stuff I decluttered, along with a chunk of donations from some friends for our trip, I took part in our city's huge consignment sale. God provided beyond what I prayed for from that sale. I prayed for 2k to go toward our Haiti trip...and he gave me a couple hundred more! Did I say God is GOOD!? If it's in his plan...he WILL PROVIDE!

After that sale and one more donation, we were FULLY FUNDED! and that was FOUR MONTHS EARLY! So I contacted a very good friend of the family who has been to Haiti many times and asked her if she would go along with us if God continued to provide enough for her too. The answer was yes of course!

MAY 2015
We made the leap to move to P-town. A friend of a friend was selling by owner at a price better than we dreamed we would find so we took the deal! Here's the craziness....remember my house waS 2K Square feet? Well this one is ONLY 850! This would not have been very possible if I had not let go of my stuff when i did. God was working all along. ...GOD IS GOOD! :D This adjustment was still extremely hard the first week and probaby a few after that. I am a city girl used to my house space....suddenly in the country stuck in an unfinished box that felt nothing like home. And it was raining constantly with red dirt right outside my door that consistently kept my floors and shoes the same color. It. was. rough. But I held on to the FACTS. I KNEW God had led us here. I KNEW God used Drew's leadership to do so. I KNEW in following Drew and trusting this was the right decision, I was following God. I KNEW that I could rest in the fact that we had done the right thing, and the right thing is not promised to be easy. But I wondered how I would ever persevere lol. BUT I ALSO KNEW...that GOD IS GOOD :D.

JUNE 2015
I had been planning to homeschool my kids with the upcoming school year. I had been a stay at home mom the last 8 years with no plans to change that. UNTIL...I got a phone call from my friend/former boss...asking me if I was interested in teaching PE MWF. I excitedly discussed the option with my husband and it was a no-brainer. I was so excited at this perfect opportunity!

JULY 2015
Took our annual trip to Michigan and had  blast :D.

AUGUST 2015
God provided more than enough for our friend to go to Haiti with us!!! :D

I started teaching PE. My kids started school. This has been the BEST DECISION EVER for our famiy! And this job is my dream job. I LOVE IT! Our staff is amazing. I love my students like my own kids. My kids love going to school every day and were actually bummed about how long Christmas break was lol! LIFE IS GOOD! GOD IS GOOD!

SEPTEMBER 2015
I think I have as much fun as the kids do in PE - if not more ;).

I attended Tres Dias where God magnified how much he LOVES me. Amazing time.


OCTOBER 2015
Preparing to go to Haiti!! God provided a crazy-huge abundance of donations through the school i am teaching at...along with the luggage to carry it with us! Because God is good! And HE makes a way to do HIS work!

We had an amazing family missions trip to Haiti - it went smoother with 3 kids than my wildest imagination. God no doubt had his hand in the whole thing. My kids LOVED Haiti. And they often ask when they can go back. <3

NOVEMBER 2015
God provided numerous occasions for us to share his story about what he is doing in Haiti with various churches/groups. He is doing great things!

DECEMBER 2015
WATCHING my kids perform in their Christmas play, I hold back tears, and am reminded AGAIN HOW BLESSED I AM to be where God has brought me and my family.

We are in a city we didn't expect to move back to, in a tiny house we never expected to live in, on acerage we never thought we would own, working a job i never planned to end up with, with my kids in an amazing school we never expected to be at, at a great church we didn't know we would end up at, blessed with new and old friends that I can't imagine doing life without. NONE OF THIS was pre-planned by us. But ALL OF THIS was planned and known by God. I am so glad that his ways are not our ways. I am so glad we were flexible to the "craziness" of his plan. I am so glad we took risks, at times didn't play it "safe," and followed him. This year was the best adventure yet and I am so excited to see how God KEEPS working in 2016 :D.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Haiti (Part 4)... From PAP airport to Grand Goave

