Helping him out by being Frugal

clothesline

Whoever thought of the word starving student was probably right. There’s a reason you go broke in university and it is because you have no job, or only work part time and you have no other huge income generating cash cow.

Now…to gear up for this endeavor for the fall….Chris is going back to school for the first time ever. I am so excited for him. This is why we are here in B.C. *sigh of relief* However, this also means that our income will be way less than what we’re used to. God’s providence has brought us this far, I’m sure through His wisdom and power we will come out unscathed.

In my last post, I wrote about how the Lord was preparing us to move here, and it was not revealed why until we actually made the decision to move. It seemed like the Lord was just helping us downsize and chip away at our burden of things, so that when the time came to move away we could do it easily and efficiently and without a huge cost.

The next part of this journey was to teach me and get me interested in being a frugal Momma. I wasn’t always concerned about cost, I spent a lot of money on things I didn’t need. I wasted a lot of money in every possible way that we tend to do in our culture…coffee’s…fast food, movie nights, and the list goes on. It wasn’t until I really started to dive in to God’s word and to dig around deeper that God pointed me towards Proverbs 31.

As I started to read through this passage there were so many things that popped out to me. I actually went through and highlighted nearly the entire passage simply because it was so encouraging. It talks about how wives are noble, precious, hard workers, able bodied, willing to go the distance, careful and mindful about their trading, clever, dignified, can manage their household, has compassion for others, opens their homes, aren’t lazy, and finally, the part that I think of always…they do their husband good, not harm all the days of their life.

I think of that last bit nearly every day. “She does him good not harm all the days of her life”.

What does this mean to me? Well it makes me more mindful about what I am doing with my time, and how I spending the money my husband earns for our family, and how I represent our household when I am dealing with others. It makes me think of honouring my husband.

It really started to shape the way I did things. I wasn’t concerned about my grocery bill before. Now I am. I pay attention to the quality of food that I am purchasing because I know it will be going into the little bodies that God has given to me to take care of. I pay attention to the price that I am paying for that food, and if it is a little more expensive, I make sure that it is because it has come from a good source and that it has earned that price tag rightfully. I use flyers and keep my eye on sales. I try my very best to stick to our food budget, granted there are times where this just doesn’t seem to work out, but I do try to keep my costs minimal. I plan ahead. I never used to plan, in fact I would scoff at those who did because I figured that those who planned ahead had nothing better to do with their time. Now I see that my thinking was foolish and wrong. It has actually helped me to save money by doing so. It seems like a tedious task when I am sitting there writing down a menu and all of the ingredients that go with the meals, but I know that if it is helping our family then it is beneficial in the long run.

Now that we live here in BC, I am way more mindful about the cost of gas, where I travel to and when. We live out in the country, and unfortunately we end up having to drive a little bit to get into town, or to the nearest grocery store. Because of this we have decided only recently to downsize to one vehicle, because it seems ineffective to pay insurance on two vehicles and gas for two vehicles when we can likely do with only one. This also means that I need to plan “town days” now. And make sure that I have my ducks in a row to get my errands done on this particular day and not on any other days because I won’t have a car to get there! (I also consider the fact that the air quality in my area of the country is more polluted and it is probably a good thing to drive only one car instead of two.) If I lived in town, I’d buy a bicycle and a good pair of walking shoes and make do with “two feet and a heartbeat”, but that’s likely for another time in the not so distant future.

And a few of my favorites aside from saving on groceries, and travel…is to make things on my own to suit my need, saving money on bills, and to get really excited about second hand shopping for clothing and other material items.

I had zero craftiness in me. Not a bone. I’d see a hole in a pair of pants, and pitch them in the garbage or send them to the thrift store. This didn’t seem like a problem to me until we moved here actually? I’ve always been a relatively thrifty Mom in that regard. I always shopped in consignment stores for my kids, and just in the last couple of years discovered the joy of thrift stores, but when it came to repairing torn clothing or something that would otherwise be perfectly fine, I couldn’t do it because I didn’t know how. I could thread a needle and make minor repairs, but as far as operating what I now classify as an extremely handy machine…a good old Singer sewing machine…I had no clue? Grade 7 home economics has left the building folks. This is where I decided that if I was going to make do, or do without, I had better learn how to use a sewing machine. This would require owning one of course, and as I mentioned before, if it wasn’t on sale, or used it wouldn’t get purchased. Fortunately for me I found a wonderful little Singer at Walmart of all places, and it was on sale for a steal of deal so I bought it.

