Skip to main content

Combating Materialism

may2007 049

Our house before we bought it above

christmasbirthdays200708 146

christmasbirthdays200708 147

For the first year we lived here, this big room was such a disaster. It gave me heebie jeebies to see it! Back then, I was a perfectionistic housekeeper and wanted my house to look magazine perfect all the time. It REALLY stressed me out to live in so much chaos all the time.

Guess what?  IT DID NOT look anywhere near perfect AT ALL for a long, long time! Even though Greg and his dad estimated it would all be done – the whole house – in “6 months.”

jan2008 006

This room took almost a year to redo – 6 nights a week of work until midnight every night, lots of blood and sweat on their part, and many tears on my part. I MISSED Greg so much. He didn’t have time for me or the children, he was trying so hard to finish the renovations. I was very lonely. 

jan2008 073

feb2008 114

may2008 026

feb2008 060

THANKFULLY, I had the OLD kitchen in another part of the house to use during the year that it took to build the new one!

I do have to admit, seeing the room be transformed is exciting. Especially when it is done!

My husband sure loves me a LOT to be willing to work this hard to make me happy.

Wow.


For the first 4+ years we were in this house we always had at least 600 square feet of unusable space that was under construction. You know what? I don’t really EVER have any desire to do a major remodel of a house again!

Some of my most disrespectful times were during that first year and a half when Greg was working full time at work and working on the house 40 hours a week, too, or more. And I was up nursing and taking care of our baby almost every night multiple times. I was working 21+ hours per week at Target Pharmacy at the time. She and I were constantly sick. I only got 2-4 hours of sleep every night that whole year and a half. I almost never slept more than 30 minutes at a time. It was awful. I was so terrified I was going to misfill prescriptions I was way past exhausted and into the nervous breakdown stage for so long. Let me just say – trying to do massive remodeling yourself AND having a sick, fussy, baby who can’t sleep well AND having chronic sinusitis and major dust allergies are not the best recipe for a strong marriage or for anyone’s sanity!!!!

The work Greg and his dad did was so beautiful. I am very proud of them!

They are two extremely talented, hard working men who do things RIGHT. Even if it takes longer. Even if it takes 4 hours of discussion before 1 hour of work.  I was not very patient about that! I just wanted it DONE. Now, I understand the wisdom they had in being sure they were doing things right. I regret how disrespectful I was about that back then!

I got to help paint and I picked out the colors. The cabinets Greg got at less than 1/4 their usual price because they had been display models. Greg and his dad tore out walls, raised the ceiling, installed the cabinets and the plumbing. The appliances were all at special deals or on clearance. Greg is the best at finding great deals and researching until he is satisfied he has the best deal. They did a fantastic job. I can’t begin to imagine how many tens of thousands of dollars they saved us. They found the floors at a huge discount, too.

Was it worth 4.5 years of dust, mess, expense, problems, sweat, blood and chaos? I don’t know. I can’t say that I would recommend it. Looking back, I would rather have had a strong marriage and family and time with Greg and an imperfect house than to sacrifice so much of our marriage and family.  I do wish I had known then what I know now about marriage. But I did learn some spiritual lessons because of it that I am very thankful for and I know God was sovereign even over that period in our lives. I’m super glad that phase is over – for the most part – at least! I am thankful for our relatively small mortgage and lack of other debt. I am thankful for our neighborhood and the kids’ schools and that we are so close to Greg’s parents. I am VERY thankful we didn’t buy a brand new house we had talked about building that would have had a mortgage that was way over twice what ours is now. With my hours being cut so much, and so few part time positions being available in pharmacy now, I would have probably had to go back to work full time, which would have made me VERY stressed and VERY sad.

This room has caused a big stir on my YouTube channel. Kind of shocked me a bit how many people judged me, my respect for my husband, our marriage, my spirituality and Greg just by seeing this room.  YouTube is an interesting place. I have received I think at least 8-10 “marriage proposals” there so far and some unbelievably inappropriate propositions by quite a few men. What is THAT about?!?!?  BUT – God is at work. I am seeing Him change many women  – and some men, as well – on my channel, there, too. That is what I get most excited about! (My channel is “April Cassidy”)

 

 

 

20140422-203425.jpg

Our Western culture is ALL about materialism, having nice things, having a beautiful home, having beautiful cars, having the newest technology, having STUFF. Greed is expected, rewarded and exalted here.

That was my desire – to have a perfect looking house to live in. But I have to say – living in constant renovation dust and mess for years taught me quite a bit of patience and made me take a look at my priorities.

God dealt with me about my sin of materialism about 3 years ago when I read David Platt’s book, Radical. 

He showed me that I made having a perfectly beautiful house WAY, WAY too important in my life. It was very possibly an idol in my heart for years. 🙁 Ugh.

If I had the choices to make over again in our house – there are definitely areas where we could have saved more money and I can think of ways we could have been much more frugal if I knew then what I know now. I let go of my dream to have a “magazine perfect” house and to have everything perfectly in order. I really don’t care much about that anymore.  I want to keep my house clean, orderly and welcoming, yes. But I repented of my perfectionism and materialism.

The original bathrooms are still 50 years old and one has cracked tile all the way around the walls. That’s ok with me now.

I don’t even care anymore if we ever remodel them or not!!!  It is just so lovely not having renovations going on and to have Greg so much more involved in the family – I am ecstatic to leave things exactly as they are!

I used to think we HAD to gut the original bathrooms to the studs, have new dry wall and new tile on the floors and walls. Now – I seriously do not care. If they stays like this forever – fine with me!

(You can hear David Platt’s sermons, or read them, at www.radical.net. I recommend ALL of his sermons and material very highly!!)

