My life: (short testimony version)

I share my story, because I found freedom from a painful past.  I have a message of hope as a gift for you.

Secrets.

I was born out of wedlock to a teenage mother.  Who because of her lifestyle, partied a lot, subsequently leaving me vulnerable prey to anyone.  I was burned with cigarettes and molested by the age of 2.  As a toddler, I was left alone while my mom was over dosed.  I had been forced into closets and left there because I was not good for a pimp/drug dealer’s business.  I was lied to about who my real father was, and was raised by a man whom I called Dad.  He had a drinking and drug addiction also, and was extremely violent at times, and other times was loving.  It was so unpredictable.  Our lives were often threatened, and it wasn’t long before I started to envision killing him.  I was raised in a Catholic upbringing, and I believed in an angry God who was in control of my life, who knew my thoughts, and could send me to hell.  I feared God, and this is what kept me from committing suicide, and murder.  Sure, from the outside we looked like a normal family, summer camping vacations, church etc., even to extended family members, what went on at home was kept secret.  It seemed no one noticed me, or cared.  There were times when I didn’t even have a friend or a single person I could trust.

R is for…

I was violently raped, at age 16 by a boy at school, and this soon turned to an attempted gang rape; which I barely escaped.  I was found to have Cystic Fibrosis, and was told I may only live till 21.  My life seemed to be ending before it began.  But 3 years later I was tested again and it was discovered to be not as life threatening.  I was raped again at age 18, and have had several attempted gang rapings all which I barely escaped.  Also, when I was 18, I was in a car accident where I died, had an outer body experience where I saw myself, and came back to life 3 days later, with severer brain damage, which went untreated.  I could no longer work, or continue school.  My dreams were destroyed.  I was reduced to speak with my hands, making up words, with broken english.  And also, temporarily suffered from short term amnesia.  At 22, I was attempted rape by a landlord and found out later he had been video taping me while I was in the shower.  I escaped a total of 8 gang raping from age16-22.  I also had an abortion, which destroyed in me the last decency of care for myself.  My life was nothing but a downward spiral, and I lost all hope.  I became extremely afraid of the dark, turned away from God, had anxiety, post traumatic stress, attempted suicid, insomniac, manic depressive, eating disorders, mutilation, drug and heavy alcoholic use.  I had turned to selling my body to earn a living as I felt this was my only option and was my apparent asset.  I believed the motto: “can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”  My life was worthless.  I became full of rage and anger.  I had a relationship, which I trampled on and distrusted.  My goal was to push his limits, to prove he was just like all the rest, but instead, he was always patient, forgiving, kind and loving, and I was too angry and self-destructive to reciprocate his love.  I pushed the limits to extreme not caring about the law.  Until my late 20’s when I just couldn’t live the life style I was living anymore.  So tired of feeling empty.

Decision.

We decided to have a child, and totally detoxed from drug and alcohol use.  I stopped working in the sex industry, and we were blessed with a baby boy.  Winter came and times were very hard, we were forced to move back to BC.  My husband made a career change, and I was at home with a baby, feeling isolated, thinking about going back to the lifestyle I left.  but also searching for meaning, and truth.  We had tried many religions, which felt peaceful but never answered the bigger questions I had.  We thought about Jesus the man, but the world gave us little information about Him.  Our journey was fading…

Truth.

until 2 weeks later a guy at my husbands work invited him to church.  We said yes right away, mainly out of boredom, we never even asked what church it was.  At the time we were living 6 blocks away from Calvary Worship Centre.  We were amazed, and felt like truth existed there!  But my sinfulness would have convinced me to never return if it weren’t for the guy who invited us telling us his testimony.  I knew right away, these people would be able to accept me and where I had come from.  Immediately we attended every sunday, received our first Bible which I read with such a hunger.  It was in reading Luke, that I felt like my eyes were opened and I believed Jesus is the Saviour, and son of God sent to forgive us of our sins.

Life.

We went through Deliverance, and then 7 days consecutively I had heat in my womb area.  On the 7th day God spoke to me saying “I wanted you to know I was healing you.”  I shared this testimony at church, and it was professed about me, that I was made virgin again, and 6 women stepped forward to receive healing.  We purged our home and lives of anything detestable to God, and were baptised and renewed our marriage vows.  I have forgiven everyone from my past (with the Lord’s strength), and most of the relationships with members of my family including my biological Father, Dad, and Mother have been renewed!  We have since been blessed with 2 more children!  I have seen Jesus twice as light, another time in the flesh with eyes that burned with the Spirit, and another time with His hand on my shoulder along with an angel on my other shoulder.  God spoke many things to me, among them was what He purposed my life to be with specific instructions.  I began speaking at the Union Gospel Mission, and have such a desire to live for Jesus, and such compassion to help others experience freedom from addiction, abuse, etc..  After I shared my testimony at our home group recently, God revealed to me 3 revelations about my past that instantly set me free and completely healed me emotionally.  Now, I knew I was ready to start helping women.  2 weeks later I was asked to speak my testimony at our church, later that day I was asked to help with this women’s group (for the sexually abused).  Now that I am free from dwelling on past hurts, I feel I can more clearly hear Gods voice.  I have more joy, and feel such a fullness and courage, strengthening, purpose and hope.  And with seeing the power of God so strongly transforming me, it has strengthened my faith.  I can truly say I have been made new.  By the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, the devil has been defeated!

Sincerely,

All the Glory goes to God.  Jesus is alive and loves you!

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”  John 1:4

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Fasting to Eliminate PRIDE

I would never of thought my next entry would yet again be about fasting, but here we are, staring at the rock wall.

This journey takes some surprising turns, shows me purpose where I didn’t expect it, and has revelations sprinkled throughout that can only be given by God through fasting!  I pray this begins a journey of your own…

I ask, can PRIDE be eliminated?  It has so many faces.

 [Pride, a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance,merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.]

I didn’t think it was pride at first, in fact I didn’t think I was the “proud” type at all, you know the type.  Me, no, I only struggle with anger, impatience, and resentment.  I asked God to help remove these things from me, that’s when He revealed these were in fact PRIDE.  To be honest, I just got to the point where I was tired of the trouble they caused me and my relationships, it had ruled my life long enough!  It goes way back, it’s junking up my life, holding me back from being what I am purposed to be.  It’s time to take out the trash!

(they) humbled themselves in their pride, and so they didn’t experience the LORD’s anger.

2 Chronicles 32:25-27

She must be pregnant?  Cravings… Aversions…

I can’t exactly explain it, but it just came over me.  A sudden aversion to coffee, and chocolate, and a craving for clear fluids like, broth, green teas, more water intake generally, and to eat more vegetables.  One may think, “oh good for you, yes we should all get healthy.”  But this wasn’t to get healthy, the desire came at the same time I became fed up with my prideful ways.  It’s like they went together somehow, a total detox, body, soul and mind.  I’m not talking about a New Age belief, and no, I didn’t just read the latest book on How-To-Change-Your-Life, I felt God was calling me, leading me.  This was going to be a time for fasting to give up something difficult in order to get closer to God and deliver me from pride.

And just to make sure I took a test, nope negative 😉

I really am just like you!

This was not going to be easy, because I am like you, I LOVE my coffee, and i do tend to eat chocolate often.  Coffee for me, as im sure for you also, fits into a part of my personality.  I’m sure there’s a link between personality types and your coffee preference.  Eg. Oh, he’s that strong and silent black coffee type.   I have been ordering a “tall Cinnamon Dolche Latte” from Starbucks ever since they began making them.  What that makes me I haven’t figured out… Even my four year old son knows how to say those words since he has heard me say them over and over again through the drive through.  And my sweet tooth is one of the worst i know, needing some high fructose induced chocolate almost everyday.  So fasting these from my daily dietary intake for a month, is almost like quitting an addiction cold turkey… and believe me I have done that too!

Menu:

– coffee

– chocolate

+ broth

+ vegetables

——————-

= difficult… hum…

“Why not test your servants for ten days? You could give us a diet of vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance to the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s food. Then deal with your servants according to what you see.”

 14 The guard decided to go along with their plan and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the guard kept taking away their rations and the wine they were supposed to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 17 And God gave knowledge, mastery of all literature, and wisdom to these four men. Daniel himself gained understanding of every type of vision and dream.

Daniel 1: 12 – 17


Clarification, in my own words…

Fasting is done in Christianity, as it is taught in the Bible.  Fasting has many uses, but mainly is used to weaken ourselves, in order to have Christ rise up in ourselves.  Which is desired because Jesus is who we are trying to follow.  When we get caught up in the fast pace of life, or our flesh (as they call it), we can become deaf to God’s leading.  Fasting is a way of queting ourselves to draw closer to God and recieve His revelation, also a place to surrender something in return for God’s strength to overcome.

