Marla Taviano – a Modern Day Hero of the Faith (Part 1)

Modern Day Heroes of the Faith returns this week with a couple whose lives simply flabbergast me.

Gabe and Marla Taviano are another couple who I have only met online but I have been constantly amazed at their ability to live by faith.

That phrase, ‘live by faith’ is one which is banded around a lot in Christian circles but probably doesn’t mean much to people outside of the Church.

In short, living by faith means (to me at least) being able to obey God and do what he is asking you to do, no matter what the perceived consequences.

It is very often a financial thing. God may ask you to give up a high paying job to do something with little or no regular income and you just have to trust him to supply all your needs.┬áThat’s not the only way to live by faith though, sometimes God asks you to do things which push you far out of your comfort zone and it requires a great deal of faith and trust in him to obey.

The Taviano’s are people who seem to be able to really listen to God and step out and say “YES!” to him when most of us would make our excuses and crawl away.

I’m hoping to be able to do something a little different with this interview. Marla has responded to me with answers to all of my questions, but I’ve asked if Gabe would do the same as well. That way, this week we get to see the female perspective and (hopefully) next week we get to see the male’s.

If you don’t know Marla, check out her blog at MarlaTaviano.com she is an inspiring woman, an author of four books (so far), mother of three beautiful girls and wife of the very talented Gabe Taviano.

As usual the interview is going to be split over two days so as not to overwhelm you in one day. I really hope that we can all learn a lot from what Marla has to say.

The Interview:

Marla, you guys amaze me with the way you walk out your faith. Finding time and ways to share our faith and minister for Christ is something many of us have great difficulty with. What would be your advice to people wanting to become more effective in their Christian walks?

You sure like to jump right in with the tough questions, Peter! Gabe and I are both crazy-blessed to have grown up in families where Christ was the center. It’s all we’ve ever known. I used to think that just made for a boring testimony. But 30+ years later, I’ve come to realize and appreciate what a gift that was (and is). We didn’t just blindly accept the faith of our parents though. We’ve both learned and grown soooo much in our faith, especially in the last few years. Lots of struggles and mess-ups, but so much awesome too. We’ve just found that joy and peace are ONLY found in Christ, and when you focus on him, the other stuff just kind of fades to the background. We are so not perfect, and we still cling stubbornly to our “idols,” but we really do want to be completely surrendered to Christ, so that he’s a part (the biggest part) of everything we do. HOW would I recommend someone do that? Man, I don’t know. Just seek him. Read the Bible, pray for wisdom, and he’ll show you. There’s definitely not a formula. I used to think there was.

One of my biggest fears is that people will think I’m super-spiritual or don’t have any failures. Hang around me for five minutes (or read my blog for two), and you’ll see that I’m weak, easily irritated, struggle with my temper (and bitterness, jealousy, and blah, blah, blah). I’ve learned that God has far bigger plans for using my weaknesses and struggles than he does for using my strengths. And I’m learning to be okay with that. That’s what you’ll find in my books too. I don’t have it all together by any stretch. And never will. But God is still using me. And he can use you too. Right where you’re at this very minute.

I think for most people who read your blogs the hardest thing to understand would be your attitude toward money. Most of us spend the majority of our lives working for (and coming up with new ways to spend) money. You seem to mostly rely on God for your income though. Those who read your blog will probably know that your dishwasher broke down almost two years ago but living your lives by faith like you do means you haven’t been able to afford to fix it. Is it hard to live that way?

Peter, your blog isn’t big enough for all I have to say about this. The last couple years have been rough, humbling. We’ve been behind on bills and yes, unable to fix things like dishwashers. We buy most of our clothes at the (world’s most awesome) thrift store. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. The times we need God most desperately are the times he shows up the biggest. And that incredible feeling is one you just can’t recreate when you have enough money “on your own.”

We just got back from 10 days in Cambodia, and my heart aches as I remember the images of poverty and slavery and complete despair. I haven’t processed it all yet, but I know God wants us to take the whole “trust him with our money” thing to another level. I hope it’s not just a “high” from the trip, but I want to sell everything of value in our home and raise money to 1.) give to these dear people in need and 2.) go back to Cambodia as a whole family (with our 3 girls). Now when I wash my dishes by hand, I pray for those people I met who don’t even have a dish to wash, who are forced to sell their young daughters into prostitution so that the rest of the family doesn’t starve to death.

To be continued tomorrow…