When we got to Port Au Prince, the airport was EMPTY. Our plane was the ONLY plane there. This is not the norm at all. But come to find out, it was an election weekend...so people were staying put. I was not aware of these things when we chose our weekend a year and a half before our actual trip. But God knew...and he also know that the emptiness of the Haiti airport would make it MUCH easier to keep track of 3 munchkins while collecting 8 checked bags from the baggage claim. As we walked out of the airport people were sitting everywhere. Apparently just hanging out?? If you smiled at them and said bonswa (good afternoon in creole), their eyes would light up and they would say bonswa back. I was immediately in love with these people. God got us through everything with ease and we were soon piled into a 15 passenger van with Sean (one of the missionaries) and several guys from the hands and feet childrens village and transitional home. Everybody was super-friendly. :)

view from just inside the PAP airport



It was HOT. SUPER-HOT. The van had some AC but not a lot. It still felt good when you could feel it :). As we made the 2 hour trip to Grand Goave, where we would be staying, I took in all the sights. SO DIFFERENT. I felt like i could observe for forever. Unfinished buildings...EVERYWHERE. People...EVERYWHERE. Traffic (car/bike/motorcycle/people walking)...EVERYWHERE. Trash...in abundance. The drive was interesting in the sense that Haitians don't have the same style of driving or traffic laws that we do. Well, they might but they don't follow them and nothing is done about it. Lots of honking. Lots of swerving and passing. Lots of traffic heading toward you and passing on random sides of you....or you passing them. Never once did I feel unsafe though. I trusted my driver. I knew we were in Haiti because God had us in Haiti and when you're walking with God there is nothing to fear.

Natalie was so exhausted she fell asleep in the van.
Love those snuggles :).


Two hours later we arrived at our destination on top of the mountain.The kids were anxious to get out and run around...but it was dark, so they couldn't go to far. This would be our first night of cold showers and sleeping without AC. And it really wasn't so bad...we were blessed with personal fans on each of our beds which ran off the solar power stored up during the day. It's the little things :).

Our room where we stayed in Grand Goave.
(this is NOT your typical style of haitian living...the majority of haitians do not have
electricity or running water...or what you see here...)








Thursday, November 26, 2015

How do we Handle GOD's resources?

My heart is so full and I just can't even think of enough accurate words to describe the joy  of what I see God doing in my life these days. It's just something that can't exactly be put down on paper...it's just too intense. Too amazing. Too indescribable in an ordinary language. God is so good. SO GOOD. I love seeing his hand of sovereignty all over my life as I look back on all he has done and look ahead in wonder with where it will all lead me.

Sometimes God just allows things to "click." And lately he has been radically altering my perspective on things of this life versus things of eternity. I thought i had a good grasp on what it meant to seek first God's kingdom and to store up treasure in heaven and not on earth. But how God has revealed himself to me in the last month(s) is just mind-blowing. He continues to show me that the more you study and desire to know him, the more he reveals himself through his word and renewing my mind.

I want to be careful to pour my life and resources into things that matter eternally. Does this mean never take a vacation or do something for fun? Of course not! But it does mean NOT taking in worldly pleasures in excess to the point that I am spending too much of my resources on myself and not on others who have spiritual and physical needs that God wants to use the rescources HE has GIVEN ME to meet those needs. God does not provide for me to live a life of excess. Anything he provides beyond my needs, he intends for me to reach out as his hands and feet to minister to others and a lost and dying world who needs to know their Savior. Great motivation comes when I realize that money spent on let's say something like six flags, is not bad in and of itself, but it does not offer anything of eternal value. There is no treasure stored up in heaven for that (X) amount of dollars. That same amount used to help a friend in need, or the orphan or widow, or however else God leads - HAS VALUE FOREVER! It makes use of my earthly resources ETERNAL! We have the power and choice to choose to use God's resources to  enjoy the pleasures of this world or to invest in things of eternal value. And that is how how the way we spend reveals where our hearts are. Now God also gave us all things for our enjoyment...so yes I will go to six flags periodically (well only if it's not in the heat of the summer ;)...Great tool to invest in relationships and lavish love and joy (gifts from God!) on our kids! The problem comes when all we ever do is spend the majority of  our GOD's money on ourselves and enterntainment...that is foolish and will burn in the end. We are failing to be wise stewards with what God has entrusted to us when we fail to pour HIS money back into HIS work.

