So today I got to hear the testimony, in person, of the lady who basically gave me the courage to "jump" and trust God completely. About a year ago, a friend gave me this book to read. It sat on my nightstand in a pile of "must reads" for a while. Finally, one day I picked it up and didn't put it down until I was done. No laundry got done, kids fended for themselves, etc. I read it from cover to cover that day. This woman's story was amazing and so inspiring. From that point on, I knew that if God was calling us to do something, he would provide for all our needs, even though I had lots of proof of that in my life already. It was more confirmation! I just had to trust Him completely. So, I did!
This book also inspired our BIG PURGE of the unnecessary things and people in our life. She and her family had given up everything. Absolutely EVERYTHING to follow God's call. If she could do that, then we could give up some things, right? We had already begun to clean out our house and lives---little bits at a time, here and there, over the previous year. But it wasn't quite like the "Big Purge of 2011." As good as it felt to clean out, throw away, and give away trash bags of stuff every so often, it felt so freeing to throw out the excess material things that were cluttering up our home and lives. We had already parted with most of the stuff that seemed to keep us from putting God first. But those things that we hadn't had the courage to throw out because "so and so gave it to us" or because "we might need it one day even though we hadn't used in our 15 yrs of marriage", all went out the door this time.
Like in the book, our family and friends thought we were crazy. (We are!) The author mentioned that her mother even came and purchased things at her garage sale "just in case she came to her senses and wanted her stuff back." I laughed at this part when I read this. A few weeks later when my own mother took things I was throwing out so the kids could still have them at her house when they went there, I started to get irritated and then remembered that part and chuckled to myself. That's what grandmas are for anyway, right? Today, during her talk the author mentioned that she still prays for her siblings. I wondered if it was because they still think she's crazy after 40+ years and then wondered if people will still think we've lost of minds 40 years from now, or if we will have found them by then.
My kids are not deprived because we got rid of the hundreds of Disney movies (that really weren't written for kids) that had accumulated over years of birthdays and Christmases. They are not saddened by the loss of the hundreds of kiddie books that we bought them and read to them as toddlers. They aren't going to grow up and hate me because I threw out their favorite Strawberry Shortcake book from when they were two. They aren't sobbing over giving their never played with or played with once toys that cluttered up their rooms and made cleaning their room take hours to the poor kids that had none. They actually fight less because there is less to fight over. ;-)
They aren't going to go off the deep end because we got rid of their TV and limit their TV watching and video game playing. They actually don't ever ask to watch TV anymore, and when I try to get them to find something "good" to watch they actually complain about not finding anything and usually turn it off. They one thing they do ask to do is play the Wii. This is something we thought long and hard about. But "reasoned" that this is something that we all enjoy playing "together" as a family. (Remember, you can reason just about anything back into your house.) But we do keep all video games and electronics to a minimum and monitor all content very closely. They are usually earned and played all together.
So without TV, video games, movies, and useless toys, what are they doing? They are reading more (even those that hated to read), studying more, learning new "useful" skills, and are praying more. And when your life is filled with reading, studying, and praying, you just become happier. It really has changed all of us. Christmas this year wasn't a huge headache. They actually didn't ask for "junkie toys". They mostly asked for books including prayer books, tools, new classes/lessons, & cooking items.
I look forward to the "Bigger Purge of 2012" and more changes in our live. I know that God isn't finished with us yet and has something BIG planned for our family.
FYI: The book was Go! You Are Sent. The author and today's speaker was Genie Summers.