A Tiny House, Many Big Hearts

A Tiny House, Many Big Hearts

I would not normally discuss this type of topic here on my blog because well it’s not the topics I cover. However, I felt compelled to share with you all what is going on in my life at this time. Many of you have become like family to me and I wanted you to have the opportunity to take this journey with us.

We are building a Tiny House. It is most definitely tiny by American standards but we don’t follow the standard. We will have 389 sq ft for the four of us. I know many of my followers are from countries where they live in much smaller homes than we are used to so this may not seem like a big deal to some but to us it is. However, we are not scared at all about this change in our lives. We are more than thrilled.

We have created a fundraising website, Harris Tiny House Fund, to help us finish out the home. We have made a great deal of progress on here and I will post photos of the progress of the house as it moves along to keep you all up to date however we have a great deal of work still left to complete.  I would love for you to check out the fundraising site, Harris Tiny House Fund and see if you are able to contribute in any way even if it is just your prayers for our family. But if you are able to donate monetarily, your contribution will be much appreciated.

We love the Lord in the family and I know each of you know that about us based on the things you read about us. We are excited to be able to better serve the Lord by freeing up our time and resources by living in a much smaller home. If you have any questions about this. or anything at all please contact me!!

We are so grateful for each and every one of you and so grateful to our family and friends who have already donated so much of their time, money and other resources to help make this dream come true for us!

Here are some Photos of the progress we have made to this point:

 

Electricity is going in this week.

Boys pretending to sleep on their custom built fold away wall beds

 

Boys Discussing what life will be like in our tiny house

Recognizing Voices of Deception

This may sound familiar to some of you and maybe to others it is a concept you haven’t considered.  The other day I was listening to Casting Crowns “Voice of Truth” and it really hit me that I am that person. I am that person who is torn by all these voices in my head telling me things that don’t align with Christ or Scripture and sometimes it is really hard to let the Voice of Truth win out. And if I’m honest it doesn’t always win. Those voices of deceit will come out in my words or my actions. Take a listen to the song to get a better understanding of what I am referring to.

Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns

I heard this song in a completely new light the other day and it has become in ways my theme song over the last month. Life is tough. Challenges come our way often and how we respond in those challenges speaks volumes about our hearts and our relationships with the Lord. The day I listened to this song I was hurting deeply. I wanted to lash out and declare that I was not going to stand for the pain any longer. I wasn’t going to endure what I was going thru because I have had enough. But in the moment of listening to this song, the Lord reminded me that how I was feeling did not line up with what scripture says. Not that I wasnt justified in my anger but as a wise friend pointed out, it’s not the anger that is the problem it is what we choose to do with it. Are we going to give it to the Lord or are we going to sin in our anger? I wanted to sin in my anger. I truly did but Christ tells us to forgive not seven times but seventy times seven times( or always). But that voice in my head said “You deserve better than this. You deserve to be respected. You deserve to be a priority above all else” But in truth, what I deserve is death for my own sins. However, the Lord showed his mercy and grace to me and has forgiven me more times than I can even count and that is how I should respond to those in my life that hurt me.

I’m sure you are thinking this seems pretty vague so let me point out, at least for me, what some of these voices of deception sound like. “You are not good enough. You will never be a good enough mom because you mess up every single day. You think your children love you when all you do is yell at them. You will never win this war against your anger” Or maybe “What you have to say doesn’t matter to anyone else so why are you wasting your time” Here are some others “You suck.”, “Does the Bible really say that?”, “Having a relationship with Christ is just a boring way to live. “, “You don’t have to worry about me(satan). I don’t have the power to hurt you”, “If you can be happy, nothing else matters. All you need is that bigger house or that better car or job or even spouse.”, “Church is not important”, “You can choose to obey God anytime you want. You have all the time in the world. Jesus hasn’t come back yet so just have a little more fun”, “You are alone. No one cares about you”, “You are the only person in the world with this problem so don’t bother sharing it with anyone else. They will never understand you”. These are truly just a few voices that I think many of us here struggle with regularly and it is really tough to not believe the lies. It is even tougher sometimes to want to believe the truth because believing these lies about ourselves, satan, or God can be the easy way out.

Recognizing the Voice of Truth

I want to talk with you briefly about ways that we are able to recognize the truth and combat the lies. The biggest way to recognize the lies is to know the truth. This sounds simple but can be difficult even for Christians who have been walking with Christ for years. I am the first to admit that at times I can’t recognize truth, Gods Words,or  Scripture because I have been distant. Although the Lord has been faithful to recall those truths to my mind when I am struggling to find way through the darkness, it seems that it is much harder than it should be. Being in the Word daily is very important. We know where to go when we struggle with something. If we already know that scripture speaks to this very thing, we can locate those truths and hide those in our hearts and minds instead of lies.

So part of knowing the truth is the renewing of our minds. We need to be willing to not only read the truth but allow it to penetrate us to our deepest fibers. It is then when we are able to replace wrong thought patterns or beliefs with what Christ says to be true and accurate. I have seen a visual before that says that renewing our minds with scripture and the truth of Christ is like taking a wash rag to our brains. Sounds weird but its the truth. We can’t get the dirtiness or lies out of our minds on our own. We fail every time we try but Christ washes us from all our sins and looks at us like a treasure, a thing to be valued above all other things.