I have been on quite a journey with God on this issue the past few years. My hours as a pharmacist were cut from 24 hours/week to 8 hours per week about 3 years ago. That was really tough on Greg. The funding for him remodeling our house himself basically dried up. Then last year, my hours were cut to 3 hours/week. I do get to work extra occasionally (like this week – which Greg deeply appreciates). But I have honestly enjoyed being home so much more, having the opportunity to minister to wives and time to be with our children and my husband and to not have to work on evenings, weekends, Sundays and holidays much at all. These past few years have been my favorite in my whole life on every level. I don’t know what the future will hold. But I am savoring the moment.

I love living in a frugal way. I am not the ultimate poster child for being frugal. I have many areas where I am sure I could be much more frugal. Greg doesn’t like me to go too crazy with frugality – so I try to honor him and not become a money Nazi (like I was for awhile)! It is possible to go too far that way, too.  I about made my sweet husband miserable by dictating to him that he could not spend any money and that we should get rid of almost all of our expenses.

Now, I am very conscious of the fact that all we have belongs to God and I want to use it wisely. I want to bless my husband and our children by my choices and honor God and bless others.

Greg and I have always been super responsible with money. That was one area we always pretty much agreed on – even in the first years of our marriage. Our parents taught us well, in my view, on this topic. I respect Greg so much for how careful, thoughtful and resourceful he is with finances.

 

How we live now:

  • Our only debt is our mortgage – and it is a relatively small mortgage because we bought an old fixer upper house.
  • We don’t buy things we can’t afford, and never did buy things we couldn’t afford.
  • We drive old cars (mine is 8 years old, Greg’s is 17 years old) – we LOVE not having car payments!
  • I do all of our shopping at Walmart – groceries and a lot of clothing (except for the UV protective long sleeve shirts I have to wear in summer because of my sun allergy. Walmart doesn’t carry those!)
  • The clothes we don’t get at Walmart, usually Greg finds at the flea market. He usually spends $0.25 to $1 per article of clothing he finds there. The only brand name clothing items we own are from the flea market.
  • Greg buys a lot of my makeup, shampoo, toiletries, etc… from the flea market for about 1 dollar per item. I love that man!
  • Our house looks AMAZING and looks very expensive, but Greg found almost all the things he used for the renovation at deep discounts, on Craig’s list, at the Habitat for Humanity store, at the flea market or some place that was selling display models at a fraction of the usual retail cost. And he and his dad did almost all of the work themselves on our house.
  • I get my hair trimmed about once a year, and sometimes, I just cut it myself. I cut our daughters’ hair myself. I have never in my life had a professional manicure or pedicure.
  • We have always tithed.
  • As Greg is led and as I ask about giving, we give to specific needs of others at times.
  • I make most of our meals from scratch.
  • We don’t eat out very often. I would be content even if we never went out to eat.
  • We haven’t gone on vacation in 2 years, until last week. And, if you read about our trip, you know that it was one of the most amazing deals Greg has ever found. 🙂
  • Basically, I only spend money on groceries, medical things and gas. I rarely spend money on anything else (occasionally clothing, if needed).
  • My skirts are almost all from 5 years ago. I love them. I am content with what I have.
  • I keep the thermostat at 80 degrees F in the summer and at 60 degrees F in the winter.
  • Our children go to public school – and we do not live in the “best” school district. We love our children’s schools. We have had nothing but wonderful experiences with the teachers there and we have had great experiences with our children’s classmates. But our children go to schools where the poverty level is 90%. I actually find it refreshing in many ways because there isn’t that peer pressure to have expensive clothing/homes/cars that I remember  at my high school where the population was much more wealthy.

I remember so vividly a few years ago, determining that if God wants us to sell our home or all of our possessions, I would be happy to do that. I can honestly say that I am completely willing to do that. 

I seek to hold everything loosely in my life except for Jesus.

I know that houses and stuff can vanish very quickly in a flood, earthquake, fire or tornado. I don’t want to find my happiness in things or get too attached to them. I trust God to give Greg wisdom – and I will jump on board with whatever God leads my husband to do. I want so very much to honor God in our stewardship of our money, time, talents, resources and all that we have.

  • God has changed my priorities dramatically since we moved into this house. My philosophy now is to enjoy what Greg has done for me so generously and the beautiful rooms he has made for me and our family, to be thankful to Greg and express great appreciation for his hard work, to be content with the rooms that are still very old in our house, to keep expenses down as low as I can, to stay very flexible, to not try to find my purpose or identity in things, to be ready for anything to change at any time and to be willing to part with anything God might ask me to.

What has God shown you about living a more simple life, or not putting so much emphasis on things? I’d love to hear your tips for managing money and expenses well. I think this could be a very fruitful discussion!

Check out my new 10 minute Youtube video “Am I Materialistic?” if you are interested! It gave me a fantastic opportunity to discuss this very relevant, important, and often overlooked topic.

 

72 thoughts on “Combating Materialism

  1. I appreciated your post. I love the renovations. I must admit that I probably won’t ever get back to the level of frugality on which you live, but my husband and I have done a lot of damage in the debt department and desire to get out as quickly as possible. I have been praying for a mantle of generousity, stewardship, and wisdom over our family. I too wanted to build a house, but God allowed me to purchase a foreclosure and do a renovation. I have two teens in my house and find that materialism is one of our biggest problems. I have asked God to guide our hearts away from it. He help me by giving me a son who does more damage to everything than my other two ever did. I to chose to value the active, less conscientious child rather than the things he destroys. My husband is coming along great too. We have decided not to purchase anymore things we can’t afford out side of business investments. My teens have a way to go, but my prayer is that my husband and I lead by example.

