Vacation, Soap, and Contentment

We’ve finished our first month in the trailer!  Included in that was a vacation to our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C.  It was a wonderful trip and we had been wanting to take the girls for a long time.  It was definitely this radical change to our lifestyle that ultimately made it possible.  I will cherish the memories that we made on this trip.  It was one of our best vacations ever!

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IMG_7622.JPGIt’s really funny how many things you don’t consider when you move to a smaller space.  As I started packing up things in our bathroom back in May I found so many bath items!  Soaps, shampoos, lotions, body washes, band aid…  Some were from hotels or giveaway samples.  Some were clearance sale items from whatever semi-annual sale I attended last. Plus I apparently have a thing for Star Wars band aids.   I even found a few things that were duplicates because I would forget I had something, or couldn’t find it when I needed it. (this same thing happened in the kitchen, by the way.  Black beans and salt, anyone???)  Not that there is anything wrong with having a backup soap or deodorant, but no one really needs 3 industrial size bottles of aloe lotion.

At one point I made a decision.  I would pack all of that up and bring it into the trailer with me.  No soap left behind!  And I would USE.  IT.  UP.  No buying an item if I already had something identical or even similar.  Now, in this tiny camper bathroom that hauntingly reminds me of an airplane bathroom with an added shower, I have 2 regular house bathrooms full of health and beauty overflow.  It’s crowded in there.  And it is overwhelmingly obvious that I had too much stuff in my bathrooms.  The funny thing is, that I had an entire cabinet in the girls’ bathroom that was empty and I thought I was doing pretty well!

So far in this month I have finished up a bottle of body wash and I’m almost done with another, emptied a sunscreen bottle, a shampoo bottle, a tube of toothpaste, and a few bandaids.  I’ve only had to purchase one toothbrush and some deodorant for Nick.  I’ve put a few things in my shopping cart and then snapped back to reality and put it on the shelf.  Saying no is hard.  Sometimes you have to learn to say no in the little purchases.

I am constantly hit with the realization that I have so much more than I really need.  And sometimes I find myself craving more.  It’s ridiculous the lack of contentment that I find myself in at times.  Totally contrary to what the Lord has called us to.

In Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)  Paul talks about contentment –

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ,  who gives me strength.”

Can I be content with living in a camper?  Right now, yes.  What about tomorrow when I am introverting hardcore?  What about when my kids are fighting and have no place to separate, or when Nick isn’t feeling well and doesn’t have a quiet place to retreat?

Can I be content when things don’t turn out the way I thought they should?  When life isn’t going according to my carefully laid plans?  Am I content then, or do I become a ball of mush in the corner that is pretty much useless to everyone?

Sometimes it comes down to deciding you want to be content.  Going through life constantly consuming and never satisfied like some sort of zombie doesn’t really sound all that fulfilling.  I want to be full.  I want to be content no matter what situation I’m in.  Whether I’m living in this camper or living in a house.

Either way, it’s home.

Vacation, Soap, and Contentment

Change of Season

A little bit of life update for me.  There have been a lot of changes over the last few months for us.  I had been hoping to do a little more blogging over the summer, but I took a break for a bit to refocus.

It’s been an interesting summer, to say the least.  And surprisingly, one of the busiest we have had in a while!

A little background:  Right at the end of the school year, Nick was let go from his job as worship pastor at the church we had been at for 8 months.  This wasn’t due to any kind of terrible thing or situation…just one of those things that happens at times.  This came as quite a shock to us, and quite honestly, we had no idea what we wanted or needed to do. There was a lot of emotion involved during that time, as you probably could have guessed!

Very quickly, Nick was offered a job teaching 5th grade at the school connected to the church.  After taking a few weeks of thought and prayer about it, he decided to take the job.  It seemed like a great provision and would help us keep our girls in the the school that they loved. We knew that I would need to take another job in order for this to happen.  I began looking for a job, but then felt the Lord tell me to wait.  So I waited.  I do not like waiting.  I like planning and knowing exactly what to do.

