It's the end of the week and I hang my head low and realize the week got the best of me and I did not accomplish what I had hoped or wanted to. Sunday rolls around and I get refreshed and rested and ready for the new week. I wake up Monday with a new grace and new motivation to succeed. I eat my breakfast and set out to accomplish the tasks at hand and I sit and look at the beast before me and it laughs at me once again. It says you haven't succeeded yet, what makes you think this week is different? What seemed like a manageable task a few moments ago now seems impossible. What changed? Discouragement sets in and takes away the victory. It turns that small mess into a mountain of impossibilities. It steels our joy and takes away our confidence. We serve a mighty God who holds the world in His hands. Why do we fret about these tasks at hand? Why do we let defeat and discouragement rule our lives? Are we failing to look at the power of our Heavenly Father? Do we loose sight of what he has done and can do in our lives? “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2) This blog is a description of a daily battle for me. We often look around and compare ourselves to others that seem to have it all together and have that balance that we so long for in our lives but we forget to tap into the power of Jesus Christ living inside us. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” (Isaiah 40:29) We want our lives to look a certain way but are we seeking His way? Are we looking to see our lives through His eyes? Let's pray for one another and encourage one another not to let discouragement defeat us. Satan wants to use anything he can to hinder us from being victorious over our weaknesses because he knows that when we succeed we will have to share about how God helped us through and gave us the strength to do it. He doesn't want us to share how good God is because it might just make someone else want to do the same thing. We serve an all powerful God and we have access to that power through our Lord Jesus Christ. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24) We need to let His power work through us. Nothing is too big for Him to handle. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Along with Fall comes this very well known holiday. It has many names such as, Hallows Eve, Halloween, and All Saints Day just to name a few. There are many traditions that we are born into without much thought of why we celebrate or participate in them. Many times we participate simply because everyone else does. Sometimes we may know the original meaning or purpose and choose to alter details to suite our beliefs or wants. For our family, we want to be informed on what we are teaching our son and how what we are participating in lines up with God's word. Sometimes it seems that we care more about what is in our child's food, medicine, and environment than what is going into their growing minds. We are instructed to … “be ye separate, saith the Lord...” (2 Corinthians 6:17) We are not to conform to the practices of this world. The origin of Halloween starts with Celtic pagan rituals and beliefs. It's original name was Samhain, a time that the Celts believed the dead/spirits came and dwelled among the living. Some of the rituals included burning fires to help the dead make their way, various sacrifices through bonfires (crops, animals, and likely human), practices of divination, disguising themselves with costumes to blend in or hide from the spirits, and going house to house dressed as the spirits asking for food. If the household did not offer food it was thought to bring them misfortune from the spirits. Faces carved in pumpkins were meant to represent the heads of the spirits. Does any of this sound like it is biblical to you? Instead of standing up against these practices the early Catholic church attempted to christianize the practices and thus the name was changed. Why would a church have any business dealing in such practices that clearly go against every core truth of God's word? As time went on the practices remained the same in the church and in the pagan world as well. To this day participants in this holiday dress up in disguises and go door to door asking for a treat in order to avoid that house being tricked for not providing what is asked for. Children are allowed to dress as witches, vampires, devils, ghosts, and other evil influences. It is said to all be in good fun and innocent entertainment. Christians are still trying to christianize it by changing the name and making the activities seem less evil. What are you celebrating? “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11) Satan is the father of deception. He has been disguising himself from the very beginning in the garden of Eden as he displayed the first trick or treat game on Adam and Eve. He hasn't changed. He wants our children's minds to be molded from birth to accept the evil things that are said to be in good fun. He starts with television shows that show evil things like witches and vampires as cute and funny so that children become accustomed to them and the stepping stones to more and more evil become easier and easier. For me Halloween is one of the many tools that the devil uses against families to blur the line of good and evil. He wants evil to be viewed as good. He doesn't want us to know the truth. He wants us to just follow in the steps of the generations that have continued to participate in evil practices unawares and unconcerned. There is a spiritual war going on whether you realize it or not. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We need to make a decision of whom we are serving. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) I don't know about you, “...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Church we need to stand up and stand apart. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) I would like to encourage you to do some research on your beliefs and use the Holy Word of God as your main source of truth. (John 14:6)
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:21)
