The Pit Lady and Everest

I have been really fortunate to have some friends who I can do life with.

As in people who you can’t stop being friends with because they “know” too much! I saw a saying like that years ago and it always stuck with me. It made me think- – – that I always want to be that kind of friend. The kind that someone can share their deepest secrets with- the really gross stuff, because- well it’s always good to have someone in your life you can tell about that zit, or stomach ailment… ahem…  and then the really important stuff. The stuff that makes your insides quiver and your hands shake- the scary stuff- that makes you feel like a fraud in front of the rest of the world on Instagram where you are always so happy

It’s these relationships that I am thankful for today. The kind where you are in the dirt pit with “your person”, and the water is coming down, and the mud is getting tough to get out of. I am in mud. I was in mud before years ago, for very different reasons, but in the mud- stuck- and worse- I was completely unwilling to walk out. These same friends, essentially stood on each side of me and poured pebble rocks- for lack of a better term- on the sides of me- offering me traction to get out. Their voices calm at the start: “Just lift your foot and we’ll pour these under you and you can walk out”. . .then raising, “Step on the rocks!” Finally, “We are coming in”. … and down the slope of rocks they came. Unwilling to allow me to stand in my self made pit as it filled with water. 

They walked me out. It took years. It was hard. Messy. Dirty. Without them I would have drowned- and I would be a shell of the woman and mother I am today. 

Over time life happened again- in case you wondered- it will not stop “happening again”… because you were created for a purpose. A purpose only you– in all the world- can fulfill. The good news is- you were created for that specific thing- so He- the Lord of the Universe who knit you together in your mothers womb- has a complete plan to allow you to hold that purpose and stand tall when life happens. (Do YOU get it? He created it all for YOU)

So when life happened again I fell. This pit is big. Really big. Like the opposite of Mount Everest which I hear is a really big mountain that I know absolutely nothing about… but this –would be like hollowing that mountain out and turning it upside down, and then standing inside the previous peak… really big. 

I fell. Truth be told- I jumped. Into a pile of sin so big it almost took me out. I lived in the mountain pit and yet the people around me assumed I was still “topside”- I think that’s a thing. If not- you know now that I am not very good at science. 

I have spent years now trying to find some rocks I can throw beneath my feet, but this mountain pit is too big for that. It’s the kind that you would try to bribe an inside the mountain pit dweller to build you a jet pack to just zoom out. Like a call to your lifeline- remember that show- and say “hey, can you send a drone or something and drop off some supplies, and a helicopter or something?”

Because running from the issue seems easier. 

It isn’t. My lemonade making bestie said this today about running from our issues: “That’s our flesh trying to manage a situation that only God can handle”. (trademark to Maureen Capel- in case you want to repeat it- she’s a teacher- she always comes up with these amazing snippets)

Ummmm…. is that not the best description you have ever heard of running from something???

So now that the option to run is gone, what shall I do? 

Well my new acquaintances…friends… we stand tall-from our knees. 

I think we have all thought and most likely said this, “I am just gonna give this to God.” Then we got a text message and it said, “My life sucks.” or “Katie Mae is pitching a fit, can you come get her”, or even better, “Cash just opened my phone and watched a video without asking. Can I change my password?” and you reverted to mom, wife or friend mode and lost your moment. Remember I said, “when life happens”… because it does, and it will and you will want to open the text instead of settling your heart and communing with God— if we are not intentional the pit gets bigger. When we stop going straight to the authority on our life- the authority of the Universe- and attempt to handle our situation, we dig that hole a little deeper. 

When we hide under the guise of busyness or allow distraction to infiltrate our lives, we are handing the reigns over to another less than worthy leader. I can attest that his plans are not for your good- he didn’t create you and carries out a mission on you daily to make sure you do not find your passion- your purpose- that one thing you were designed for. You are a risk to an enemy who seeks to destroy you- or kill you- whatever is easiest.

