i can't take another yesterday

I have a story to tell. But I need you to promise me something. I don’t want your pity. I don’t want your praise. And honestly, I don’t want patronized or pummeled either. Deal?

Oh well. It was worth a try.

So, yesterday’s post was a smidge exhausting. Rather, reading and replying to your comments was a smidge exhausting. So I told Gabe I was turning comments off for this one. Spending more time with our girlies than on my computer. Resting my aching head and my pounding heart.

“How about this?” he said. “Leave the comments on, but don’t look at them until after the girls are in bed. Just enjoy your day with them, and don’t worry about what people are saying.”

Um, okay.

So, my story. If you plowed through any of the comments, you might have seen one from a gal who questioned my stance against spending lots of money on frivolous things when I’d just announced publicly that Gabe bought me a Nook Color for $249. Several others piped up and said we should’ve used that money for Cambodia, and we were sending contradictory messages to our girls.

Their comments punched me in the gut for several reasons. How about some back story?

My husband loves me very much, and he proves it in a million different ways, the most recent being the hours and hours and hours (and hours!) he spent creating a website and formatting my newest book manuscript into e-book format. He recently did a couple other websites on the side (for pay) and planned to use the money for some photography equipment (something he hopes to turn into more than just a hobby someday).

One evening, during the whole e-book madness, he walked in the door from work and said, “I almost bought you something today, but I knew you’d be mad.” It was a Kindle. “We need to be able to see what your book looks like on an e-reader, and besides, if you’re going to write e-books, I think you should have one. It only makes sense.”

My answer was the same it’s been every other time he’s suggested it. Nope, don’t want one. Don’t want to spend the money. I’m fine with my library books, but thank you. You’re talking to the girl who buys her bras at the thrift store, remember?

Long story short, he persisted. And I started to realize there was more to it than my frugality. My loving husband wanted to provide for me, to give me a gift that would show me he was proud of me and that he respected my talents as an author. I felt like I needed to swallow my reservations and let my husband give me an extravagant gift for once. Believe me, I’ve sucked more joy out of his giving attempts in the past 13 years than I care to admit.

We went to Best Buy (my eyes were still red from crying because I didn’t want to go) and looked at Nooks and Kindles. I had a knot in my gut the whole time. We walked out with a Nook Color. I turned it on, we registered it with my Barnes & Noble account, I watched the intro video, and then I told Gabe, “I really want to get this e-book thing done before I even look at my Nook, okay?” (this was June 11) The next day he surprised me with a gorgeous turquoise cover.

I took it to my parents’ house on June 17 and showed it to them and my sister. But, other than that, my Nook has sat in a pile on my desk, buried beneath all kinds of who knows what.

And it haunts me. I don’t want it. It’s too much. I don’t need it. But… it was a love gift from someone who means the world to me.

He asked me a couple times if I’d tried it out. I always gave some excuse. Then, today, when the negative comments started popping up, my protective wife heart flared in anger. Pick on me, fine. Pick on my husband, watch out. I refrained from replying… for a little while. But I had to say something to the girl who said that an e-book author “needing” an e-reader is like a fashion lover “needing” a Louis Vuitton handbag.

I don’t know who Louis Vuitton is, but um.

After a delightful three hours with my friend Krista and her babies this afternoon, I sat down at my computer and my jaw dropped. When the cat’s away…

At one point, I was holding back tears (I am NOT crying over this), and a dear, sweet girl who lives in Swaziland messaged me on Facebook, and I lost it.

Gabe called on his way home from work, and I started crying again. “I want to take the Nook back,” I said. He told me I couldn’t let these people get to me. I told him what he already knew–that I can’t be happy with this thing in my life.

He got home, more tears. He was hurt. And not happy that people were messing with me. I prayed a lot. And then he said, “Let’s do it.” We all piled in the van and drove to Best Buy and returned my Nook. Then headed to Barnes & Noble and returned my cover. The next time we format an e-book, we can just borrow an e-reader from a friend.

So how do I feel? I feel free. Kind of. Except that there’s still some pain, because I also feel misunderstood. And I know that this all comes with the territory–this thing where people who have no idea who I really am just pop out of who knows where and start slinging mean comments at me. Criticism is part of the gig.

And goodness, I’m not above needing criticized and/or held accountable for my actions. Ask any of my family members or true friends, and they could give you a laundry list of my weaknesses and failures. But I’ll tell you what. They’ve earned the right to tell me off, because they know me, and they love me.

So, 1000 words later. The stumbling Nook is gone. If you have more bones to pick (like you think it’s hypocritical to buy plane tickets to a foreign country when you could just send the poor people the $), it would be great if you’d save them for another time. And if you just can’t, well, have at it.

For those of you who took the time to give me a special word of encouragement today (Thursday), I’m thanking my God for you tonight.

And if you haven’t seen our Family Purpose Statement video, you’re missing out on 18 seconds of awkward delightfulness.

Have a great weekend, friends.

 

69 thoughts on “i can't take another yesterday

  1. beth lehman

    Marla – had no idea. I have had many times lately where we have spent big $$ on something that I can’t quite justify. Only I haven’t taken anything back….. I’m reminded of Francis Schaeffer’s quote “How then shall we live?” Indeed. Praying for you and all of us!