  2. God has truly been faithful in this area. We have no debt at all and paid off our house 10 years ago. We have always budgeted: paying a tithe first and having savings automatically deducted 2nd. If it isn’t there, then you cannot spend it!!! Also, waiting for things is important. When we moved into our current house over half the rooms had no furniture in them. We waited until we found good quality furniture and saved up for it. We don’t go out to eat a lot and that helps. We don’t have cable and don’t watch much tv and I think the lack of exposure to commercials helps keep away the gimmes as well. Also we serve overseas on mission trips a couple of times every year… When you see how most of the world lives, you see how blessed we truly are. In fact, I feel a bit gluttonous…. Our children don’t have smart phones an don’t ask and don’t care about what kind of clothes they have because of our overseas experiences. I know not everyone can go overseas, but if you as a family volunteer in a homeless shelter, inner city, etc that also will help with a spirit of gratefulness. Just a few tips.

    1. Elizabeth, I was born and raised in Latin America and second your post! There’s nothing quite as humbling as seeing entire families live in a cardboard shack with no running water, on an empty lot by the side of a freeway or under a bridge! I remember the first time I visited the States and went into friends homes I could believe how full their homes were with decorations that served no purpose! As such, whenever we have friends come into our home now, they always comment how Amish it looks!

      My husband just recently told me that he had no idea, while we were courting, that I made as much as I do as I live very frugally and simply. I have been fortunate that I was able to buy 5 acres within a commutable distance from my corporate job, and built a small house with a smallish mortgage, and I keep hens for eggs, broilers for chicken breasts, have a garden for produce, and have put in an orchard for fruits, we keep either a couple head of cattle or pigs for meat.

      Amazon.com is my downfall! I order a lot of my non perishable groceries on their subscribe and save program (great savings and I don’t have to go to the grocery store-yuck!). And then there’s books…..I really have to resist building another library!

      1. Grin.. Amazon is my downfall as well as used bookstores. My name is Elizabeth and I am a bookaholic. Is there a 12 step program for us?

        1. Christine and Elizabeth,

          My husband and I tell people, “We’re addicted to books but we don’t want help,” then laugh. 🙂 We love the sensory experience of real books, and feel connected to history with them. Our oldest one was printed in 1717. I showed it to my students and observed that Benjamin Frankin may very well have had it in his pocket when he arrived in Philadelphia in 1723. Anyway, I digress. This is an inexpensive yet great interest to have while living thriftily, because library book sales and other sources of used books allow you to purchase books for very little. We also donate books to the library regularly to prevent over-accumulation. I’m glad I’m in the company here of book lovers as well as God lovers! Much love to you.

      2. senterwife,

        I think I would love your house! 🙂 It sounds glorious to me!!!!

        What a beautiful way to live. Thank you so much for sharing!

        I think many of us are prolific readers here and can identify with the book issue! 🙂

    2. Elizabeth,

      What a beautiful way of handling things! I love how y’all have done this.I agree about avoiding commercials (and some tv shows) helps us to avoid having a lot of materialistic desires.

      I also love that you and your children had experiences overseas. I am sure that has helped shape all of your values powerfully. So many great ideas! Thank you!

  3. Oh, and we gutted our kitchen and some other parts of the house 2 years ago and I am like you, I NEVER want to do that again!!!

  4. Reblogged this on Peacefulwife's Blog and commented:

    Our Western culture values materialism greatly. How is it impacting you? Maybe for you, it’s not about having a “perfect house” like it was for me years ago. Maybe it is about brand name clothing or expensive hair color and make up?

    Check out what God has been teaching me about this topic over the past few years. I’d love to hear what issues are on your mind regarding materialism!

  5. That is a ruff crowd out there online. Thank you for your ministry! I am sorry you have to deal with all that critism, but you do a beautiful job! It never occurred to me that you might be materialistic. It is pretty evident, from your blog, where your heart is. You are a good example to me of showing grace even when falsely accused (and I find that a tough challenge). I need to strengthen those muscles and lean into Jesus in every circumstance. Abundant blessings to you!

    1. learningever,

      Thankfully, on my two blogs (with peacefulwife about to reach 2 million hits in the next week or two, and peaceful single girl at over 800,000 hits – I have had some experiences in handling criticism and false accusations which have helped to prepare me quite well, praise God!

      These can be great “teachable” moments – dealing with conflict and confrontation, criticism and false accusations. Sometimes, it is better not to engage. But there are times when getting the issue out in the open can be very beneficial.

      Much love!

  6. Since we are on finances, I hope you don’t mind a question in this area from the Surrendered wife. She says to relinquish the finances.. She says that paying the bills is about power and worth and intimacy… Ok, my husband earns all of the money. I NEVER tell him what he can or cannot spend. We have a generous cushion. I am more the secretary who keeps track of it all if that makes sense than the one in charge. He came up with our first budget and paid bills the first few years of our marriage until a 22 years ago when he entered training that required 100 hours a week or more for his job. ( They have since limited the hours in training.) His job still takes 90 hours a week some weeks and at least 70 a week. I am a stay at home mom with one that has flown the nest. I am actually really bored right now. I do not see how I could say I can’t pay the bills. That isn’t true. I have the time.

    The way we work it is that I compile all of the data and about every quarter he calls me in and I present how we have been spending. ( He spends 2 times as much as I do at least.) He normally gets a bonus each quarter and so we pray and discuss how much of it to give away and where. In January I compile the entire year and show him how much we spent and we discuss where the changes should be made. For example this past year we added another boy to our car insurance and one left for school which meant less on food but more on insurance. But he made the decisions.