You are prey- so pray. Pray that you can find that thing. Then make sure your person finds their thing, and if those things overlap- well awesome- because the light only gets brighter when we join together. Don’t compare yourself to your sisters- those amazing women who are fulfilling their purpose. . . seriously- I do it too and it’s stupid. Why do we not want each other to be excellent? Why would we want less people to be impacted for the Kingdom?

Reach out to your person(s) and find out if they are ok. Really ok- deep talk ok. If they are- awesome- tell them you are thinking of them and will be praying for their mission- their thing- and open doors. If they aren’t ok… be there. Be Jesus with skin on. Love on them. Get in and examine the depths of the pit-you have fresh eyes so you may see the wall that already has the mountain climber things- because He always provides a way out. You may have the cell phone that can call for first aid- the kind only the Lord can provide. Either way- we all have our pits and the goal isn’t to only climb out- its to do the impossible – get out and tell your mountain to move right side up again so you can climb that bad boy.

I hear Everest is hard to climb… but once you get to the top…. that view…. well, its breathtaking. 

Sincerely, 

A Lemonade Making Pit Girl

 

 

Advertisements

Love & Lemonade

Crying. So much crying. Doors swing open, and mom or dad hustle towards the sound.

“What’s wrong?”

The crying intensifies – ah, instantly a parent knows – it’s pain.

Ok. Start troubleshooting- Next question…

“Where is the pain?”

Pointing. A lot of pointing. Sometimes words are too much.

“What does it feel like?”

“Is it sharp?… like a knife” “Does it ache, like a headache?”

We start to speak- out of our own fear, nervousness or to calm them so they can speak… “Breathe baby.” “Just breathe, it’s all going to be ok.”

And there we are, holding their little, sometimes big and growing bodies in our arms, encompassing all of them. Feeling their pain as though it is our own. The gatekeepers, the boo-boo healers, completely incapable of removing the pain. Only time, the body, or methods of healing can do that. We in that moment- are weak. Completely enraptured with our child, seeing only the pain and feeling it within our own skin.

We tell them always- “It will be ok”, and we mean it. We believe it will be. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, things will not be ok, the way they were five minutes before, ever again. So what do we do then?

I know a bit about pain. All kinds of pain. Enough that many times I wondered if I would make it to the next day. More than once- the darkness was so tangible I could have taken that one irreversible step. Pain. So many reasons and a world nearly filled with it.

Aches- it’s no wonder that the name for pain in the heart is a heart ache. The pain isn’t sharp- like a knife- or a splinter going into the skin. It’s more the feel of a splinter left in the skin for a day or so- when the body’s pulse can be felt in that spot intensely. The ache when you experience the loss of someone dear- or when your learn your child is ill in a way that a band aid can’t solve. When someone you love chooses to leave you- or when you make a decision to leave them. There are so many other reasons for this type of pain, but I think of this kind of hurt as- the silent tears rolling down your cheeks kind. You can survive, and you know it.

Agony- the kind of pain that makes so many quit. Literally and figuratively. Sometimes they quit their jobs, or marriages- other times, they quit on their kids, or families and worse, sometimes they quit life altogether. This kind of pain is the kind others most often don’t see. This kind brings the ugly cry. A really ugly cry. The reason? Agony can remove all hope.

It gives false truths- statements like, “This will never get better.” “There is no hope for you.” “No one loves you.” “You aren’t worth their love.” “You failed- and you will always fail.” “Your kids are better off without a mother (or father) like you.” “They didn’t want you anyway.” “You are nothing.”

And it keeps on and keeps on until there is only a shell of the man or woman standing where you once stood. Agony starts as Heart Ache- and grows like a weed- from the same good soil as Love. Why? Because your heart is full of good soil- why wouldn’t it be, it was made in the image of God.

When you are broken to the point of Agony- you need more than you. A self help book won’t really do the trick- because no matter how many times you tell yourself you are worth something- that you are made for more- you won’t hear it and believe it, and belief is where the root lies. There’s one book that can give you all you need, and others that use concepts from that one book that can certainly strengthen you at the core. The Bible.

