5 Keys to A Life of Reckless Abandon for the Lord

I’ve been asked before why the name of this blog is Graceful Abandon.  Years and years ago, God put it on my heart to live with abandon for Him instead of myself, by His grace and unfettered by my past. I was inspired by this quote of Elisabeth Elliot: “I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.” What does a life of reckless abandon look like? It is a life unfettered by the past and by misconceptions about Truth. 

graceful abandon reckless abandon journal bible devotion contentment

5 Keys to a Life of Reckless Abandon for the Lord

1. A life of Reckless Abandon is based only on Scripture

One of the hardest things in the world for me is to focus on what God requires of me instead of what is socially or culturally interpreted. It’s really challenging to set aside all of the voices in the Christian world that tell me what I ought to be. I could go on and on and on telling you all of the extra-Biblical standards I have bought into and failed at, only to have the Holy Spirit nudge me back to the Word to seek out the Truth. The TRUTH is that I need to love God and love people (1 John 4:7,8). The TRUTH is that God Himself gave us Scripture to teach us, train us, disciple and discipline us and to be our guide (2 Tim 3:15-17). The TRUTH is that I need to obey Scripture (James 1:22). The Truth is that God wants me to live with reckless abandon for Him, rather than abandoning my heart to a pale comparison found in this world.

It can be a real challenge not to read books, listen to teachings, pour over blogs, and engage in debates about what a godly wife looks like or a godly mother and to pick apart what Scripture says and then add my own interpretation to it. I’m all about looking nice for my husband, keeping my home as neat as I’m able, feeding my family healthy food, being a frugal steward over the resources my husband provides, and so on. However, those are things that are influenced by Scripture without being defined clearly by it. I need to keep clear what God says about my role and what I am adding to that. It is critical that I keep those standards in their proper significance in my life if I want to live with reckless abandon for God and not myself. I can’t allow them to eclipse the Truths that God has spoken over me: I am to honor my husband, to support him, to love our children, and to put my hand to the work God sets before me. Everything else may or may not have a place in my life, and its place will always be below anything God has spoken clearly about in His Word.

 

2. A life of Reckless Abandon is one that looks at God, not at self

I don’t know about you, but I find myself looking inward and examining my heart a lot. I look at my life and critique my own actions. Sometimes I even look at others and critique theirs. But you know what? God tells me to look at Him. He doesn’t want me to focus on me, but rather on Him and His purpose. My life will bear the fruit of what overtakes my vision; I want to bear God’s fruit, not my own.

Oswald Chambers, author of my favorite devotional book of all time (aff link), says this: “Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God…[this] is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3).”

graceful abandon bible devotions journal quiet time
3. A life of Reckless Abandon knows what else to abandon

To live with reckless abandon for God, I’ve had to abandon my own plans and dreams. I could plan many good things for my life, but they may not be what God has for me. Ephesians 2:10 says that God created me in His image and for good works that He has prepared beforehand. It is oftentimes much too easy to forget that and to chart my life’s course with goals that culture has told me are good: a stable home, a retirement savings, children who have a ‘good’ education, space to pursue my hobbies, nice hair and clothes, delicious meals on a well dressed table, a successful career, and so on. I have to tell you, it’s easy to value those things and I fall into the trap of reaching for them every single day.

But just today God shook me and showed me that these trappings that are glorious in a worldly successful life are traps in a recklessly abandoned life. They can tie me down like shackles from the good work God has for me to do if I pursue them instead of Him. Luke 9:23 plainly tells us that to come after Christ we have to deny ourselves and embrace the cross. We abandon what we value that is only temporal to embrace what He promises is eternal.

4. A life of Reckless Abandon is passionate about Love

1 John 4:7-8 tells us to love God and love people. 1 Corinthians 13 extols the virtues of love and then reminds us at the end that “the greatest of these is love.” Song of Solomon 3:4 says this: “I have found the One whom my soul loves; I held Him and would not let Him go…” I know that this is a love story, but my prayer has been for my heart to love God this way. To love Him from the depth of my soul and to cling so tightly to Him that we can never be separated. I don’t want to leave room for anything -especially my own self- to come between us. I want to not only yearn for God, but to yearn for people to love Him, too. I want to love others without regard for their station in life, what we have in common, or anything else that I might have previously used to judge the merit of another. I want to love them because they are made in the image of the One whom my soul loves.