Now I am testing the waters with patching, hemming and mending things. I decided to try my hand at quilting as well.  I’m not sure when I decided that this would be a good place to start, but if it weren’t for a short visit from my sweet mother in law, I’d have no idea what I was doing and my daughter would have a really terrible looking blanket.

In regards to keeping bills down, I do weird things like go around at night and unplug all of our “machines” which isn’t many anymore. I don’t use things like alarm clocks, instead I rely on things like cell phones to do the trick, thus eliminating the need for a second electronic that does the same function. I don’t have a bedside lamp plugged in unless I am actually using it for something like reading. I stay away from coffee makers, and have opted for a little French press instead. I only wash on cold water unless the laundry is really soiled and needs some extra TLC. I tend to hang dry my clothing unless I am so behind that it would take me a week to dry our laundry and then I cave and use the dryer. Not without feeling a twinge of guilt though.

I also make all of my own cleaning products. It started because I ran out of window cleaner one day and had nothing else on hand that would clean my mirrors, so I looked it up online and it found that vinegar water works just as well!

After this this, I began to do some more researching and stumbled across this wonderful soap called “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile Soap” and so I ran out to Target, and I bought myself two big bottles that cost about $16.00 each. This I tell you…has been the biggest blessing for me. These little bottles of soap ladies, make anything! I make all-purpose spray, toilet cleaner, laundry soap(emergency), body wash, hair wash, floor washing soap. You name it, I use this stuff. It doesn’t leave a residue, it’s all natural and it comes in lovely essential oil scents. You just use a drop of this stuff and it goes a mile. I have yet to replace my bottles because they’re still going strong.

While I don’t typically use Dr. Bronner’s soap for laundry, unless it’s an emergency, I do stretch a few ingredients to make my own version of laundry soap. I admit, I stole this idea from The Duggar family, but it has saved my wallet time and time again friends. It is the cheapest way I’ve found to stretch my dollar on something that typically costs large families a lot of money.

I also don’t buy things like paper towels, napkins and other disposable products. I use wash rags or cloth napkins, or I simply just do without. I feel it is vitally important to steward my families resources carefully and be mindful of what happens to these items after I am done using them. Are they bad for the environment? did some poor child in a far off land make it for me? And are they a waste of my resources? After I have done what many women do, and overthought the entire situation, I make my decision on whether it’s a good purchase or not.

Because of these lifestyle changes, which they truly are…I have noticed that my family is just as happy as they were before all the changes, and I have the comfort of knowing that I am doing my best to serve my husband and my family in a practical way.

I also realize that not everyone will find my ideas as helpful as others, but I encourage you to take away something from this post. Even if it happens to be that you ponder the cost of your purchases next time you are in a store, then this piece will have served you in some way. There is something to be said about that woman who is far more precious than rubies. She has a high calling and she does it perfectly. I on the other hand, am not perfect and I accept that openly(after all I still get myself a Tim Horten’s coffee from time to time ;) ). I can however appreciate that she goes far and wide to serve her family and I hope that you will too, after all God gave us our families and loved ones for a purpose.

 

Love, D

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Free and Simple

selfreliance

For the past few of years, I have been on a journey. While on this journey, the Lord has been directing and redirecting me for His purpose. I think it started in 2011. I was living in a cozy little neighborhood, in a cozy little townhouse and it was here that I brought home 3 out of my 4 children. This place was home to me.