You aren’t worthy because of who you are. You never could be- because that’s only part of the sentence. You are worthy because God is worthy- because through the cross a Perfect Man- Jesus- died in your place- for you- stuck in your sins and willingly bore the punishment of that sin. If you made that choice to follow Him, to commit your heart into the hands of the God who made you, through the way made by His son, Jesus- then you are more that worthy- because He swapped places with you- and me.

What kind of pain was it? It was bad. Agonizing. It lasted long enough for the folks on the ground around to start to wonder if He really was who He said He was. They had to start wondering if this man- was really enduring this pain because of a joke? Was he really crazy enough to tease that He was the King of Kings to the point of death? I doubt the few left at the end of His battle with life questioned who He was. His death was painful enough that you would never need to sacrifice your own life- because He already did that- so that you could live. He cried. He weeped- He did what we do when our hearts ache. Tears streaming down his cheeks- He decided you- YOU- were enough. You were worthy, You made it worth it. He decided that He loved you so much- that He would give up His perfect existence to be known as a laughingstock in not only His community, but the world. Even now- the ring of laughter will pierce the air as His beautiful name is uttered. He did it anyway. For You.

The best part- is unlike us- human in nature- we would run from the pain- the heart ache, the agony- and we would not willingly return to it- but He would. For You.

What can we do with that? Well, we can turn to Him. When we are at the point where the ache begins. When life has handed us lemons, and we are out of sugar- we ask Him for a neighbor who has a whole bag, and a friend who has a pitcher of water. We join together with others who believe for us what God does. Who stand with us. Who will hold our hands and ugly cry with us, and then pick us up by our boot straps and walk us out of the mud. That was always His plan. To do it together. He doesn’t often call us to “fix” ourselves alone. He instead says, “where two or more are gathered in My name, there I will be also”.

He is the support group leader- but you need the support group! You need people in your life who can say, “I walked that road”, “I felt that way”, “and I survived”, even better… “I grew from it.” “As a person. As a Mother, or as a Father. I am a better example to my children because I loved them from a place of barrenness.” “When I thought I had nothing left to give, He gave me courage for a new day, and renewed my love for my family, or my spouse. He carried me to the other side from brokeness to wholeness.”

I am here because my people keep helping me make lemonade. (P.S. This works even if you gave yourself the lemons… because sometimes the sourness in our life was man made.)

Be Blessed and make some lemonade.

 

 

 

The Impact of Closet Prayers

For most of us, there is one moment- at minimum- that you regret more than any other moment. The reasons for the regret can be multiple, but the key is, it can’t be changed, or deleted. The moment happened. I have that moment stored, and I hold it close, because to expose that moment would break me, and everyone around me. I have allowed that moment to hold me captive for years. I look at it and remember it all the time. I will expose some of that moment now, so that it can’t haunt me any longer, and I will give God glory- because He is faithful and He is light in the darkness.

As I have shared before, I lost my step father in July of 2008 while I was separated from my husband, Tim. It was a difficult time and a horrendous loss of life. Even knowing he is with God, I am unable to find total peace. I desire too, but there is a weight upon me. I heard of Chris’ injury and went to see him, and while I was there I was making plans for my night. I left that day and went to watch my brother play softball, and when I left there I went somewhere else. The problem here is that normally, I am the one who goes to the hospital and stays until someone forces me to leave, unfortunately, my heart was so mixed up I selfishly left Chris and my mom to deal with it. While I was out in places I shouldn’t have been, my step father who I so desperately love, was slipping away and I wasn’t there to catch him. Even after he caught me so many times, and balanced me back out.

The last few weeks have been stressful and what happens to me, may happen to you, I get overwhelmed and I go to a place of darkness and I sit there and think of all of my mistakes, my errors- much like King David. Not that I am a Queen or Royalty, but I can read my own thoughts in the Psalms. Last night I had some worship music on and I felt like I needed to go to my closet to pray. Yes, my closet- I even cleaned it so I would have room on the floor to get on my face before the Lord. I opened my Bible and turned straight to Psalms 51, and I wept; because-there are not coincidences in His word, and the moment that you read it. He has a direct goal to bring you into His presence, to speak to you.