    I don’t do a thing with the investments other than to enter them. He buys and sells and makes decisions though he tells me what he is thinking about and asks if it would be ok. I’ve always told him whatever he thinks because he knows and researches all that stuff.

    I guess I’ve never seen handling the finances as controlling. I mean I’ve never made the decision about what bill goes where… First of all, because we have lived within our means that has never been a problem.. Plus, we only live on maybe 1/3 of what he makes. We tend to give away 1/3 and save the other 1/3 but he is the one who makes those decisions… Like I said I kind of feel like the secretary at a business in that respect. I keep the books, but the boss decides what to do with the money if that makes sense.

    With his hours he doesn’t have time for the meticulous detail. When we were first married we had a little ledger book where we wrote down every trip to the grocery store. Now I probably spend several hours entering things each week if not more. He doesn’t have the time for that kind of stuff, but wants to know that kind of detail if that makes sense.

    1. Elizabeth, it sounds like you are being his helper and you are not making the decisions or trying to influence his decisions! I think the book is speaking to those women that control the check book and make the decisions on how the funds get applied.

      1. I had that same concern Elizabeth! I read that book and thought that too. My husband has said many times that he doesn’t want to do the budget and pay the bills. So I just let him know what the expenses are each month. I used to control every penny. Now I don’t. I just write down everything and I consult him about how much to pay on this or that. If I did it like the book suggested and just handed him over all the bills, he would see that as very VERY controlling! He would be angry if the lights were turned off because I left the bill with him. He likes me being the secretary. Thank you for clarifying that senterwife!

    2. Elizabeth,
      If you search “finances”and “money” on my home page, I have a few posts about this topic.

      To me, it doesn’t make sense at all in your situation to give your husband the paperwork to handle. it sounds like y’all are doing a beautiful job of handling the finances as a team! 🙂

  7. Hi April;
    Great post! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    For those who are in debt, I recommend the book, TheTotal MoneyMakeover by Dave Ramsey. They can also listen his shows on the radio or online. I am following Dave Ramsey’s steps.. I was never materialistic, but that man has changed my life! In fact, that’s how I ended up on this blog. I heard him recommend the Love & Respect book to someone, and so I got the book. After reading the book, I googled, how to respct an unloving husabnd, and your site was found! 🙂

    Question … I am certainly not asking you to re-hash any negativity from YouTube, but I am curious about this statement, “This room has caused a big stir on my YouTube channel.” How so?

    1. prayinglikehannah,

      I LOVE Dave Ramsey’s material!!!! Thank you so much for recommending one of his books!

      That is so interesting, that he recommended Love and Respect – I love hearing how God works and brings different wives to me. Each one is an answer to my prayers! 🙂

      Oh goodness…

      There were MANY comments on Youtube – which I didn’t publish – where people (mostly men for some reason) would say things like:

      – Sure she respects her husband. Why wouldn’t she? He’s LOADED!
      – If you were a REAL Christian, you would be giving your money to those in need, not living in an expensive house with expensive furniture. How much did those couches cost?
      – If you met an apostle, you wouldn’t even recognize him or give any attention to him, you are so materialistic.
      – Oh, it’s another “godly woman” who claims to follow Christ and who is actually completely worldly.

      Stuff like that.

      Much love, my friend!

  8. This post is very timely! I designed my home and had it custom built. I am a frustrated architect and really enjoy building and creating. I enjoy buildings for their aesthetics and functionality. Whenever I go into homes, I’m always curious how people have organized their homes and their functionality. I especially love going into homes when I travel to see how different cultures incorporate their priorities into their homes, ie in the US, most homes now have master closets while in many European countries, the clothes closet is still an armoire and not built into the home.

    Now that I am married again, my home is small! My husband hasn’t been able to move all his things in so we are considering a remodel (he’s a hunter, and since most of my wall space is made up of windows, we have no place to put up his tropies- a cape buffalo takes ALOT of wall space!). We have come up with a plan that would give us more space. It’s going to take the available cash and a small equity loan to fund this remodel. We’ve been praying about it, and weighing the pros and cons of the remodel. Just the other day, my husband made the decision that we should go ahead with it, but one of his reasons was because he knew that I would enjoy it. Now I’m second guessing myself whether my enjoyment is due to pride or my ‘gift’ for construction/architecture.

    I will discuss this with my husband and open it up for discussion!

  9. It is really amazing how God works. I was just thinking yesterday that I wished April would talk about materialism! I am a frugal person. We live in a very nice house so most people think we have money. Our house payment is very low because my ex husband and I put down a lot of money on this house. I couldn’t live in a one bedroom apartment for less than my mortgage.

    But, if you come inside, you see that we have no modern tvs or electronics. Our furniture is also old. We have no smart phones or fancy computers. Our desktop is old and the little netbook I use was gift from my brother. Our cars are over 10 years old.

    I do, however, believe there are 4 things you shouldn’t skimp on, healthcare, healthy food, good bras, and shoes (good for your feet I mean). 🙂

    Anyway, I say all that to say, I think one of the most important things we can do to show respect to our husbands is to live within our means….or less. I would have no problem moving to a single wide trailer if it meant that my husband would be able to work less and spend more time with us.

    I see it this way, when I am old and gray what do I want to remember….that I had a really cool iphone and paid a huge bill every month or that I planted a garden every year with my family and made so many great memories?

    April, it is a great testimony that now you would rather have your old bathrooms and more quality time with your husband and family. 🙂 I love that!

    I think women to often worry about what other people think. I find that women dress to impressed other women and want their houses a certain way to impress the women that come into them.