5. A life of Reckless Abandon is contentment with God, not with circumstance

It’s super easy to look at life and say, “If only ____ were different, I could be so happy.” But Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11-13 that contentment isn’t based on circumstances. Therefore we know that it can’t be based on a change in circumstances either. What contentment does come from is a change in me. When I am discontent, it is most often because I am looking at what is happening in my life and feeling entitled to have it be something else. Instead, God is showing me that He alone is the One who satisfies and therefore He alone is the source of my contentment. This isn’t easy, and I’ve not mastered it, but what I’ve learned so far is that if I spend more time being busy than being still, I become discontent. It’s okay to have a full life, but even in the midst of my activity my heart needs time to be still before Him. I need to prioritize reading the Bible, spending time with others who love Him, and listening to teaching on the Word (and not just about what a Christian life should look like). That keeps my focus on God instead of my circumstances.

The Pieces of My Heart

A Piece Of Our Hearts graceful abandon

The pieces of my heart are many, and it seems that every time I turn around there are more of them. They have been gathered from across the globe. God is weaving an incredible tale.

I simply don’t have the words to express how surreal that is for someone who is an only child from a single parent that grew up thinking that a large family was one with three kids in it. I’m constantly in awe of what God is doing in our family, and so thankful. I live in a miracle every day of my life. It’s not always easy, and there are times when I feel like hiding under the covers, but it is a miraculous story written by God.

The best part? The fact that this is a family vision. Each of our children embraces adoption and this plan from God whole heartedly. We are all excited about this newest addition, because we have prayed for her specifically for four looooooong years. We all have a piece of our hearts waiting in Ukraine. Waiting for us. Waiting for family. Waiting for love. Waiting for happily ever after. Waiting for forever. Waiting.

Puzzle fundraiser a piece of our heart
Do you know what it’s like to wait? To wait with hope that fizzles over time? To wait with a light in your heart that dims each day? She does. We do. None of us thought this day would come, although we begged God for it. And now it is here. We wait with a Hope that does not disappoint.

Sadly, we can’t just go and bring her home now. We want to, believe you me! We are working through the slogs of paperwork that form one of the two mountains between her and us. The other mountain is money. Neither is insurmountable; they just take time. Our paperwork will hopefully be ready in 6-8 weeks. No one can help us with it; we have to do it one step at a time. The money? That takes a village. An army, really. It is raising a ransom that is costly, priceless. 

Will YOU be a piece of the puzzle?

Puzzle fundraiser puzzle pieces adoption loose pieces

Here’s the deal. This adoption is going to end up costing about $35,500. We had hoped to be able to do it for less, but everything from our last adoption has expired and we’re starting at Ground Zero. That’s okay, though. Family, forever…they are worth it. We’re taking a fundraising classic and adding our own twist to it. We are asking people to sponsor puzzle pieces. If all 250 pieces get sponsored, then our adoption will end up fully funded when this fundraiser is combined with the others. 

How do you sponsor a piece? It’s easy! You let me know which piece you want to sponsor and you paypal the amount for that piece to me. If you don’t know us personally, you can donate through our YouCaring link.  A small 2.9% fee is taken, but it’s worth it to us to have a way for folks to donate. If you do know us personally, please contact me so we can avoid the fees associated with that site.

Piece #1 is $1, piece #10 is $10, piece #250 is $250. Which piece do you want??? And don’t be afraid to think big. Want to do a $225 piece, but don’t have it? Ask your small group or book club to go in on it with you. Your name, a Bible verse reference, or your group, a favorite word…whatever you want…will go on your puzzle piece and it will be a keepsake for our girl.