  2. Rebecca

    Marla,

    My heart is aching for you right about now. I don’t see the harm in your owning a Nook–it’s one of those things that I think a book lover like you would certainly enjoy and it would free up many book shelves! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I hate that you had to return it because I really think that it was a smart purchase–and one that would have served you well.

    I am one who steals the joy from my husband’s giftings, too. And you know what? It sucks. I do more harm to him than good in that area. So I feel you in this area.

    As for you sending mixed messages–I don’t necessarily see that. However, just because you have this goal in your head that you want to do, it doesn’t always mean that you have everything figured out. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t buy some things. Choices will have to be made–some easy, some hard. But they are choices nonetheless. And your husband purchasing you a gift isn’t a bad thing. If anything, it shows you and your girlies just how much Gabe loves you. How he wants to treat you every once in a while.

    Be encouraged as your find your way through your family vision. It will be hard. And not everyone will agree with you or support you. But you and your family know who you are and what God is calling you to do. When we are set apart for Christ, we will find those who criticize and hurt us (even Christians). It’s part of taking the job of being set apart. Keep your head held high!

    And yes, you can purchase plane tickets to go to Cambodia. You know why? People don’t necessarily want your money. They want to know you care enough to enter their world. Go forth and enter, Marla!

    Rebecca

    p.s. Sorry for the long post! πŸ™‚

  3. Krysten T

    I don’t think any one has the right to criticize you from accepting a gift from your husband. I hope you have had a better day today.

  4. Rachelle

    Wow, I hadn’t kept up with this drama. Thankfully. Rest assured that when there is mess God’s hand is guiding you in ministry. You are doing things that most people are afraid to do. You are Radical.

    This quote has really helped me recently:
    “it’s interesting..that when we PROFESS likeness with Christ, nobody’s feathers are ruffled, but when we begin to be identified with Him by how our lives are lived out, it becomes a bit offensive, mostly to other Christians. Shouldn’t we be cheering one another on in the fight for faith, the battle for souls, seeing the captives set free? No matter where it takes us or how “radical” it may look..we only get one chance.” -D’Lynn Watts

    I’m here to cheer you on!

  5. Cory Z

    Marla I think you are doing a great job in being sensitive enough to give up a gift from your loving husband to feel free of a stumbling block. You and Gabe are living out your faith and showing to everyone that you walk the walk. As I mentioned in my comment the other day it is a matter of the heart and you have always shown your heart to have the purest of intentions. In the ministry satan will use everyone and everything to distract, hurt and derail (he can to kill and destroy) us from the mission of Spread the Gospel and sharing Jesus. Even Paul and Peter had ones among them that claimed Christ but led Christians astray. Our prayers are with you, your husband and your family. Keep turning out Funny, Real, Inspiring Words of Encouragement that point people to Christ and let everything else fall to the sides and behind you.

  6. Lori @ The Davidson Den

    So sorry for all the pain you’ve been dealing with. But I just wanted to tell you, for what it’s worth, I’m behind you all the way! Praying for you!

    From your wanna-be-bloggy-friend-who’s-never-met-you-but-did-two-readalongs-with-you-and, therefore, somehow-feels-she-knows-you-but-really-she’s-just-one-of-those-folks-who-“pops out of who knows where”-but-without-the-mean-comments-and-has-a-measly-following-for-someone-who-wants-to-be-a-Compassion-blogger-when-she-grows-up,

    Lori

  7. Jen Griffin

    I think…especially after reading Gabe’s comment…that Satan was going to fight hard against you and even your very marriage for writing the book you just wrote. He hates marriage as it is a symbol of God’s love…a real example of how He loves us. He will do anything he can to discourage and tear you down. You are doing something to encourage marriage and the intimacy that draw couples even closer! Satan has to hate that. Hang on sister! You have the victory!! You know the end of the biggest story! We win!

  8. Beth in the City

    I’m proud of you. Whether you kept it or returned it, you are seeking God’s heart and seeking to love and support your husband.

    I’m also thinking….where are all those commentors? We all had things to say yesterday. Where’s the response? On your behalf, I’m glad it’s not as rowdy today. You obviously stepped on an American nerve, huh, with the idea that we could all live with less? Good for you! God is using you. I’m sorry it hurt so badly yesterday to be on His side, but I agree with Gabe. He won this round! He’s the only God I know who takes something awful and painful and after that, creates something beautiful. I pray your weekend brings you something beautiful.

  9. alittlebitograce

    *hugs*

    My husband’s comment: You used the “M” word and now people don’t think you should have anything nice at all, especially something they don’t have. (He said it better than that, but my short term memory is shot.)

    Steve just bought me a Kobo. I resisted it, but he really really wanted to bless me with it. Now I’m quite enjoying it. While checking out my new toy, my friends are all reading “The Husband’s guide” on it. For some reason, my Kobo has become quite popular.

    *hugs* again!

  10. Mandy

    Just want to say that I admire you, Marla. And I admire you, Gabe, too. My husband and I have had some great discussions on finances and giving as a result of your posts. And I’ve had come great Bible study and prayer time, too, as I think through all these things. Your writing will produce good fruit in this household (still reading your ebook, too, and loving it!). Finally, I’m glad not many people read my blog. I used to envy heavily followed blogs, but no more.

