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 :).