    I was actually told the other day by a relative that was being critical of something in my house that “Other people would talk” if I didn’t take care of it. REALLY???!!! I had to use real patience not to scream that out. I don’t give a hill of beans what anyone thinks about my house except my husband.

    But, I do wonder if that is something that we as wives really need to step back and look at our motivations for wanting material things. Are we pushing our husband to provide more because we are worried about what others will think?

    1. “I think women too often worry about what other people think. I find that women dress to impress other women and want their houses a certain way to impress the women that come into them.”

      My husband and I were just talking about this. We hear all the time in our culture that men are the oppressors of women, including in the ways they expect and pressure them to look a certain way. But I have never in my life had a man try to make me feel bad about my clothes, my hair, my nails, how expensive my bag or shoes are…I have, however, had plenty of women badger me about these things. Despite the pressure, I’ve generally been pretty good at just brushing this off and looking however I want, but it has helped me tremendously to start thinking only in terms of whether or not my husband is pleased by my appearance. I have no need to impress another man, as I’m not in the “market” and I don’t care what other women who would say these types of things think anymore. So when I see ads or magazines or whatever, I don’t feel the same pressure I used to.

  10. Grin… I think you are right. I often laugh at myself… I don’t want and my husband will not have his partners over because our houses are so incredibly ordinary compared to theirs: HUGE houses filled with antiques and painting and perfectly decorated . So I do fear what they would think.

    On the other hand I don’t want our friends at church to come over because our house is so nice compared to many of theirs. I’ve thought about leading a Dave Ramsey or other stewardship bible study but think how can I. Because of my husband’s income we can afford a lot of “luxuries” but living frugally at the beginning has helped. Not having a house payment has helped. But we also believe that God has given us a surplus to help those less fortunate. It is hard to know where to draw the line.

  11. April, I love this post and am about to watch the video, which I’m sure I’ll love, too. I started reading about “voluntary simplicity” years ago and was amazed when my husband not only jumped on board but quickly got even more into the idea than me! He started getting rid of stuff and cutting back on so many expenses. But I am grateful. This is a very freeing way of life!!

    If you’ll permit me to recommend a website to you http://www.becomingminimalist.com by Joshua Becker

    He’s a Christian, although he doesn’t mention it much on the blog (more in his books). Reading him has helped me and my husband a lot on this minimalist journey.

    1. Liz,
      Becoming a minimalist instead of remodelling the house (see above comment) would be an ‘out of the box’ solution! My husband and I both like being ‘out of the box’/contrarians! Thanks for the website- I’m going to check it out.

  12. April,
    I never took notice of your floors or your couches when watching your YouTube videos. I don’t really see in Scripture where we should do something like that and JUDGE according to what we see. I don’t doubt for one second that you honor God in the area of finances; I don’t see any evidence of materialism, now that you are mentioning it. (I didn’t notice a lot of “stuff” or even clutter but order and a well kept home!!)….what I did notice on the video was a woman whose adorning is the ornament of a meek and gentle spirit, which is of “great price” in God’s sight. I also noticed a woman who adorns herself in “modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.” And, you clearly adorn yourself with “good works!!” God knoweth!! 🙂

      1. Nikka, I tried to contact you on the above email address but somehow it didn’t allow me to . can i reach you anywhere else? If I type in what you suggested, several options come up!
        ~ Eliza

    1. Eliza,

      Well… if it were up to me, there would be zero clutter and junk in our house! But – my family is not on board with that. So – we have a lot more “stuff” than I personally think we need. But I am offering them grace in this area. 🙂

      That is my desire, to adorn myself with Christ and His character and Spirit and to walk in obedience to Him in every way.

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, love and support! 🙂

  13. I have always thought your home was beautiful but that was the extent of my thoughts in that line. I am very surprised that some read more into it than that.

    Your wisdom on materialism and the insights you share are very touching. Materialism is an easy trap to fall into and hard to escape, at least if we fight to stay materialistic… This certainly gives me some food for thought and an area to pray over in my own life. Thank you for that.

  14. After a few days of battling with all my strength my grumpy mood, I had my “monthly visitor” today! But while I was battling with it, I decided that I would offer to the Lord my really easily irritated self and control my temper.

    I have a house full of kids all below the age of 10 (9,6,3, 1) and so, no matter what I do, no matter how “perfect” it looks, in just 5 seconds or less (!), all my cleaning and scrubbing and putting things into place, could be “destroyed” just like that.

    I decided to thank God that we had children.
    I decided to thank God that I had a mess to clean, because of the children.
    I decided to thank God that I had “exercise” from running after the children and their mess.

    I decided that I would begin to LOVE their mess, because they are not going to be young forever.
    I decided that I would begin to focus on our loving “home”, rather than our beautiful “house”.

    Just putting things in perspective and giving thanks to God for my “stressor” this PMS (a messy home), developed in me some wonderful virtues. 🙂

    1 Thes 5:18
    “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

    By the way, Dong and I live way below our means and have nothing mortgaged. In our view, if we cannot afford it (in cash), we would not buy it. Gives us lots of peace of mind and makes our needs even simpler. 🙂

    1. Nikka,

      Having children helped me realize the futility of my perfectionism about house keeping. You are so right. In 5 seconds, it will all be a mess again. Why obsess over being perfectly clean and get angry with my family when I am only with them for a few short years? Why not enjoy my family and not make a clean house the biggest priority?

      I began to understand that in just a little while, the children will be grown up and gone. They won’t be making messes anymore at my house. And I will miss them!