  11. Gaylene

    I just want to ditto what Natalie wrote. It’s so hard for us to keep from criticizing others, yet have we walked in their (your) shoes? No. Hang in there Marla and know that your heart is where God is and that is what matters. And that heart shows!!!

    Though I don’t know you, have never met you, am old enough to be your mother… I love you and pray for you.

  12. Candice Foldenauer

    Just wanted to put it out there that I got a Nook from my husband a few weeks before you, and we too are trying to go on a mission trip…call us crazy πŸ˜‰

    I love reading your blog so much, and admire how open, honest, and Christ-like you strive to be. I agree with some of the others above- people who know you (regular readers, etc.) are not going to call your character into question because your intentions are so obvious.

    I recently read this blog post (http://lysaterkeurst.com/2011/06/4483/) by Lysa TerKeurst on how she deals with hurtful emails in ministry. I was so sad that she has that occur so often, but really impressed with her methods.

    This is the day that the Lord has made! I sure hope you and your family have been rejoicing in it πŸ™‚

  13. Nina

    Wow, Marla. I missed the whole thing. I’m so sorry you had to put up with this. I don’t blame you for not wanting to keep the Nook, though I hate that Gabe can’t show you his love by buying you nice gifts. Obviously, he does it in other ways, and I’m glad you have such a loving, understanding husband.

    Best wishes for a stress-free weekend with your husband and girlies!

  14. Gabe Taviano

    Yeah, Marla deserved the Nook…..but Marla seriously never liked the Nook. She only kept it because I got it for her. It’s not that the other people were right in nudging her to return it……God just decided to use their angry words to affirm what Marla was actually feeling ever since I bought it for her.

    They probably could have used a different tone and been just as effective, LOL. Sometimes it’s about how you say it, more than it’s about just saying it. What I learned from it all – satan will use the dumbest of temporary things (a Nook) to rip marriages or relationships apart, like he did yesterday. But in the end, God won. He always does.

  15. Natalie

    Marla,

    I read your post about Dave Ramsey and two or three comments but could not take on that whole comment fest- lol! I just wanted to say I am sorry you were hurt and misunderstood. While I don’t know you IRL, I’ve been reading your blog long enough to know your heart. You love God, you love your family and you love people. THAT is the mark of a true Christian. Don’t be discouraged by those who would sling hurtful words and take your actions out of context. There will always be people waiting for their chance to pounce and point out how bad you (or I) really are. But GOD looks at the heart- yours is for Him. You don’t have to be right all the time and your actions don’t have to be explained to anyone but Him. Keep moving forward in His grace. Praying for you today!

  16. Sheree

    Let’s see if I remember; no pity, no praise, no pummeling, no patronizing (had to scroll back up to remember the last “p”). K, how ’bout some LLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOVVVEEE!!!! I don’t know how to make that cute little hug-thing with letters and symbols. But here is a huge southern, Texas HUG, cuz in TX you know we do everything in a HUGE way. Love you, my friend!!!!

  17. Missy June

    I do not think it is extravagant for an author to have an e-reader. It seems wise for the business aspect. For whatever reason, you were born and placed in this culture and your life is not one of personal indulgence in America.

    I hope you have a better day, I’m sorry Gabe didn’t get to give his gift and I do hope you can let the opinions of others roll off your back some.

    If YOU were uncomfortable with the gift, it was fine to take it back. I just hope you didn’t let OTHERS push you to do so.

    Either way, enjoy the girlies today and live in the real world.

    1. Missy June

      I was just thinking about your situation and it reminded me of how I often feel the need to ‘justify’ myself to others, when truly only God’s opinion matters – and He knows your heart, motives and intentions.

      1. lauren johnson

        I agree with you Missy. I love her heart and my goodness we can be great christian people with sometimes getting blessed ourselves. I honestly believe Jesus wants good and not suffering for us. I think it’s sad in christian culture how we have 2 sides…one is EVERYTHING goes and the other is complete LEGALISM…it’s hard to find people with true balance….Marla hey girl you are free to whatever decision you felt God told you to do I too just hope you didn’t let people get to you and feel you had to justify yourself to them b/c God is just freeing me of living that way and I never want to go back to feeling that “tied” to people who don’t know my heart…i also agree marla people earn the right to critizie when they truly love you and know your heart and while I don’t know you in real life I can tell your heart is real and precious!….Both of you girls have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

  18. Nancy

    I am always astounded at what people will dole out to people they don’t even know. We see a tiny fraction of your life in written form and think we “know” you. I have not read the comments (other than the one above, which is enough for me) because I don’t think I could handle the criticism. When there’s an article about a terrible accident in the newspaper online the comments below it are so insensitive…everybody wants to go blaming somebody for it (usually the parents!). If people want to say nasty things why don’t they start their own blog? Don’t trash someone else’s. I don’t think Gabe stole from the poor to get money to buy you a gift!! You are an amazing woman, Marla, with a HUGE heart. I’m so sorry that people have felt a need to pierce it. Maybe you’ll just have to keep some things private from now on….like your sweet husband’s generous heart. God bless you, friend!

