This blog has been, like my life, a bit scattered lately. But although I haven’t written much about it, the impact of Jen Hatmaker’s book Seven is still rocking my world. Today I’m sharing the stage with a new friend I met when I was teaching a retreat this Spring. When I meet a woman who’s honest, passionate and willing to be a work in progress, I’m always excited to share her with my friends. So, here’s Jenny…on life, budgets, and discipline. You’ll love her.
Clotheslines, Budgets and God’s Influence….by Jenny Schermerhorn
I’ve often felt like an impotent evangelizer. I’ve been walking with Jesus for twenty four years, and when I talk with non-believers, I feel like I have everything and nothing to offer. I know, for certain, that Jesus offers eternal and abundant life, but – I’ve got zero street cred. “Hey, I know your life is a Jerry Springer episode, but let me tell you how awesome Jesus is in my Cosby show life.” Driving my black Honda Odyssey and wearing ballet flats, I feel more like a wimpy little girl than Billy Graham on wheels. But a few months ago I faced a domestic challenge that changed my perspective.
In January of 2012 I received a shocker of a power bill. Immediate action was required. I bundled the kids up and turned the thermostat down to 62. I also bought a retractable clothesline. I was serious about cutting our electricity usage.
I started hanging out my family’s clothes out to try to dry them. Note the word “try”. Only an especially domestically-challenged gal like me could fail at DRYING CLOTHES. The first couple of loads I hung out worked great, it was bright and sunny and although the clothes came out stiff (it helps to use fabric softener when line drying) they were dry. But four loads into this new experience I went outside to pin up my clothes and noticed it was overcast. O well, I thought, it’ll just take a bit longer. Six hours later- in the dark of night, I took down a laundry basket full of wet clothes and stuffed them into the dryer. The sun is not just a part of the recipe folks, it’s the key ingredient. So now I wait to do laundry on sunny days, and I get dry clothes off the line. And, I have a whole new appreciation for the power of sunlight.
Did you know there is enough energy hitting one square foot of earth per day to power an average house, for a month? Or that without photosynthesis (remember third grade science?) all life on the planet would basically shrivel up and die? Summary: sunlight, it’s really important.
Sunlight has been present and greatly impacting my life for ahem, thirty two years, and I’ve only recently appreciated and even noticed its effects. I’ve been following Jesus for almost as long, and I take for granted His life changing effects as well.
My pastor shared a few months ago that the fruit in a Christians life grows slowly. “An apple doesn’t ripen overnight and in the same way the fruit of the Spirit develops over time.” he explained.
So I took a few minutes to consider how Christ has influenced and changed me over the past 2, 4, 10 years, and stepped back to examine the fruit that has been maturing slowly, in my life.
I noted my marriage is a still growing fruit. I married a believer, and although neither of us do it well, we’re trying to learn to love each other unselfishly. That’s quite different than the “let’s do this while it makes us both happy” attitude of most American marriages.
Our family finances are another faith fruit. It’s HARD to give and save and budget, and I cheat. (I hate you Target. Not really, I love you- but I can’t come to visit for a long time). But this God centered stewardship plan is much different than my whatever-I-want plan.
There are others maturing fruits, my parenting, what I watch and read, how I handle forgiveness and fear. And I realize now how different my life is– because of Jesus. I have plenty to bring to the table when I have conversations with non-Christians. I didn’t realize how much. And this isn’t me bragging about my awesome life people, this is seeing how Jesus is working in my gack and producing change I could never bring about alone.
So I invite you to consider how God is influencing your day-today, molding, changing, renewing.
As you consider, I’m going to go start a load of laundry, because it’s sunny today. And two days ago, when I got my power bill, we had cut that baby IN HALF. I’m going to be utilizing the power of that sunshine for a long time to come. And I won’t be underestimating or under-appreciating it any more.
Jenny is a ministry leader, mom, and writer living in the gorgeous mountains of NC. Catch her blogging here!