Psalms 51 is David crying out for God’s forgiveness after his sin with Bathsheba. He is asking God to restore his joy, to reunite his spirit with the heart of God. As I read this, I could relate on such a level that I almost felt like I was in the Kings palace, knowing I have everything, but not allowing that to satisfy me, and then carrying the weight of my sin along with all of my armor. The load is heavy, but He- Oh the Lord is faithful. As I was weeping I heard the closet door open, and felt a little body slip in. I didn’t look up, just continued to cry and pray to the Lord, and I heard a sweet voice calling out for God to come- to be with us in mommy’s closet. I looked up and my son-7 has his face on the carpet crying out to the Lord, and I broke.

That is our God. That is His presence and His love. He calls us to a place of brokenness and then He showers us with blessings and favor far beyond what we deserve. My sin deserved death. My God exchanged my sentence and instead gave me life. My heart exalts the Lord, exhorts His Name. He is a faithful, and just God. He is a loving father, and a joyful friend. He is one who mourns with you, and calls you back to joy.

I cannot take back my errors or my decisions, and despite how highly I thought of myself, I could not save my dear step father- I am not God. He allowed the loss, and while I may carry the pain and guilt of that for years to come, I know that I am forgiven and I am loved- beyond measure, against all odds, He calls to me, and says, “My Beloved, come.”

He says that to you today as well, “My Beloved, come.” He wants you to bring Him nothing but yourself, broken, used, devastated, heart broken, hurting, lonely, empty. He wants to take us from paupers, commoners and promote us to Royalty. He says- “For you and You alone, I would send my son to die, a sinner’s death- your death- on a cross- because I so desperately love you, that I had to tear the veil to give you access to my Holy Places.”

Go to Him today- and lay yourself before the Lord- and let your children see a contrite heart before the Lord. Show them the access that Jesus paid for- teach them to pave a way into His presence.

Blessings,

mel

A Crown of Prayer

“Know the state of your flocks,

and put your heart into caring for your herds,

for riches don’t last forever,

and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”

Proverbs 27: 23-24

I have never seen or read this with impact until today. Before I became a mother, I would read right past things like this, not with intent, but simply because I didn’t get it. I did this morning and it wounded my heart a little. I realize now that it has everything to do with my family- my children, my grandchildren and great- grandchildren. If I am now covering them in prayer- even now before they are conceived, if I am not laying my hands on their precious heads every night or filling them with the gospel of our salvation, I am laying waste to all the prayer I and those who have gone before me have worked to accomplish. How utterly terrifying.

When I read about the Crown it says many things to me,

  • A place of Honor in the Family line
  • A status symbol that we are wealthy- financially secure
  • A gift bestowed upon us by someone of authority
  • Influence- to move others- encourage others and guide others
  • Faith- the very essence of things not seen- but hoped for- the ability to stand until it is seen
  • A position of great courage and Bravery

I am sure you can think of more, probably even better symbolic references to your families crown. This is all I could come up with this morning! 🙂

I am part of a strong and influential family- we don’t have the ability to whisper guidance, to our Governmental leaders, we can’t create mandates and dictates of what should and shouldn’t be done, but we are large- and we are able to stand for something, or die on the sword fighting for it. I had praying Great Grandma’s, and a praying Nannie who today will offer prayers on my behalf- and they work. I don’t know if any of my Grandfather’s prayed, I mean them no disrespect, but I am unsure if they even prayed over something as simple as a meal, much less laid their hands upon their little ones sick bodies and believed for healing. I am grateful that while Tim and I struggle in a great many things, we do not struggle to believe for healing, or to show by example that the power of two gathered in the name of Jesus, can do anything.

