The Excesses of Our Lives and Being Refined

It’s been on my mind a lot lately.

The excesses of our lives.
The unnecessary stuff.
The stuff that ends up holding us down and owning us.

It’s been a year since everything was pulled out from under us… A year since, my husband had to pick up and move, temporarily, with what little he could fit into his car, across the country (literally. We were in Maryland, he was in Oregon.) Away from the newborn son he’d barely gotten to know. Away from his other two children, who adore him completely. Away from his wife, who, though she doesn’t say it properly enough, adores him and is so proud to have him by her side…

It had been a slow, painful process prior to that. Before it all started, we had owned our own home, nice cars, owned a very successful business of our own. We weren’t nasty prideful, but we were proud of our things. And I don’t think we shared what the Lord had given us very well with others.

As our descent began, we tried to keep our grip and climb up out of it. However, it seemed as if every decision we made, even after prayerfully presenting it before the Lord, turned out to be a bad decision. In the end, we were having to live with Sean’s parents and use food stamps for groceries.

I can look back over that year now, and see how the Lord was refining us.

Have you ever considered the definition of “refine”. We hear it a lot in churches. But what does it mean?

re‧fine  [ri-fahyn] verb, -fined, -fin‧ing.
–verb (used with object)

1. to bring to a fine or a pure state; free from impurities: to refine metal, sugar, or petroleum.
2. to purify from what is coarse, vulgar, or debasing; make elegant or cultured.
3. to bring to a finer state or form by purifying.
4. to make more fine, subtle, or precise: to refine one’s writing style.

–verb (used without object)

5. to become pure.
6. to become more fine, elegant, or polished.
7. to make fine distinctions in thought or language.

—Verb phrase

8. refine on or upon, to improve by inserting finer distinctions, superior elements, etc.: to refine on one’s previous work.

refine. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Retrieved November 14, 2006, from website:

To take something coarse and vulgar and make it elegant and pure?? No small feat…

It becomes clear that, though the finished product may be beautiful and elegant, the process is not.

This year I have resolved in my heart, to not look the other way when I see someone hurting… to not cling to things when someone else has a need for it… to not judge others by their circumstances… I now understand what is important, and what is just fluff…

Some lessons are harder to learn than others. This one was excrutiating at times.

But I wouldn’t trade the changes in myself and my family for anything!!

Thank you Lord, for seeing my heart and refining it for your glory.



  1. Beautiful post, Karla. Really beautiful.

  2. I really loved your last post – I thought about linking to it in mine, actually. Perhaps people are just mulling it over.

  3. We DO have lots in common – we should email each other!

  4. I don’t know what happened to you guys but it’s obvious you used it to learn many things. Sometimes we have to hit bottom to remember that we should always be looking up.

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