I have been able to stay at home with her from day 1 and that itself is a huge gift from the Lord and it is also, honestly, a huge accomplishment and direct blessing of being smart with our money, living within our means our entire marriage and trusting the Lord that the time will be right to "move up" and enjoy bigger and better things financially. For, right now, we are to learn, grow and be discipled in the small things like living with less, making the most of our money, continuing to trust as we tithe (since day 1 of our marriage we have been united in this and it is being blessed every day) and learning that simplicity is allowing us to be closer to God, closer to each other and better people period. Simplicity is a blessing. It is something that amusingly does not come "simply" or easily. It is something that takes making the right choices, no impulse buying or spending, and when we do come across a blessing in the form of "green agape" as my daddy puts it, to be wise with it, thankful for it and to make the most of it. God is faithful to us.
I hear a lot of people say, "God will provide God will provide for all of my needs, he is testing me in this by allowing me to this that or the other". I'm not sure I completely agree. I do believe the Lord tests us and teaches us through lessons. I believe that God provides for his children. I also believe that the Lord has very specific instructions about finances, about home living, about our rolls as spouses, as parents and ultimately as His children. There are things that people claim and name and it drives me crazy when they do that and then goof off by not showing up for work, being defiant in their obedience to God in tithing, worship, marriage, parenting, etc. It is not easy to be obedient in pretty much anything, but it is worth it. It is not easy to always respect my husband, but it is worth the occasional biting of my tongue to let him know I submit to his Godly authority and trust his leading. It is not always easy to be quiet or humble or gentle, but it is God's command to me as a woman, a wife and a mother. Self control is not an easy task for anyone I think, but it is something God has set in place for us as believers for our good. Ultimately for His good.
When will we, as believers, as followers, be real with ourselves and each other? When will Godly living be a priority instead of getting the latest game, priciest SUV, biggest house or designer shirt? really. I'm baffled by our lack of priority. When do we quit assuming it is the church's job to raise our children in the Word and make it a priority in our home to read the Word and teach the Word and mainly LIVE the Word to our children? which first takes us reading the Word. When will we as Christian wives encourage our husbands daily by our words and our actions and mainly our attitudes? When will Christian men stand up for their wives and fight for them as they battle self esteem, weight, and significance issues? As Nick and I have grown in our marriage, now into parenthood and in ministry I am aware of how blessed I am to have a husband who continues to learn and want to learn how to better himself as a person, man, husband and father. As a woman, wife and mother I hope that it is obvious that I desire to grow, to be Godly, gentle, self controlled in speech and action, to raise my child in the Word and display grace to her.
ALL of this to say that you can have a full time job, a family, hobbies, ministries, a church home, etc and live simply. It is possible, it takes effort, but you don't have to be friendless, depressed and poor to live simply. But, you can have a crazy schedule and be fooling yourself, thinking you have a full life, rich life, so busy and happy, but what worth do all of the "things" have in your life? How many things are your kids involved in or are you involved in that have no value....how deep does the Word and worship run in your home? Just questions and thoughts that have been stirring in my head. Things God has been convicting me of in this last 5 months of motherhood. I had been asking the Lord to refresh my mind, my heart and my relationship with him and he gave me a daughter.