Matthew 7:24-27 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

I write this as I sit at the ocean on a chilly day, watching the ocean crash on the shore. The waves center me... remind me that I am so small. Watching the kids build their sand castles and then watching them wash away... it's frustrating and beautiful. I watch my kids, so proud of what they just created be so excited to show me their work. But just like that, a wave can come and wash it away. They get so frustrated and angry- screaming at the ocean. I just chuckle, and say "well what did you think was going to happen? You're building near the waves!"

If I'm honest, I can be a lot like my kids. I try to build my own sandcastles... castles of success and worth, a grand facade of significance. Desperate attempts to prove my own ability. Ever been there? But just like my kids, I can't control what waves will come into my life. We don't know what will bear down on us... up until recently, I had been busy building my life on foolish ground that set me up to be crushed.

If I’m honest, I like the applause that comes from people who don't know me. It’s easy to work hard on something when applause is anticipated. We're all guilty of it... we build a "castle" of success for all of social media to see. It's cheap, easy applause. But... it's not meaningful. It's not rich. It's not real.

About a year ago, when it looked like I was at the highest high of my life, I actually hit the lowest low of my life. I was spending so much energy proving my worth to people/a job that COULD not and WOULD not ever bestow real significance to me. They were getting my best while my family was suffering, and my confidence in Jesus was suffering. I was putting myself in a position to be "crushed" (and I WAS being crushed). I knew that I knew it was time to get simple before God. I needed to build my life on sturdy ground.

God was calling me to a spacious life, sturdily built on HIS approval and HIS love. What's so amazing is that He showed me I don't have to work for His approval or build it myself, I just had to move into it. He already built it! Moving into God's grace is SIMPLE, but stretching. For me, it meant shifting our finances in a way that didn't make sense. I knew I might lose credibility. I was certain I might be misunderstood. It was stretching MOST of all because... well, the truth is that some people mistake simplicity for insignificance.

But the truth is, simplicity makes ROOM for signficance.

Last year, I did the bravest act of obedience to Jesus of my life... I quit my dream job to pursue obscurity. Yes, I quit my dream job to stay at home with my kids... a season I have felt God calling me back to for years. Sadly, it took me WAY to long realize that having more money and accomplishing great things were not the greatest destiny God was calling me to. You see, we had just moved across the country, uprooted our kids, joined a new church job. I had no idea how much my kids needed me, my husband needed me, and how much I needed them. For me, bravery was to "get out of the waves" and turning away from the applause of what people might call “success” to live a mundane, boring, but ultimately... fantastic and perfectly simple, spacious life.

** “We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (2 Cor. 6:11–13 Msg). **

To be honest, it’s SO much harder (FOR ME) to invest into family the same way as a job. Day in and day out, much of the work of family life seems almost boring and seemingly insignificant. Feed them dinner, wash their clothes, clean the house, be there to hear about the school day, quizzing their tests, watching the same kid movies 800 times. Sometimes life actually feels... small. But, what it's doing in ME... well, it's actually HUGE. Being a full time mom is requiring new levels of patience, and selflessness, and the ability to stay present. There's no accolades or raises. No name in lights. No instant likes. But, I'm beyond excited because I KNOW that what I'm sowing into our family in this season will one day have built a beautiful life for my people. I know this season won't last forever, in fact, I think it will be short lived. But God knew that THIS season is what we all needed for THIS time.

Life feels more free and spacious and beautiful. I've healed, I've learned, & I've grown- I'll never regret this decision.

Wherever you're at in life, He's simply asking you to hand your life over to him for the 1st time, the 2nd time, or the 100th time and TRUST that He won't let you be crushed. He's got you! He wants to put you on safe, high ground! The only person even WORTH giving your destiny to is Jesus- and girl is He worth it. He'll replace your small sacrifice with a priceless, beautiful, sturdy life you can look back on without regret.

So...What are you waiting for?

You've got this girl. Quit something. Get simple.

XO
Natalie