“And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward.”
Matthew 6:15-17

I mentioned earlier that I felt Coffee was apart of who “I am”, which is then apart of my soul!  Our soul is made up of our emotions, our will and who we are.  And when something has a dominance in out lives, and becomes who we are, it can lead to idolatry.  Idolatry can become a god.  And since we can not serve two God’s the one who is impeding on our soul needs to go, so that Jesus alone can be the God of our life.  Idolatry is often called an obsession, or a bad habit (more commonly), which is often trivialized in our society.  People can relate to each other through their similar obsessions.  Having an obsession, or several obsessions are acceptable, and encouraged.  Some obsessions are, perfectionism, or having a certain amount of money, or fashion, celebrities, careers (status), education (status), travel (status), hobbies, music, appearance, brand names, glutoney, or our children can become an obsession, even our pets.  Just to name a few… not to judge, but just as a example.

19 The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, 20 idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, 21 jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom.

Galatians 5:19-21

It is easy to let these things become so important, and I have struggled with several of these at one point or another.  Its just getting a hold of them, getting out from under them from becoming idols, only God can set us free.  Often these idols are looked upon as a strength, because they are so applauded in our society, and so highly valued, and just so enjoyable.  But they can become an unisatioable trap which one can chace their entire lives, causing other more important things like family or charity or honesty, to be ignored.  And in most cases, these things completely take over and remove any need for God.  Even if an athiest protests they believe in no God, they have been fooled, because surly one of these has become their god, and they are entrapped by it so deeply, that they have been given over to it.

 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
Colossians 3:4-6

Enough ranting.  The point is more inward, not looking at society, because there we can escape into… rationalisation, which would completly derail the fast.

*I will post weekly to let you know my progress for this month long fast, maybe you will join me.  Let me know how you are doing, through prayer we can support each other 🙂  God Bless you

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Day 7: Got my Dollars Worth…and a bit more


(Last Day of our “Dollar A Day Challenge!)

4 people joined to fast for one week on a dollar a day‘s worth of food, eating a typical 3rd world diet of: oatmeal, rice and lentils.  In search of deeper compassion, to be moved to reach out to those in need.

1 week of food

Menu:

Breakfast:  1/2 cup oatmeal

Lunch:  1/4 cup rice with 1/2 cup brown beans (*** Cheat, it’s supposed to be lentils)

Dinner:  Broke the fast!  “The Lords Supper”  Had 2 slices of pizza, birthday cake, and pop.  (I don’t recommend ending a fast like this!) 😉

looks nothing like 3rd world cooking

Survivor.

Definitely mixed emotions today.  Like I’m a survivor of a natural disaster, and I’m being rescued by helicopter, I’m lifted into the plane, they wrap me in a warm blanket, feed me, tend to my injuries, give me fluid, and I know I’m going to be okay.  But what about the others, they are left behind, I could have traded places with someone else, but I didn’t, I could have been the one left behind, but I’m not.  My sudden joy and relief is over shadowed by remorse.  But to stay in remorse would be a waste of my blessings.  I need to be grateful but  never forget all those who have no choice (those left behind).  I am reminded of the fact that 80% of the world is in poverty and suffering.  I have never been someone who has had great odds at winning anything, but look at those odds, I happened to land in the 20% of the population who has plenty!  That alone should give me a reason everyday to be thankful!  And the only one to thank for that is God.

breakfast even my toddler will eat

We considered at the get go of the fast, that, today we would just go without food.  Because by dinner, we would be officially done the fast.  We have planned it this way, that this fast would end on our monthly “Lord Supper.”  Something we do at our church, we get together one sunday a month, at a church leaders house, and all bring a dish of food to share, a time for fellowship, laughter and tears, and then after dinner, we listen to a message being taught from the Bible and reflect of God’s words before we share in the breaking of the bread, and drinking the “wine” (* grape juice to be considerate), as the Lord Jesus taught us to do in memory of His life He gave for us.  It is an important part of our belief to be filled with more of Jesus, and to put off the old ways of ourselves.  To receive Him, and be changed, renew ourselves, and live more like Christ (Biblical teaching).  And as much as it seemed like a fitting thing to do, to fast completely before the feast, but, Ben our fellow “seasoned” Challenger, advised that it would be more rewarding to continue the day as normal, to continue eating the oatmeal and lentils, despite the fact we know later we will be eating to our hearts content.  There is more discipline that way, and a valuable lesson to be learned in committing to the end.  And we agreed, it would be the harder road, and we wanted to experience it to the fullest.  So, eating my oatmeal, and then rice at lunch, was truly a different experience.  It seemed like it was my last meal, I cherished each bite, because in a way I was cherishing each last moment in this challenge.  Something I would have missed if I just went without.

****

lunch and dinner

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.  Acts 20:24 NIV
****

Sunday at last

This day seemed to whizz by.  And it had an excitement to it.  Not just for the obvious reasons.  But also because it was Sunday, so time together with the family, church service, praise and worship, fellowship, Lords supper to look forward to, more time with friends, and a birthday celebration for our friend who was leading the Lords supper.  But like I said earlier it was a day of mixed emotions.  And to keep myself focused on the poverty of the rest of the world, I read some more from the book : Hungry For Life, by Dave Blundell.  So please allow me to share with you some of the things that really touched my heart, moved me to tears, and gave me a vision of hope for these people:

The life for which this world is hungry comes from none other than the Author of life.”

30,000 children die every day from hunger and preventable diseases.  I realised that just that day 30,000 parents watched their son or daughter die because they weren’t able to provide their child what I had just provided my son in the last hour.”

“…on our way to visit another needy project site, I see a father sitting on a small piece of tattered cardboard-his only protection from the hot pavement-holding three of his children.  All three children look barely conscious.  Their clothes are smoggy grey, they wear no shoes, their hair is matted and caked with mud, and their father holds out his hat at anyone who passes by, hoping that the next person might ba able to provide the smallest amount of food for his family.  My eyes are fixed on him as we drive by and I wonder, “What lottery did I win that this isn’t me and my children?”

****

most don't even have this

 “Sadly, most Christians today view the Christian life as “accepting Jesus as their personal Lord ans Savior” and then trying their hardest to observe disciplines and rituals which often have no significant biblical basis.  It seems that most Christians have grown up in a religious environment where our emotional and Spiritual energy was spent trying to avoid specific behaviour to perpetuate a pious and morally superior image.  Not only have we made following Christ look boring and irrelevant, we have done so while ignoring the greater issues which are actually supposed to be what followers of Jesus are known for addressing.”

 

“A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.”  Acts 2:43-45 

Question:  “How do people around you view the Church or religion?” 

**** 

“Essentially, if someone wanted to come along and pick up the tab right now to eradicate needles suffering, the price tag would be in the neighborhood of $40 billion a year.  Broken down something like this, in USD per year: 

  • Basic education for all: $6 billion
  • Clean water and sanitation for all: $9 billion
  • Reproductive health for all women: $12 billion
  • Basic health and nutrition: $13 billion”

 “Lets compare that with some other big spending: 

  • Dieting programs in the US: $40 billion
  • Aesthetic cosmetic surgeries in the US: $11 billion
  • Online pornography revenue worldwide in 2006: $97 billion
  • Spending on cell phone games, music and video in 2010: $43 billion
  • Pet food in Europe: $17 billion
  • Cigarettes in Europe: $50 billion
  • Us military spending: $650 billion
  • Canadian military spending: $15 billion”

“It is abundantly clear:  if Jesus is right about our hearts being where our money is, we don’t have a priority for compassion or for the change that is needed to alleviate needless suffering.” 

this would be a feast for sore eyes

“I am not judging the practical realities that necessitate spending in some of these areas.  In fact, healthy spending enables us to enjoy what God has blessed us with.  My point, however, is twofold: 1st we already have more than enough financial resources to see needless suffering eradicated, 2nd global imbalance and current financial priorities are indicative of a deep spiritual decay, that must be addressed if we are to see a world transformed.” 

” A modest contribution from everyone who has enough to live comfortably, eat out occasionally, and buy bottled water, would suffice to achieve the goal of lifting most of the world’s extremely poor people above poverty line of $1.25 a day.  If that modest contribution were given , we would no longer be in a situation in which 10 million children were dying from poverty each year.” 

 “The fact is, we who are from developed nations, could eradicate extreme suffering without at all putting ourselves or the well-being of our own children at risk” 

“Questions: What is your reaction to the comparison between the cost to eradicate extreme suffering and the global spending priorities apparent today?”  

“Why do you think extreme suffering exists alongside unprecedented wealth?” 