It is the season of beautiful colors, cooler weather, corn mazes, festivals, candied apples, and falling leaves. For some, it is their favorite time of year. There seems to be that brief balance of not to hot and not to cold. I started thinking about the falling leaves and harvest time and how it could we could relate. Fall is considered a time of harvest. A time to reap from the hard work of the summer. There are moments in our lives, that we get to reap from our hard labor in the fields of the Lord. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 And just as the trees shed their leaves, sometimes God allows us to shed a few burdens. Perhaps its time for a season change in our lives. The leaves of the tree die and fall but the tree lives on. It may not look like much for a while but it will blossom again with new life and new fruit. We usually think of death as a sad thing or as the end of something, but the bible says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 Just as the trees leaves die and fall to the earth from which they came, God’s people die and fall into the arms of Jesus from which they came. They get to return to their creator and rest in the arms of Jesus and enjoy the forever beauty of heaven. Just think about how much more beautiful the colors must be up there. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 Maybe you are at a season change in your life. Maybe God wants to shed a few leaves and sustain you until he gives you new leaves and new fruit. Just remember if you are a child of God, you will someday get to fall into the arms of Jesus and be forever at peace with the Lord and Savior who made you.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
We recently attended the Decatur Tiny House Festival. The drive there was a little crazy with all the Atlanta traffic but we enjoyed out little mini vacation with our family. We were able to view over twenty tiny homes. Each one was very unique and customize to the owners needs. We saw campers and buses converted into homes as well as custom built tiny homes on wheels. Each home had a different feel. Some were very tiny, about 16 feet long, and some where more spacious with all the amenities you would need or want. The experience further solidified our desire to follow through with God’s plan for us to live simpler and freer. We are finalizing our designs now and getting ready to start purchasing the materials for the build. We have been so blessed with family and friends who have already helped in this process and are planning to help with the build. God provides.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 34:10)
What else do we need?
Let me introduce you to my arch nemesis, Stuff. He is sometimes called clutter or junk. He likes to creep into our homes and take over and cause chaos and discouragement. He is disguised as gifts, heirlooms, and what we think are needs. He wants to bind you up and keep you bondage inside your home in a constant battle that will usually end in defeat. You may have a few wins and feel like you are getting ahead and then another holiday will happen and you have just as much coming in as you just got rid of and the cycle begins again. Although this may not be as much of a battle for some, it has been my battle for way to long and I no longer want to be in bondage to our stuff. Why do we have so much stuff? Where does it come from? We are a greedy society. We never have enough. We get the biggest and best and then another bigger and better comes out so we need that too. We have holidays and birthdays and we think the way to show love is to see how much we can buy someone. We inherit or are given family heirlooms that we simply can’t get rid of because they were our great great grandmother’s. We all seem to blur the lines of need and want. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1Timothy 6:8 Are we content? Is having what we need and being taken care of enough. God said he will never leave us or forsake us. He is not slack concerning his promises. Do we need anything else? I have always been taken care of. I may have wanted better or thought I needed more but I have always had food, shelter, and clothes to wear. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6 We serve a God who owns everything and who made everything. He holds us in His hand. Don’t you think He is going to take care of our needs? He not only takes care of our needs but He blesses us with so much more even when we don’t deserve or appreciate it. I will share more about the specific reasons that we collect and keep stuff in the upcoming posts. I would like to encourage you to take a look around and take inventory of the lack of contentment we all struggle with in our lives. What could you live without? Is your stuff holding you bondage and keeping you from the life of contentment God has for you? Is it stealing your time? Is it stealing your peace? Maybe your arch nemesis is the same as mine. Maybe you feel defeated by all the clutter around you. We serve a mighty God and nothing is to big for Him. Lets fight this battle together and know that God will lead us to victory if we only trust Him and let Him show us His way and His will for our lives. Lets lift one another up in prayer. There is power in prayer. Thanks for reading. God Bless!
The Lord led me to start getting up early and going for a walk/jog in the mornings and spend time with Him. It is such a blessing to spend time in His creation and enjoy its beauty each morning. There is much that can be learned by observing God’s handy work. One morning as I walked along the driveway and came to the end where the trees stop and the view of the sky opens up, I looked over to see the sunrise. I usually see the beautiful rays peaking over the mountain as the sun slowly gets higher and higher. This morning I got up a little late so the sun was already fully risen. As I looked over, I looked at the sun and then looked back to my path and I could still see those spots. As kids our parents tell us not to look directly at the sun but we all try it at some point and we see those lingering spots. It changes our vision immediately. I then thought about how the SUN relates to the SON, Jesus. I don’t think it is just coincidence that the sun in the sky and the Son of God sound the same. Once you see the Son, it changes your vision and your see those spots of Him everywhere you look. The difference is that the spots we see when we look up at the sunrise eventually fade but when we see the Son of God, our vision is changed for all eternity. Every where we look we see things differently. Our eyes are opened and His light shines on our lives and we cannot put that light out. His Holy Spirit then becomes our guide and if we are obedient, His light will shine through us to light the path for others to come to know that light. When others look at us they should see that light. That light will shine in the darkness of this world. The light of Jesus is the only way to heal the spiritual blindness that fogs our vision of God’s plan for our lives.
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 KJV)
I have had several questions about our home and I just wanted to share where we are at in our journey. In 2017 we focused on paying off debt and selling our house while purging our possessions along the way. Although we have gotten rid of a lot already, we are still in the purging process. Whenever we have free time we go through boxes and see if there is anything we will need and donate the rest. We had our 10x30 trailer built in August. My husband is working on the design of our house and we are close to finishing that part of it. He has build a few scaled models of it so that we can picture how the layout will work. We hope to finalize the design this month and then start compiling the materials over the next few months and start building. Our goal is to have our home finished by the first of the year. God has been our help and guide all along this journey and I will continue to share how he has led and provided in my upcoming blogs.
Another important aspect of our lives that we felt would benefit by going tiny is our time with family. The most obvious result of having a smaller living space is less time cleaning which leads to more free time. What would you do with a little extra time? Most tiny homes take a maximum of 30 min to clean the entire house. With more financial freedom and the downsizing of space, it allows me to stay at home with my son full time with much less strain on our budget. I know many of you who have children, choose to work, but for me I knew I needed to stay home with my son. I could not send my child somewhere and let someone else raise him for 8+ hours of the day. I feel that God gave him to me and He will equip me with the skills I need to raise and teach him right. With that being said, we live in a two income society, where the cost of living sometimes doesn’t allow a mother/wife to stay home. I do understand that and I know God knows and takes care of those in that situation just the same. I knew that if God led me to stay home with my son, that he would provide a way and He has. Sometimes we don’t know how He does it but He always provides. In this time of the modern feminist movement, it is considered old fashioned to say that a woman's place is at home taking care of her family. It wasn’t God who led people to live above their means and continuously desire more and more resulting in an imbalance of income and spending. That imbalance reduces the time the average Mother/Wife gets to spend with her family. I would rather give up the so called comforts of this world and gain more priceless time with my family. I would like to encourage you to search the scriptures for how a woman is intended to live. I will leave you the verses that I came across while preparing this blog:
"3-The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4-That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5-To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:3-5 KJV)
While we have had many family and friends supporting us on this decision, many others have looked at us with skepticism and doubt. To some it is too extreme and impossible to be happy in a tiny house. The most often ask questions have to do with our son and how we will raise a family in a tiny space. There are many reasons that led up to the decision to go tiny. I will try to elaborate on a few in the next few blogs. The first reason I will start to explain is financial. In a country where bigger is always better, going tiny is rarely understood. Americans want more. Bigger houses, bigger food, more things, bigger events,... We never seem to be satisfied. There is always room for improvement when it comes to our possessions and our homes. To say we are living above our means is an understatement. My husband and I started out in a very small studio apartment and worked our way up each time until we ended up “owning” our own home. So many of us think, if we only had more space we would be happier... More space equals more money whether it be rent or mortgage. We are all raised that debt is a normal part of life. That everyone has it and that there is no way around it. Society tells us we should “own” our own home and have the nicest cars and go on the nicest trips we can't afford. Do you really own something that you haven't paid for yet? Do you own something that someone else has given you the money to pay for? Do you own it or the lender? We were convicted about being subject to the lender by the verse in Proverbs 22:7. “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” I don't want to be servant to anyone but Christ. We started by paying off all credit cards, our car and finally selling our house. Being debt free is an amazing feeling. Knowing that you owe no man and that they aren't controlling your financial decisions anymore is priceless. It doesn't mean there aren't still struggles, but there is freedom from financial bondage. We are praying to stay debt free through this process.There is a way to live within your means. Our journey would not happen without God's help. We are amazed each day at how he provides even when we are doubtful.
"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7)
My husband and I started discussing the idea of starting a blog to share and document our Tiny House Journey. I felt that it would allow me to record the process as well as share it with others. As I contemplated the idea, the question started running through my mind of whether anyone would find what I have to say of any interest or help. As I shared my thoughts with a friend the doubt quickly disappeared and I knew that I needed to write about God's wonderful grace in our lives. Without Him we would have nothing. We don't deserve any of the blessings He has given us yet He continues to bless. We hope to inspire others to take the step to break free of society's definition of home as we share what God has shown us and give Him Glory for all He has done for us. God has blessed us all with so much and yet we as a society continue to want more and more. Think for a few minutes about all the space in your home and how much of it you actually use on a daily basis. Our family has been led to be rid of the bondage of "stuff" and allow ourselves more time to focus on what is truly important. We want to share our journey with you and be obedient to what God has called us to do. We pray that something you read will inspire or bless you in some way. Stay tuned as we share what led up to this commitment. May God Bless you!
"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (1 Timothy 6:8)