baby steps: 2 years after our first step

i've been thinking about writing this post for the past month now.  the topic of money can be a sensitive and personal subject to address.  and while i want to share with you our experience (not with the intention of coming across as "we're better than you" but more along the lines of "maybe sharing what we've done can help someone else so they don't make the same mistakes"), finding the right words to adequately express what we've gone through while maintaining our privacy has been tricky.

i've written posts about money before (here, here and here).  mostly about how frustrated we are that we can't be better stewards of God's money.  really, the frustration comes from the poor choices (a.k.a. sin) we've made about how we managed our money in the past, and how those choices have now limited our ability to share God's money with others. once God really opened our eyes to what we had done we were ready for change.  of course, the change didn't come easy.  at first it seemed like trying to change was trying to get out of a deep hole without anything to help pull you out of there.  it was a lot easier to just give up...to keep submitting to temptation instead of standing our ground and trusting God will truly provide for our needs.

quite honestly, at first we didn't really know what that should look like.  yeah, it meant making "sacrifices" in some of our spending choices, but i don't think we were really ready to commit to making the sacrifices needed to start getting out of our hole.  but finally, there came a point where aaron and i were just done being stuck in the hole.  we saw the big picture.  for real.  for the first time we really did see what the end goal would like.  not just here on earth but in heaven.  the eternal perspective.  we can experience financial freedom so that we are free to give generously.

having debt does not bring God glory.  we have been deeply convicted by this, and have ended up making some significant sacrifices this past year.  that conviction has really transformed how we view the stuff that we have (and the choices we make) even more.  i mean, why does it matter that we don't have X anymore, or that we can't buy Y?  any stuff you accumulate you can't take with you when you die.  and how do you even know if any of the stuff you deem special or meaningful will have the same impact on your kids?  if God called you to give up all your possessions and told you to follow him would you be able to do it?  if someone asked me that question even 5 years ago, deep down my truthful answer would have been no.  but now?  i think letting go of my material possessions would come much easier.

it has been freeing to let go of stuff and certain mindsets that have been shaped by worldly views.  there are a lot of things that we've been made to believe that we "need" or so important that you must spend a good chunk of money on, and what we've realized is that's not the case at all.  the most important thing is to love the Lord with all that you have. how does that look like practically?  for us, the first step is to become completely debt free, and to wholeheartedly trust God in providing for our needs.  and despite the sacrifices we've made, we have seen fruit.  we have seen God work through this whole experience, and he has reaffirmed that the choice we made was definitely the way to go.

we still have work to do, but we know we're on the right track.  there have been "road blocks" (and will probably be more along the way), but by God's grace we have been able to get around those.  that eternal perspective has never been so clear to us, and is the driving force behind getting ourselves completely out of that hole.


there are 2 books that i've read in the past year or so that have helped transform my perspective on money and stuff.  the first: the treasure principle by randy alcorn.  the second: the total money makeover by dave ramsey.  obviously, they're not addressing anything new.  the stuff both authors address are in the bible, but the practical applications/examples in both books are helpful in really understanding God's expectations when it comes to his money and his stuff.  if you're married, i would recommend both of you read them so that both of you are on the same page allowing you to work as a team towards that end goal and sharing that same vision...that eternal perspective.


Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

- 1 Timothy 6:6-10 -


wordless wednesday::cut and paste

ever since he discovered scissors and glue, collages have been a new creative outlet for this boy...

more wordless wednesday here and here.


wordless wednesday::en vogue

who wouldn't want to sport one of these?

more wordless wednesday here and here.


setting us straight and a new mindset

i love purging stuff. 

if aaron and i had it our way, we would probably be living a minimalist lifestyle.  but kids have this knack for mysteriously accumulating stuff.  actually, we all do.  but it feels AMAZING when we get rid of stuff.  not only does our house look less cluttered, i feel like my brain feels less cluttered.

we've been going in waves when it comes to purging our stuff.  especially the kids' stuff.  things that don't receive attention or not in use for the past year is given away (or thrown away if broken).  clothes have been boxed and given away to friends or to goodwill.  i had come to terms with the fact that baby cash was going to be our last baby and anything and everything that doesn't fit him has been given away.  it wasn't easy at first, but then i became excited about the new phase in our life we were about to experience. 

the diaper-less phase didn't seem so far away.  the days when we don't have to worry about being home in time for naps seemed so close.  it was exciting.  and i truly couldn't wait.


sometimes, God has to remind me that he is in control and i'm not.  because quite frankly, i'm the type of person that would rather get things done on my own if i don't see results instead of patiently waiting for God's direction.  when i start doing things my way, instead allowing God to take control and following his lead, things can get pretty messed up (including my own mental and spiritual state).  i tend to start losing focus on what's really important and forget the big picture.  

when that happens, i've noticed that God will do things to set me back on his path.  those things can come in many forms, but each time it has happened i'm always glad i didn't get off the track too far.

the day after christmas we discovered some surprising news.  after thinking with certainty that baby cash will forever be our baby we found out that the good Lord had other plans in store for us in that department.  honestly, the news was received more with shock than with excitement.  how can this be?  seriously?  impossible!  i can't believe this! 

we chose not to share the news with anyone at first, because i don't think we were able to quite fully process what was happening.  but the more time has passed and the more that we share this good news with family and friends the more that i'm starting to change my mindset.  i don't mean to imply (even from when we first found out) that this baby is going to be a burden on our family.  that's not the case at all.  i have full faith that God will provide for our needs.  why else would he bless us with another baby?  but i just have to backtrack a little.  change my perspective back to how it was when i didn't know whether or not cash was going to be the last baby.

so for the next 7.5 months i will have to bid adieu to my beloved sushi, vino and brewskies, and cut back (big-time) on my coffee addiction.  and while you may not find me showing much excitement at the moment, i can feel it creeping in...even as i write this post.  our lives will forever be changed again, and what a blessing that will be!


wordless wednesday::getting the baby

when the kids ask to get baby cash in the morning, this is how i usually find them...

 more wordless wednesday here and here.
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