**** 

What are your answers to these questions?  Looking at the second one, where would you expect to find the answer?  God has given us answers to all things.  He also gave us a plan, and He wrote it down for us.  It’s in the Bible, several places, Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15 and 22, Acts 2 and 4.  I will leave this up to you to research if you are so willing.  The answers are shocking!  If we had followed His plan, the World as we know it may not look this imbalanced.  Hence free will… Dave Blundell goes on to write:

Those who claim to follow Christ today don’t even know these instructions existed.” 

Religion has left people empty and hungry, but the reality of the person of Jesus can still shine through the cracked and broken sacred forms.” 

“It is this hunger for substance that has created an awakening of people who see the incredible potential of a world that could be transformed by a revived and renovated Church.  We have discovered that possessions and prosperity have not provided happiness and fulfillment they believed it would; at the same time, there is an institutional Church which is rarely, if at all, sought out by those looking to fill the deepest areas of their souls.  Even worse, research and reality tells us that even if people do turn to the Church, they rarely find the Answer to their deepest void.  Paralleling this spiritual emptiness and search for personal meaning, the physical deprivation and extreme poverty that exists in the world is becoming a greater global priority.  People, spiritually motivated or not, are rediscovering the joy and personal fulfillment that comes from what they give, rather that from what they receive.”  

 “The conditions are perfect for change.” 

****      

a long road ahead for many others

Consecrate yourself in preparation (for the feast). Numbers 11:18 

Consecrate: An act of choosing to be set apart for a special role in the service of God and the Church normally accompanied by a vow or public promise together with a distinctive way of life.

Normally I would have made a home cooked dish of a stew or something, but we were running short on time, so I only had time to get pizza, and then we were craving pop, and of course we  picked up a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for the birthday boy lol ;).  I felt like I had cheapened the Lord’s Supper.  I felt like I had to keep apologising for my choices… Was this the sort of meal one consecrates themselves to receive?  And after such a Spirit filled fast, this is how we nourish our temple?  I am not proud to say we succumbed to our cravings, but it was not at all fulfilling.  And what it did to our bodies after, I would not recommend anyone try it.  But even still, the presence of the Lord was quite strong among the group, as we joined hands and prayed for each other.  Several people received insights on a few of the members, and were able to administer the appropriate prayers to give encouragement.  This created such a humble bond, as there was such an intense honesty, we all felt much more joined together.  It was really a beautiful evening.

And after it was all said and done, I was in such a ponderous mood.  I wondered if I was different.  had I changed?  Could I recognise the changes? Was I more compassionate, and thankful?  Was there something new in me that wasn’t there before?  I searched my soul for these answers.  There is a revelation that stands out right away:  Balancing my focus of experiencing the Challenge physically vs. praying for transformation spiritually, to receive compassion and to open the eyes of my heart.   In the original text of the Bible the word “open” translates to mean “a divine intervention by God.”

In the act of this fast, what we were saying to God, is that we are seeking Him.  Denying ourselves physically, so we could be filled spiritually, fill the physical hunger with spiritual food, in hopes to unite our hearts with the Creator, and deepen our love by opening ourselves up to His love.

I am excited to say the very thing I was in search for when starting this fast, was revealed to me!  But not in how I needed to change myself, but by who can create change in me.  It was a process of FAITH.

**** 

Looking Back

These are the questions that I posed in Part 1 of this Challenge, that have yet to be answered.  Now that there has been some distance since finishing the fast, 2 months approximately, I can make an honest evaluation.  Here goes:

1.  Can this (Challenge) create a lasting, changed belief system so that we respond personally to give to the less fortunate?

As for the lasting part, it’s like marriage, it takes commitment, work, practice doing the right thing, and not back sliding.  And of course constant guidance from the Lord.  What this fast also provided was a way to see my life from the outside-in.  What I saw in myself, my wastefulness, my lack of appreciation for what I do have, my ignorance and lack of care for those in 3rd world Countries, and my constant eye on the golden carrot; these have all definitely changed!  I now have a desire to live changed, to incorporate thinking and praying for the less fortunate as a way of life.  Like they are my family.  Changing my priorities, being comfortable with less (even when I could have more), concentrating on global issues instead of  seasonal trends.  Setting goals of how I can truly help the needy before advancing my own needs.  My heart now is in-line with desiring to be compassionate, as a posed to desiring personal comfort.  (That’s a biggie!)  Compassion extends to everyone we come across, to look for the opportunities to be kind, to reach out, to make the effort to acknowledge someone, make conversation, to offer help, to call up that older lonely relative, to put aside bitterness with family members, to forgive, to give the benefit of the doubt, to be honest, to not lash out in hurt, to treat myself less so I can give to others more, when life gets harder (which it is) to be less controlling and disappointed to live life with grace and ease, and to allow myself to be vonourable to the Lord  so He can soften and heal my heart to creat a place where compassion will flourish.  To allow the Lord to  open the eyes of my heart.  I also want to share that the Lord has opened a door for me to help out at the Union Gospel Mission, which caters to the homeless.  I am blessed to be there, I see them with eyes of true compassion.  I actually feel love for them, I know this is Christs love coming from within me, and in turn I receive love from them! Wow!  I certainly can’t brag, as I am a coward inside before I go there, but the Lord gives me strength to be His hands and feet!

2.  Will we be able to survive a week on a dollar a day food ration?

Definitely!  Actually there were a few baggies left.  Your body adjusts somewhat to eating less.  But as a health warning** Your body goes through “starvation mode” meaning, since you are malnourished your body stores every calorie, and slows the metabolic rate, which can leave you very lethargic, light headed, or other health complications, not to be taken lightly!  It is a fast, not a diet!!  For me, I actually gained a few pounds!! Which was surprising.  But foods like oatmeal, and white rice are very bulky, and most of it is stored as fat.  Which was another sad realization, that these foods just filler, they are not very nutritious!  When I was eating, it went against all my knowledge about healthy eating, and was hard to over come the mind over matter.  I grieved for my body, but the realization that others don’t even have a choice, was extremely sad.

3.  Will I be honest in my attempts?

This was not always easy.  There was a part of me that wanted to seem stronger/better than I actually was.  Especially since our challengers, and my husband for that matter, were all pretty easily able to commit to staying on track, I was the least succesful.  But I am happy to say that I was honest about my failures.  I was disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t faithfully do this challenge.  I cheated everyday, almost at every meal, I am actually shocked by that.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know that for me it was practically impossible.  When I told this to my “challenger friend” Vanessa, she gave very wise advice.  She said “be happy, because now you can’t boast about how you were able to easily do this challenge.  You can’t scuff off the suffering of 3rd world Countries by saying, oh I did that, it was no problem.”  By me not being able to do this challenge without cheating, it proved how difficult their lives are, and I had it nothing like the suffering they have.  So it has given me more compassion for how truly difficult they live.  And here’s a suiting piece of scripture:

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NIV 

3.  Will this draw me closer to God?

This definitely proved that I can call out to the Lord and seek Him, and He will answer.  I was strengthened in being able to hear Him more clearly, and hear His direction in my life.  I know now what calling on the Lord needs to feel like.  I know how it feels to be drawn into the presence of the Lord, and I want that more in my life.  I feel like He has changed me through this, but the transformation is not over, and I feel my understanding of the Lord has deepened a bit more.

However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 
“For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:9-16 NIV 

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a meal worth a thousand stories

Interesting little Mention

This is bizzar!  I was hugely addicted to caffeine before this challenge.  And I didn’t think it was possible for me to go with out.  But how interesting that half way through, I grew an aversion to caffeine.  Now, after the challenge, I can enjoy tea, caffeinated or not!  But not daily anymore, it just doesn’t seem to matter any more!!! Who would have thought!

… and you know our “challenger” friend, she found out after the week of fasting, that she is pregnant with her first child.  Now that is truly experiencing what impovershed women face.  Thank the Lord everyone survived the fast!  And I also share in some good news, I have also found out I am pregnant with our second child!  Praise the Lord!!!  The Lord has some interesting timing 😀

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Being and Doing

 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”  Matthew 7:13-14 The message 

Below is that same passage, but from the New International Version.  It gives a different perspective on this awesome message!  Enjoy…

The Narrow and Wide Gates

 “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14 NIV 

Here are some links to the books, and organisations mentioned in my blog:

 http://www.hungryforlife.org/ 

http://www.gfa.org/resource/books/revolution/ 

http://onedollaradaychallenge.wordpress.com/ 

http://www.biblegateway.com/ 

 What are your thoughts and comments on this blog?  I am interested in reading your comments.  Please keep comming back, as I will be adding other posts wich will hopefully encourage your Spiritual growth, as I also grow in my faith with God our Father.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

God Bless you and keep you

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Day 6: Mountain vs. Mole Hill

Menu:

Morning:  1/2 c oatmeal

Lunch:  Nothing

Dinner:  1 egg and 1/4 c rice (egg fried rice with powdered chicken broth)

Evening:  (***Cheat) 1 c camomile tea

 What Day is it?!