We had an entire basement filled with toys up to your eyeballs, and anything and everything you could ever think of was stored in a cupboard or two, in a closet, or in a box under my stairs. My home was a well-padded place of comfort. Old clothes, childhood items, unused electronics…I had it all. The problem wasn’t that I was using the items, it was that I was storing it for a day that I “might” use it. Granted some of these things were practical items that I knew I would get to for sure, but others were not. I had too much and because of it, my life was unmanageable. (I wonder if there is a 12 step group for cluttered people?) I suppose this makes it sound like I was a hoarder. No no, I wasn’t a hoarder, but I was highly ineffective in the way that I organized the items I owned, and in some cases overly attached to the broken toy that my oldest child used, that I might some-day remember to repair sort of way.

This is when the Lord opened my eyes one day while reading Matthew 6:19-20- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

It was this passage that kind of flicked on the light in my very overwhelmed room. Suddenly I looked around, and I realized just how flustered I was at the thought of cleaning and tidying. This is why it never got done the way I always envisioned it would in my mind! In my mind, I had a sparkling, orderly house that required minimal attention and ran like a well-oiled machine. This is probably why I also hated to do housework, because I didn’t know where to begin.

This was the day I decided I would alter my housekeeping habits. Up until then I really hadn’t been a “keeper of the home”, but I wanted to learn how to become one.

The first part to this began with me starting to read God’s word and see what He had to say about the matter. I was able to find many valuable pieces of scripture that supported the idea of being a good keeper of the home. I began to write out these verses on coloured index cards, and I’d post them around my house in places that I often looked; by the coffeemaker, by my bedside, on my bathroom mirror, beside my bedroom light switch etc. I would read these verses so that every time I felt a notion to sit down and vegetate, I’d feel prompted to not do so and to follow God’s instruction instead.

I almost wish I was a fly on the wall at that point, because what I would have witnessed was a lady who had a bunch of kids, who was bursting at the seems with a house full of things, and was really unhappy about it, to watching a lady pack things up in boxes to be donated, and sorting things that were useful. In the span of a month or so, I managed to organize my home to a much better standard. It was manageable and then….we moved. Once again, I was packing and sorting. In the end we had 2.5 loads with a huge U-Haul truck to the new house. We still had loads of stuff. How did this happen?

The new house was a bungalow and it was sprawling and large. We filled it up quickly and the items that we had seemed to fit nicely into our new space. It didn’t seem so bad, until…again…we decided to move. We had found an acreage in the country with 22 acres of land to rent. What a stellar find? Except one thing….the trailer was in dismal repair and it was little. Again we downsized. We fit into the little trailer all right, but every space was used. There wasn’t a cupboard untouched or a closet unused. We stayed here for a year and then…we decided to move again…back into town because we were anticipating a move to another province a year later. We scoured the ads for something small, cheap and accommodating. We found an apartment. Imagine a family of 6 crammed into a three bedroom apartment? I knew that we wouldn’t be able to take everything. I knew I didn’t want to. It was during this time I was also reading a book about the Amish. Aside from their fascinating way of life, I managed to take away an appreciation for their simple ways. In this book, I read about how all of their furniture serves an everyday purpose. Nothing is kept that is not being used often. This is where I took it home. I mapped out the entire apartment we were moving into and only kept a fraction of what we owned. We gave away much of the furniture that was more for esthetic appeal and kept only the useful pieces. Everything else found new homes.

Our church family helped us move into the apartment, and many of the folks who helped with the move admitted that it was the easiest move they had ever done. I had considered the weight of all the furniture so that nothing was heavy to move, and we found Rubbermaid bins to pack our belongings into so that they would be easy to carry. Once everything was unpacked and we were settled in, the apartment became quite the abode. It was clean, easy to maintain because there was hardly anything in it that took up much space. Many things were multi-functional like the futon couch we traded for in place of our regular furniture. Most of all it became a place of production rather than consumption. It was the most joyous place to be because I had chosen to make it so. I knew that I was bombarded by the amount of stuff I had, and it had made me unhappy and overwhelmed. So I surrendered to the Lord and asked Him to teach me a new way.