  19. Rachel Degeo

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    I ask that You wrap Your comforting arms around Marla and fill her heart with Your unending love! I ask that You would protect her from our enemy who comes only to steal, kill,, and destroy. Allow those around her to lift her spirits and encourage her to continue to do that which YOU have called her to do to the best of her abilities. I ask that she would be overwhelmed by responses that tell how she has blessed the lives of others, as she has done for me, so that she will have strength to persevere in Your work. In Jesus’ precious name,
    Amen

  20. Christy @ pureMotherhood

    It’s really easy to pick on people online. The thing is, I think you’re probably miles ahead of most of us in the giving to the needy, taking care of the poor category. Matthew 7:5 would probably be appropriate in regards to comments left on your blog yesterday, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” You are loved. πŸ™‚

  21. Caron

    I personally don’t care in the least what you spend your money on. That is between you, your husband and God. You are obviously a “techie” family so a Nook makes sense esp since you are a writer.

    However, you are putting your self, your life, your opinions and your choices on display in a public forum. When you say things like “the older I get the more squeamish I get when I hear about peope spending money on themselves while people around the world have NOTHING” then share publically either directly (in your blog) or indirectly (in photos) your husbands new camera equipment, your children all have cameras, the kids iPods, an expensive Ereader (there is a Kindle that cost $129 by the way maybe that would be a compromise?), you cant get upset when people express dissenting opinions.

    And the only people who have the right to criticize you are people who know and love you in person? Really? If you are as authentic as you seem to be on here then I am sure there are people who know you only through social media who feel they know the real Marla. You are brave to put yourself, your feelings, your opinions and aspects of your personal life “out there”….but with that comes greater accountability. If it’s something you don’t want to be potentially critiqued for then keep in private.

    1. Dela

      Caron,

      “You cant get upset when people express dissenting opinions.”

      “And the only people who have the right to criticize you are people who know and love you in person? Really?”

      “If it’s something you don’t want to be potentially critiqued for then keep in private.”

      If I can be honest with you (don’t worry, I WILL be), it’s not that Marla doesn’t want the critique, or that she’s upset with people “expressing dissenting opinions”. I think that the comments like the ones quoted above and were throw around yesterday are just so condescending and cold and self-righteous and unloving and truly NOT the heart of God. Even though I believe they were off-based, I will add that they were plain offensive. It seems to me that people went OUT OF THEIR WAY to belittle and offend her for sharing what she did. I read this blog to share and be a part of her life in this small way. I read it because I’m interested in her thoughts and feelings. I think she should have room (on her own blog) to react to the postings without someone telling her she “can’t” get upset.

    2. Bethany Peters

      Caron,
      Did you know that Marla’s girls spent an entire year’s worth of saving for their iPods using all birthday and Christmas money from both sets of grandparents and any other gift-worthy occasion and the next whole year of the same for their cameras? Did you know that Gabe is a web designer, is involved in various photo-related ministries, spends hours doing free photo shoots for families and that his entire career is based on the computer and camera? Did you know that Marla’s E-reader was a gift from her husband? How is any of that money spent on “themselves”? And even if any of that money had been on themselves, does that make it okay then for your judgmental attitude?

      Yes, Marla has greater accountability because of her wider audience, but that accountability will be to God (Romans 14), not from any of her blog readers.

      Even if you feel Marla’s “squeamish” comment was also judgmental, how does that justify your judgmental attitude?

      A critical and judgmental spirit comes from within us when we are feeling guilty. I have struggled with guilt my entire life and only in the past year or so have I allowed God to release me of the hold it’s had on my life. Once I finally began seeing how I don’t need to feel guilty anymore (Christ has wiped away my sins), how I will stand before God alone (no one else) and how I will be stumbling in sin until the day I die, but that God sees my heart and He is most concerned with my humility (recognizing that I am continually screwing up and that I need Him desperately) and that pleasing Him is my #1 goal. Once you realize that God’s opinion is the only one that matters and you are released from the constant pressure to be perfect, you begin to release others from the same grip (thereby getting rid of all judgmentalism). God is only interested in our hearts (and our own hearts are the only ones we can see or change).

      All that to say that Marla didn’t call you out personally when she talked about people spending money on themselves. You felt guilty and as a result, wanted to point out inconsistencies in her life so that you wouldn’t feel as bad about the money you spend on yourself. We all do it. We get critical when we feel guilty. We try to find fault with others so we don’t feel as bad about our own sin.

      Instead of snapping back, perhaps you should use these posts as a chance to seek God and see if there are any changes you need to make in your heart and life in regards to money. Instead of thinking of where Marla may fall short (she admits that she does a lot), ask God to search your own heart and to make it more like His (Psalm 139:23,24).

      1. Caron

        Bethany,

        I Donnie care what Marla’s family spends their money on an I believe started my post by saying so. I was merely pointing out that she made a sweeping statement about how she judges how other people spend their money. You are furthering my point by explaining how her children got their iPods. My point was that her family has nice things and they use for their own personal enjoyment as do many I am sure that she deceived in her statement and feels squeamish. I have an IPad worth $500 that I got for $100 but that looks like a pretty expensive bit of kit that I could have spent on starving children.

