Saturday, May 21, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
DANGER DANGER DANGER!
I had free reign over the kitchen. Jeremiah was working the Flying Squirrels game so I wouldn't see him for quite some time. Hmmm.
But not much to my surprise, as I went in for the kill the Holy Spirit zoomed in ahead of me. He reminded me He was with me by bringing some things to mind and allowing my heart and my mind to make a conscious choice to sacrifice.
He reminded me that I was off to small group/book club/Bible study in a couple hours. He reminded me that there I would be surrounded with a handful of women who were all in with this challenge, too--who had been sending honest and encouraging emails all day, helping me to press on. He reminded me that my actions go deeper than I think they will. He reminded me that people are watching and learning, being encouraged or hindered. It's no coincidence that an old youth retreat leader from when I was in high school commented on Day Two and then posted a link to this blog on her own, proclaiming what my church is doing to help feed starving children. How could I give up the fight now? So not by my own strength, but by the Holy Spirit's, I was able to walk away from that dang Twix. And it's actually getting "easier." It's not easy, but it's become more of who I am this week, of what I'm living for. Funny, I suppose that's not so unlike our faith and character that God is shaping. Application point, check.
Blaring in my mind while I was alone in the kitchen was something my Bible study leader told me in college. Righteousness and obedience is not our natural tendency. We have to choose things that bring life, that honor Christ. It's exciting to know that God's truly doing something here, helping me yield to the Spirit. "He must become greater, I must become less."
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
In our new place we have to go into the building before then being able to go in through our front door. We lock our door religiously and also need a key to get into the building itself (theoretically). Because I've been fearful of this exact scenario, most days when we leave the house together I annoyingly ask Jeremiah if he has the keys. Sunday was no exception. I suppose a better question would have been to ask if he had all the keys--even our house key I lent out to his family while they were visiting for the weekend. Oops! Jeremiah freaked and I laughed. What does one do when they lock themselves out of their own house?? Can't call AAA (speaking of, we need to get signed up for that). Can't ask a neighbor. Shoot.
Luckily, my mind quickly raced back to mid-slumber Friday night when it started storming. I groggily got up and closed all the windows we had open, but didn't want to waste my precious sleep time locking them (those things require some serious elbow grease). There was hope! Until we trekked through the landscaping and bellied up to the window only to find you couldn't really grasp the screen. But by some miracle, Jeremiah got ahold of it and proceeded to bend it until it popped out. What a guy! I think it's his new found handy self. If it were up to me to get us in, we would've spent that night at a shelter. Unfortunately, the screen didn't go back in quite as well as it came out and the frame ended up snapping in half along the bottom before Jeremiah slid it into place. Fortunately, it doesn't look nearly as ghetto as one might expect from the outside.
I'm not sure whether it's a good or bad thing we live on the first floor. On one hand, there would have been no way to break in if we weren't on the ground floor. On the other hand, I guess we'd be a lot safer.
And that my friends is a lesson learned. Actually two lessons learned.
1. It's easy to break into our place.
2. We need to hide an extra key.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Jeremiah just returned from the grocery store with all the food we'll need for the next five days. He didn't even take a list. And the real kicker, he spent less than $20.
See we're joining dozens of other Hope-goers in take a five day challenge to forego our abundance and experience need, want, faith, and sacrifice. Rice and beans for five days. Then give the gap: donate the money you saved on groceries this week to support a cause. Millions of people are starving throughout the world as I eat my double chocolate Klondike bar to round out a day of three full meals and plenty of snacks to supplement.
I hate rice and beans. Well, I can gag down a few forkfuls of white rice (topped with butter, salt, and pepper), but I absolutely can't stand beans. Ugh, the texture is all wrong and the taste is unbearable. So when Hope announced its upcoming challenge, I threw up a little in my mouth and racked my brain for excuses. As luck would have it, I'm almost halfway through my pregnancy, so I sighed a big sigh of relief knowing I wouldn't have to participate. Jeremiah was excited about it, but I felt confident and good about my decision to opt out. Although, a decision usually comes with some thinking, analysis, or debate, doesn't it? I suppose this wasn't a decision at all. I didn't put much thought into it, and surely didn't consider the full picture.
This past Monday a slight revelation occurred to me. Pregnant women in other countries don't have special privileges. They don't get to sit down to a Thanksgiving feast while the rest of their family and friends gag through rice and beans. As quick as the thought came to mind, it was gone. I hate rice and beans.
Then this past Tuesday we went to our bi-weekly dinner gathering with friends. The topic of conversation a friend offered was our thoughts on Hope's five day challenge. What was our initial reaction? Were we planning to participate? As we all shared our honest feedback on the subject, we realized our reactions were pretty telling of what really goes on in our hearts. We talked about how we couldn't be inconvenienced, about how deserving we think we are. We talked about how it's not that much change, about how we don't have to sacrifice. We talked about wanting to keep the money we saved, about the fear of trusting God for provision. "Can't we add a little bit of chicken? I'll only do it if I can pick what types of beans. Can we just do the challenge for dinners?"
We have a lot to be thankful for. I can say I hate rice and beans because I have other options. We can add in fruits, vegetables, and meat. We can choose what type of bean, what kind of rice. We have the ability to give the gap.
How fortunate we are that we have a choice. As Jeremiah mentioned on Tuesday, these people just want to eat. Period.
I hope you'll read through the heart of this challenge on Hope's website. I also hope you'll consider what some of these things mean for you, for your faith. I know that I can go through the motions of this and miss out on a lot that God would have for me. I'm praying that this will be a time of maturity, humility, sacrifice, and faith. We'll let you know how we're doing.
Note: we are considering what are wise yet sacrificial choices for us. And likewise for those who want to participate. Maybe it's foregoing the daily lunch breaks out, maybe it's only eating what's already in your house, maybe it's 15 meals of rice and beans.