Monday, January 10, 2011

The battle rages on...

After writing my post on why we adopted a sweet reader left me a comment with a question. This morning during my quiet time with the Lord it popped back into my head. Her question is one I have asked myself a thousand times and one I think is so important for us to bring before the Lord.

Here is what she said:

"This explains my heart for our adoption as well. I too have lost my care about name brands, etc. However, I need advice on how to keep myself there. Maybe when we travel for court in March and actually visit Ethiopia it will be easier, but I am so selfish. I try so hard and I am easily sucked back in. Any suggestions to help?"

First I want to say that I hope when I post on here that I do not ever come off as sounding like I have it all together. Because the truth is- I seriously do not. I struggle daily- actually by the minute- to live as Christ has taught us to through His word. And, most of the time- I fail. While over the past 10 year since I became a Christian I have grown and changed more than I ever though possible (just ask people who used to know me) I am still a work in progress- big time.

I think one of the hardest things about being a Christian for me isn't believing- it's the peer pressure to conform to this world. Sometimes we do things and don't even realize that by doing them we are compromising our faith. I don't know if that's because it's just what we've always done it- or because everyone around us is doing it so we feel it must be right. Acceptance speaks volumes without us evening realizing it.

Most things I write about on here are things I have struggled with and I write about them after the Lord has brought them to my attention. And then I share on here in hopes to help or encourage someone else along the way. One of my biggest struggles (if you couldn't tell by my writing about it a lot) is the desire to have things... only, I didn't even realize it a majority of my life. Most people wouldn't have known this about me- because we certainly didn't have a lot of money and I didn't purchase the best- but I wanted to. It was all about my heart condition. I coveted what others had- and thought I needed to have it too. I believed if I did- it would bring me happiness and make me successful.

What a lie I had been sold.

And even today I still struggle- I know the truth- and yet I still struggle. As I have mentioned on here in the past- I can literally walk into the mall, smell the air and my heart will start to beat faster. I will start feeling like I just have to have this and have to have that. When will I ever conquer that desire? Even after traveling to 2 third world countries and seeing the poverty there, even after having orphan after orphans face forever etched in my mind- I still struggle with greed. I still want things I don't need and covet things I cannot afford.

Often times we will hear people defend their extravagant lifestyle by saying "But God wants us to have nice things." Absolutely. I am so not disagreeing with that. He loves us THAT much. He is so good. He wants us to enjoy the blessings he has given us. However, we must be very careful and truly examine our hearts over this. He wants us to have nice things- but if those things come before wanting Him, serving Him or our relation with Him- then they are wrong. If we cannot afford to give because we are working so hard to pay off our credit cards on those things we had to have-and if we cannot find the time to serve because we have to work over time to pay off that new car we felt we needed- then perhaps we are not putting God first...

So how to do I stop myself from being sucked back in? I fight. I cling to Him and to what He teaches me daily through his word. I pull myself out of bed every single morning early and spend time with Him- asking Him for strength to live out His word. I ask Him to help me see things the way He see's them. I ask Him to point out the sins that I don't see in myself. Daily.

Secondly, I don't go there. I hardly ever step into the mall anymore. (Can you blame me with nine kids? LOL Think maybe God knew this?) I know what my weaknesses are- and I am aware of them. And if I do have to 'shop' I pray before I go in and ask God to help me be thankful for the needs He has provided for- and to want nothing beyond those. Satan wants to suck us in. He wants us to want things more than we want God. He wants that big ol' house payment to be the reason that stops you from adopting. He wants to chain us to our possessions so that we cannot move to do God's work.

I wish I could say it was easy- once our eyes are opened. I wish I could say that change will come over night. But it isn't always- as sad as that sounds. I wonder though if perhaps God allows us to struggle as a constant reminder of our need for a daily relationship with Him? When we continue to seek Him-to turn to Him- He will be right there waiting to give us more than we could have ever wanted- for eternity.


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27 comments:

Divine Mrs D said...

Beautiful! I know I struggle constantly. One of our pastors yesterday, during his sermon said something I thought was very interesting. He said that we are so absolutely blessed and we could wallow in our blessings or we could turn them into an opportunity to show God's love to the world.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Once again - AMEN!

I love you so!
Jill

Treasures Evermore said...

Oh my goodness, I cannot believe you just posted this. I have been writing on my blog so much like you are typing...God has been working in the deepest parts of my heart and soul this winter/Christmas season. I am completely blown away by your writing...one more word of confirmation to the Lord for our lives. Our life is about to change, and God is just giving us confirmation everywhere we turn.

Thank you, thank you for posting this...you have no idea how I needed to read this today.

Blessings,

Connie

Kristin Ferguson said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I have followed yours for a long time and find it VERY inspiring, convicting, and thought-provoking. I am excited for you and your family as you get ready for your next adventure in Guatemala!

Keep on writing the things God puts on your heart because I definitely want to keep reading them!

Kristin

Treasures Evermore said...

Sorry Amy, I should have said..."confirmation FROM the Lord"...oooppss!!! I need to preview first.

Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right, God is at work and it's all about us becoming like Him. But oh the pain at times when He reveals the ickness...or ugliness of it all. But I am so thankful for his forgiveness and GRACE.

Connie

Deborah said...

Thank you for your inspirational words. It's good to know that I'm not alone in my struggles with the "desires of my heart" which turn out to be the reason we are purging our house now. I'm looking forward to following your family's new journey.

We Are Family said...

Again, I can totally identify. I fight this fight daily. I AM a recovered shopaholic....like you said, just ask the people that knew 'back then'....Praise God I am free in Jesus.

BrandiB said...

Absolutely wonderful post Amy. Thanks so much for putting your struggles out there so that the rest of us know there are others dealing with the same stuff!