250 pieces

Her sister and two of her brothers have purchased pieces 1,2,3. I will update HERE as the others are sold.

What Is Adoption?

Adoption is the act of gathering the pieces of your heart into one place. 
I’ve heard it said that being a mom means having your heart walk around outside of your body. I get that. And being an adoptive mom-in-waiting? It means that your heart is walking around somewhere, far away from you and unable to be protected by you. It is hard. Adoption has taught and continues to teach me about faith and trust more than any other experience in my life could begin to.

What is Adoption?

Adoption is the act of gathering the pieces of your heart into one place. I have carried four of my children in my womb, and (so far) three in my heart. Whenever I would feel one of my babies roll around inside of me, I would be filled with wonder. The magnitude of that gift was just was awesome during my last pregnancy as it was during my first. And adoption? Each story is just as magnificent in its own way as the others before it.

For me, the most beautiful (and somewhat terrifying) part of every pregnancy is that moment when the pregnancy ends and you look at your new baby for the first time and realize that he or she is yours to love and care for. And the most amazing part of adoption is that moment when we walk into our home and all the pieces of my heart are there, in one home as a family, and I get to love and care for this child who didn’t have a family to feel safe in before that moment.

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Adoption is beautiful.  Adoption is one manifestation of the promise of God to set the lonely in families. It is one way that He gives a father to the fatherless. It is an act of redemption so blindingly breathtaking that words cannot even begin to express it. 

Adoption is heart wrenching. A child being orphaned is devastating and life altering for that child. We do our children a disservice when we focus only on the beauty of adoption, because for them it isn’t beautiful. Orphaned children have had their parents taken from them through tragedy, or been taken from their parents because of tragedy.

Adoption is hard. There is nothing easy about spending a year of your life loving this child, praying for this child, working yourself to the bone to gather the funds to bring them home, and jumping through the hoops of government to make it happen. There is nothing easy about taking a child who was orphaned and holding the pieces of their heart tenderly so as not bruise one more broken piece of it. There is nothing easy about loving a child who needs it desperately, but asks for it in the most unloving ways imaginable because they are hurting and afraid to hurt more.

Adoption is a prayer. Your very life becomes a prayer because you live at the feet of Jesus. You wish and hope and pray that you can love this child enough, that you can love them through, that you can love them whole.

Adoption is surrender. And then you surrender this child to God, because nothing you do will ever be enough — He alone has to do the work in their hearts. But He does it through you, because you are willing to go the distance and surrender your will for His because you love your child that much.

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Adoption is redemption. Redeeming anything involves a price. Adoption will cost you everything. It will take your time, your money, your heart, your soul, your passion. You will end up giving more than you ever knew you had in you, and then you will need to pray to God for more because you’ll have to do that over and over and over again as your child heals, strengthens, and learns to trust you again. It will be a costly journey for every member of your family and it will take not only your laughter and smiles, but your tears and your heartache. Redemption is hard work.

Adoption is worth it.  The first time a newborn babe looks at you and smiles, the first time your child calls you mama, the first time they step away from you, the moment you realize they are grown up…those are amazing moments that you treasure in your heart. Likewise, the first time your adopted child looks at you and truly sees you, realizes you’re his mama and not just some woman named Mom, it because a priceless treasure. I’m sitting here crying as I remember that moment with each of the children born in my heart instead of my womb. I don’t have the words to tell you how incomparably stunning it is to see the realization of love and family in their eyes, hear it in their voice, feel it from their hearts.

That is adoption, my friends. Beautiful, heart wrenching, hard, redeeming, and incredibly worth it.

 

To read our adoption story, visit HERE. To be a part of supporting it, visit HERE.

Apple Pie Porridge: Breakfast or Dessert?

Apple Pie Porridge: AIP, Gluten Free, Low Carb, THM, Sugar Free

Due to a variety of circumstances, we have three people in our home that are currently on a diet consisting of soft foods. It is becoming quite a challenge to get innovative in the kitchen, but I am determined to create or find a variety of choices that are not only appropriate, but also appealing. This apple pie porridge is a definite check in the win column. It has all the flavors of fall and Grandma’s cooking in one nourishing dish.

