Minimalism, by Jill Zavacky

Happy Tuesday Everyone! I am so pleased to introduce you to my friend, Jill. We served teenagers together for three year at our church in Northern Virginia. Not only that, but Jill and I also share a passion for Jesus and writing about Jesus. (Check out her blog here.) Recently she posted a picture on Instagram about how she fit her entire wardrobe into a suitcase. I was impressed, and a little convicted. Please give her a warm welcome as she shares her heart with us today. (You might also want to grab a hot cup of coffee with pumpkin creamer, like I did when I read it! Oh the joys of Fall!)

Some may call my way of life, “minimalism,” but I just call it being faithful with little. 

IT ALL STARTED when I moved to my fifth apartment in five years. I was moving from a town house with two roommates into a basement apartment of a family friend, in a house that was already completely furnished. I couldn’t fit half of my things into this new space, and I realized I didn’t really even need any of it. It was then my journey towards minimalism started.

I remember attempting to unpack my clothes into this giant walk-in closet, realizing in the process I was holding on to so many things I didn’t even want anymore. I looked around at everything I had and felt so uneasy. There was so much money invested in all of these things I rarely wore or even looked at. All I saw was so much money wasted. At that time, I could barely afford to live on my own anymore. I was drowning in debt, medical bills from a recent surgery, and student loans. But my closet was full and my walls were decorated. I could wear a different outfit every day for a month without repeating anything, but I could hardly even pay my bills.

It was in that moment I realized something had to change. At this point it wasn’t only about money, it was also about the principle of the matter. Why did I have so many things I didn’t use or even need? With each insignificant possession I got off of my hands that year, I realized just how much money I had wasted over the years purchasing all of it. I believe having stuff is not a sin. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to others. He blesses us with big houses and a lot of stuff so we can host people in our houses and enjoy our things with them. But I know I must also be faithful with little, and I CAN be faithful with little.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Beginning a journey towards minimalism is really just beginning a journey towards the pursuit of Jesus in regards to your possessions. Laying up your treasures in heaven may look different for you than it did for me. The point is not that I got rid of half of my possessions.  The point is not that I’ve come to find contentment with a wardrobe of basics and a house with only the bare essentials. The point is actually that I’ve learned to be faithful with little. I’ve learned to turn to the Lord for my main source of satisfaction, instead of paying more attention to the demands and changes of the culture around me. Style, fashion, popularity, you name it - it all fades and changes, ebbs and flows. But wherever the Lord dwells, there is no destruction.

God is permanent. He is constant; He is faithful. And this is why we must store up our greatest treasures with Him alone, and not in our closets. We must align our hearts with where our treasures are found.


How Big Is Love? by Amy Parker- A Book Review

You guys, this book is ADORABLE! It's perfect for both of my children (son- just turned 3, daughter- 1 1/2). Not only is it suitable for them because it's a board book (Can I just send a shout out to whoever invented board books?!), but the content is beautiful.

As I've shared before in book reviews, having a book that shares the values of the Bible, and the love of Jesus in words that speak directly to toddlers is thrilling as a Mother. "How Big Is Love?" expresses what love is in such a cute, catchy, and understandable way to kids. I especially appreciate the author, Amy Parker, taking a page in the story to praise Fathers- their strength, and their love.

My son would say his favorite part of the book is looking for the cricket on every page, thanks to the Illustrator, Breezy Brookshire. It's a fun way to keep him involved, while the message of God's love subconsciously flows through his mind, into his heart. I give this book five stars!

When He Says Go...

Raise your hand if you've ever felt The Spirit nudging your heart towards something, but you were really hoping you wouldn't have to do it. I'm glad I can't look around and physically see you right now because I may very well be the only one with my hand up. Trust me, both of my hands are raised.

For the last two and a half school years, I've been involved in a group called, "Mom to Mom" through my church. My particular small group is amazing. I have loved every leader I've had, and I love all the other girls at our table. We have grown together, cried out to God together, laughed together, cried together, partied together, had babies together, lost babies together, played with our kids together, and had some amazing breakfasts together. I had just signed up my kids for the child care a couple weeks ago, all ready to start the new year with my group.

