Friday, March 25, 2016

Initial Thoughts on our Year of Preparation

As I shared in my previous post, as we were starting 2016, God put the word 'preparation' on my heart.

Many have since asked what this means.  I'm certain I don't know all the details yet...  I do know that as we learn more about Jesus and change our lives so that they are less about us and our needs and more about him and doing the things he's called all of us to do- things naturally change.  They have to.  When our focus is on more of him and less of us, we begin to see the world differently.  We begin to see our community differently.  Our jobs, our marriages, our kids, all of these areas will undergo a change in mindset and perspective.

For us, it started with a change in priorities.  After walking out of an orphanage filled with lonely, sick children desperate for love we knew that Jesus had changed our hearts in an instant.  Our hearts actually took on more of a resemblance of his heart.  The things that used to be so important were less important.  The things that were important to Jesus had filled our hearts and minds.

As followers of Christ, I know this to be true: the more of Jesus we try to put in, the more the world has to come out.

Our hearts have changed, our purpose has changed, so now we have to take a really good look at our life: our family, our finances, the things we spend our time and money on, the jobs we have, everything and ask him 'Is this what you want for me? Is this area of my life fully surrendered to your kingdom and am I fulfilling your purposes in this area?'  Needless to say, this is going to take some time.  Maybe that's why God put it on my heart as a word for the year...

I think the first area that hit me as being in need of change is finances.  We have been tithing for a few years now and we give, but we want to free up more.  We want to use our income to support important things on our hearts now AND we want to save, invest, & build the finances to make some really cool stuff happen for the kingdom in the future.  I don't know how to explain this, but my desires have changed. I don't feel deprived making these changes- I WANT to do them.  I plan to share more on this as we refocus and rebudget and see how it works.  I've spent months reading & rereading books by many wise financial advisors and now we are putting some of that advice into action.  Yes, we will still have fun, take a vacation, & enjoy life.  God blessed us with amazing kids that deserve to have a childhood filled with joy.  We will just make smarter decisions and more thoughtfully planned activities moving into the future.  And already, freeing ourselves of last year's Disney plan has made it possible for me to go on an advocacy trip to China in a few weeks where I will be able to meet so many sweet children, just like ours, in need of families.  If we hadn't said yes to reprioritizing our finances (and vacation time) I might have missed this!  What an opportunity to reach the hurting, the lost, and the lonely and help them to find hope in the shelter of a forever family.

Another area that we have been at odds with for a couple of years now is job vs family.  In our current positions my hubby and I are both expected to have 100% devotion to our jobs.  But if a job is getting 1st place then the kids are getting 2nd place.  And if the kids are getting 1st place, then the job is getting 2nd.  It feels like we have more we want and need to do than time to do it in.  We've asked ourselves some hard questions... How much money do we really need to make? What if we only had one income? If you don't feel like this job is the right one for you- what DO you want to do? And after so, so many discussions, prayer, seeking wise counsel, and more discussion, we decided that only one of us will be continuing in this career path.  Hubby will be saying goodbye to the service within the next year and while we don't know for sure what he will be doing next, we know that this frees him up to always put our kids and the Lord first.  It frees him up to pursue his God-given passions.  We are SO EXCITED about taking this step, and preparing for him to close out this chapter in his life and step into what God has for him.

There's more.  So much more God has for us in our year of preparation... We will boldly seek him and his will for our family, and as he exposes areas that need tweaking or a full out overhaul, we will stop and take the time to prepare this area so that it follows his heart and plans for us.

It's such an exciting time!!! Anyone ready to join us? ;) 

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