Well that's a tiny portion of what's on my heart right now. Just the tip of the iceberg. God is amazing. He is good. And may my life GLORIFY HIM ALONE! <3

"TO WHOM MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN, MUCH MORE WILL BE REQUIRED." Luke 12:48

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

our suffering for God's glory


I am so thankful and beyond blessed by the amazing friends God has purposely placed in my life who love HIM whole-heartedly and speak so much of HIS TRUTH into my life! Yesterday morning, God used two of my friends, within FIVE minutes of eachother, to remind me of his precious promise in Ephesians 3:20-21...the first friend was via text message bright and early in the morning and the second was a friend via my facebook feed. I KNEW God had a purpose in feeding me that verse twice, although I wasn't quite sure what it was YET.

God knew that the enemy had been chiseling away at my mind over-time the day before...telling me what a horrible, impatient mom I was. And really attacking me with lies that I will ever get things right as mother to my children. I felt like the failure of all failures. The worst. A disappointment to my kids. That I would ruin them.

AND THEN MONDAY HAPPENED...I don't usually mind mondays. I love all days. But THIS monday morning brought so much torment to my spirit as it crashed down on me with a flood of impatience and annoyances before we even left the house for school. I just wanted to cry. But i refrained. As we drove to school, Andi Rae prayed for our day. And that sweet girl prayed for her momma to have a better day too with the perfect words given to her by the Holy Spirit. That little prayer warrior ministers to my heart all the time!

When I got to school, my friend, THEEEEE BBE was waiting for me in my office (that stands for best boss ever ;). LOVE HER SO MUCH! Annnd...after a cheery greeting from her I crashed with all my emotions flooding out my eyeballs and talk about about how I was feeling. She closed the door, listened to my heartache, hugged me, looked me in the eye, called out the devil's LIES, and SPOKE GOD'S TRUTH into my life over and over...combatting every excuse or reason I brought up that may justify any LIES I was believing with consistent and constant TRUTH and great God-honoring advice. (seriously, how did i get so blessed to have a boss/friend like this!?) She reminded me that I am human and will make mistakes...BUT GOD. ONLY GOD can heal me and change me. She reminded me how important it was to continue to apologize to my kids when I wrong them and to LOVE on them especially after a struggle. This among many other things. This convo brought SO MUCH healing.

By now my eyes were firey red from my tears and it was crazy obvious that something was bothering me...bringing amazing love and concern from my other teacher friends who saw me. Some prayed over me - praying exactly what the Holy Spirit led them to pray, leading to even more healing in my spirit...followed by more speaking TRUTH into my life. Another friend reminded me that my kids are not my own. They are on loan from God...they are GOD'S KIDS! And to keep that in mind when I get irritated and impatient with them. It serves as a reminder to give them grace...love them well.

I must continuously give myself grace too...because God has given me amazing grace. I am a mom desperately seeking and running after the heart of God for my life and my familiy...and I am doing the best I can. There will be hard days. BUT GOD. BUT GRACE.

God used my vulnerability and honesty, my amazing friends carrying my burdens, and my longing to be free from the enemy's lies to heal me yesterday morning BEYOND what I could ask, think, or imagine. The rest of my day did not go as I expected when my morning started out so crappy...i had a fear the rest of the day would follow the same pattern. BUT GOD.  God used his spirit and his people to turn my day around BEYOND what I could imagine. He did what only GOD can do. All my classes went exceptionally well, and the love and renewed patience I felt for my kids refreshed and inspired me that GOD gave me Eph 3:20-21 that morning to show me how big and amazing he can be in my life. And just how much he loves me...and my children <3.

And remember...the purpose in the struggle...is ULTIMATELY - GOD's GLORY <3.
(this was our cool-down yesterday for several of my classes :). God is good :D.