I am on chapter four of this book and it's messing me up.
I've cried at least three times. I'm not often moved by literacy, people.
My husband has, from the day we moved to Peoria and even some time before, desired for us to not be confined by our "stuff." With the spirit prompting him, we sold nearly everything we owned to start our residency journey here in Peoria bare bones. In so many ways this was a rebirth for us, a chance to start a chapter of living that took all the learning of the previous four years and applied it whole heartedly. We moved into an empty house with a pledge to buy nothing new except a mattress for our bed (back issues *ugh*). We found a dining table for $10 at Salvation Army, painted it and made it perfect. A very new friend GAVE us her sofa. God provided and for that first year we bought used. We were even given a CAR for Corey to drive to work by our sweet neighbor. It was an amazing year.
Then desire crept in. I started wishing my kids could "dress better", wishing for a more "put together" home and I felt my heart creeping away from this desire to live intentionally, to give away and forget about getting. I forgot.
And now here enter 7. This book, ironically enough written by a woman leading a new church in Austin, TX, my home of homes, is a "mutiny against excess." It makes me feel ashamed for all the things I've wanted. For all the ways I've dreamed of a "better" future when Corey is done with his training. I mean, when is it enough? When I've exchanged my stained, hand-me-down couch for something pretty, will I be done? Will I be happy? There is ALWAYS one more thing to change, to better, to want. The best is NOW, how easy it is to let that slip away. Jen Hatmaker writes, "Money is the most frequent theme in Scripture; perhaps the secret to happiness is right under our noses. Maybe we don't recognize satisfaction because it is disguised as radical generosity, a strange misnomer in a consumer culture." I read it and all at once I wonder, if my life was looked upon with the volume off, what would be seen? Would it be evident that I live to please God, imitate Jesus? So many of us talk a good Christ talk, but without the sound, would it be known where our hearts lie? It matters little what other people see when they look in on me, but God sees it too. Clearly.
So. A recommitment. My children will know that I am a passionate Christ follower not because I go to church and read the Bible in addition to a slew of other religious material. They will know it because we live it together. I will stop making them an excuse for not having my heart wrapped up in the poor, the marginalized, the hurting and hungry. There are little things we can do together. Little things I haven't done out of fear.
Now it starts. This summer, I will invite the lost children of our neighborhood, the ones who wonder around aimlessly outside, I will invite them into our world. We will have neighborhood slip'n'slide parties, show movies at dusk on our garage, feed popcorn to kids who may eat little now that school is not in session. Oh spirit, help me know how to begin.