I don’t know why, but day 5 felt like day 7.  So today shouldn’t be happening…  It’s only day 6?  How did that happen?  I really felt DONE!  The option of quitting crosses my mind, but I just watch it float on by, no, with only 2 days left, I will go on.  (Yes, this is where you can say sissy, suck it up, and quit complaining!  I quite agree!)  

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“I am with you; that is all you need.  My power shows up best in weak people.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)”  Hebrews 10:23 KJV

“Happy is the man who doesn’t give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterwards he will get his reward the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.”  James 1:12

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Pass. 

Clearly after the mornings pitiful pity party (ppp), I needed to dig in deeper to my Lord.  As I prayed before lunch, I felt the thoughts that had been forming all week, and was now confronted by them unavoidably.  I couldn’t get past the fact that we were still eating better than most 3rd world Countries (and even people in our own Country), that we had a week’s worth of food and the fact that after only a week we would have plenty (so I haven’t felt that desperation of facing starvation), and the fact that I didn’t feel the profound amount of Compassion I thought would permanently to transform my heart, and this new devastating thought: I’m just not being honest saying I’m thankful for this ration of food.  I know I’m thankful to have food at all, I’m also thankful that I am blessed to have all I have and need.  But deep down in my heart I wasn’t feeling truly thankful for the meal (rice) I was about to receive.  Aware the Lord knows all my thoughts, I stopped, put the rice in Tupperware, and got down on my knees, and begged for forgiveness in my ungreatfulness.  I pleaded to the Lord to help me see the connection, what was blocking my heart in feeling true meaningful compassion and now lacking thankfulness.  This “Challenge” is certainly showing me an ugly side.  I’m glad these hindrances have been unearthed, but now what? I cried in my pitifulness.  I felt that wonderful desperation for the Lord to help me, change me, fill me, comfort me, and speak to me.  My hunger didn’t interest me, the only thing I wanted to be satisfied with was by God.  But as it is with the flesh, it was a battle.  Battle in my thoughts, I was trying to logically search for what was holding me back from getting deeper; becoming more Christlike.  I fought my thoughts, and tried to give them up to the Lord, I tried to silence my self, in hopes to hear the Lord, I was impatient, and critical of myself.  What I needed most was joy. 

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9-12″Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”  Colossians 1:11 The Message 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”  Psalm 139:23

10 “So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

“For God is at work within you, helping you to want to obey Him, and then helping you to do what He wants.”  Philippians 2:13

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He is with me.

Clearly I hadn’t filled up on enough of the word so far or spent enough time in deep prayer (which isn’t that easy when you have an active toddler to take care of.  But the Lord can meet me with what ever time I sincerely give Him).  Which coincidently I thought was enough, since it was more than usual, but for what my heart was desiring to accomplish, I needed to give much more.  I can’t believe how far I missed the point!  I was getting it all wrong, I was thinking the actual act of the challenge would unlock the key, like being hungry would give me incite, or that by my “actions” of “doing” this challenge would urge/force God to give me compassion and thankfulness, like a reward?!  Don’t get me wrong I KNOW that’s not right, or I thought I did, but I was wrong in thinking these principles (that I read about in God’s word) didn’t apply somehow when trying to do something in the name of the Lord.  I fell into that trap of being so focused on the mission, that I neglected the Creator of the mission.  These actions can’t change me, only God can change me, from the inside out.  So, I’m pretty much stopped in my tracks, and not a moment too late.  What a revelation!

Ah, God’s perfect timing!  Receiving this revelation has lifted my spirits, that heavy weight of having to try to figure out truths in my lack of understanding, my confusion in thinking I can do outward things to create inward change, and doing all I could possible think of for the purpose of “good” got me no where.  It was actually more frustrating!  The understanding that God wants to help me, and has all the power to do so, I just needed to seek Him after realising I am helpless, in a desperate cry, of defeat in the lack of my abilities, giving up “my vision”, letting go of my grip on the situation, and giving it up to God, calling out for help.  It may seem like a terrible thing to come to this point.  It goes against all social norms, “The I Can Do It All” syndrome.  The “I Am In Charge” mandate.  The only things to be gained here are “worldly” and self-fulfilling; but for truth, and a relationship with our Creator, we need to “hang-it-on-the-line” and step out of the box we put God in, and welcome the incites, and direction to the clear path of understanding and vision!  This is the only “way” that works!  This revelation created understanding, direction, release, lightness, comfort, contentment, peace, and JOY!  Praise God for giving me what He knew I needed most!  What a wonderful way to head into the final day of the Challenge.  Yay!  Blessed Day 7 here we come…

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 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

“He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to both you and your ancestors.  He did it to help you realize that food isn’t everything, and that real life comes by obeying every command of God.”  Deuteronomy 8:3

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think.  Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you.”  Romans 12:2

“If you do this you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

Quail from the LORD

 4 The rabble (crowd) with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

 7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

 10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

 16 The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.

 18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month…” Numbers 11:4-20

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Day 5: Why hasn’t this worked yet?

Menu:

Morning: 1/2 c oatmeal (***Cheat with a dash of brown sugar and cinnamon)

Lunch: 1/4 c rice (***Cheat with 1 tsp butter, and salt)

Dinner: 1/4 c rice, with 1/4 c green lentils, and 1 tbsp chicken broth powder

Evening :(***Cheat 2 lentil cookies)

Silence 

You would think the sugar and cinnamon would have been such a pleasure, but underneath it all it was still oatmeal!  And to my surprise, I’m not enjoying my tea!  My tea!  The one pleasure I could not do without.  I literally had a sip and had to pour it out.  I even made a second cup, (I know I’m a nut) but only to meet its partner down the drain.  Who took my taste buds?  What’s happening here?  Today has just won the prise of being the “Hardest Day!”  In fact I’m calling it “dreaded day 5.” 

On dreaded day 5, nothing seemed to help, not prayer, not sunshine, not sugar, not the shower I took, not the clean clothes I put on, not the creams I used, not the socks I put on to sooth my cold feet, not the fact that I woke up in a safe, comfortable home, not the fact I could turn on all the lights I wanted to brighten up my surroundings, not the sounds of music (lol), and not even reading the Word seemed to lift me out of this heaviness.  What could be the problem you wonder?  Let me tell you, your first thoughts of hunger, or boredom are wrong.  It’s also not because I seem apparently ungrateful today.  It’s huge…DO I have you guessing?  It’s because I expected something miraculous to happen , by now!  Didn’t you?  I set out on this journey, with a hope to receive more compassion by doing this challenge.  I thought that something would happen inside of me like a big blast!  I thought I would unearth some deep truths about myself, about world hunger, and find the key that lead to unlocking all peoples hearts in increasing world-wide compassion.  Is is really all my fault for just having too large of an expectation?  I really thought my excitement would meet expectations.  I honestly thought it was going to happen, just as sure as the sun comes up…  And what’s worse, is God isn’t giving me an explanation.

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K.P. Yohannan writes in his book, Revolution in World Missions:

 “Every time I stand before an audience, I try early in my message to ask two very important questions that every Christian needs to ask himself:

• Why do you think God has allowed you to be born in North America or Europe rather than among the poor of Africa and Asia and to be blessed with such material and spiritual abundance?

• In light of the superabundance you enjoy here, what do you think is your minimal responsibility to the untold millions of lost and suffering in the Two-Thirds World?”

He responds; “You have been born among the privileged elite of this world.  You have so much while others have so little. Think a moment about the vast difference between your country and the nations without a Christian heritage.”

Is Missions an Option?

“If the apostle Paul had not brought the Gospel to Europe, foundational principles such as freedom and human dignity would not be part of the American heritage.  Because the Holy Spirit instructed him to turn away from Asia and go West, America has been blessed with its systems of law and economics—the principles that made it rich and free.  Founded by believers in Christ who made a covenant with God—dedicating a new nation to God.  In addition, the United States is the only nation in the world born into affluence, freedom and divine blessings, Americans should be the most thankful people on earth.  But along with the privilege comes a responsibility.  The Christian must ask not only why, but also what he should do with these unearned favors.”

“Throughout Scripture, we see only one correct response to abundance: sharing.  God gives some people more than they need so that they can be channels of blessing to others.  God desires equity between His people on a worldwide basis.  That is why the early Church had no poverty.”