And the best news? It is quite versatile: it fits with the autoimmune Paleo protocol, it’s low carb and gluten free, it can be freely enjoyed for those adhering to Trim Healthy Mama as an S Helper or Crossover, and it’s sugar free.

graceful abandon apple pie porridge breakfast aip autoimmune paleo THM gluten free sugar free low carb breakfast bites

It is also versatile.We eat apple pie porridge for breakfast, but also have it slated as a dessert later this week (yes, it’s that good!). My nine year old tried to eat my bowl this morning while I was getting the baby’s breakfast together. If you make it, make enough to share because the smell alone will draw people to the kitchen and you’re going to have to defend your bowl.

My other favorite part? It’s a one dish deal. I heated up my cast iron skillet, dropped a bit of coconut oil in it (you could also use butter — and trust me, it’s a savory choice that makes it even more decadent, so if you have that freedom…enjoy it!), and tossed in my diced apples. I sprinkled them with cinnamon and some stevia, and stirred. Once they were nice and tender, I added in the coconut flour and water (I’ve also used almond milk, and it’s delicious that way, too). I stirred it all up until it was just right and then I dished it up. Voila! Apple pie porridge, ready to indulge in.

For my breakfast, I drizzled on some warmed coconut butter and had the perfect bowl of decadent yumminess.  When we have it for dessert, I’ll top it with some crushed walnuts and a few raisins and then a dollop of whipped cream. The possibilities with this porridge are amazing.  I love when a dish can double up for more than one purpose, and also when it has several variations to keep it new and exciting.  It’s also pretty frugal because you can get a great deal on coconut flour on amazon and apples are usually pretty inexpensive. I eat this whole recipe when I’m really hungry, but most of the time 1/2 of it is more than enough. I usually have it with some chai tea with added gelatin to increase the protein because I like to have a good start to my day, but I have also added 1/2 TB of whey protein powder in with the coconut flour and thinned out with a dash more water as needed.

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Graceful Abandon- This porridge tastes just like apple pie and is compliant with the AutoImmune Paleo protocol, THM, low carb, gluten free, and sugar free diets

Apple Pie Porridge
Serves 2
Apple Pie Porridge: a versatile, nourishing dish for breakfast or dessert that works with AIP, THM, Low Carb, Gluten and Sugar Free diets
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
169 calories
20 g
0 g
11 g
1 g
6 g
230 g
6 g
10 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
230g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 169
Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
16%
Saturated Fat 6g
32%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 6mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
3%
Iron
2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 apple, diced
  2. 1 TB coconut oil (or butter or ghee)
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. 1/16 tsp stevia extract powder (or 1 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup)
  5. 3 TB coconut flour
  6. 1 cup water (or almond milk or milk)
  7. optional: coconut butter, whipped cream, or frosting, chopped walnuts, raisins
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. While heating, dice up an apple into small bite sized chunks.
  3. Melt 1 TB coconut oil. Once melted, toss in apples.
  4. Let cook for about 4 minutes, then stir and sprinkle with cinnamon and sweetener.
  5. Stir and let cook for about 5 more minutes, until very tender.
  6. Add in 3 TB coconut flour and 1 cup liquid, stir. Allow to heat. If you want a runnier porridge, add more liquid 1 TB at a time. Let heat for just a few minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and everything is warm.
  7. Serve hot, drizzled and sprinkled with your choice of topping.
Notes
  1. Please note that if you are on the AIP protocol you should use Grade B maple syrup or honey as your sweetener and coconut butter as your topping. If you are a THM, 1/2 of this is an S Helper or the entire portion may be enjoyed as a Crossover meal. THMs: Please add more protein if this is your entire meal (I like to have a cup of tea with gelatin or 1/2 of a smoothie). If you are a THM or candida conscious, it is important to use stevia, not honey or maple syrup.
beta
calories
169
fat
11g
protein
1g
carbs
20g
more
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