When I complain about a headache, or not feeling well, 4 little hands come to my body and they pray- and they believe something will happen- because they prayed. When I say they pray- I mean they don’t care what it sounds like to me, or to anyone else, they have no need to gain praise for their words issued as a plea to Heaven. They don’t close their eyes, and squeeze them shut so they can’t see- they stand open hearted and they pray. Recently a friend received news that she may miscarry, I happened to be at home at the time, and I said- kids- we have an opportunity to ask God to save a little baby still in his mama’s tummy- will you pray with me?

I pray that I can hear my children pray over me for the rest of my life. Their beautiful hearts called out to God on that little ones behalf and a few days later I was able to go home and tell them- God heard our prayers and that little baby is ok! They looked at me and said, “well- we prayed”…. open looks of “duh”. It pleased my heart and more importantly- they touched God’s heart.

We have a choice to leave a legacy of children with a heart after God, or the world. Believe it or not- it is our choice. Will they have a decision to make one day? Yep. Could they turn away- yes. Is there a promise that He complete’s every good work He begins- Yes. So, if I cover them in prayer- truly take time out of my day and cover them and their decisions, aren’t their chances of staying with Him, or drawing back to Him more likely. I have to believe the chances are far greater with a consistent praying momma, than without!

Lift your Little, and Big ones up today- they are desperate for your prayers- as are the generations that follow you.

Blessings,

mel

Projects and Journeys

What an adventure life is. Such an eventful journey. I have had to learn to trust God in new ways over the last year, and it hasn’t been easy. I have not lived an easy life, but I have lived a blessed life. I have endured tragedy, heartbreak, insecurity, desperation, and fear. I have also experienced breakthroughs that would blow your mind. I have had moments of such serenity that it was almost a glimpse to a life of perfect peace when we join our Father, Creator, Maker- in Heaven.

I have met people along this journey that have marked me forever. I have expressed thanks to many of them throughout my time writing.  I have learned things by those who mark me, some because they push me to attempt more, to apply myself more, to grow more. One of those people has recently become a part of my life. Isn’t it amazing how many people share a piece of your life? A moment, a day, a week, a month- years? While my Step Mother in Law battled for her life we had some nurses who became her literally angels. They cared for her beyond the requirements, and they cared for us by extension the same way. In abundance, overwhelmingly loving, kind, and generous, with time, energy, comfort and even food. The took their commitment to their occupation to a new level.

I recently met someone who is much like those nurses who cared for Sheryl. She is driven. She is brave. She is a force to be reckoned with, and she is kind. There are few like her. She works unto the Lord, with an incredible work ethic, and a desire to excel- which she clearly does.

Recently I found out that she has gone into remission for a cancer I didn’t know she had. She is back in school- because she wants more than a Master’s, and is the lead on a huge project that will begin her Company’s use of a new Electronic Medical Record System. She has insight that surprises me, and while I would like to deny it, I may have a case of hero worship going on. The information she holds in her mind for 20 minutes would exhaust me and yet it seems to be effortless. She pushes me though she doesn’t know it. She encourages me to keep working to be better. To never settle for less than I can do with the strength of the Lord.

There is more I can say- but mostly- I wanted you to know that with the Lord, all things are possible. Nothing can stop you from accomplishing what you and the Lord agree to do. Not Cancer, not Heart Disease, not people disappointing you, or people telling you that you can’t do it. Nothing can hold the Lord back from His promise- but you.

If there is something you have been waiting on doing, because you aren’t sufficient to complete the task, or you doubt your ability- trust His ability. He is sufficient in all things. He will complete what He begins. Trust Him to complete what He has given you to do.

Blessings,

mel

The Grace of God

jan 18 15 acts 20 24

I have always loved the Jeremiah 29:11 verse, but over the last few months I have adopted a new verse, Acts 20:24.

I am not good at telling the unsaved about Christ. It is my greatest weakness. What I am good at is interjecting into converations who God is , and what He is able to do.

At the end of everyday I can lay my head on my pillow with confidence that He is able and willing to do all things on my behalf, and most importantly, that I am never alone.

