Then shall your light break forth like the dawn – Isaiah 58

So this is my first Purchase Project post.

“And I have actually decided that for this month, I’m not going to spend any money on myself – mainly because I don’t need anything and haven’t even really had the time to go shopping.”

That is what I said about a week ago.  It’s funny how all of the sudden, after I decided this- I have had plenty of time to shop and plenty of things coming to mind that I need.  Like nail polish!  Or make-up…that is only $1!  Elf Cosmetics…anyone?  Yeah, I could buy tons and not feel bad about it.  But when I am only buying one item for myself each month – I don’t want to waste it on something that only costs $1.

THEN, to top it off I found out that next week, I will be going to the world’s BEST shopping markets in Cambodia!  When I step into those markets, it is seriously like I’ve died and gone to heaven!

So I have quite the dilemma.  I can’t tell you how many times just this week I have regretted starting this project and it’s only month ONE!  I’m discovering once more  that I am not very good at discipline and commitments.  I want to be a woman of my word and follow through but as soon as I set a goal, it is like pulling teeth to make it happen.

ANYWAY…that is a peak into my inner turmoil.  I have decided that I am going to do my very best to continue with this project.  I can’t seriously quit after one month!  But for my trip to Cambodia, I am going to change my one item to a limited amount of money to spend…because things are real cheap.  I’m set on spending no more than $50 while I am there and that will be my purchase for January.  When I come back I will share with all what I choose to buy!

But I am still giving.  That part hasn’t been hard.

Last week as I was driving to work by myself and singing at the top of my lungs, I got real excited about something.  You know how when you have those moments of being so consumed with the love of God that you have an unexplained love for those around you?  Or how you can’t explain why it is so easy to forgive those who have hurt you, except for the fact that you have been so incredibly humbled because of the way God has forgiven you.

I began to think about how everything in life is like this.  When we encounter these awe-inspiring attributes of God, like love, forgiveness, mercy, honor, justice…something changes in us to be able to freely operate in these same things.  I guess that’s what it means when the Bible says that we become like that which we behold.

An attribute of God that made smile as I drove to work through the trees of North Georgia, was his generosity.

I can freely give because he has freely given. 

And there is such a joy in the giving.  There is such a peace in the release of the blessings that God has entrusted me to steward on this earth.

I was in Florida this month for a World Race launch and I was talking with my friend Sean Smith, who recently traveled to Thailand and Burma for a project he is working on.  I don’t want to go into too much detail because I know that it is something so dear to his heart and it’s an incredible honor for anyone he shares his stories with.  But he said something that caught my attention.  As we were talking about spending money for the Kingdom he said, “I know people who could spend a million dollars today and literally save lives tomorrow.”  

The only thought that crossed my mind was, “Please tell me who it is!  And how can I give to them?”

He began to tell me about the Free Burma Rangers.  All information below is taken directly from their website:

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma. Ethnic pro-democracy groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.

The Free Burma Rangers were formed during the Burma Army offensives in Karen State in 1997, when villages were destroyed, people killed and over 100,000 fled their homes. Over one million people are now displaced inside Burma. In the face of the overwhelming force of the dictators’ army, the Free Burma Rangers organized with the idea that no one can stop people from giving love and serving each other.

As I listened to my friend Sean talk about his friends and how they risk their lives every moment of every day to see freedom and love manifested on earth, everything inside of me knew that this is what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Isn’t the point of praying, His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, to do whatever it takes to see LIFE and FREEDOM and LOVE cover the earth?  Isn’t the point of fasting to loose the bonds of wickedness, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  …To not hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7)

I can’t even begin to describe to you all of the incredible things I have heard about Free Burma Rangers.  All I know is that they are doing the thing we talk about doing.  They are seeing the stuff happen that we read about in the Scriptures.  They’re not waiting for it to be easy or comfortable or safe. They have inspired me and convicted me.

And so, this month I gave to Free Burma Rangers.  I wish could give millions of dollars but I have to believe that my little amount of money is being multiplied for the Kingdom of God.  I encourage you to check out their website and read about what is happening in Burma.

And if inspired, if moved at all in your spirit – give!  Lives will literally be saved.



Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;  he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;  who conducts his affairs with justice.

For the righteous will never be moved;  he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news;  his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is steady;  he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.  

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.

The wicked man sees it and is angry;  he gnashes his teeth and melts away;  the desire of the wicked will perish!

resolutions to provoke discovery

Back in October I had this idea…about simplifying my life.

It’s not an original idea.

But I want to be less dependent on materials and appearances for my identity and definition.  And more confident and rooted in who I am in my personhood and spirit.  We, as women, can easily start valuing ourselves based on a completely unrealistic measuring system that Western society throws at us.  And the measurement used is so incompatible with that which is actually being measured that we start to lose sight of what is truly valuable.

If we want to know our value, our worth…why measure ourselves up against something that really only measures the external qualities?  I want to know the value of the core.  the value of character.  the value of strength, dignity and honor.

And so simplifying my life:  to discover, to reveal, to uncover – true value and worth of a human being.

FIRST… I cut my hair.  It was mostly to represent the new season of life that I am walking into.  But I had to remind myself a couple times, “My hair doesn’t define me, my hair doesn’t define me!”

before & after

SECOND…I made a resolution.

I got the idea from my roommate’s friend, whom I have not met but thoroughly enjoyed her blog and feel as though we’re great friends…kinda creepy, I know.  But I was inspired by a project that she did back in August 2010.  She called it the purchase project.

And so for 2012, I am going to also do the Purchase Project…with my own little spin on it.

For each month in 2012, I am only going to buy ONE new item for myself.  

This includes:  clothing, accessories, music, books, non-necessities, luxuries (massages, pedicures, etc.)

This does NOT include: restaurants (i’ll tackle this one in 2013), groceries, gifts, items bought with gift cards (like iTunes), and necessities.

I am also going to find a new place/ministry/person each month to donate to.

And to hold me accountable, I am going to blog about it!  So all my lovely readers can challenge and encourage me to actually complete a new year’s resolution for once in my life!  So each month, I will write about the one item I chose to purchase for myself and also share information about where I have decided to give my money that month.  I am excited about this because it will give me an opportunity to recognize how little I really need and also expand my network for stewardship of what God has already provided for me to give away.

I hope that you will follow me on this new journey and I hope that I will be able to share with you what I learn and all that God speaks to me through this project.

It’s 3 days into 2012 and I haven’t bought my first purchase yet.  I also haven’t decided on where I will donate to in January.

And so I am looking forward to write my first Purchase Project Blog!