Sally...4 boys + 1 princess.. said...

Amy, just found your blog today, I love all of the topics you write about. I too struggle with wanting "things" and not going outside of my comfort zone. Thanks for being a "light" on my path to help keep me grounded. Also, Your family is gorgeous beyond belief, God is truly Great and Greatly to be praised.

hopeful one said...

Amy,
I always appreciate you posts! Not because I am looking for you to guide me or get the answer from...God is more than capable if I am seeking Him...What I appreciate is the delicate and humble way you communicate...Not thinking you have it together or that you have the answer. I like that you give your perspective and your experiences with the Lord and trust that God is big enough to do the rest. I cant wait to see how the Lord will continue to move on behalf of your family...
Trina

Joy: said...

I really appreciate you sharing this post today. I feel like you described me here. We are at a point in foster care where the baby we have will likely go up for adoption at the end of this week. Satan has been doing a great job in telling me that we will not be approved to adopt her due to our debt. He continues to bring things to me he knows I desire to have. The truth is that God is bigger than any debt we owe and this child is far more precious to him, and to us, than any thing we could ever buy. I wake up every morning in this battle. I have to choose to believe that God is in charge of this little girl's life. He brought us this far, he can finish what he started if it is his plan.

Thanks for sharing :)

becomingjolie.com said...

Thanks for this! I am in the middle of a consumerism project where I only buy one item a month and must also give away to a charity each month on top of my tithe. It's so, so helpful to see that others struggle with greed and consuming. Thanks for sharing.

Sharon and Manuel said...

Amazing words...thanks Amy.

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

ME TOOOOO!!!!!
It is amazing when you put yourself on a strict budget what you have to "give up". But then you fight with yourself it was NEVER yours....and then you say oh it isn't that big of a deal- other people buy this all the time....yeah- some fighting with the flesh going on with me too!!!

Scrappy quilter said...

Beautifully written once again. Hugs

Future Mama said...

Amy,

This really is a wonderful post- something I completely identify with. The pictures of nurseries in catalogs, the adorable fancy little baby clothes at the mall...sometimes I think we all struggle to remember the big picture. Thank you for writing this!

Much love,
Future Mama
http://expectingablessing.blogspot.com/

Debbie Doughty said...

Again, you are so right, the battle rages on. One little word I have been using to fight the battle is ENOUGH. Every time I am tempted to buy something I don't need, I remind myself that I already have more than ENOUGH. When I feel I am facing a challenge too big for me, I remind myself that Jesus tells me, "My grace is ENOUGH for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you." So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ's power can live in me. ~1 Corinthians 12:9 NCV

Susan said...

Thanks so much Amy for answering my question. You did a beautiful job at encouraging. Everything you said is dead on and I appreciate it. I am struggling with Target right now:) I love Valentine's Day and love everything red and pink so I want to just go to Target and pick up everything "hearty" and put it in my cart. I am taking your advice and steering clear of the place until after. I will just send my hubby for diapers:)
Truly thanks for sharing. The biggest thing you said that spoke to me was that you fight daily by using your time with God. This was vital with where I am at right now. That is where I need to take this struggle and as the wife of a Pastor....I know that, but sometimes it takes a wonderful follower of God to smack me in the face with it.
Please feel free to keep smacking me by posting such great things on you blog.
Thanks Amy.
Susan

melissa said...

Thanks for sharing that, Amy. I find I have to allow myself some things. I like buying clothing for the children, but now instead of indulging and overbuying, I will think more about what I buy and truly only buy the amount they need. I also find now that my eyes are open, I have attempted to buy things and just cannot. It actually pains me to see money go for material things when I know.

Mandie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so enjoy your writing and sharing you heart. I too have a hard time not wanting what everyone else has. In my heart I would rather spend all our money on bringing home children but then the green eyed monster comes out. I so needed to hear this today.

Kim said...

Once again ... Amen Sista!
Thank you!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
Kim

Keri Lohse said...

I love your blog. We live in Cincinnati. We have 3 biological kids, 9,8&5. We've adopted 2 through the foster systems, ages 3&1. We have another foster baby,6 months we will adopt in February. My husband is going to Guatemala on a Missions trip in October. We are in the beginning stages of wondering about adopting from there. I read on your blog they are not allowing adoptions, but Google articles say otherwise. Can you help me with this? We think there may be an addition to our family in Guatemala. The orphans you will work with soon- maybe we'll meet you one day in person. Keri. marc-keri@hotmail.com

Amber said...

Amy...YES! All of this is true. You're SO listening to Him. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this today too. Well, I need to hear it every day. Good to know I'm not alone! You speak the truth and I'm so glad!

Hugs and Prayers
AmberK

Andrea said...

Amen! It's a constant struggle I know. Thank you for sharing!
Andrea

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for this. I've been struggling with this lately, and this really encouraged me.
-Michelle

mamamargie said...

Well said! Thank you!

Annie said...

Well, a dear blogging friend just sent me to your blog and I am so glad I found you! I am a little late to this post, but I thank you for it as I am struggling to, as I keep saying to my husband, "slough off the me-ness of me". I don't want to "slough off" that parts of me that God has planted, certainly not! But the me-ness that has developed that crowds and overgrows and chokes what God is trying to do. Like shopping. I have come a long way in that past 2 years. In fact, I hardly ever go to the mall, only when it's Christmas or if I have to get the kids something now. But when I am there, it is still a bit hard at times. How could I have wasted so much time and money on useless items and that short moment of false joy?? Money that could be saving a child or feeding someone hungry?? I bought into the lie and would hate to fall back! And so, I keep pushing to grow deeper with him and that joy is SO real! Thank you for this post!