      And I also realize, with two widowed grandmothers who both were widowed 40+ years ago, that there is a good chance I will outlive Greg and have the house all to myself one day. Then I can have an immaculately clean house if I want to. Right now, I am so thankful for my husband and children – messes and clutter and all.

      I love that – focusing on a loving home instead of beautiful house. BEAUTIFUL! We as wives and mothers set the emotional/spiritual “temperature” in the house. We can stress everyone out or we can create an oasis of peace, love, harmony, tranquility, kindness and blessing. That is what I desire to do! I am not perfect at it, that is for sure. But it is my desire.

      I love that you don’t even have a mortgage and live way below your means. SO freeing!!!!!!! What a fantastic example!

      Thank you very much for sharing!

    2. Ha! Nikka we are on the same schedule! Must be because we are “sisters” 🙂

      My MIL taught me a fun technique years ago. Whenever you are tempted to be frustrated with some clutter/mess in your way, stop & consider that you’ve come across the work of a busy little blessing and pray peace in the name of that little messy spirit 🙂

      April, there is so much wisdom in knowing that these years will pass more quickly than we can ever imagine. Far too soon, the dishes will all be done, the laundry will all be done, the floors will all be mopped twice over. . . whatever will we have to do but invite over the grandchildren !!??

      1. fallenshort,
        My grandmother, the one we call “Mom mom,” taught me such a beautiful lesson by her example. When we would visit her house (and later when my children visited her house), she would leave the little fingerprints and handprints on her storm door for weeks and enjoy looking at them. Isn’t that so sweet?

        I pray our grandchildren will feel welcome in our home, and I pray our children and husbands will feel welcome in our home!

        I know mothers and mothers-in-law and grandmothers who obviously care more about their house and cleanliness than the people in their family. Children remember that. They see our priorities very clearly. How I pray our priorities will honor God and show real love to our precious ones. 🙂

        Love your ideas!

        1. My mom does that same thing with the fingerprints:) And whenever we leave, she won’t let the kids clean up their messes. We live a couple of hours away, so she loves to take her time cleaning up the mess and relive the experience of having them close. 🙂

        2. And so true about our own families feeling comfy in their own homes! I love it when my kids sprawl out on the floor for a board game or hang half off the couch to watch a movie..or cuddled into their beds. . .I just look at them for awhile, how comfy it seems to be to be them in those moments. . .and I’m so thankful that those soft spots are there for them and they don’t have to endure the cold chaos that so many children endure daily in our world.

          And a related personal victory – Tonight when we got home from AWANA, hubby went straight back to his bedroom corner where his desk/computer area is. I was thinking it’d really be nice if he was out here enjoying the family with me and helping with organization/bedtime. But it struck me that he could use some decompress time after a long day at work & then off to church. . .so instead of questioning his motives, I took him some coffee and a couple of cookies and rubbed his back for a minute. And he smiled at me with a very tired smile, and said, “Thank you so much.”

          1. fallenshort,

            Wow! I love this. What a wonderful way to minister to your husband and to put yourself in his shoes. Thank you for blessing him like that!!!!!!! 🙂 THAT is the kind of thing that warms a husband’s heart and draws him to his wife. 🙂

  15. My husband and I know a family that owns an old house like we do, but they have completely torn out and remodeled the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, and all of their walls are newly painted.
    Our house has an old kitchen, old bathrooms, walls with many imperfections, and floors with many scuffs…but we are content with the way it is!
    I actually prefer to use furniture, art work, and decorations to make the rooms more beautiful, and that is much cheaper than remodeling! You can find great home accents at many cheap stores, and they will really make your home shine! Something as simple as a nice poster or photo on a wall, a rug on the floor, or a vase of flowers can make the room look newer.
    It is very easy to feel discouraged when we come back to our house after visiting someone who has a brand new home…our walls and floors and everything just looks a little more worn and imperfect. But I remind myself that just earlier that day I thought my home looked really nice, so I need to change my perspective and stop comparing it to someone else’s.

    1. Paulina,
      What an important point! When we compare ourselves or our possessions to those of others, we tend to get in trouble! Jealousy and envy and covetousness are also sins.

      I love how you focus on the beauty of your house and being content with what you have. Something else that is great about having scuffs and scratches is that you don’t freak out when another one gets added to it! But when it is brand new looking, then it is easy to get upset if someone messes something up.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  16. Ladies, My youngest is 21 and is away at a Christian College. She’ll be home this weekend!! Then, she will be married a month after that. Then, right after the wedding, her father and I are driving them to the airport where they will be heading off to Hawaii. Husband-to-be is a youth pastor there. My daughter has known the Lord wanted her to do missionary work since she was about 14. This is our fourth child to get married, but so far, the rest all live close by. She will be living in Hawaii and we will probably seldom see her; I know they definitely won’t be able to afford to come here. Please listen to me when I say that I wish I had godly “aged women” to teach me the 8 things Titus 2 tells aged women to teach younger women, but most importantly the 2 that say to teach the younger women to: love your husband, and love your children. Now that I am an aged woman and all my kids are grown up (and, yes, it goes SUPER fast!!!!) I want to be the kind of aged woman God can use to tell younger women to not stress over housework. It isn’t worth it. I have always been a perfectionist and God allowed much of my physical health to be taken away. He may resort to allowing something like this if we don’t hearken to His voice. Now I can hardly do anything BUT I am happier than ever because I am finally living in the perfect will of God. I’m my husband’s help meet; I love him, and I love my children! You guys are all about 10 years behind me, it seems. April, you are doing a wonderful job doing the ministry of an “aged woman.” Please don’t be discouraged. The enemy will raise up people to try to discourage you. Please cast down any vain imaginations that might arise and please bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.:) Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, REJOICE!!