“The apostle Paul wrote to the rich Christians in Corinth:”

 “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.”  2Corinthians 8:13–14 NIV

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“Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:14, 17–18 NIV.

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“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  James 2:14-17 NIV

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K.P. goes on to say; “God has not given this superabundance of blessings to Western Christians so we can sit back and enjoy the luxuries of this society—or even in spiritual terms, so we can gorge ourselves on books, teaching cassettes and deeper-life conferences. He has left us on this earth to be stewards of these spiritual and material blessings, learning how to share with others and administer our wealth to accomplish the purposes of God.” Millions of North American and European believers can accomplish this easily by giving up cookies, cakes, sweets, coffee and other beverages. These junk foods harm our bodies anyway, and anyone can save enough in this way to help sponsor one or even two missionaries a month. Many are going beyond this and, without affecting health or happiness, are able to help sponsor several missionaries every month.”

To start, I challenge believers to lay aside at least $1 a day to help support a native missionary in the Two-Thirds World.” (Hence the “dollar-a-day-challenge” was born, thanks to Vanessa, to help experience what they live on, and strive to be moved in compassion to help)

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“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”  Ezekiel 16:49-50 NIV

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Only when we are emptied of our own self-sufficiency can God use us…  As I travel, I often hear innocent-sounding questions such as, “How do we know that the native church is ready to handle the funds?” or “What kind of training have the native missionaries had?” So long as such questions are based on a sincere desire for good stewardship, they are commendable, but in many cases I have found the intent of the questions to be much less honorable.  Westerners refuse to trust Asians the way they trust their own people. If we’re satisfied that a certain native missionary is truly called to the Gospel, we have to trust God and turn our stewardship over to him and his elders just as we would to another brother in our own culture…  It adds an unbiblical element, which only humiliates and weakens the native missionaries in the long run.  Christians need to learn that they are not giving their money to native workers, but God’s money to His work overseas.”

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Let’s Take A Breather.

That stung a bit, yes, but if we try to understand where he is comming from, it might sting a bit less.  Most of us will never see the Asia he is talking about, so lets try to give him the bennifit of the doubt.  It’s difficult to think about change, but the silver lining in his words, is that change doesn’t have to come with a big cost!  Instead of feeling bad, lets feel glad we can help.  Baby steps.  I think if we just allow these feelings to sink in a bit, to just observe these thoughts, chew on them, lets take a moment to just pause here.  Lets close our eyes, perhaps bow our heads, or get down onto your knees (it’s very rewarding), lets pray to God:  I feel moved, but I don’t know what to do, please continue to give me the motivation to act on the call, give me your strength, your guidance, and your assurance that this is your will.  Thank you God, for speaking into my life, let me continue to be a light that shines for you.  Amen.  Lets have peace that there is hope.  In his continuing statement K.P.Y. writes:     

  “Christians would do well to sit still until the power of God is manifested in their Christian activities.  Churches need to develop the quiet disciplines they have lost—practices such as contemplation, fasting, listening, meditation, prayer, silence, Scripture memory, submission and reflection.”  -K.P.Y

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Where the Spirit of The Lord is, There is Freedom.

Clearly God had led me to an answer which unlocked the silence.  I found K.P.Y’s words stabbed at a place that caused a knee jerk reaction of panic, “what give up snacks?!!  It’s really that easy…  Oh no.”  I can’t deny they certainly point to the truths I was searching for.  Thats the thing about truth, once their exposed we have to make a choice.  But I do like the suggestion to not just run out to the first charity you see, but to ask for God’s guidance.  Even if we see an obvious choice, lets slow down, sit in silence, and wait for God to lead us.  After all, if He is calling, then it’s a pretty safe bet, He had something in mind! 

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“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:13 NASB
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“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”  John 13:17 NIV
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I guess It Wasn’t That Bad!
 
I have to say that dreaded day 5,  was not pretty, but it had its successes.  I was bombarded by huge desires to snack all day.  I did have a nice visit with my mom today, hard to be in the world when fasting though, but it was even more difficult to be in someone elses place, with pistachios, and home-made jam lying around.  In fact if I hadn’t brought my baggies of lentils and rice, I would have caved in.  And it sucked to not go for a Starbucks coffee with my mom; mmm skinny cinnamon dolce latte.  It’s like I’m on house arrest or something, and I was out on parole, but had an armed guard watching my every move.  I guess I can take comfort in knowing I did have an “armed guard” watching my every move!  God and His warring angels, helping me to do His will!  Thank you God for being ever-present by my side, helping fight my battles for me!
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Day 4: Beyond Me

Menu:

Morning:  1 scrambled egg, with half old potato, and 2 getting very old peppers (I would have normally thrown away)

Lunch:  Slice of toast with butter (***Cheat), and  1/4 c green lentils

Dinner:  1/4 c green lentils with 1/4 c rice ( what a surprise)

Evening: 1 cup camomile tea (yes…***Cheat)

Morning Glory.

I set my alarm to get up a few hours earlier this morning.  I felt the Lord calling me to give more time in prayer before my day began, and especially during this fast, but unfortunately until now I havent.  I set my alarm for 7am, but the Lord woke me up at 5:30am.  Since I went to bed at 1:30am the night before,  I pleaded with the Lord to let me sleep just a bit longer, so He let me, and woke me again at 6:00am!! haha okay, I got up, thankful to feel the Lord’s desire for me to be with Him!  I thought I better go downstairs so I don’t fall back asleep.  And when I stepped into my living room, I could almost see the presence of the Lord heavily filling the room.  Like the room had been prepared for me.  A glow coming from the early dawn gleaned in, and a warmth surrounded me, the worship music played softly in the background (since we keep it on night and day), and such a peace fell upon me.  I no longer felt tired.  I felt the Lord lead me into prayer instantly, then I heard the Lord direct me onto my knees in reverence of the Lord.  After praying I heard the Lord tell me to read the “Daily Bread” and so I opened it, and the title read “Quiet Time With God.”  Oh, the Lord is good!  It goes as follows:

Quiet Time With God.

Read: Psalm 23

The word connected captures our contemporary experience of life.  Many people rarely go anywhere without a cell phone, iPod, laptop, or pager.  We have become accessible 24 hours a day.  Some psychologists see this craving to stay connected as an addiction.  Yet a growing number of people are deliberately limiting their use of technology.  Being a “tech-no” is their way of preserving times of quiet, while limiting the flow of information into their lives. 

Many followers of Christ find that a daily time of Bible reading and prayer is essential in their walk of faith.  This “quiet time” is a disconnection from external distractions in order to connect with God.  The “green pastures” and “still waters” of Psalm 23:2 are more than an idyllic country scene.  They speak of our communion with God whereby He restores our souls and leads us into His paths (23:3). 

All of us can make time to meet with God, but do we?  In Robert Foster’s book “7 minutes With God,” he suggests a way to begin: Start with a brief prayer for guidance, then read the Bible for a few minutes, and close with a short time of prayer that includes adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication for others.  It’s vital to take time today to connect with the Lord, who is our life.  – David McCasland

We need to set aside the time, to read God’s word and pray, and listen for the Spirit’s voice, to guide us in His way. – Sper

Time spent with God is time well spent.

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Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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I followed the directions of prayer from the passage.  I felt such a loving peace.  I literally felt like I was wrapped in a loving hug, from the Lord!!! It felt so good to do this, what a shame I don’t do this more often!  There were still several more hours until Sage got up, I was feeling tired, so I felt content to go back to bed.

I really enjoyed my breakfast, and hey, didn’t feel the need for my usual morning tea! 🙂 Cool!  I had a nice day with Sage, as the weather was sunny and beautiful.  I worked on my garden, as Sage played along side me.  We spent many wonderful hours out in the sun.  I even baked Sage a cottage cheese cheesecake, with sprinkles, and was not tempted at all.  My hunger was unusually subsided, my focus was clear… I really longed for nothing.  This strength clearly came from my time with God this morning.  However, how was I to know that I would need this strength much more, for tonight’s greatest challenge so far…

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I must be crazy!