Another method that I use to recognize the lies I am believing is to talk it over with people who hold me accountable. We have talked about this before in Being Authentic In A World of “I’m Fine” but you have to find people in your life who will keep you in line. People who you trust to share your deepest fears and secrets to and that will not use them against you. Instead they will use what they know about you to whip you in line with the truth of Christ. They point out discrepancies in your way of thinking and the contradictions to scripture. For me this is a crucial part. If I am struggling with something about my husband, he is not necessarily the best one to help me point out my errors. If I don’t talk my feelings over with my accountability partner, I am likely to say things that will not honor God and may disrespect or hurt my husband in the process. I have people who help me recognize the thoughts of deceit and help me correct them before I speak them out to who they are intended for. My husband is that person for me in most areas of my life because we are one and he is my greatest partner, friend, and confidant. Also, when I am willing to share with the Lord out loud how he already knows I am feeling on the inside he can calm me and point me back to His truth, His sovereignty and His supremeness.

Which leads me to prayer. Praying to God for clarity, understanding, and discernment are excellent ways to recognize the voices of deceit. Again, the Lord knows already what is in my heart and mind so being willing to be authentic with Him verbally and saying things like “I am really just ticked off right now” allows Him to be able to move so deeply in our hearts.

I want to leave you as always with a challenge to start recognizing the voices of deceit in your own life. Recognize them and start putting these tools into practice so that Voices of Truth can win out more often than the voices of deceit and so that we can err on the side of grace with those in our lives. I also want to share my second example of this concept in song. I have a vast love of music  and listen to all kinds. Those of you who know me at all know I have a love for hip hop music and Andy Mineo is my favorite hip hop artist that speaks truth. Tug of War by Andy Mineo is another song that talks about that inner struggle we have, that constant pull in the direction of truth and of lies. I hope you will take the time to listen to this one as well. And as Casting Crowns stated, remember that no matter what you are going thru remember that the Lord intends to use it for his glory. We can’t always see every step but the next is out of the dark. (That is totally a line from Tug of War). 🙂

Being Authentic in a World of “I’m Fine”

Being Authentic in a World of “I’m Fine”

Authentic can also be described as genuine, real, and true. There was a time in our world when being authentic was easier. A time when block parties and welcoming neighbors with warm cookies or a casserole were the norm. A time when it was safe for children to play outside until just before the sun goes down. In today’s world, I hear a lot of “we’re good”, “I got this”, or “I’m Fine”. There is so much to  be gained by learning to be vulnerable with others, learning to lean on others in times of need, and allowing others to come along side us for encouragement and to do life with. We are blessed to have a few friends in our life that can be that for us. Friends that we know we can trust. We have a couple of friends we can tell anything to and we know because of our authentic relationship with them the information is safe.  

Let’s face it, life is tough. I attended a conference a couple of months ago and one of the speakers said “if you haven’t experienced great troubles or struggles,  you will”. This comment was in reference to those who work in ministry but it is true of all walks of life. Struggles come in all forms and have differing weights for those whom they happen to. Maybe your struggle is financial, career, parenting or marriage related but our response to our struggles is what determines how those struggles will affect our life. For believers, we must attack those struggles head on and “Make War” in the words of Tedashi. We must not sit by idly and let satan win even one battle in this war. There are a few practical steps we can take to wage this war.

As with many other things, we have to be willing to admit we have a problem. Maybe we have a problem with anger ( as I do at times). I have to be willing and vulnerable enough to share this with people in my life that I trust and who that I know have these same struggles. Then there are more than one of us working together to fight this war and we are more likely to succeed if we aren’t working at it alone. Another reason to share your struggle with others is that what is hidden in the darkness can be used against you by the enemy. But you shed light on it when you share your struggles with others and darkness can not live where light has invaded. Hallelujah!

Now that you have enlisted some soldiers in your war, you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable, seek accountability, and return the favor. The other day I was having a really rough day with my son and I was in tears so frustrated. I texted a friend who I knew would pray for me and speak truth, scripture, and promises of the Lord in to my life and she did. While it did not immediately make things better, it did ensure that later on I wasn’t handling it all on my own. She was there to ensure I had handled myself appropriately and to make sure the father of lies wasn’t busy trying to tell me how horrible of a mother I was because of the day we had. It is because of my real authentic relationship with her that she is on my side.

One last part of this equation is making sure you surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and build you up not tear you down. You could run to just anyone when you need help but say your problem is with your spouse and you run to a friend who is not a Christian or doesn’t have the same values as you in marriage. You may get advice that does not line up biblically. You may spend the whole time bashing your spouse with this friend instead of coming up with an attack plan to make sure you and your spouse are aligned to fight your battle. Satan would love nothing more than to pit you and your spouse against each other and he can very easily do that by using a third-party who fills your head and heart with things that may or may not be true but are not building you or your marriage up. Reach for those friends who will always encourage you, pray for you, and who do not have a problem calling you out if you are out of line. I have a friend who has permission to call me out any time she feels I am out of line with my words, actions, or even my line of thinking and she has helped me refocus my thoughts on the Lord and reminded me that the fight isn’t between my husband and I but rather it is between satan and my family.

We have to get to a point where we are able to take off our masks and be willing to let others know what we are about and what is going on in our lives. We have to be willing to have at least a few very close people that we can spill all our dirt too and they are our partners to help us through. We also have the responsibility to be the kind of Christians who explore further when a person says “im fine”. This is usually not a truth. It can be but it is usually a way of making small talk. We need to get in there and have real, authentic conversations with those around us to figure out if in fact they are fine, if in fact they really “got this”. I know I don’t “got this” especially not on my own and not without those in my life that help me. 

I challenge each of you this week to access whether or not you have some true, genuine, authentic relationships with others. If you do, do the work to make sure those relationships are in intact because they are important to your growth as a person and as a Christian. If you do not have these people, start praying that the Lord will reveal them to you. He created us to do life in a community setting and he wants our relationships with others to be as authentic and intimate as our relationship with Him.