        This whole thing started this week when Marla called out Dave Ramsey by name in her blog. That is where the judgmental spirit began.

        I can only assume that when she is coming for a less raw place Marla herself would say she does not want her readership to be only cheerleaders and likeminded people. This may even (hopefully) included unbelievers who may be drawn in by her wit, openness, and her talented writing abilities. But that does not mean they will always agree with everything she says (nor need they) or handle their objections in they same way she or you would. Perhaps you do not agree with this at all since you clearly thought I shouldnt dare have the audacity to disagree with Marla. And, next time you decide to get preachy and thump someone with the Bible, consider this, for all you knew I was one of those unbelievers…nothing in my post said otherwise.

        I stand by overall point that is Marla is going to get on a soapbox and make sweepingly judgmental statements to her audience she should expect people to object and call into questions her own actions that they perceive as inconsistent.

        And you are wrong, her accountability is not only to God. Iron sharpens iron.

        1. Caron

          Sorry!

          Donnie= don’t

          First paragraph is should not read “tjat she deceived” but rather “that she hears about and feels squeamish”. Stupid IPhone predictive text!!!

        2. Bethany Peters

          I see your point about iron sharpening iron–as believers we want to help each other out and point each other towards Christ. And if that was your motive for calling her out on things you viewed as inconsistencies, then who I am to judge your heart?

          I am sorry that you viewed my use of Scripture as “preachy” and Bible-thumping. I do not feel it was that in any way. I believe that if I have an opinion to share, no one should give a hill of beans what I have to say unless I have Scripture to back it up. I appreciate you using Scripture (“iron sharpens iron”) to back up your point as well.

          1. Caron

            I wasn’t saying it is not appropriate to back up your point with scripture. I was saying that before you tell someone
            they should be seeking God’s direction you should consider that you may be speaking to someone who doesn’t know God at all.

            I think Marla is an excellent writer and I enjoy her blog. I have followed it for a while but yesterday was the first time I have ever posted. I do feel, however, that Marla can be opinionated and quippy (which I personally don’t mind having a dry similar sense of humor myself) which is all fine and well until someone (anyone) disrupts the lovefest and comments something (anything) viewed as remotely negative. This week is not the first time I have seen this happen (Zoo trip).

            To me the answer is not to temper her openness and free flowing thoughts nor is it to chastise those who dare to call her out on something on occasion if they disagree but for Marla (and her loyal legion) to grow some thicker skin.

            Just my two cents (which is about all it’s worth) but it is MY “two cents” and it is OK for me to articulate them even if it’s MARLA’s blog. Otherwise, she might as well have a password protected site so she can control who traffics it.

          2. Bethany Peters

            Cool.

            And I like that you used the word “quippy”. Sorry for pouncing on you just because I disagreed with you. Marla is my sister and I was feeling defensive.

            I just have to say, though, that I will always encourage someone to seek God and His will for their life whether they know Him or not because He has a plan for everyone, not just believers. Believers are just the ones who have chosen to go along with His plan.

          3. Caron

            Ah, sisters. Now I understand why the claws came out. πŸ˜‰

            I get what you are saying. I am looking at it more like you were instructing someone you don’t know on how you feel i should behave as a Christian brother or sister and I am saying that i might not have been one at all so salvation would be the first step, would it not? Anyway I think we are splitting hairs here at this point.

          4. Bethany

            I get what you’re saying, too. And yes, I did assume you were a believer. Thanks for replying back to me the way you have. It’s so easy to write comments on blogs and get fired up and then create misunderstandings and dissension between complete strangers and I feel you and I have come to an understanding of where we’re each coming from.

            I think from now on I will do what one other commenter suggested and type out my response (if it is disagreeable) and wait at least a day (and pray) before I post it.

  22. liz

    Reading this makes my blood boil. I did not read your blog yesterday as I was super busy but was upset to learn that people could actually have an issue with you having a Nook??? What??
    One thing I have learned from life is my biggest critics are usually Christians and I can never understand it??
    You are an AMAZING woman with a WONDERFUL ministry and you will have forces come against you (be worried if you don’t). It means you are making a difference!!
    Don’t change a thing about you or who you are.. God made you in his image!
    You have encouraged me every day with your Blog and I have been really having a battle of my own right now!
    Keep on hanging..

  23. Ali

    I have never been so disappointed for you, Marla. I don’t understand what is so hard to understand. You and your husband have made the choice to give away the $ you would be putting away for retirement – that was your choice based on what God has put on your hearts. And you made the choice to buy an e-reader because you published an e-book. What’s so hard to understand? What’s to judge? How can anyone judge? Who are they to judge? Do they have the authority in your life to challenge you? Have they spent time getting to know you and your heart well enough to speak so-called wisdom into your life? I’d offer anyone the same challenge that you are taking today. Next time you read something on a blog – something that doesn’t jive with you, give it a day before you respond, or at least a couple of hours. Pray about it. See what God speaks to you before you respond. How might that have changed the direction of yesterdays “conversation?” I am so so so sorry, Marla. I think I can say with confidence that I know your heart. And you love and honor God with every ounce of your being. It’s what makes me so blessed to call you friend. I love you and it’s taking a heck of a lot of self-control not to go out and buy back that e-reader for you πŸ™‚

  24. Shannah

    I’m sorry you were so hurt, Marla. I, for one, was super proud of you for accepting that Nook as a gift of love from Gabe. And it was NOT wrong of you to have it.