Nooooooo!  I could list a dozen things I am craving right about now, like: chocolate, dairy, something crunchy even!  But of all the temptations, why did this have to come right now?!  Lidia’s (my mother in-law) BIRTHDAY!  She holds the title (in my book) of the World’s Best Pizza Ever!  (Sorry mom, your pizza is very tasty and gourmet, I love your pizza too) My mother in-law is Italian, enough said (not t be stereotypical).  I don’t know how she does it, her dainty arthritic hands, kneading the dough, adding a bit of this and that, like sugar and cyan, stretching it onto a baking sheet that is literally 20 years old!  Some organic sauce with her blend of herbs, and lots of cheese!  I could eat this every day, like a vitamin haha!  And I annoyingly ask her to make it every time we go over for a visit.  So can you feel my pain?  On the phone, I tell her (hint hint) we are fasting, hoping she will feel an incredible craving for lentils and rice, but she (unfortunately) tells me she is making pizza, for her and Sage, and will make us a special dish of… lentils and rice.  Can I cry now, just reminiscing about it, let me take a brief moment of silence please…I say excitedly (faking it) great Sage loves your pizza, and oh, she has chocolate cake too.  Do you remember when I listed what I was craving, this dinner encompassed all of it!  I hung up the phone, and looked at Livio.  Only a look that a wife can give a husband, which says, “you better let me!”  I plead with him, that “I can’t possible resist this!”  In fact I’m going to enjoy her cake, and eat it too!  He, having no trouble so far with this fast at all, says “no you can’t.”  Um…, clearly you didn’t see the firmness in my look.  Oh, I know he’s right.  I whimper, and slouch, and go silent.  But in my mind, between pouting, and telling myself I can cheat and no one can stop me, I hear a clear sound like a bell say, “stay strong, I am with you.”  

****     

…and I’ll cry if I want to.

No, It wasn’t easy.  And she didn’t conceal her joy of how tasty her pizza was either.  Did I mention she has a sence of humor.  And as promised, made a wonderful (over-cooked lol) lentils and rice dish, wich… we ate.  She brought the cake out, and sweetly asked if we would like some, of which we declined.  I felt bad actually, to not share in her birthday cake, that’s not very fun, but she understood (not without trying though).  I knew that in all her teasing, she would never let us have that pizza or cake really.  She’s sneaky that way!  God bless her heart!!!!  Happy Birthday Lidia 🙂

Later it dawned on me, why the Lord got me up so early especially on this day, of all days.  I in no way would have been able to resist that huge temptation, the Lord, knowing it was Lidia’s birthday, knew I would need heaps of strength and encouragement this day.  How thankful I was to the Lord, for knowing beyond my understanding, and taking precautions on my behalf, in all things.  Even though today was a success, I admit I felt very lethargic and teetered on depression, by evening.

As I sip my tea, wich provides temporary comfort; I am selfishly looking forward to the end.  I will admit I’m not proud of that statement.  But I hang on to the words, which I stated in the beginning, the Lord is my strength.     

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Day 3: Bread.

Menu:

Morning:  1/2 c oatmeal, 1 c decaf tea ( ok so I can’t go without my tea)

Lunch:  1/2 c rice ***(Cheat 1/2 tsp butter) 

Dinner:  1/2 c rice, with 1/4 c red lentils, 3 shredded baby carrots, tomato paste to taste

Evening snack:  *** (Cheat 2 lentil oatmeal cookies)    

I can handle 3 days…3 days can I handle…

Okay, this is feeling kind of normal!  Did I just say that?  Or is it the fact that I’m kind of passively coasting this day.  Or is the nostalgia still lingering.  But either way enjoying drifting.  My life seems a little simpler in a way, I have noticed less garbage (from the lack of food packaging), less recycling,  less food prep., less dishes, less laundry, less care about those things.  May not all be a good thing 😉 

Enjoying my time with God as I know so keenly that I need His strength to get me through the day.  Wow, did I just say that too!  Ya, wow, so when I’m comfortable, I am less aware of the need to call on Him first thing.  Not good!  Because as I’m well aware, this world is full of things that I continuously needs God’s strength and guidance to help me with.  To keep me from all sorts of temptations, that want to pull me back down into the depths in which I’ve come from.  But I can’t drift all day, still have to pull it all together.  Have to gather some energy to run around and kick the soccer ball with my son.  I’m thankful that I don’t have to walk 10 miles to get my daily water and carry a huge basin on my head.  It’s really something to be in the habit of listing off what I am thankful for.  And thank God!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:15 NIV

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Reality is like putting rocks in your pockets!

Well, this fasting definitely has it’s up’s and down’s.  It’s like a balloon, caught in a barometric pressure system, rising and falling.  (Note: Jokes aren’t as funny with lack of nutrition) Mood, energy, drive, motivation, ability, desire, discipline, are all heading for a slump by mid afternoon.  Yes, I think it might have happened somewhere after cheating and putting a bit of butter on my rice.  Oh, but it was so nice, like a delicacy.  My mouth watered as it melted and made the grains glisten.  mmm yummy.  And somewhere around the time of wanting to go outside (since I had been living like a mole), and wanting our “Challenger” friends to come over to fast together (see we can have fun too! 😀) and give moral support as we chew the word of God together.  Realising that I looked terrible,  3 days wearing the same outfit, how spoiled I am wanting to wash clothes that aren’t dirty, in good drinking water, but I will.  And my hair is so matted, since I realised that I actually didn’t wash my hair since 3 days before I started the challenge, and so now it has been 6 days of unwashed hair!  (For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, I gave up soap for this challenge to further experience 3rd world poverty, kind of crazy)  I realised I might have missed the memo as to what alternative they use to wash their hair, should have look into that one further!  So I caved in big time.  I took a long hot shower, washed my hair twice in all it’s splendor, considered torching the old clothes (jokes), shaved, used my creams and perfumes, blow dryer, straightener, the works!!!!!  Yes *** Cheat, Cheat, Cheat, Cheat! 

  Oh ya, I might as well confess this while I’m at it, I went out and spent $5 (on garden edging) then felt bad cus that (technically) was almost a weeks worth of food.  I just did it so unconsciously.  I tried to return it actually (felt that bad!) but they wouldn’t let me.  And then further remembered that left us $10 for gas for the rest of the week!!!!  Such a small amount, but so significant!!!  What have I done?  Now I know why someone would cry over spilt milk! lol 

Hang on tight, turn up ahead! 

We had our “challenger” friends over, Ben and Vanessa, and they brought their lentils and rice over, and we had our lentil and rice dinner (Sage had chicken parmeson).  Weird not offering anything to the guests who came over for, dinner! lol  All kidding aside, Thank God for this time with friends!  I hadn’t noticed I was drifting off the of the main objection:  To develope compassion.  I was getting so wrapped up in all the trivial stuff, what I was sacrificing, how it felt, etc.  I forgot that I need to ask God to open the eyes of my heartOtherwise, my life and even this challenge is still primarily self-centered!  Thanks to the revelation God gave to Vanessa, which she wrote in her blog, God spoke the revelation to me as well!  Here it goes:

That is the heart of the matter.

I want to be clear about the purpose of the one dollar a day challenge. I’m not aiming to become a “better person” or “get good karma” or “gain enlightenment” by doing this challenge. I’m also not trying to appease God, punish myself, make myself holy, or make you think I’m a good person. The goal is not even to fundraise or raise awareness, though that would be great. The goal of this challenge is love.  (by Vanessa her blog: www.onedollaradaychallenge.wordpress.com )

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Livio was then led to this awesome part of scripture, that totally was the piece we needed to meditate on for this journey.  John 6:25-59 “Jesus The Bread of Life”  We might as well be walking around blind if we didn’t read this here and now: 

26Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.

The Bread of Life

 27“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides…”

 28To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

 29Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”

 30-31They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do…'”

 32-33Jesus responded”…my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”

 34They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”

 35-38Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

 39-40“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”

 “… And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.

 47-51“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”

 52At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”

 “ The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you…”

Too Tough to Swallow

 60Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”

 61-65Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”  John 6 25-59 The Message Translation

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This day was filled with so much “food from God,” that I was still digesting it until late in the evening.  Just going over how God spoke into my life.  How thankful I am for everyday He blesses me with, so I can have yet another chance to have my eyes opened by Him!  I did however have 2 lentil oatmeal cookies, and I put socks on, as I could no longer go “barefoot” anymore.  This challenge is hard, but worth every momentary discomfort!  Like I tell myself every night, I will try harder tomorrow! 🙂

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Day 2: Fullness

Menu:

Morning: *** (Cheat 1 black decaf tea with sugar), 1 egg, with piece of bread ***(bread being another small cheat)

Lunch:  2 lentil cookies ***(more cheats), 1/2 broth with 1/4 cup rice

Dinner:  1/4 c rice, with 1/2 c lentils, and 2 tasty (pan seared) red peppers.  Delicious!

I woke up feeling very close to God.  Sage was up, I made his breakfast and wasn’t tempted in the least.  I couldn’t wait to sink into prayer, I wanted the living water to flow into me even before having a glass of water to subside the hunger.  I feasted on His word, and felt so filled.  I had my tea and ate my breakfast, and felt unconfined by the rules I set out for this challenge, but more of an obediance to the guidance of God.  I felt very much like in the “New Testament” how they were liberated from the old laws wich they weren’t capable of keeping anyway, and more of a sence of oneness with God, and a confidence that the Lord would guide my actions.  For example if He wanted me to fast, I would be glad, or if it was permissable to have a cookie and tea, I was glad. 