This was all for purpose, because less than a couple months after our move into the cool little apartment, we moved again! (Boy, we moved a lot!?) It was confirmed, our anticipated cross provincial move was going to happen sooner than we had thought. This time we were prepared, and all of the furniture went. We gave each piece away and to this day, I can recall the Lord using this willingness to hold our things with a loose hand, to His glory. I can recall each person that received one of our items. They each had a distinct need or reason to need the things we offered. Each time we gave an item away, we had the awesome opportunity to share our testimony. They would ask, “Why are you doing this? Giving away all of your stuff like this…” and we would share exactly what the Lord was doing in our life. Some of them Christians, but most of them were not. In the end, we packed up our lives into a 5 x 8 U-Haul trailer and moved to the west coast.

Now that we are here in British Columbia,the Lord is revealing even more ways to encourage my homemaking skills. And I am eager to learn. The biggest lesson I have learned from this experience is that the Lord is giver of all things. He has provided for us and I chose to covet things I didn’t have, or hang on tightly to the things I had. Instead, I learned how to prepare my heart to give freely. To be a better steward of the things God has given me and my family. By doing so, God has shown me His grace, and He has provided for us in the most unusual ways, to a kitchen table, to two desired bicycles and a re-furnished home. All of which He dropped into our lap, or directed us in purchasing these things for a frugal price tag(only what we need of course).

Joy has been the end result.

Here are some links to bible verses that spoke to me and still do when I consider what it means to be a keeper of my home:

Proverbs 31:10-31

Titus 2:3-5

Colossians 3:23

Proverbs 13:4

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

1 Corinthians 10:31

Philippians 2:14-15

Proverbs 12:11

1 Timothy 3:11-13

Proverbs 6:6-8

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Genesis 2:18

Love,

D

 

Father, I pray that you would speak to the women’s hearts of those who read this. Show us if we are hanging on to distractions in our lives. Speak to our hearts and guide us, as women, to where you would have us. Show us we have value in our home, and remove the distraction of the world that tells us we need more, or that we need to do more. Help us to find contentment in being keepers of our home. Thank you that no mundane “chore”, no matter how big or small, from laundry, to nose wiping, is important to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Wives and God’s Armour

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10

 When I first began attending church again, I had a burn for the Lord that I hadn’t experienced since I was a kid. It made me want to listen, to hear and to read God’s word all the time. As many of you have read, I wasn’t always a good wife. In fact there were many years where I called myself a Christian, but my daily life did not reflect this. I knew nothing and more importantly I didn’t love the Lord. I just did as I pleased, and I loved the world.

So what happened to my life? It wasn’t what God had intended. It was full of malice and anger. It wasn’t joyful and I probably walked around with a sour puss on my face. The most memorable thing about my prior days was an unhappy marriage. This is how I remember “Old Me”.

The first thing that the Lord did in my life was to reboot my marriage. Ladies, do you know that old saying “If Mama’s not happy then no one is happy”?, well our christian walk is just like that. If Mama is not in the Word daily, knows the Word, feels the Word and has her own separate walk with God where she is ALLOWING the Lord Almighty to mould her and shape her, then it affects her house and more importantly it affects her marriage.

I began pouring over passages that taught me about speech, that corrected the way I behaved towards my spouse, that corrected my attitude to my house chores, that corrected my thought processes…I willingly allowed the Lord to do that for me, and wouldn’t you know it, the more I obeyed and followed the Lord’s leading, the closer I felt to Him and to my husband. A prominent American pastor described a Christian marriage as a “triangle” once. It was said that Christ is at the tip of the triangle, and the husband and wife are at each end. The description was this: if we draw near to Christ, we are drawing nearer to our husbands. This was a vital piece of information that I have since passed on to many other couples that have expressed their troubles to me on confidence.

The bible tells us earlier in the book of Ephesians, that the husband is the head of the household as Christ is the head of the church. (Ephesians 5:23) This is particularly important to remember daily because, much like our foremother Eve, the wife is very much an influence to her husband. I did not want to be the foolish wife that tears down her house (Proverbs 14:1), or the wife that quarrels and causes her husband to want to live on the corner of the roof (Proverbs 21:9) or the wife who is a nag (Proverbs 21:19). All of these bad habits tear down the husband’s role. They ruin him and make him doubt his leadership in the family and most of all they cause the family to be in spiritual disunion. When I as a wife and a mother, choose not seek out God’s will for my life or earnestly strive to do as the Bible commands, then I am not being a helper. I am being a hinderer.