    1. Because…while yesterday’s verses are good ones, principles like “Let each one be convinced in his own mind…each one of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom 14:5,12) are important, too. Especially in areas of personal finance and family goals.

    2. Because…yesterday’s discussion (which was awesome because it got me thinking) ended up being about Dave vs. Dave. And the original post, sharing your family’s mission statement, totally got lost.

    And that mission statement is huge. It’s freeing. Because each family’s mission is different. Whether a Nook fits within the boundaries of your mission statement is up to you and your family to decide. No comparisons to any other family needed.

    After all, you never said you were against “stuff,” but that you were against stuff without purpose. It had to fit within the greater vision of your family. You haven’t sold off every item in your house, but you have gotten rid of a lot of things. So getting something new absolutely can fit within your mission statement…especially because…

    3. …sometimes we make exceptions to a “rule” (like not having more stuff) for a greater good. Like loving our husbands by accepting a lavish gift. You put Gabe’s good above your own and humbly accepted his gift. You made your marriage, your relationship, the highest priority. And that was totally commendable.

    So…this is way too long. But I wanted to say all of that. And I hope you find some real encouragement today.

  25. Ellen R.

    I wanted to pop in and tell you how wonderful you are and how gracious and loving you were yesterday in responding to all of the comments. You are such a wonderful, sweet, Jesus-loving, honest, and pure woman. My heart is giddy to think about what you and your sweet family currently are doing and will continue to do to further the Kingdom.

    P.S. My husband wants to know if the “guy book” is longer or if the “girls book” is longer. He bragging up and down about how he finished the book in 2 days and I’m still working through my book. πŸ™‚

    1. Gabe Taviano

      Since Marla’s not hanging out today, I do know that the “guy book” is shorter than the “girls book”…..not sure exactly how much shorter, but shorter. Your husband’s still awesome for reading it in 2 days, LOL!

  26. Sharon Meekins

    Dearest Marla, Sending much love and hugs to you today. I pray that you feel the overwhelming love and presence of our Lord Jesus today. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and to many others. xoxo

  27. Shannon Wheeler

    Marla,
    I’m not a big commenter, typically, but I love reading your blog and have been for a while now. I cannot NOT leave a comment today. The process of simplifying and giving and intentionally having less “stuff” so you can give more is running such a parallel to how my life is right now (only we work with kids in Ukraine). I have read Radical, and I had the same heart response you have described. I also love that Dave Ramsey encourages us to stay out of debt, etc, and we have a no-credit-card-debt policy at our house that’s a blessing to us, for sure. Your position sounds so much like how I feel, and your husband’s generosity is so loving. (My husband surprised me with an iPad on Valentine’s Day, and his exact words before giving it to me were, “This is something for you, because you do so much for us, and you can’t take it back.”) πŸ™‚ (He knows me well!)

    There were days we splurged on extra cars and expensive jewelry and handbags, when we had two incomes and a better economy and one less kiddo…. But when I lived like that, I still gave faithfully to my church, etc. But I didn’t give sacrificially. And I loved my “stuff” too much. I did.

    I think your husband’s gift to you is wonderful, and there’s a very personal element in that – a tender, loving, precious element – that he, knowing how much you’ve invested in writing that ebook, would give you the gift of an ereader is really romantic. It sounds to me that he’s proud of you. He wants you to have something good. And that’s also a lot like how the Lord gives. πŸ™‚ Gifts that humble us and are simply lavished upon us from the generous heart of the Giver. And your husband is wonderful to give that to you. I’m so sorry you were criticized for it.

    On a side note, can I suggest that the Nook is a legitimate business expense for an author?? πŸ™‚ Right….? Who would criticize someone in a different business for purchasing business-related items? (Sure that takes the romance down a notch, and I am partial to the romantic view, but this is just another thing that popped in my head, while I’m feeling annoyed about the criticisms!)

    I know I’m long-winded here, but these issues have been gripping my own heart for a long while now. I love your heart for the poor, and I share that. I love your heart for missions. When I look at Jesus in light of his leaving the splendor of Heaven itself to put on flesh and BE with us, here in this broken, hurting world… when I think that God chose a life “beneath his means” for His Son, because in that, humans who are hurting and suffering and poor could relate to Him, these things move me. Aspiring to be like Jesus looks a lot more to me like living the way you are choosing to. And still in this, I want to encourage you to embrace the good gifts that God and your sweet husband give you, without guilt, knowing that it’s really a love-gift to you, just because you are very loved.

    I have the same guilt-struggle, so I really, really feel what you are going through. I’m contstantly trying to line up my heart with God’s Word and filter my choices through that Truth. Stay encouraged. You are certainly stepping out onto a battle field, and I applaud your courage and obedience. I’ll be praying for you, and I am encouraged by your words here so much. Keep up the good work. God is using your life and your testimony and the transparency in your writing for His glory. And about the Nook – the Lord will guide you. I know how hard this stuff is. (I think it’s lovely for you to have and ENJOY it, but if you don’t have peace, then do what God asks of you, for sure.) All I can say is, “Isn’t it awesome to step back and see how God works? How He can actually make us people more comfortable GIVING than receiving!? Totally weirds me out, but I totally get it! It’s just the Lord!”

    Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing and beautiful.

  28. ellen

    I guess I don’t really understand the whole blog thing. I thought the point was to post thoughts, comments ect and for other to express their imput. I think differeing comments probably can hurt the isn’t that the nature of this ‘business’. I enjoy seeing what other people think, believe and why and while I sometimes disagree and think as Christians we certainly can agree to disagree. I’m glad you took your nook back because you didn’t really want it. I like mine alot but each person is different and that is ok !!!!!

  29. Joanne

    Marla,

    Goodness, this post hit me like a ton of bricks. How sad. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. It always angers me when people judge like that. I, for one, am rooting for you to go and retrieve the gift your husband lovingly gave you. I learned early on from a pastor’s wife who drove a sporty red Volvo – “Never be ashamed of the gifts God has given you.” We aren’t to make excuses, explain ourselves, or justify ridiculous accusations. Like Kathi said, “There’s NO condemnation in Christ Jesus”. He knows your heart, He knows your love for Him, and in return He desires to give His children GOOD gifts. And, by the way, I absolutely LOVE my Color Nook, and my silver BMW. These things don’t define me, but I am not going to make excuses for how the Lord has blessed me. He knows my heart, and knows those I have blessed in return. I remind myself often: To whom much is given, much is required. I’m cheering you on…so next time you don’t give back His good gift. Blessings friend!

  30. Kathi

    I am so angry right now that you felt you had to give back that gift! No one in their right mind would question your motives or the message that you are sending to your girls. It is so obvious that their parents are people of integrity and that their daddy is loves their momma and them the way he should.

    There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and God gives good gifts to those who love Him and seek to hold fast to Him- even if sometimes those things are literal things.

    I am praying for you in all this, Marla. I am asking that God gives you his rest and that you will be well guarded from the lies of the enemy.

    And if that does not work you may just open your mail box one day and find a Nook sized package in your box with a tag marked, ‘Love God’. I dare you to give it back then. : )

  31. Sabrina Reinhart

    Marla – this is exactly why I have a “love-hate” relationship with blogs and the internet as a whole. Useful tools getting information, reading inspirational stories, education, etc. But, it allows people to anonymously comment and say things they would never say in person. It’s an epidemic of meanness that makes me angry. I’m not sure why on earth people feel the need to be so critical of others and I cannot for the life of me fathom why they would want to spew that out for all the world to see, but they do. And unfortunately you’ve opened yourself up to this by being a public figure. You in no way deserve all that craziness yesterday and I’m glad you have a good support group around you. There’s nothing wrong with you accepting a lovely gift from your husband, but I do understand your discomfort with owning it considering your current focus on Cambodia. I hope you returned it for the right reasons and not pressure from people who have no right to influence your thought process.
    All this to say, your supporters are stronger and more numerous than your critics.
    Have a blessed weekend with your family,
    Sabrina

    1. Cheryl Pickett

      Sabrina pretty much said what I would say, other than I wish I could come over right now and have coffee or a Chik Filet sandwich (ok that’s for lunch). Since I’m about 5 hours away, I’ll send a virtual hug as everyone else has pretty much done today. One other thing though, know that none of this is pity, it is support, the support we are admonished to give one another as brothers & sisters in Christ. Sending His peace to all of you.

    2. missy @ it's almost naptime

      I agree.

      I guess I don’t go out of my way to criticize people in real life, so it always befuddles me when someone goes out of their way to criticize a perfect stranger on a blog.

      Christians are to sharpen each other – PRIVATELY and WITHIN RELATIONSHIP. Anonymous blog readers do not equal a relationship.

  32. Daniel Berman

    Marla,
    I can’t speak for the recent situation or who said what to whom. However, I just wanted to offer that I recently spent 6 months working for Amazon.com as a Tier 2 Kindle support agent. If there is any questions you might have about the Kindle, please feel to email me.

    In regards to finances, our life is kinda weird too. We just bought a used car with 100,000 fewer miles and nine years newer, but also lacks a head gasket which has been threating to blow for some time. We also just filed for food stamps as our budget is running extremely tight.

    The big mistake that many people make is thinking that a one particular ideal is the last word on financial priorities. When it really comes down to it, we are given the freedom to choose. We just need to make sure that we are aware of as many of the financial ramifications of our actions as possible. From the information you have discussed, it appears you have. Thus end of story.

  33. Kathleen-NM

    Marla,

    I was so busy these past couple of weeks dealing with teenage boys, women’s ministry and business that I missed all of the discussion until today. Wow… all I wanted to say was quit being mean to my friend. So here’s a twist from some things God is teaching me. I don’t think it’s so much about the circumstance, i.e. discussion about your view on money and how God directs you to use it but about how we as believers respond to one another that reveals our hearts. The challenging comments were written in a way that provoked in my opinion.