    1. Thank you for your sharing on kids growing up too fast, Eliza. It really is a blessing to know these things while the children are still young, as you told me in the other post. That way, they can learn godly behavior early on, and not have to grow up with anger or resentment from having a “disordered setup” in their homes, growing up. I am grateful for April’s Titus 2:4 mentoring, as well as the wise and godly counsel I learn from fellow Peaceful wives here. 🙂

      As for the email address, please try nikka.alejar@gmail.com or even my baking email.. veronicaskitchen.orders@gmail.com. Hope that it will pull through. I really am dying to ask you some follow up questions!!! 🙂 Thanks Mommy Eliza. 🙂

      Love,

      NIkka

    2. Thank you Eliza. That was very encouraging! So many gems here! You ARE Titus 2 woman! I’m going to add you to my prayer list for the next couple months. My baby (also of 4) will be 3 next week. I can’t even imagine my heart being ready for her to be cross country from me. I’m in tears as I even write that! Yikes!

      1. Thank you Fallenshort! I feel so blessed and am so thankful that you will be praying for me. Thank you, Jesus!! Like April says, I, too, have learned we must hold everything loosly in our hands. We homeschooled our children, so I have pretty much been with my kids 24/7 their entire lives. It’s only God’s grace that is enabling me to let her go in obedience to the Lord!!

        1. Yes, yes, yes. . . . more gems! You’re absolutely right! I never want to hold my babies so tight that they are held back from experiencing The Lord’s Will in their lives! Excellent point!

          My husband leads our family this way about our “stuff” too. He doesn’t like to live so heavy with material possessions that we wouldn’t be able to go if Yahweh said “Go!”. Holding the things of this world loosely and not having too many things in the first place is such a good thing for our hearts! Wish it was even easier in our culture!

    3. Eliza,
      You are such a beautiful encouragement to me! Thank you so much for sharing your heart, your story and what God has shown you! I pray we will all have ears to hear. 🙂

      Thank you for being a Titus 2 woman!!!!!

      Much love,
      April

  17. I love this post! Thank you! My husband and I have very meager means to begin with. I am beyond blessed with a nice home filled with 3 children and 2 pets… That doesn’t sound meager 😉 .

    Prayers for our family to go where God leads us. We have 2 preteens that are likely middle of the road as far as materialistic. I pray we provide good examples on godly money management. We don’t eat out often either, I’m very frugal with clothes purchases for my family. I believe God is working on my heart after reading these comments… I’d love for my husband and I to desire to live less and with more giving. Thank you again for such a wonderful post driven by God’s word!

    1. Prayingwife79,

      We don’t hear about these things much in our culture in church, I’m afraid. But it is FREEING to have less stuff, to simplify our lives and not be so consumed by things. I have to be careful because I can go too far towards wanting to get rid of EVERYTHING and that doesn’t sit well with Greg. So – I have to listen to God’s Spirit and Greg and find the right balance for our family. But – I love being less attached and controlled by stuff and image and things and more focused on storing up treasure in heaven! 🙂

      Much love!

      1. Ha! My hubby also has that desire to get rid of EVERYTHING! Once a year we have a big sale & I like to tease the kids to watch out. If they don’t watch they might get picked up by accident & thrown in Daddy’s sale pile! He’s very thorough and determined 🙂

  18. Thank you for this post April.

    I used to battle with an eating disorder. During my first “recovery” I thought I was healing, but actually my addiction/ disorder just moved on to money. I started spending too much and mindlessly. Never more than what I had, but so much that I sometimes had to not buy food or forgo a doctor’s appointment. I am so not proud of those years, although I do believe they were necessary.

    This phase allowed me to truly understand that material things do not bring happiness, in spite of what my childhood had taught me (at home I had learnt to mistakenly believe that things = love, because that was my parents’ way of showing they cared). During that time I also truly recovered from my anorexia, in large part due to finding God’s word and really hearing it for the first time in my life.

    Now I am married and it is easy for me not to overspend. Or in fact spend at all, beyond the necessities. However, sometimes I think I take this too far due to fear of slipping back into my old ways. So I guess my point is that sometimes the balance can be tricky to find.

    1. Maria,

      Yes, balance requires us to abide in Christ and be empowered by His Spirit. That is interesting that you bring up food – I was actually thinking about food addictions as I wrote about materialism and how similar they are.

      The only “healthy addiction” there is is Jesus Christ. All the other addictions/idols will destroy us.

      Thank you so much for sharing!!!! 🙂

      Much love!
      April

      1. Yes you are right – it is interesting about food. But in my experience (with my own addiction and lots of volunteer work since healing), addictions are very often a God-shaped hole in the heart. (Yes, there can be other factors at play, I realize that.)

        The tricky part in volunteer work is how to help others notice that the hole they are trying to fill with alcohol, porn, eating disorders etc, will not be filled with anything other than God’s supernatural love. That that is the only true contentment and a source that never dries up. This is tricky because most people I have encountered while volunteering are resistant to the G word. So you kind of have to work around that word at first.

        (Of course you cannot generalize – there are differences in situations and people. But still, this is what I have observed.)

        1. Maria,

          Yes, that is what addictions and idols are all about – us trying to find identity, love, acceptance, contentment, fulfillment in something other than Christ. Of course, that is not possible, because it is only His Spirit who gives real joy, peace, fulfillment and purpose.

          We all tend to cling stubbornly to our idols and we are all terrified to let go of them and trust God. Thankfully, God has so much grace, mercy and power available to us if we will just trust Him.

          Thank you so much for sharing!

