Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conquering Clutter

I felt God’s leading beginning about a year ago to begin the daunting task of de-cluttering our home. At first, I was the sole warrior in the war against useless stuff. I began in the basement. A little each week. This past fall, however, another soldier enlisted to fight the battle alongside me. My husband and I went through the house room by room, notebook and pen in hand. We wrote down what needed to be done in each room to de-junk, repair and spruce up our home.

One person can accomplish a lot, but get two side by side in a task and you can “get er done.” We went back through the house, room by room, tackling the junk and making repairs. The first was the upstairs bedrooms, now empty with our 2 sons grown. I found myself in the days following sneaking up to just sit and reflect in the quiet, clean (something those rooms had not been for years) and uncluttered surroundings.

It’s difficult to live in a home that is over stuffed. A few years ago, I caught an Oprah show on houses that were inconceivably crowded with stuff. The families couldn’t enjoy their homes, they couldn’t clean them, and were confined to only a few rooms to abide in like prisoners. All because “More is better”…. “I’ll take care of it later”…. “It was such a good clearance”…”I just had to have it”…You’ve been there.

This video shows a woman who for years has hoarded clothing and in two hours has to weed it out. (No comments from my husband, please) She has to face the fact that she can let go of the items she so badly had to have and thought would bring her comfort and happiness. It’s the same with our lives. Things that we think we need to provide security or contentment, don’t deliver.

Of course God had larger plans than just making my home easier to live in, He was leading me to de-clutter my life inside as well. To toss the rubble from my heart and mind. The stuff that keeps me from fully living for Him. With my mind too cluttered, I can’t hear the Holy Spirit guiding me. Long before the Fly Lady and Peter Walsh, Hebrews 12 gave us a de-clutter guide complete with motivation too.

Hebrews 12:1-3
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus…. so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Step 1: Identify everything that hinders your walk.

Step 2: Throw them off. Discard them. Get rid of them. Shred them.

Step 3: Run the race marked out for you. Not someone else’s race, your

             own race,this is a very important point or you will need to

             revert back to step 1.
Step 4: Persevere. Persevere. Persevere.

Step 5: Fix your eyes on Jesus. On your purpose. Focus. Focus. Focus.

Step 6: Go out for coffee with a friend at each triumphant milestone. (Ok, so I

             made that one up myself, but you have to admit, it’s a good one…)

Step 7: Make a You Tube video about your experience. Ok, so maybe not,

             but if you do, sent me a link!

Now it's your turn: Tell me about your de-junking tips - both around the home and in your soul!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wedding Bells...Again

The summer of 2010 holds an exciting day. A special day. One we will always remember. August 14. The day Jeff and Renae joined their lives together, declared their commitment to each other and to God. We feel so blessed to have children that choose to honor God with their lives and it is a blessing to watch their love for each other.

This summer will mark another exciting, memorable day for our family. On July 23, 2011 Steve and Kara will be united in marriage. Watching them grow and mature and their care for one another has been a delight; it is wonderful to watch a young couple not only plan their wedding but to plan their marriage.

As our kids were growing up, I prayed for their futures. For God's hand and wisdom to be upon them. For their hearts to be inclined to love Him. For the development of character that would make them godly loving husbands/wife. And for their future wives/husband , that God's hand would be upon them and that they too would be godly loving spouses. My prayers for my daughter remain the same as she finishes growing up.

Watching my kids mature and walk with God is so worth it all. It's the goal of raising them beginning even while they are in diapers...and learning to walk... or ride a bike...or read...God truly blesses parents through their children.

3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: Soul Print by Mark Batterson

I'm so excited to share this with you! I've been waiting by the mailbox for my very first book to review and finally it has arrived. "Soul Print" by Mark Batterson. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. It’s a great read and I can’t wait to recommend it to my friends!

The first section was so good, I didn't want to put it down. Mark Batterson challenges, even inspires his readers to dig deep into themselves to see who they were created to be, to live at a level that surpasses the superficial and find their true identity in Christ.

“The best form of worship is becoming the best version of who God has created you to be.” (p. 146) You were made for a purpose. Good deeds were designed for you to do long before you were you. No one has ever existed or will exist who can worship God like you. This is what Batterson calls your soul print, and it’s as unique as your fingerprint. Using the life of King David, Batterson wisks the reader away from the daily grind and places before them the question “What is your God-given identity?”

Too often we trudge through life living day in and day out in response to our immediate needs and the demands placed on us, giving little thought to the fact that our circumstances are divinely orchestrated. Batterson points out that we are being set up. Set up by God. “The King of kings goes before His servants to prepare the road ahead. In other words, He strategically positions us in the right place at the right time. God is setting you up, and that ought to fill you with an unshakable sense of destiny.” (p.11)

This book left me feeling compelled to sit at the feet of the Father to find my own soul print. I highly recommend it; it will bring a clarity and direction to the life of anyone who calls themselves a follower of Christ. George Eliot said “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” At whatever stage of life you find yourself, this is true. And that is the message of this book. Because life is about the who. Who you were made to be. The only way to become who you were created to be is by looking at the One who planned your days long before you took your first breath.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What I'm Reading Lately

I'm so excited to share this with you! I've been waiting by the mailbox (not literally- it's been sub zero temps the past few weeks!) for my very first book to review and finally it arrived. "Soul Print" by Mark Batterson.

The first section, scenes- not chapters in this book, was so good, I didn't want to put it down. Mark challenges, even inspires his readers to dig deep into themselves and see who they really are; to live at a level that surpasses the superficial, find their true identity in Christ and become who they were created to be so they can live the life that was prepared for them even before they were born.

If  you are looking for the courage to break free from all that holds you captive whether it is a dream you feel unable to make a reality or sinful habits that keep you from being who you were created to be, this book offers the encouragement you need.

I'm only part way through, so I will fill you in on the rest of the book soon! I'd love to hear what you are reading!