    I have never met you face to face, I have followed your blog for a long time, comment every now and then, have some similarities to and lots of differences than you, and yet what keeps me coming back is your heart. Your love for God, desire to serve him in what I consider extremely creative ways is what makes you a kindred spirit. Any time you step out and share your heart or thoughts on a matter you will get many different responses and opinions. I trust your thoughts because I trust your heart in that I think your desire comes down to the point of “does this glorify God?” Don’t allow the prodding to spiral your efforts to glorify Him. You are an amazing author, you make us think, you are so stinkin funny and are a lover of God and others.

    I haven’t bought the book yet, but will this week…I don’t have an e-reader either. I will borrow my mom’s kindle. I love to devour books but just can’t justify it either. Saving money for a World Vision project and possible trip.

    Little something coming in the mail this week….didn’t cost much at all and will make you smile…and if you want to sell it I will be just as excited!

    Hangeth thou in there, friend you rock!

    Love ya! Kathleen

  34. Wendy

    Marla, I don’t normally comment, but I read your blog regularly (through a reader, though, so I don’t normally read the comments, and missed out on most of what went on the last couple of days), and so admire your transparency and burning desire to live your life for Jesus. I’m so sorry that people attacked you yesterday, and I can completely understand how it must’ve hurt you, but rest in the truth that Jesus knows and loves your heart for Him. I’m praying that He comforts and affirms you today.

  35. Jonna

    Marla, I think your post was incredibly brave (I tried to write this on the previous post but it’s a reeeally long comment thread and I couldn’t find my comment again). I don’t know how you must cope living your life publicly like this but your passion for God is what comes through most.

  36. Rosanne

    Well, you know what hey say – don’t mess with people’s wallets or they get vicious. I don’t personally know you, but you appear very sincere in your desire to serve God and follow what He wants from you. I did comment yesterday, and I apologize sincerely if anything I said hurt you. Personally, I don’t care if you have a Nook, Kindle, or a paid space alien who reads to you. Remember, God sees your heart and that is all that really matters – although criticism hurts unless you have the hide of a rhino which most people don’t. (not really sure if you should either – but that’s another story!) ((Hugs)))

    1. Jen B

      O.M.G. Is having an alien read to you a real option?! If so,it’s TOTALLY not getting the press it deserves!

      I’m pretty certain I just got to the heart of what this blog discussion is about – whether or not aliens can read and if they can, what currency should we use to pay them? I suggest we stay away frrom the euro based on the debt crisis in Greece right now.

      This reply is the definition of “out in left field.” Aaaaaaaand *posting* πŸ˜€

  37. Kristy

    Marla, i love you. And I’m sorry you got judgmental comments. I totally get why you would need an ereader, it makes so much sense to me. My husband designs books and formats them and that was the exact reason why we bought one.

    I’m sad that something you shared from your heart can be so misunderstood. And I’m sad that it’s so hard for people to have joy for others.

    I also think a Nook would be so wonderful for the whole family on that long plane ride to Cambodia. Wink.

  38. Melissa

    Oh, my heart is hurting for you right now. I haven’t commented on any of this lately, but I felt compelled to write now and encourage you. You are an awesome author and I admire you for putting yourself out in the public eye like you do (I blog, but it is private). My husband works in finance, and as we’ve read different books and ideas, we have learned there is no one right way for everyone. In fact, we and our friends have been convicted because it seems that someone will come out with “The Christian Way to Do Everything in Life” and if you don’t do things that way, you’re not a true Christian. Didn’t Jesus himself question that kind of religiosity? Anyhow, I am praying for you tonight!

  39. Gabe Taviano

    The past day (and a good majority of the actions and words shared) seemed like it was from hell. Spiritual warfare is real, and sometimes your posts make that more obvious than ever.

    The majority of your friends and readers call you brave. You’re the most transparent person I know. Not perfect or unselfish all of the time, but honest.

    Unlike some prosperous leaders in the church today, you don’t ditch God’s word or treat it like it should tickle your feathers. You want your heart to line up with God’s before it lines up with anyone on the planet. That’s not easy – you get a mess like you did yesterday when you try to match the beat of our Father.

    But it’s worth it. Every person that’s ever stood for anything of eternal value has to take some heat. Some people prefer to stay in the cooler where it’s nice and cold. I think I might just go buy me a Louis Vuitton camera bag with that $260 I got back from returning the Nook. I’ve heard they’re just lovely.

    1. Rachel Degeo

      Dear Father,
      Thank You for giving Gabe a generous heart, and for allowing him to bless his family and those around him in Your name. I ask that You protect his heart from hurt when those gifts are treated as something other than what he, or You, had intended. Thank You for enabling him to be Marla’s help-mate through editing, promotion, and website design. Guard his family from unnecessary pain. In Jesus’ name,
      Amen

  40. Jay

    Unfortunately, there are always going to be people saying these things and quite often they are projecting.

    I know it’s easy to say, “Oh don’t you worry about them!” but I know it’s hard.

    But I am sure you do know that your significance in this world does not come from such people. You’re significant to God and His son and that truly is all that matters.

    I’ll be saying a prayer for tonight and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  41. Emily Kay

    Oh Marla, I love you. I think you are an incredible author with an amazing passion for your Lord and others around you. I recommend your books to everyone I know and I admire you so much.

    Coming from an almost-stranger that probably doesn’t mean much but it’s the truth and I’d say it to your face. πŸ™‚

    HUGS.

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