If I recall my life before, I chased wealth, I chased recognition and I chased worldly ideas. I thought I would be better if I had a more feminist appeal. If I had the right training, or the right job, or the right resume then it meant something. I allowed these ideals to define me and I pursued them for years. I worked late hours, I volunteered, and was a full time student for a time. Meanwhile, because I didn’t know better and wasn’t walking with the Lord, I had a broken home. It was spiritually dysfunctional and it wore heavily on my marriage. There was no such thing as a valued family bond in my house. I am not even sure the kids missed me when I was gone? This is not what God designed. His word tells us that we were made to be helpers to our husbands (Genesis 2:18) and that we are not to be busybodies (which I certainly was), to be pure, to be kind, to be subject to our husbands and to be keepers of the home (Titus 2:5) and that if we are these things that our families will call us blessed (Proverbs 31:28). Now I know what some of you are thinking, that this idea doesn’t fit with our current century? That times have changed? That we have more responsibility now? But friends, the times have changed yes, but God’s word never ever changes (Malachi 3:6). He is clear on that, and if we are truly living for the Lord and if we want to live according to what He desires for His chosen people, then we need to lay aside our rebellious hearts and follow the leader.

God’s word and the power of His spirit can help us become exactly who we were meant to be. When I came to realize all of my shortcomings, some by my own ponder, and others by the voice of my husband I began to work on the biggest ones first. I had a heated tongue and would use my words to tear down and not to build up, so I poured through the book of Proverbs and underlined all the places where it speaks about speech. I would meditate on those scriptures and allow them to keep my speech pure and guarded. I also struggled with housekeeping. It wasn’t a priority to me because I was so unbelievably busy. I just didn’t have the energy to put into keeping my home clean and organized, and neither was it my forte because I didn’t ever take the time to learn from my mother. Meanwhile, we lived in clutter, in dirty laundry and we ate a lot of garbage food because I was so focused on myself and what I was doing, that I didn’t feel it was important to shop for healthy food for my family, or to plan ahead to make it easier on myself. When I started to study God’s word, this was an immediate rebuke on my behaviour. It was made very obvious to me that I needed to change. Proverbs 31 talks about the wife who is noble, who works hard, who cares about her family and fetches their food from afar, and how she is clothed in strength and dignity. She is a worth far more than rubies. None of what I was doing was helping my husband. It required an immense amount of juggling on our schedules, a lot of time being wasted elsewhere, and the family did not live in community. When I began to make changes in my life that reflected God’s desires and His design for what a marriage and a Christian household should be, I found that my husband was kinder, he complimented me more often, he was at ease, he gathered up all of the extra responsibility that I was trying to micromanage and managed it and I found that he too, began to dig into God’s word to find out what it had to say about being a man, a father and a leader.(1 Peter 3) The Holy Spirit has rested on our household and it began to morph into something beautiful. God has a design for all of us. His design for a Christian home doesn’t look like the rest of the world. It never has, it never will. It looks strange to others. But meanwhile, there is a resounding holy peace in our homes. We are building our homes, we are being helpers, and we are being exactly as God had created. We are lights in the darkness, we are beacons on the hill and He is our mighty tower. Our cornerstone, our foundation. He has designed our bodies to work in such a particular way, for the elements and the earth to be just as they are, and He has designed us. Jesus has shown us the way, He has come to make peace for us all and to forgive us for all of those shortcoming I talked about earlier.

