Tag Archives: money

Why we give things away.

17 Sep

Last week my 4-year-old son and I packed up all his 4T clothes and sorted through all his 5T clothes handed down from his two older brothers and older cousin. (He’s a little big for his age.)

As we started going through the 5T clothes, I realized that we had WAY more than we needed to have. So in the middle of the sorting I stopped and talked to Jaxon and explained that we needed to give some of these “new to him” clothes away. (I love that my kids have grown to love and appreciate when something is new to them without asking “did someone else own this first?” We have mostly second-hand EVERYTHING in our house, including furniture, appliances and vehicles.)

Anyway, that’s a big lesson for a 4-year-old.  When you’re just receiving something new and someone tells you that even before you’ve used it once you have to give it away?! That’s tough.

He seemed a little confused at first but he understood what I was saying.  Without crying or begging me to change my mind, we sat down and sorted each piece of clothing and I let him pick “Keep or Give” for each one.  He did a really good job.  We might have ended up still keeping a few more items than we absolutely need to have, but he packed up an entire garbage bag full to give away.  And not all “play clothes” either.  Some really nice items.

We talked about how it will bless another boy  just like him and how excited he’ll be to get new clothes too.

Then I posted on Facebook to my friends that I had a free bag of 5T boys clothes available to whomever could use them this year.

A friend of mine asked for them but quickly said “I’m going to pay you something for them though.”

To which I replied, “That’s kind, but no you’re not.”

We don’t have much money — in fact, because of the move this spring…. we’re at the lowest point we’ve ever been our entire married life except for our very first year of marriage.  And now we have 4 kids to provide for.

There are people who disagree with me.  I know that Dave Ramsey (whom I GREATLY respect) teaches that you should sell everything you don’t need and use your money toward your debt.

(The only debt we have is our house…. which would still be FANTASTIC to pay off, we’re slowly trying…..)

But – I think there are certain scriptures that also apply in this case.

Let me make something REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, clear before I continue on with this post.

I AM NOT AGAINST GARAGE SALES!!!!!  I shop at them ALL the time!  I LOVE them!!!!!  And I’ve had one myself quite a few years back.  And Josh and I do sell items as well.  We have a snow blower for sale as we speak.  So please do not walk away from this post angry that I think if you sell something you’re evil, wrong or sinning.  I definitely DO NOT believe that in any way, shape or form.

That being said, I do believe there is a time to give – with no strings attached.

I’m so grateful for the bags of clothes that have been given to us from my sisters and friends over the years.  There is nothing like the feelings of pulling item after item out of the bag of things your kids really need and can get great use out of, and you never paid a dime.  That kind of blessing is hard to describe in its full measure.

And to have the chance to give that to someone else…. it makes my heart leap out of my chest.

I think that Luke 6:38 applies to this idea of giving with no string attached.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We’ve seen that the more we give, the more we get.  Both emotionally and physically.

And I also reference the verse found in Psalm 3:27

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”

I know it isn’t necessarily withholding good from someone to have them pay you $20 for a bag of clothes instead of giving it to them for free, however, in my mind – there are people who are turned away from the blessing when the payment is applied.

The clothes might be worth $100 in reality, but the person who deserves the good due them may not have the payment required.  In which case, we hold the power of whether or not to act.

And it becomes our choice – do our own goals of increasing our wealth (even if for good reason to buy more kids clothes or get out of debt) trump the need of someone else?

Sometimes if might.  And sometimes, it might not.

Again, I’m not saying if we sell an item of clothing we’re sinning, or withholding good, or we won’t receive a good measure from the Lord — I’m just sharing that for us, we’ve been blessed by receiving free clothes and giving free clothes – so we continue this habit as often as the seasons change and the kids grow.

Practical Application:

Have you ever been blessed by receiving something totally free with no strings or payment attached?

Have you ever given freely?

Is there anywhere that you might be withholding when you have the power to act?

Now that you’ve said that, I’m doubting myself.

18 Feb

I’m not a flashy, showy person.  We’re very simplistic.  Partly because we aren’t financially loaded, so that helps keep us level-headed.  But also because we just have different goals in mind than most people do.

We don’t like debt. And we’d prefer to be debt free as soon in life as possible. (If we had it to do over, we wouldn’t have even started life with any debt.)  We have one credit card that never has a balance and we use it about once a year and pay it right off the next month.  We own both our vehicles (which are 11 and 14 years old).  We very, very, very rarely have ever made a purchase without having the cash to buy it, because it’s almost always proven true that it really isn’t something we “need”.  Basically, at this point in our lives, the only debt we have is our house.

I feel like I can finally share a small part of the “plan” I’ve been talking about because it’ll kinda be a bit public after today – get ready, you’re about to be on the inside track : )

Our home is going on the market today.  And friends, it’s going to be a VERY HARD sell!! We tried to sell it off and on for 6 years with NO LUCK!  It’s been off the market for over 2 years now again, but it’s going back up today.