God had other ideas.

Recently, I heard about a group of Moms/preschool kids in my new neighborhood who meet regularly. They just so happen to meet the same exact day and time Mom to Mom meets. My first thought was, "Oh well, I can't join- I already have M2M." Over time, the Holy Spirit began nudging my heart.

His whisper in my soul prompted, "Remember when you drove through this neighborhood before you even lived here and prayed for people?" "Remember how you've been asking me to help you meet your neighbors?" "Remember how you've longed to share Me with those around you?" "Now is your chance."

Me: "Noooooooo. Why can't the group meet on a different day than Mom to Mom does?!"

Then I heard messages from our Pastors on Sunday mornings. They spoke things like, "When God says go, you go!" or "Who is one person in your life you can share the love of Jesus with?"

The final straw happened during my teen small group one night. I was sharing my dilemma about joining the new Mom group vs. staying in my church's Mom group. My co-leader (who's a little older, but a whole lot wiser!) spoke up and stated, "I don't see what the problem is?" Later she talked with me candidly. She basically told me as Christ-followers, we're on this earth to share Christ- with our neighbors. She even said, "Mom to Mom is for you, the other group is for you to share the light of Jesus." Wow. How could I say no after that?!

The next morning I called my amazing Mom to Mom leaders and somewhat tearfully shared the news. I was going to be joining the new group in my neighborhood. They both affirmed my decision and encouraged me I was doing the right thing.

Though reluctantly, next week I will be heading up the street to face a whole group of Moms and kids I've never met. Sounds like an introvert nightmare to me. I might even break out in hives. As I walk over I know I'll be missing my friends who will be gathering at the same time without me. Sniff sniff.

Sometimes God asks us to go, and even when we can't see why, we just go...

Happy 3rd Birthday, my Bon!

You became my Honey Bun almost right away, but somewhere along the line that got chopped all the way down to "Bon" or "Bonni". Because your older two siblings are in Heaven, you are my actual firstborn son. The firstborn son has had a valuable role in a family all the way back to the Bible times. God has created you uniquely special, and He has great plans to use you for His Kingdom. Your name, Jase means "Healer". Not only has God used you to heal my heart after the loss of your siblings, but He will continue to use you to bring healing to those around you. Be tender with the hearts of people, my dear son.

My daring boy. When you put your mind to something, there is NO stopping you. Your mind is filled with adventurous thoughts at every moment of the day, it seems. You want nothing more than to be outside, playing at the park, swimming at Becca's, riding your bike, or playing with the hose out back. Your energy never ceases. You love to dive off the couch smack onto the floor, and laugh when you get there. You zoom around the living room at full speed pushing your sister's doll stroller like it's a race car. You climb. You tackle. You roll. You dive. You run. You jump. You are always on the go. Jesus will use this passion in you for His glory. Oh how He has marvelous plans for you each day.

Your life delights the heart of Jesus, even more than it delights Mama and Papa. When all else fades away, Jesus will always be your rock. Your redeemer. Your light. Your guide. Follow Jesus always, and choose the wise way.

You love your sister. You are responsible to care for her, look out for her, and respect her. You are her big brother- you will always be her Hero. That is a high calling- but don't worry. Jesus will show you the way.

I see the way your Papa looks at you. His eyes shine with pride because you are his son. He believes in you- in every single part of you. He adores you. He loves to play with you, and rough house with you, and build forts for you. Papa would go to the moon and back for you. But even more, your Heavenly Father adores you to your core- your Papa and I will never be able to do that.

You make your Mama laugh on a daily basis. Your words are sweet and kind, funny and silly, thoughtful and curious. The other night I got to hold you in my arms as you slept and was reminded how very young you still are, though you are growing up quickly. Don't hurry your life away- always find joy in the moment. I am confidant you won't have any trouble doing that!

Jase, I am proud to be your Mama. I am proud of YOU. You are strong. You are courageous. You are born of God. You are learning. You are as independent as you can be. Your smile lights up my soul. Your eyes reflect the depth of something so special in you- you are a creation of God Almighty. You are beautiful in every way.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jase Charleson Amos Dubbe. You have my heart. You always will.