to glorify God,
and enjoy Him forever”
– Westminster Shorter Catechism
When Michael and I accepted the call to have his little brother move in with us and finally make the move to Greensboro, North Carolina, we were excited. No apprehensions accompanied that emotion. We knew from prior experience that there are always adjustments that come with any move, but we had no idea just how much was getting ready to change.
We packed our tiny Roanoke home and moved to an apartment complex near Guilford College on September 1, 2012. It took us a few days to settle in, but it didn’t take long for Greensboro and our tiny apartment to feel like home. Although at times challenging, we were enjoying having Stephen in our home, and we will always be grateful for the time God gave us to help guide him toward maturity.
It was Stephen who began asking the questions: “Why do we eat this? Why do we clean like that? Didn’t God condemn that in the Bible?” He wasn’t being disrespectful or rude. He truly wanted to know and was looking to us to teach him. Too many times I didn’t have an answer other than, “I’ve always done it this way,” or “That’s what I was taught growing up.” I began to also ask, “Why do I eat this? Why do I clean like that? Did God really condemn this in the Bible?” And more.
I found myself wanting to search for the real answers, not just the clichés to which I had grown accustomed to using. We began to watch documentaries as a family, to research using the Internet and other resources, and to glean from other families around us.
We were so blessed to be in a small group at that time with two families, in which the wives were practicing very “natural living.” I knew almost nothing of natural health or natural anything – I probably had about the worst bio-print on this planet. In fact, prior to my journey, I looked at most of the things and people labeled “natural” and thought it was part of the hippie movement or at least very unBiblical/unspiritual. But as we continued researching and began to dig deeper, I realized how closely connected a relationship with God is to all things natural and that (although there are some of these out there) it was not just the path for the godless or the hippies. And if this was the path for God’s people, why were more Christians not living this way?
I can’t answer for everyone, but I do know that I was not being a good steward of the natural resources that God gifted us, and I needed to CHANGE.
My brother, who was a pastor at a church plant in Pennsylvania at the time, had been consistently bugging me that I needed to begin listening to his “Origins” series. He was already on Sermon #108 (literally) in the series, and I just kept putting him off, telling him I would get to it at another time. One day, I decided I would finally set aside some time and listen to the first sermon. It was at that point that I knew that I needed to help my family make some major changes in all areas of life. Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I decided that I needed to go on what I call our “Origins” journey – getting back to the origins of what God intended. This included food, cleaning, health, and even spiritual aspects of holiness, purity, and relationships. Thankfully, Michael was on board from the beginning, and I am constantly grateful for his patience and encouragement, as we are on this journey together.
I had it all laid out… starting in January 2013, we would work on a focus area each quarter that year and everything would come into order. Each point was detailed and had three subcategories that we would “fix” each month of the quarter. The first quarter, our family focus area was the Origins of Provision – this included nutritional, medicinal and financial provision.
Second was the Origins of Purity, including cleaning products, personal hygiene and other possible harmful chemicals or substances (cell phones, microwaves, etc.).
Quarter 3, we were on to the Origins of Pastime (yes, each had to start with a ‘P’ – learned that in my college days). How did God design activity (physical, social, mental, emotional)? In which activities should we participate? From what then should we abstain or limit ourselves?
And finally, in quarter 4, we were on to the Origins of Publicity. How should we publicize ourselves in personal celebration (birthdays, graduations, etc.) and uphold our reputation? How should we publicize others (national holidays, upholding the reputation of family and friends, helping those in need). And lastly, in December – of course so fitting for the Christmas season – how should we publicize God (religious celebrations) and uphold his reputation and holiness?
Are you tired yet? That doesn’t even include my corresponding personal focus areas of Origins of Relationship, Righteousness, Routine, and Rest that I was also planning on “fixing” as I somehow would just miraculously wave a wand and everything would suddenly be all better within the short time frame I had set for the journey.
Needless to say, my plans to return to my Origins did not go as easily or quickly as I had planned. Two years after beginning, I have finally written this blog – that I planned to write in Quarter 1 of 2013, haha – and we are still figuring out what it means to live natural lives as God intended. We are grateful for the people and opportunities He has placed in our path in order to get there in His timing, and we are definitely on the path toward our Origins.
Our prayer for this website and our work is that others might find a hand to hold on the same journey. We are all children of God trying to find our way, and we are at different places in our walks and livelihoods. May what the Lord is teaching me and my family resonate in the hearts of you and yours, and hopefully, help you find the path to your journey to Origins much quicker than it took us to find ours. The most important thing you can do is pick up the baton and begin the run – it may not be perfect, and it may take you much longer than you were hoping, but one step at a time you can offer yourself as a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God, and daily be Living to Worship.