Time began to grow shorter and closer and closer to the date that I would need to have steady income and still I didn’t know what I was going to do about work.  Then…one day I walked into the school office with Nick to pick up his books and a little later I walked out with the potential of having a job there as well.  It was not at all what I was expecting.  And to be frank:  not at all what I wanted.  I prayed for several days and cried about it some as well.  I had an idea of what direction I wanted to do, and this was NOT IT!  And yet, I couldn’t pull myself away from it.  Finally, I stepped out in obedience to what I felt the Lord was doing, and accepted the job.  So as of Monday, I will be teaching music and art at the school – elementary, middle, and high school.  I find myself getting more and more excited about it, though I still carry quite a bit of nervousness.

In addition, I am keeping the other part time job I have that I work at home, as well as teaching private lessons at another Music School in town one day a week.  Yes, I am going to be a very busy girl!

There are so many things I feel that God is doing in my life right now.  I felt impressed recently to study John 15 and go through it verse by verse.  In studying these verses, I am reminded that the Father desires me to flourish and be fruitful.  And as the caretaker of the vine that I am grafted into, he prunes in order to make me more fruitful.  He is pruning away the things in my life that are hindering fruitfulness.  But, if I remain connected and abiding in the perfect love of the vine, I will have everything I need to stay nourished.  So even when life is looking like I’m being pruned, I know that I am nourished, and being taken care of and prepared for fruitfulness.

This post has turned out to be longer than I expected.  I still have goals for this little blog corner…and I plan to work toward them.  It may just take a little more time than I originally thought!

Change of Season

Never stop singing Oceans!

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I read a blog post recently titled Stop Singing Oceans and the author talks about how we shouldn’t sing the song because we really don’t mean it.  I’m not slamming her for saying that at all. Many times I’ve sung songs in a worship service and thought to myself, “Do I really live my life like this?”  I think it’s good and right to ask those questions.  To see where we are spiritually and to grow in areas and let God use the lyrics to expand our understanding of Him.

But for me, I think I need to keep singing Oceans.  Sing it over and over until it becomes real in my life.  I look at the people around Jesus and they said things to Him about their belief…and then they faltered.  They failed.  They didn’t live it out.  But Jesus didn’t tell them to stop saying it.

In John 11, Martha had just told Jesus she believed He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God!  And immediately turned around and said, Jesus we can’t open that grave!  Lazarus will smell!  Jesus didn’t walk away and say, “Martha, I guess you don’t believe, so stop saying it.  Never mind guys!  Leave the stone!”

No way! In verse 40:Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”  

And what about Peter??  Here’s his story when he sees Jesus walking on water:

 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out,“Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  Matthew 14:28-33

I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t leave Peter to drown when he saw the wind and was afraid.  “Oh, too bad, Peter.  You didn’t really believe.  You’re done.”

This same guy later DENIED Jesus, and still…hey Peter…I’m not done with you even though you’ve said (or sung) things that you didn’t succeed at the first time (or hundredth time)

I mean, the whole opening of the song says – “You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.”  We might fail guys!  And that’s ok.  Because even when we fail, we call upon Him and rest in His perfection. We keep transferring our trust from ourselves, our money, our job, our family, or whatever we trust in…and we give it to Jesus.

We are made stronger in the walking.  Through the hardship and the perseverance.  We build muscles.  We have hard days, days we feel like we fail.  We have days we are sore and we feel like we’ve just been beaten up and dragged behind a horse! But we press on.  We endure, and it produces character in us.  It produces hope in us.  (Romans 5:4)

So yes, I will keep singing Oceans.  I will keep asking the Spirit to lead me where my trust is without borders.  I will keep asking Him to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander so my faith will be made stronger.  And when the storms and waves come and I find myself slipping, I will call upon His Name, because I am His and He is mine.

Never stop singing Oceans!