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 I am now controlled by the law of the Holy Spirit. That law gives me life because of what Christ Jesus has done. It has set me free from the law of sin that brings death.  Romans 8:2 NIV

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Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

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Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.  Proverbs 1:23 KJV

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Not so bad…

I realise so far, that the portions and types of foods in the challenge, are actually pretty similar to what we normally eat!  Just without the variety, flavor and frequency.  I see now, how I have been over consuming, by eating past the point of feeling full, just because the food is tasty.  I’m going to make a point to eat more sparingly on occasion after the challenge ends.  The feeling of hunger isn’t so scary today, because I know I won’t starve.  And for that I’m so thankful.  I also see now, that I’m not doing Sage any favors by letting him have whatever wants, and throwing away whatever he doesn’t want.  I was more careful with his foods today, more simple, and closer to what I was eating. 

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Well, reality set in.

It is hard to live in the world, when you are hungry.  Noon, I get a call from a collection agent.  She was aggressive, and her anger grew quickly.  Until the point where she continued to scream “you owe, you owe.  You have to pay, you have to pay right now!”  It was more than I could bear, and it was ridiculous.  I didn’t know what else to do other than hang up the phone.  It was exhausting.  And I was defeated.  I know the Lord is with me, I know He is aware of everything.  I know He doesn’t give me more than I can handle.  But I really don’t know what to do.  I have been treading the waters of debt for over 10 years now.  I can’t see my way out of this one.  If only I could throw up my hands in defeat, but I have to keep treading water.  Life doesn’t stop to let me catch up.  In fact this was one of the motivating factors in doing this challenge.  I believe that God will provide for us, food, shelter, clothing, and even enough to tithe 10%, and give to others.  But when we kept seeing $20, or $10, or change left for the week, or sometimes 2 weeks, I was having my doubts.  It turns out that we always were provided for, it just came in many different forms, unexpectedly.  And when it continued this way, I thought:  “Okay God, how can I live on even less than we are, so we can get by with what we have?”  I wondered if I should not eat for a few days, to save money, but knew I didn’t have the will to do that.  Thats when I felt the Lord put it on my heart to do this “Dollar a Day challenge”.  And the timing was perfect, since we only had $30 left for 2 weeks, and we had everything we needed for Sage, and if we drove sparingly, after spending $11 on the “Challenge” food, that would be enough for gas.  Again, I saw God’s hand in this.  We literally had everything we needed, down to the dollar, down to the grain.  I was comforted in seeing the very real hand of God in our lives!

And in keeping up with the other aspects of the challenge, I am still wearing the same outfit, although I just couldn’t rinse off in cold water, so I rinsed off in warm, still no soap or creams, still barefoot, still same bowl, spoon, cup, and no use of the lights, except at night a small lamp.  Being in a dusky dim light, was soon loosing its charm though.  I was feeling gloomy, and dull.  I realised how often I rely on external circumstances to lift my spirits, the Lord should be the “Light of my Life,” and “Jesus is the Light of the World,” I have the Holy Spirit within me, the light should be pouring out from within me.   

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My spirit, why are you so sad?
      Why are you so upset deep down inside me?
   Put your hope in God.
      Once again I will have reason to praise him.
      He is my Savior and my God.   Psalm 42:11 NIV

****

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
   to break the chains of injustice,
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
   free the oppressed,
   cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
   sharing your food with the hungry,
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
   The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
   You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’  Isaiah 58:9 The Message 

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Cup overflowing.

Tonight is bible study night.  I am looking forward in seeing the other “Challengers” and join in fellowship and praise and worship.  I noticed we were more delirious as laughter and silliness took over.  It was a great night, like usual, and I am so grateful for the Lord providing such loving friends.  Then Livio went to work, the night shift, and I was left feeling hungry and going back and forth on whether I should have a cookie or something.  I decided I would have a cookie, since it was 4 hours since I last ate, and I was so hungry, I didn’t know if I could sleep.  So I headed to the kitchen, then I felt this overwhelming strength come inside of me, where I actually shouted out loud “No!” Then miraculously my hunger subsided!  I knew God had given me the strength to resist, and then blessed me by taking away my hunger.  God’s power is amazing!  So I went upstairs to go to sleep, and usually I feel scared at night, but tonight I couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming presence of God in our home, I felt safe, and I trusted in God.  I slept peacefully.

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Day 1: April 12, 2010

Menu:   

(Erin)

morning: 1/2 c oatmeal (divided into 2 portions)                                            

lunch: 1/4 can of salmon & 1/4 c lentils & 1/4 c rice                                      

dinner: 1 c water with chicken broth and  1/4 c rice.                                                 

***(Cheat 1 cup camomile tea at evening & oatmeal/lentil cookie)  

This is tricky!

I’m starving first thing in the morning day 1, right from the get go, nice try Devil, almost predictable in a way, like a sucker punch, trying to throw me off my path, but this gave me a reminder of the focus I will need for the days ahead.  I laugh… but this is only the beginning…

Ah, the kitchen which was once my fortress, is now an obstacle course I haven’t trained for!  This is made so much harder just fighting myself!  My eating habits, my cravings, my boredom, my lack of will power, the desire to rationalise, laziness, need for flavor, and my accustomed comforts!  Eating my first meal proved just how hard of a challenge  this was going to be.  I was hungry, and ate my oatmeal with furver, then it dawned on me, I have to eat much slower, and spread this meal out!  I also immediately missed my morning tea.  It felt like my day was still waiting to start.  Oh, im proving to be such a wimp already.  Then the next challenge started, preparing breakfast for Sage (my son).  Juice and milk and cereal.  Snacks of homemade cookies, the smell of the peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and chocolate milk.  At one point, when I was pouring his cereal, a few flakes fell on the counter, and out of habit, I was going to eat them.  It was like in that split second I could feel the Devil eagerly rubbing his hand together in anticipation, but then a clear word of warning came to me, “Dont even taste it!”    Something so small, but the Lord had my back.

 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
         My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
         My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

psalms 18:2 KJV

Eating took so much more planning and thought, as I had to keep an eye on the time to make sure I waited long enough before eating the next meal.  And when I did eat, it wasn’t enough to fill me up, just took the sting of hunger away, but only for 2 hours, when the sting would return again.  I realised, this is how it is for “them,” hunger that never ends, always biting at their insides, always demanding attention, the real focus of survival gnawing away at them day and night, every day.  When we prayed before eating (wich we almost forgot since our mind was so focused on eating), I was so thankful for many things, but it was always such a reminder that many will not be eating a meal today.  And worse.  Then a question drifted in my mind, one that stayed there, and which hasnt left.  How can I enjoy what I have knowing what others are going through every second of each day?  I was not going to let the focus of my hunger, or time, or these self-defeating, devastating thoughts lead my day.  My priority was to praise the Lord, pray for compassion, and pray that others would get a meal today!

Other things I noticed this first day, is how convenient and easy my life is:  If i want warmer temperature, turn up the heat, instant fresh water in hot, warm or cold, crave a certain dish, go buy it, or order it, technology, communication, transportation, information, enjoyment, hobbies, safety, fun, relaxation, a world full of open doors, a future of my chosing (in God’s will) for my son, etc.  Secondly, I also enjoyed my food much more!  I don’t know what it was, maybe savoring the food for longer, but I never enjoyed the texture of oatmeal so much, or the way water felt while swallowing, or the simple flavors that God already provided in food, and the appreciation of a bit of salt in chicken broth.  And with this more simple cooking, I noticed I cooked and cleaned less, it made things a little more manageable on that end. 

While at times I was a little light headed and found it harder to concentrate, I praised God for all the blessings He has given us.                                             

Today I felt very thankful. 

…and yes (as mentioned above), i did cheat, but it seemed so reasonable, camomile tea, and a homemade oatmeal lentil cookie.  That had rationalization all over it!  I will try harder tomorrow! 🙂

 

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To Walk in Anothers Shoes (or lack there of)

The idea:

About 2 weeks ago I started reading Hungry For Life by Dave Blundell (given to me by Jackie “Jax”), awesome book filled with stats and facts that just broke my heart.  Reading about abandoned babies due to poverty, widows living in manure huts amongst the graves of their families, details regarding the level of poverty that most people in the world are facing each day, and the amount of people who die a day from starvation!  And what a wake up call this stat is:  20% of the worlds population (mainly North America) are consuming 80% of the worlds food!  Which leaves 80% of the world population to starve on 20% of the worlds food!   Wow, it hit me, I am apart of the problem!  What scared me is I could of lived the rest of my life without really thinking twice about that. 