Blessings,

mel

2015- The Beginning

So- It’s been a few months, sorry about that. Life has been real and happening in the Summa house and we have been rolling with the punches to come out unscathed!

I hope your holiday season was everything you believed it would be. I can speak for us, and it was wonderful! I can’t ask for more than the Lord gives me. My dreams come true all of the time, and not just because I have small dreams! 🙂

I have some interesting news for those who have been following along in this journey.

I met with my dad a few months ago, quite unexpectedly and we are working to restore a broken relationship. Please pray for us, as in growth, there is pain.

When I stopped writing a few months ago, I decided that maybe I would stop altogether, especially since it didn’t seem that what I wrote really affected anyone or anything. As I began 2015, I started to miss the gentle tapping of the keys and the clearness of mind that always comes after a particularly special message. What I write isn’t for you. I guess saying it and knowing it are two different things. I write to Him. I tell my deepest secrets to Him, and while you are certainly a part of that journey, it’s not your journey that I journal, it’s mine. Can He use my weakness? My tears, challenges, pain, and joy to show you the way to His heart?  – well of course, He is God.

What does this year bring? I don’t know. I know what is ahead and behind me is covered by the grace and mercy of God, and I will keep walking. There are days my head is heavy, and I can barely lift it for the shame, or disappointment that I carry. There are other days when I feel like I actually am Wonder Woman, and no obstacle can conquer my mission. The remaining time, I realize that I am simply here for a short time; that my real life begins, when I meet my Savior face to face.

What I will tell you whether you are new or a returning visitor- God is Able, Faithful, Incredible and He wants to come along for your journey- but He won’t invite Himself.

 

Blessings,

mel

 

Fully Invested Moments

There are defining moments in every persons life. My moments have been like yours, some grab you and you feel completely unable to handle the battle in front of you. You are David and Goliath is standing there, and the stones are slipping from your hands, as the sword is thrust powerfully through your armor and you are completely unprepared for the wound that hides under the armor.

Other moments, you already have the sling in the air, and the whirring sound of it whizzing around is more deafening than the shaking of an entire armies armor. The stone connects and you didn’t even realize you released it.

stone

I don’t know what moment this is for me. It is a moment, something is changing, something deep within me, that is un-content with the same ole stuff. Dreams are coming back to life that I buried long ago, and they came back bigger. Like a weed does, with those dreams coming back bigger, fears have grown until they tower over me. I am learning that my greatest fear is to be forgotten.

That my  life will have counted-for nothing. I am nothing but a vapor anyway. I don’t know about you, I really don’t. Most of you, if you follow this, I don’t know your names, I haven’t even figured out (despite being quite tech savy) how to figure out who does or doesn’t get a copy of this in their email everyday. I don’t know your life, your story. Your hopes, dreams, failures- epic failures. I just know we are all the same, because we have them. I believe you, like I have hopes that are gigantic, and wonderful and could change so many lives for the better, and I have fears that even if I accomplish those things they will all come crumbling down. My main purpose of this has always been to be real. To not be the one everyone wants to be like. There are some bloggers, and I sit in amazement at their accomplishments, both personally and professionally and I think how much I wish I was like them. But, I am not. I am me, and my life is quite messy and my best guess is, your’s is too. Marriage isn’t easy. Children aren’t easy. Work isn’t easy, both in and out of the home. Recreation isn’t easy, and relationships in general… well… they aren’t easy.

The one thing that is easy: Prayer. Because in the midst of your “I don’t know if I can keep doing this moment”, there is a still small voice. The one that spoke you into existence that says, “my strength is made perfect in your weakness”. It’s true isn’t it? When we can no longer hold our head up, mysteriously and miraculously, it somehow sits up there… and not only is it functional as a hat holder- there is a smile that comes from deep within, that the God of the Universe is FULLY invested in my mess. He isn’t a Jeanie in the bottle— we can’t “rub” Him the right way- He doesn’t work like that, but He is fully capable and incredibly able to make all of your yucky days; well. He can turn the dark skies to sunny in an instant, and He wants too. That’s my favorite part. He wants to hold my hand. He wants to tell me He loves me, and He wants more than anything to be my everything.

