A "Radical" Life
Striving to live a life less-ordinary.

thanks, mom & dad

In many ways, my life has followed a common path. Grow up. Go to college. Get married. Get a job. Have kids. But I, like you, have a unique story within the common story.

To say I grew up might be a bit of a stretch. I still feel very much like a kid sometimes, and I certainly act like one. When I'm around a bunch of adults talking about adult things such as mortgages and loans and insuran
ce, I feel like I may as well still be a 12-year-old without a clue as to how such things work.

But besides that, I didn't grow up the way most people grow up. I lived in a log cabin without running water or electricity. We collected rain water to wash dishes in and take sponge baths. Seriously. And we lived in the middle of the woods up a 1/2 mile mud hill that necessitated 4-wheel drive and big tires which sometimes still weren't enough on rainy or snowy days. Living the way we did often involved hikin
g up and down multiple times in whatever crazy whether we were having, with loads of groceries or clothes or whatever else we need to get from the vehicle stuck at the bottom of the hill. Heck, before that, we lived in a camper for a few years, literally inside the fence of some friends' cow pasture. So that was different.

No, my family isn't Amish. Just a little crazy (in a good way!). My unique childhood is something I'll be forever grateful for. We had (and have) an incredibly tight-knit family due, in part, to our lack of distractions. When we got a TV, it had a 5" or 6" screen, was in black and white, and was hooked up to a car battery. We played board games together by lamp light or lanterns. We read a lot. Played in the woods. We most definitely LAUGHED together. Loudly. And vacations together were never on the table of things to cut out when money was tight. Somehow, my parents made it work, because it mattered to them for our family to have that time.

And now, here I am. 34 years old (I think...yep, that adds up). We adopted two incredible children 3 1/2 months ago. And so obviously I'm thinking a lot about how we're going to raise them. We live in good neighborhood in a nice, comfortable home complete with electricity and running water...ever air conditioning! We have cable and internet. Our fridge is stocked full of food (as opposed to the cooler we used for awhile growing up). There are distractions all over the place for our kids, especially when you consider what they came from. And we have no idea how to afford a family vacation.

But the truth is, those things only matter a little. The family I grew up in wasn't close just because of our circumstances. I didn't fall in love with Christ because I grew up in a log cabin. It definitely helped to not have all the "stuff" that comes with normal childhood, and I want to impress that on my children as well. But the real reason our family was close and I fell in love is God was because my parents made family and God priorities.

When you make God the biggest priority in your life, you're going to stick out.

My parents still stick out. Sure, they live in a way that is quite common is some respects. They live in an old farmhouse now. Mom is a nurse practitioner and dad does maintenance and groundskeeping at a church. Not all that unusual. But how they conduct themselves is actually quite rare. For instance, their home practically has a revolving door on it from the hordes of people that come to visit, eat, do Bible study, or live with them. I'm convinced that you couldn't find a more inviting place on the planet. That's because they don't just hang out with people. They invest in them. They pour into them and quite willingly delve into their messy lives, not to try to fix anyone, but because they genuinely love them and want to help if they can. Quite rare indeed.

I want to be more like mom and dad. What I do for a vocation and where I live are small pieces of the puzzle. What matters most is how I conduct myself. My general life may follow a common pattern, but I want the details to jump out. And I think that if I'm actually following the words of Christ the way my parents do, there is no alternative. In general, people do not live the way Jesus tells us to live. So to live such a life tends to force you down an uncommon path.

I get scared sometimes thinking that my life looks like everyone elses. And it does in many ways. There is still a lot I need to change. But I also am grateful that I can honestly look back at the life I've lived to this point and know that there have been many hard decisions I've made along the way that were the result of following Christ, not the crowd. That's the example my parents set for me and that's the example I want to set for my kids.

Thanks, mom and dad, for the example you continue to be for me.

Thank you son. I am quite pleased with the man you have become. I kinda like your wife and kids too.

Jeremiah Smith

Jeremiah Smith


I'm striving to live a life less-ordinary. As followers of Christ our lives should not look like everybody elses. We should be more giving, more loving, more passionate, more sure, more...radical. But we're not. We blend in and desperately want to fit in. This blog is my journey toward to a "radical" life that doesn't look like the rest of the world.


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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
A Hoosier, a Buckeye and two Rwandans out on a mission to serve the world. Missionaries for Rwanda through AFRICA NEW LIFE MINISTRIES. We are entirely donor-supported, so if you'd like to partner with us through prayer or finances, we would LOVE to set up a time to chat!