Then I started to question, why is it that im not really concerned about this phenomenon?  I have to admit I know about africa and the hungry people there, but I just thought that it was up to their government to take care of them.  I wasnt even aware that there were other countries in such poverty.  When you don’t see it, you don’t think about it.  And even when you hear about it, it just doesn’t sound real.  Why have I been so numb?  I think about the values which are taught in school at an early age about what is important:  education, savings, career, retirement.  Before we are even adults we have a huge list of things that must be accomplished by our 10 year school reunion.  There simply is no time to think about others, because we are taught “it’s a rat race!”  I’m sick of being a rat!  I cried out to God, save me from my self-centred life! 

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That got the ball rolling.  

As I read more from the book, I discovered that Africa and all the other places that are crying out for help, actually see us!  There crying out to us after all.  So, while we don’t see them,  they know what we are all about!  Maybe even more than we know ourselves!  They know that we don’t think about them much, they know how much money we spend to make our lives perfect, they know we rather have hospitals for our dogs than help them build one, they know that the amount of food we throw away a day, is a better meal most have ever had.  They know we build our cars a home (garage), and that we enjoy taking pictures of their mud huts on our vacations.  They know that when a natural disaster happens in one of those places we think it is a good thing to help regulate their population!  (I absolutely don’t mean to judge, im just stating the huge contrast).  As Bono put it, something like:  Africa is on fire and we are all standing watching with a bucket of water as it burns.  They know we don’t care, and we feel nothing when hearing about their suffering.  (at least not enough to actually do anything about it, myself included) untill now that is…

I want to blame the world I live in for brain washing me.  I want to blame the government for making my life so expensive to live in so therefore I simply can’t afford to help.  But as there is a thread of truth to this, I am held responsible for my decisions!  So I really am apart of the problem.  I needed to find out what to do.  The prayer Dave Blundell writes is this:

  “My sincere hope is that this book will play a role in leading to transformation among followers of Christ and, in turn, transformation around the world.  If these words only engage the intellect and don’t impact the core values that determine our behavior, this will have been a waste of time and paper.  On the other hand, those serious about living out the implications of these changes will quickly realize that it will take the sustained response of individuals, families, and communities…My prayer for you…is the same as the well-known Franciscan benediction:

May God bless you with discomfort.   At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart. 

May God bless you with anger.  At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace. 

May God bless you with tears.  To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war.  So that you may reach you hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness.  To believe that you can make a difference in the world, So that you can do what others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

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The ball continued to roll, but it gained in speed.

Then I remembered my friend Vanessa had done “a dollar a day challenge” last summer.  She wrote a blog about it to encourage others to join in the suffering as a way to develope compassion for the people in poverty,  to awaken our own dull senses, and to help raise awareness and funding for Gospel for Asia (I will provide links to both below).  As Christians we are called primarily to do this very thing.  To help the needy, in spirit and body, and to share the Gospel (God’s word) to all people.  

“When people came to you for help, you took the shirts off their backs, exploited their helplessness. You wouldn’t so much as give a drink to the thirsty, or food, not even a scrap, to the hungry. And there you sat, strong and honored by everyone, surrounded by immense wealth! You turned poor widows away from your door; heartless, you crushed orphans. Now you’re the one trapped in terror, paralyzed by fear. Suddenly the tables have turned! How do you like living in the dark, sightless, up to your neck in flood waters?”  Job 22:1-3 (the Message)

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The Revolution:

I was inspired by Vanessa’s blog, and wanted to embrace this spirit of compassion wich she clearly felt after reading The book Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan basically (written by the founder of Gospel for Asia).  Honestly I thought it would be another vague book about the details of poverty in other Countries which would leave me feeling overwhelmed by their problems, or quite honestly leave me bored and unaffected.  But to my surprise, it described in a very honest heart-felt description everything I hadn’t known about the worlds poverty.  From a first hand account, without judgment explained to me why I have been so numb to reality, and then spoke Gods plan, with scripture how this can all be solved.  Thats right, SOLVED!  (numbness & poverty solved in one plan!)

Because the Lord has blessed us with abundance, God created the miracle: “in giving we receive”.  He set up such a plan of love, for those of His people with plenty to give to those in need, then those in need would be filled with love from receiving, they would give love in return, blessing us with love and fulfillment, therefore the world would be fueled by  the “greatest gift” which is LOVE.  I have never wept so hard and so bitterly on reading about how far people will go to help end suffering for others.  I want that!  I want that kind of compassion!  I want to trust the Lord that deeply!  I want that kind of endurance to live how God has called me to live!   

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary: and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31 KJV

“For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, and then helping you do what He wants.”  Philippians 2:13 LB

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The Plan:

The “Dollar a Day Challenge.”  The challengers: Ben, Vanessa, Livio and myself; to live on a typical diet of the impoverished peoples.  (FYI our 2 yr old son will not be participating in the challenge ;)).  To endure one fraction of their suffering in hopes to develope more compassion and use this to motivate us in being more active participants in the fight to end poverty.  

Questions:  

1) Does this eradicate world hunger if we all ate less?  No.  

2) Can this create a lasting, changed belief system so that we respond personally to give to the less fortunate?  TBA. 

3) Will we be able to survive a week on a  dollar a day food ration?  TBA. 

4)  Will I be honest in my attempts, basically, will i cheat and lie about it?  I’m gonna find out what im made of. 

5)  Will I be able to think of the needs of others as my belly is starving?  TBA. 

6) Will this draw me closer to God?  I’m excited the most by that one. 

7) Do we hope that you (the reader), will be inspired to take on this challenge?  Heck ya!

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Home Furnishings, New Seasonal Items, Electronics, Sales, Clothes for the whole Family, Toys, Snacks, Deli, Dairy, steaks, fresh veggies, Baked goods… Bulk Bins? 

First thing I notice, is that Livio and I are way too excited going into this challenge.  Especially in comparison to the experienced components (not that we are in competition :D), wich makes me think we are getting into something we may not be laughing about in a few days to come!  I had to remind myself that this is not exciting to those living in poverty, but I was just so eager to take this first step. 

We passed by the usual isles we shopped, and found the bulk bins.  I have to admit I had no idea how to measure out the proper amount of dried foods.  I had never weighed my food before.  And so in trying to keep with what 3rd world countries eat, we focused on a diet of oats, lentils, and white rice.  I just got a few dollars worth of each, and some eggs.   I ended up spending $11 at the store, because I knew that I already had a can of tuna and salmon at home, as well as 2 potatoes, handful of old carrots, and 4 peppers in the fridge.  So I figured that would give me $14 of food for the week.     

When we got home I thought to divide the food up into baggies for the 7 days.  I took into consideration that realistically in 3rd world Countries the man would be given the larger portions of food.  so i split my dried foods in half, and gave 3/4 the meat portions for Livio’s consumption.  I started to measure out Livio’s first.  1 cup of rice  into each baggie, then I hoped to have at least 1/2 cup of rice each day for myself.  It’s funny how careful I was to not waste a grain!  And miraculously there was a perfect amount!  Exactly 7 cups of rice for Livio, and 3 1/2 cups of rice for me.  The exact same went for the lentils and oatmeal.  I was in disbelief how this could have worked out so perfectly, then I realised this was God’s hand in this plan, that in a way He was confirming this challenge and looking out for our needs even with this.   

I then lines up the baggies and was surprised to see how much food there appeared to be, but when I looked at it individually, only 3 little baggies/day was the reality.  I was especially amazed to see how willing Livio was to do this challenge.  I did have to say a few times that this really was all there was going to be for the week.  Thats when our worry set in.  But the Lord is the strength of our lives! 

Even still, I felt a desire to take it a bit deeper, since we had experienced at times poverty and a serious lack of food.  (I remembered a time when we had to decide between a loaf of bread for the week, or take the bus to work that day.  Subsequently, we chose the bus.)  So, I needed to deprive myself other things, and further identify with women in 3rd world countries.  I decided to wear one outfit all week, go barefoot (or flip-flops outside in the rainy season I may add),  would bathe in cold water with no soaps (since I know there is no running water with heat, and soap is a luxury), use 1 bowl, spoon, and 1 pot all week, use only a small lamp at night (to signify a candle), and I toy with the idea of sleeping on the floor.  Mind you, I know far well that my life, even in these conditions resembles nothing like their conditions.  I have a safe home, plenty of fresh water, electricity, all the amenities, a supply of food for the challenge week, the reality of an end in “a very near” site, and the option to quit if  I wanted. 

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