        2. Isaiah 58:10 – “. . .and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

          Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”

          Maria – It is not always necessary to speak the name of the Lord when we are serving others. Through our works of love and service to each other, we let the light of Jesus fill those holes that only He can fill.

          1. fallenshort: That is so true. And I don’t speak His name, except when asked about my own path. I guess I did not explain myself fully. It is sometimes just so heart-wrenching to watch people trying to heal grasp for another addiction (as I did myself at first). But I know that my “job” is just to be there and allow. Trust that He will fill those holes in His time.

            april: thank you.

  19. Thanks for this April. You’re right, we don’t talk about this much in our western Christian culture, but whilst nobody is perfect, I think its reasonable to expect people in leadership and teaching positions to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. There’s a few times i’ve heard someone teach and then found out that their lifestyle doesn’t match what they’re saying and I’ve found that off-putting and confusing. So although I can tell that you’re not one of those people by the way you come across in everything you write, I’m sure it will be helpful to some people to have this clarity from you.

    1. ronnathen3,
      I agree. If I am teaching the Word to women – I think it is important for people to know how I am living and for me to be transparent. I certainly can never claim to be perfect. I still have thousands of miles to go on this journey myself and am excited about all that God has for me to learn. What an incredible blessing and privilege to be able to share God’s truth, hope, love and abundant life with my sisters! 🙂

  20. Great blog, Sandra and I are really learning about this and being content with what we have as we study overseas at Hillsong College. It’s a balance between being good stewards with money but not going crazy and having a mindset of we can’t have nice things because we are students. Not all nice things need to be expensive just have to be patient sometimes.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    1. Dylan,
      You are most welcome. Thank you so much for sharing about what you are learning, too. Yes, patience! That is such a critical virtue as we learn contentment in every circumstance. May God richly bless your walk with Him, your marriage and your ministry!

      1. April,
        Thank you so much. We are excited for everything God wants to do through our lives. We have such a passion for marriage and family this is why I love that I found your blog and many others like us, it helps us to grow and learn without needing to experience the same heartaches or troubles. The fruit of a testimony is an amazing thing weather seen or unseen.

  21. This post has really got me thinking! (A little background, have been reading since July, am a newlywed as of Aug 2013). Anyways, my question relates to this and many other posts, does anyone have any suggestions how to/where to begin to approach overcoming our idols (control, perfectionism, food, etc)? I feel like I have so many to tackle and am feeling very overwhelmed, do you recommend focusing/praying/studying on one “area” at a time?

    1. Laura,

      This can be quite overwhelming! Seeing all of our sin can be quite mortifying.

      You can search:
      – idol
      – idolatry

      on my home page, there are a number of posts there that will help. Especially the post “How to Stop Idolatry and Truly Live for Christ”

      I also have videos on my Youtube channel about idolatry. My channel is “April Cassidy”

      If you want to focus on one thing at a time, you sure can. Or, you could ask your husband what 3 things he would like you to focus on first.

      Praying for wisdom for you!

      The biggest thing is to stay in God’s Word – repent of whatever sin He has shown you – invite His Spirit to have control and seek to honor Him with all your heart. He will show you the way. This is a LONG process. It is not an overnight thing, that is for sure! 🙂
      Much love!

  22. You are absolutely right, April, about how materialistic our culture has become.
    I am thankful that our house is paid for! It is old and not magazine perfect by FAR, but it is comfortable, warm in winter, cool in summer, doesn’t leak when it rains. Isn’t this luxurious?
    I have a friend who has a beautiful new showplace house, but both she and her husband work two jobs just to pay for it. And they aren’t happy.
    For us ladies, HGTV can be a huge problem. After watching it for a while, I became discontented with what I had and started bemoaning my lack of “granite counter tops and state of the art appliances.” Thank goodness, God helped me realize my error and He reached me through something my husband said: “People who have a lot sure have a lot to lose.” You know, he is right. I don’t want to have so much stuff that I am constantly scrambling to keep it!
    I have pretty much stopped watching TV altogether but when I do, I mute the commercials. I have started reading books again instead of watching HGTV. 🙂 TV can be mind-numbing and thought-controlling and I want to stay out of that trap if I can. As an aside, I have also stopped watching TV “news” channels and I am so very much happier!!! It’s like these channels constantly are wanting us to be upset about something and after a while I found that I was uptight and worried about EVERYTHING.
    I am working towards embracing the true “simple life.”

    1. W,
      So many great points here!

      Yes, HGTV – for me – definitely creates a desire for materialism and envy and greed. I can’t go there!

      I can be content with little. I don’t have to have the nicest, newest stuff. And – I agree with your husband – if something were to happen – a fire, tornado, flood, hurricane, earthquake – the more stuff we have, the nicer it is, the more upset we would probably be if we lose it.

      I actually read a few minimalist blog posts last week and found them to be quite refreshing. Stuff can definitely be a tyrant!

      I also don’t watch TV – and try to avoid the news. So much negativity! I watch TV when I sit with Greg in the evenings – whatever he is watching. I definitely love muting commercials, I ask my children to do that – commercials definitely create greed and materialism in them, too.

      Ahh! A simple life of loving God, loving people and focusing on storing up treasure in heaven. That sounds glorious to me!

  23. April,
    I stumbled across this post randomly and I just felt so led to tell you thank you for sharing—- I feel you on all of it, sister! You are not alone in how you choose to live—I couldn’t imagine living any other way, honestly. I was like that my whole life even before the Lord got my heart! I just never saw the point of wasting $ on things that don’t mean anything! lol Lots of love to you and your family for sharing your life with all of us! It’s nice to know we’re not alone!

    Love,
    Amanda

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

%d bloggers like this: