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    Tidying Up and Minimalism


    Photo by Noah Näf on Unsplash

    Minimalism is a hot topic these days.

    My MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group recently had a discussion on minimalism and it was one of the most engaged meetings we have had in a long time.

    What gives?

    Well, thanks to Marie Kondo we now have The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up at our fingertips on Netflix. I still remember watching Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls driving herself into a frenzy deciding what “sparked joy” for her as her daughter Laurelai (Where my GG fans at?!) urged her to STOP tidying up and start focusing on some deeper issues.

    Why do I stockpile things?

    The truth is, I love to tidy up but I am not a tidy person. Yep, I said it. Maybe you resonate with this. Let me put it this way- I am a recovering hoarder/ messy girl. For MANY years I embraced my inner 7 enneagram before enneagram was a THING. I knew I was a creative, an adventurer, a procrastinator, and someone who worked best on the fly. That was me. Everything I worked in looked life a hot mess… but it was MY hot mess and I knew how to navigate it. How dare you move my paper pile before asking me… my letter to Congress was paper number five under the top three manila folders.

    Ridiculous, right?

    I will never forget the time I was outed. My boss needed to borrow the company car. And guess what was sitting right there in the cup holder.

    An old banana peel…. DAYS old. Cringe. I think back and want to cry. But my twenty year old spirit didn’t know how to do the simple things with so many “big” things spinning in my mind. Like march that butt over to the trash and throw away my rotting banana peel.

    Growing up

    I am now in my thirties with two kids of my own and I realize I have a deeper issue to confront. It is totally ok to be an adventurer and a creative, but I need to reverse some terrible habits I have accumulated. The biggest issue for me is not about what sparks joy, but how do I take care of what God has given me. Stewardship over happiness. Stewardship in time leads to joy. This isn’t all about me. Thanks be to God that He has given me so many great blessings. How do I care for these things?

    Glory to God

    In the midst of tidying up my home, I have turned to the Lord to help me find my flow. It is truly less about me finding more joy and more about me trusting God. Do I really need ten pairs of the same types of shoes to live a good and productive life? Um, no. Let’s donate some of those and think about other ways to spend my money on things that matter. Hint- I am clearly NOT a shoe girl. Purging my jackets has been a serious difficulty for me.

    In the end, trusting God leads to me desiring to create a cozy and simple home for myself and my family. Trusting God allows me to wait patiently on Him to provide our needs rather than run to debt or crazy sales to get more. When I steward the things I have well I am not focused on accumulating more, I have plenty to take care of.

    What is minimalism, anyways?

    When asked what is minimalism, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist says “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”

    Wow. What a great idea. As a Christian, wouldn’t my promotion of my relationship with Christ be my number one motivation? Of course. So, minimalism has less to do with THINGS and more to do with the condition of my heart.

    This thought is incredibly freeing when I decide to Marie Kondo my closet. In the end, this is a privilege and not a hindrance, and every Good and Perfect Gift comes from the Father above.

    Where is true joy found?

    Psalm 33:20-22 

    20 We put our hope in the Lord.
        He is our help and our shield.
    21 In him our hearts rejoice,
        for we trust in his holy name.
    22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
        for our hope is in you alone.

    To my messy, untidy friends on a journey of undoing habits like me: don’t give up. The Lord is where we find our ultimate hope, and every step towards stewardship of his belongings should bring us peace and joy. It is less in the things and more in Him.

    I shall not want

    ” A song of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. “

    -Psalm 23

    I shall not want.

    What a bold statement.

    The gospel is like a salve to my soul. My wandering heart is prone to search for all types of things to fill the hole in my heart. Last week it was a new pair of cute black Nike’s with a rose gold swoosh that would match my little girl’s pair. Seriously. In all seriousness I spent a good two hours pondering that purchase and deciding if I should buy them.

    They came in the mail and sure, they are super cute and comfy and replaced my year old shoes that were falling apart.

    But what if I spent time with the Lord that intently and that excitedly? Daily?

    It is almost embarrassing to bare my soul in this way and to admit that little things bring me such rush of excitement. A Starbucks latte and stroll through Target after a rough, late morning drop off at school. One hot yoga class on an afternoon that is normally full of chaos, naptimes, and homework.

    The truth is, I fully recognize my humanness and also selfishness. It is when I do fully turn to the Lord, tune out the world and my little (and big) problems, and focus on God rather than myself that I DO NOT WANT the things of this world as much as the things of God.

    When I sit down with God and allow him to comfort me with his goodness, I truly can rest in everything. In His timing, in His goodness, and even in my deepest fears, for “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

    On my own I will not lie down in rest. I will wrestle and struggle against myself and the world in an attempt to fill my needs with things that will never fill my deepest need.

    Yet God restores my soul. It is when I spend time with my maker that he changes my desires. He fills my heart with my deepest longings of love, worthiness, comfort, peace, joy, and life. I do not wonder about what I am missing out on when my eyes are fixed on the abundance of what I have.

    Thank you Lord for this passage. Thank you that you do truly lead me beside still waters even in the chaos of this life. Thank you that YOU alone restore my soul. There is nothing I could do with my own bare hands that could come close to how you care for me. Thank you for taking a selfish and unrighteous lover of the world like me and make me righteous.

    But God meant it for my good…

    Sometimes our endings are not what we expected but everything we had ever hoped for.

    This past week I had the privilege to finish reading Genesis and the portion on Joseph. I was incredibly moved by the story and felt the need to really meditate on the verses and the implications for my life. As a mother, I often surrender my emotions to fear and worry. It is easy to fret over both the small fry stuff as well as the big things. For example, I worry over little things like dentist appointments and the fact my six year old has her first two cavities. Then there is the big stuff. When my mind GOES there to the dark places and quickly ponders what might happen if I got cancer, or my husband died early, or…

    A brief summary on this passage in the bible, please don’t mind my quick delivery, I am no theologian, just a mom who loves to read/ listen to the bible- Joseph is Dad’s favorite… and his brothers don’t like it. He gets his beautiful gift of a coat from his Father and the brothers cannot stand it. They decide to get rid of him, so they pretend to kill him and play a cruel joke on their Dad and little brother by selling him off. Joseph then ends up a slave in a land far away, and experiences all kinds terrible things. He is wrongly accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into jail even when innocent. That alone would cause me deep panic. Still, he perseveres where he is and in his circumstances and manages to be a right hand to the prison guards, earning him respect as he then becomes an interpreter of dreams to the royals and eventually Pharaoh. The story ends with him having all the upper hands- he’s basically in power over the lands food supply and appointed an overseer- when he’s confronted with his childhood wound. His brothers pay a visit. (I don’t know about you- but nothing unnerves me like a familial wound from my childhood). And Joseph weeps. His heart longs for reconciliation with his Father AND his brothers. What? That’s a weird twist. What happened to revenge or payback? Bitterness over time? I mean, they sold him off when he was just a kid!

    I always knew the story, but this time around it hit me particularly hard. I had always sensed some sort of pity for Joseph- poor guy, he got a bad lot. His mean brothers selling him off. Poor Joseph getting stuck in jail. Poor Joseph spending most of his adult life misunderstood, alone, often put in dreadful circumstances… definitely not getting easy way out.

    How often do we do this in our lives? We take side glances at our peers and think those completely common yet poisonous thoughts… “If only I had their money…”, “If I was that beautiful…” or “If I had a husband that romantic…”. We compare and think we got the raw deal. I’ll be vulnerable to say that I struggle here. I look at the outside representation of other people’s lives and think they have it easier. It could be based off one instagram pic of a remodeled home, or a Facebook post of a couple in Tahiti. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for me to envy and assume friends of mine have it easier than I do. Cringe.

    But God was at work in Joseph’s story.

    This time, when the story concluded, I was in AWE of Joseph’s strength in God. He knew who he was (loved), where his meaning derived (the Lord), and he was strong enough to hold back and do the will of God. He extended mercy not as a sign of weakness but of intense and courageous love. He was bold in his requests and bold in his forgiveness. In all his trials he was not beat down. He was learning to lean on the Lord and his courage and faith grew. I’m always weary to make bible characters heroes because the truth is all “are sinners and fall short of the glory of God.” He wasn’t the hero. God was. But God used him mightily and he accepted, and what a beautiful picture of the Lord blessing him in his obedience with reconciliation, life and abundance and God getting the glory in it all. This story grips my heart. Who doesn’t love a story of redemption, with all the loose ends tied up?

    19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

    What does this mean for us? This redemption story is so rich with mercy, forgiveness, and love that it’s difficult not to be moved.

    It is a good reminder for me not to skip ahead. I want the ending so bad. The happy reconciliation, the comfort, and the reward. What about the space between?

    That is where I’m being molded by my Heavenly Father. It’s the pressure cooker. And I so often hate it and want to be removed. Oh those days of suffering and mourning.

    +The time I lost my 19 week baby due to an unknown infection.

    +The friends I’ve lost and never understood why.

    +They failures of never seeing the fruition of my hard work in a business.

    +The feeling of not being sure if I’m doing anything meaningful with my life day to day.

    +The terrible words spoken over me in my past.

    +The divorce I didn’t expect in my early twenties.

    Heartache will continue to make it’s visit in my heart and my only hope is that I’ll trust my redeemer in those dark moments that he’s up to something good in the big picture. 

    Reading this story has given me hope to endure my trials and to think differently on them. It doesn’t make hard times any easier and definitely doesn’t remove them.

    I can only pray that my faith would move me to a place where I can truly say in the hardest of times, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for my good.

    In the thick of motherhood


    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    This morning I woke up at 6 am to try to get a little alone time. When you are in the thick of motherhood, morning coffee and some clarity is essential to start the day off right. If I don’t get up early to write/ read/ blog/ pray… let’s just say it might not happen for the day. While I am well aware I can squeeze all this in the nooks and crannies of daily life, let’s just say I didn’t want to this morning. I heard my husband pouring the beautiful sound of fresh coffee beans into the grinder and the gentle hum as it was working as I quietly tip-toed out of bed…

    when I heard the throaty “MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!”.

    I yelled to my husband, half laughing, “Not today!”.

    I shall not want… right?

    Public Meltdowns + Goldfish

    President’s Day weekend came. Monday was no school. I decided to take my kiddos to the Children’s Museum. I honestly thought it was a splendid idea. My daughter has no school, and hers was the only school in the district that had the day off. We happily drove to the museum with our snack bag packed full with Goldfish (no apologies- they work magic and my kids are alive), gummies (for bribing and I brush their teeth), and cheese sticks, kids clif bars- the whole gamut. I had a fresh, piping hot Starbucks. The day was OURS.

    Until I pulled up blissfully unaware why the street was backed up a quarter of a mile and the sign said “lot full”. Was there an event?

    No, silly, everyone decided to come to the museum today. Every other school district had the day off.

    We circled thirty minutes and I found a spot. My oldest held her pee pee in her pants and survived. We got this!

    Except. Avery. My second daughter, my chunky gooey butter of goodness. She was overwhelmed by it all.

    Have you ever seen that mom with the wide eyes and an expression that looks half crying half laughing? The one you aren’t sure whether to run from or hug? That was me. Avery threw a total of 5 temper tantrums… one that eventually led to me spilling my precious (Gollum voice here) COFFEE all over the floor.

    WAAAAA.

    We had our fun and it was time to go. Bye bye museum- we will catch you on a brighter day.

    PS- she was totally getting a molar.

    You just never know with these kiddos.


    What day is it today?

    Oh, and we totally missed a piano lesson. I thought it was Tuesday, but it was Wednesday. Winning.

    Refuge

    I have been out of the work force almost seven years. This week it has been on my mind a ton. As a stay at home mom, it is easy to wonder if this work will all be worth it. No pay, long hours, little rest. Not a whole lot of accolades. I have tried my hand in a few things and haven’t really had much success. It is humbling to realize I often wonder if what I do matters much here on earth.

    It is times like this this verse brings me great comfort.

    Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. …

    I see it in glimpses now and then… and it is truly overwhelming. God is SO good, and today alone I pondered how my babies are growing up so quickly and so wild and beautiful. The days are long but the years are truly short.

    God is doing something good here, in my heart and with my hands, even if I do not see what is around the bend.

    I work in Him and with Him… and that is good. Even in the thick of motherhood.