Finally, Ephesians 6 talks about the armour of God. It is vital and important that we ask the Holy Spirit to put this on us every day. Every single morning. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing that roam this earth ladies. They desire to steal our hearts away from God’s desire and His plan for our lives. We need to be on the alert always, so that as we filter where we spend our time and what we do every day, that we can see it through holy eyes. Is it good for our families? does it take away from our role as wife, as mother? Does it make us like the world? Does it hinder our husbands? Are we being a testament for Christ? We need to be in the word, so that we can see what God desires for each of us, and when the time comes (and they will surely come), that we will be confident in our decisions and know wholeheartedly that we walk in the light.

Love, D

Dear Father,

Thank for you Living Word and the guidance that it gives it. Thank you that you give those instructions to us, not for your benefit, but because you love us so much and want to protect us. I pray that you would use this post to speak into the struggling marriages, and families that can’t figure out why things keep falling apart despite of their best efforts. As women (and men) read this post I pray renewed hope. Give these people friends that they can confide in to help hold them accountable for their actions.

 

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Testimony Tuesday with Kristen Powers

testimonytues

Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father’s faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn’t enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn’t withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been. But you don’t know what you don’t know. How could I have missed something I didn’t think existed?

Very Open-Minded

To the extent that I encountered Christians, it was in the news cycle. And inevitably they were saying something about gay people or feminists. I didn’t feel I was missing much. So when I began dating a man who was into Jesus, I was not looking for God. In fact, the week before I met him, a friend had asked me if I had any deal breakers in dating. My response: “Just nobody who is religious.”

A few months into our relationship, my boyfriend called to say he had something important to talk to me about. I remember exactly where I was sitting in my West Village apartment when he said, “Do you believe Jesus is your Savior?” My stomach sank. I started to panic. Oh no, was my first thought.He’s crazy.

When I answered no, he asked, “Do you think you could ever believe it?” He explained that he was at a point in life when he wanted to get married and felt that I could be that person, but he couldn’t marry a non-Christian. I said I didn’t want to mislead him—that I would never believe in Jesus.

Then he said the magic words for a liberal: “Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?” Well, of course. “I’m very open-minded!” Even though I wasn’t at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man’s church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.

As he talked, I grew conflicted. On the one hand, I was creeped out. On the other hand, I had enormous respect for him. He is smart, educated, and intellectually curious. I remember thinking, What if this is true, and I’m not even willing to consider it?

A few weeks later I went to church with him. I was so clueless about Christianity that I didn’t know that some Presbyterians were evangelicals. So when we arrived at the Upper East Side service of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, I was shocked and repelled by what I saw. I was used to the high-church liturgy of my youth. We were meeting in an auditorium with a band playing what I later learned was “praise music.” I thought, How am I going to tell him I can never come back?

But then the pastor preached. I was fascinated. I had never heard a pastor talk about the things he did. Tim Keller’s sermon was intellectually rigorous, weaving in art and history and philosophy. I decided to come back to hear him again. Soon, hearing Keller speak on Sunday became the highlight of my week. I thought of it as just an interesting lecture—not really church. I just tolerated the rest of it in order to hear him. Any person who is familiar with Keller’s preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated: Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?

Each week, Keller made the case for Christianity. He also made the case against atheism and agnosticism. He expertly exposed the intellectual weaknesses of a purely secular worldview. I came to realize that even if Christianity wasn’t the real thing, neither was atheism.

I began to read the Bible. My boyfriend would pray with me for God to reveal himself to me. After about eight months of going to hear Keller, I concluded that the weight of evidence was on the side of Christianity. But I didn’t feel any connection to God, and frankly, I was fine with that. I continued to think that people who talked of hearing from God or experiencing God were either delusional or lying. In my most generous moments, I allowed that they were just imagining things that made them feel good.

Then one night in 2006, on a trip to Taiwan, I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, “Here I am.” It felt so real. I didn’t know what to make of it. I called my boyfriend, but before I had time to tell him about it, he told me he had been praying the night before and felt we were supposed to break up. So we did. Honestly, while I was upset, I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me.

Completely True

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.

I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

Kirsten Powers is a contributor to USA Today and a columnist for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. She is a Democratic commentator at Fox News.

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Reference:

Powers, K. (2013) Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower. Christianity Today, November 2013, Vol. 57, No. 9, Pg 104

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