No matter where you are in this journey of life, grace and faith; He is there, and He loves you. So much.

Blessings Friends- whose names I do not know,

mel

In the Action!

Hey There!

I have missed you. I wonder sometimes what would happen if I just stopped writing, and then due to a crazy unexpected week, I did, and I realized exactly what would happen… I begin to go… well crazy.

Tim, and the kids don’t deserve crazy me, so if I stop writing- pray for them, they need it! 🙂

We have had a week. I won’t go into details, but hear me when I say, this week could not have been more unexpected. If you are having one of those days, weeks, months or years, my family has been there. We have walked almost every crisis on the planet. Literally- this is not an exaggeration. We have learned one thing in this process. God is Faithful. Always.

He never misses the opportunity to turn your life around. He never is caught unaware of what is coming your way.

He is always able, and always willing to inject Himself into your mess- self created or otherwise.

He is God, He is incredible and His grace is enough for you. No matter what you are walking through, or what you have put someone else through.

If you have a moment- please pray for our family today, or whenever you read this, that God will give us grace to forgive, as He has forgiven us. Don’t believe for a moment that the Lord has forgotten you, or misplaced you. Continue to cry out to Him, His ears are open— does God have ears?

I’ll leave you with that thought!

Blessings,

mel

 

Financial Peace Victory!

Today we are celebrating a financial victory. It’s a small one to many- but a big one to us.

We went to Kentucky this past weekend where my husband’s family comes from. It is beautiful, and wild, and absolutely wonderful! Spending time with his aunts, uncles and cousins is a true pleasure and I am honored to know each and every one of them. I’ll tell you more about them another time; today, I want to tell you what God has been doing for us!

We left thursday afternoon and about 40 minutes down the road from home, our tire blew. We heard a “pop”, and there she went. Thankfully the Lord somehow in His awesomeness it maintained air and we were able to turn back towards civilization instead of embarking on the long road ahead and getting stuck. We started using our brains, we had a spare tire but for the first time… no jack. We thought fast and went to Walmart (since it was after 5 and most places were closed) and bought a jack.

Last year that alone could have had us turning around, and missing out on the trip. Instead, we had a vehicle fund. We began doing Financial Peace earlier this year and that caused us to learn to separate our money so that it goes where it should- everytime. We just moved the money over to our checking and kept moving.

We fueled up at 1.99 a gallon because we buy shell gas cards from Kroger and after buying 3 at 100.00 a pop, we had earned 1200 fuel points equaling $1.00 off each gallon up to 35 gallons. We mapped our trip and stopped at only shell stations to fuel up. We still have money left over although our drive was 8 hours each way with an extra 4 1/2 hours added in between in a Ford F150. If we had a smaller vehicle that sips instead of gulps I am amazed by how inexpensively we could have traveled.

We bought a tire and had the oil changed while we were on our trip- still using the vehicle fund- and not impacting our trip in any way.

The day before we left, I went Christmas shopping online and without one guilty moment still spent only a small part of what was in our Christmas fund, and have only a few small items left to purchase.

Is our life different since FPU?

Yes. Drastically so?

No. We say no a lot. That is the hardest part, wanting to do something, but focusing instead on the bigger picture. It’s also inconvenient. We had to wait to say yes to things. We have to deal with other people looking at us like we are doing this all wrong, when we really believe the Lord is in this with us. Do we have money? Yes. But every dollar we have, is accounted for and working towards a specific purpose and goal.

This trip- was the absolute best we have ever had. We did everything we set out to do and never wondered if we were going to miss a bill, or struggle to eat when we got home.

If you haven’t taken FPU- if you feel hopeless, if you think you are in over your head- find a class nearby. You will have to pay to take the class, but believe me. It is worth every penny, to learn the techniques that will gain you the peace you have been longing for.

http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/classfinder

Blessings!

mel