We have our eyes on another house.  It’s bigger than what we have, which will provide the extra bedroom we desperately need.  (Right now we have 4 kids in one bedroom, 3 boys and 1 girl) but yet, it’s still VERY modest.  Most people would say it’s still too small.  It’s a great location, lots of land, and has a pond : )

Yesterday we took two important people in our lives through it to see it.  The reviews were not real great.  They saw in great detail all the cosmetic defects.  They looked at projects that need done a couple of years from now and elaborated on them as major negatives.  The positives they did compliment on seemed few and far between.

I was left not knowing how to feel.

I want to give weight to the comments that are legitimate concerns and yet, I feel like I’m struggling to weed through in my mind what is really a concern, and what’s just a concern to people who want/think they need to have the best of the best to be truly happy.

All the sudden, I feel like all *I* can see are all the negatives this morning.

I haven’t even mentioned that there is a REALLY good chance we could get this house for a steal and be debt free in 15 years or less!  Which would make those things that needed attention 5-10 years from now, a lot easier to handle.

I don’t know…  can you do me a favor?  Will you fill in my practical application for me?

Have you ever been here – where you’re happy with a decision until someone starts to pick it apart?  Do you have a checklist to know what to weigh and what not to weigh?  How do you handle your feelings toward the people who seem to be disappointed in what you’ve done or are about to do?  How do you keep your own convictions at a standard that isn’t affected by other people’s opinions?

 

 

Risky…or a God thing?

6 Feb

On Sunday, I heard the words from my husband that made my heart jump into my throat.  I tried to remain calm, respectful, trusting, humble and as far from panic as possible…. but I think he knew I was squirming in my seat a little.  I suppose that’s OK.  He knows I’m working hard on respect and submission, and he knows I’m not perfect and this requires a lot of building new habits.

At any rate… he said “I know this isn’t the way you’d do it, but…”

Maybe that wouldn’t be SSSOOOO big of a pill to swallow…. if it wasn’t about to be followed by tapping into my current battle with finances.

I feel like giving the details of the conversation at this point would be premature, but I’m hoping I can express the inner turmoil of the situation by being vague at this point (though I’m sure I’ll get to fill you all in on the details some day!)

Let me start by saying, I’ve had to learn that DIFFERENT is NOT WRONG! DIFFERENT is DIFFERENT!

Since giving my husband the finances to manage, he definitely does it differently.  At times, it honestly feels a little wrong.  But, he hasn’t committed any sins, I’m totally taken care of, and best of all – I’m not carrying the burden and he’s getting the chance to lead like I never let him before.

That being said, I’m very organized, punctual, and methodical.

My husband has presented a plan to me that feels chaotic, reckless, and scary.

Notice the word feels. It’s very important to remember that our feelings are not always to be trusted.  We can feel things based on lies.  We  need to use wisdom to guide our feelings in the direction of truth.

In all honesty, the truth is that his plan has great benefits, some potential assets to our situation, and an opportunity to really grow in our faith.

I like his plan.  I’m scared of the results, but I REALLY like his plan!

Once I realized I liked his plan a lot, I started wondering…. Is this really risky, or is this a God thing?

We’ve tried A LOT of plans concerning this topic in our lives.  All which have left us exactly where we started.  We see numerous advantages to that reality, but also disappointment and the feeling that “this is impossible and things will never change.”

One key factor was in place every single time we put a plan together and tried to execute it previously.  I was leading.  This time, he’s leading.

Do I think that just because he’s calling the shots this time around, everything will magically fall into place with total perfection?  No.  Which is why I’m still sitting up in bed typing a blog post called “Risky or a God thing.”

To be honest, I don’t know what to expect.  Other than, I’m TOTALLY excited that my husband is leading, and I’m not only being challenged to lay down my fears and plans, but also realizing his ways aren’t wrong or painfully different after all… I might actually even like his way – AND it could work out to make my dreams come true!

Practical Application:

Thank God that my husband isn’t afraid to call the shots….even risky ones.

Accept that my husbands “got this” and he’ll make sure we’re OK, even if this does end up being “risky”.

Encourage & support my husband, and trust God to direct my husband down all the paths that are “a God thing!”

Men are not “one size fits all”

27 Jan

I feel the need to address something for many of us women who lean on each other for marriage support and advice.

Men are NOT “one size fits all.”

While men are more typically going to be similar in MANY ways, and those ways are VASTLY different from the ways that all women are similar to each other…. it is important to remember that YOUR husband is still unique and you should work hard to read HIM for all your intimacy issues (including respect) and not just read what is working for everyone else with their husbands.

For example –

There is a difference between being a true help mate to your husband verses being a controlling wife. And that will look slightly different in everyone’s marriage!!

Last week, my husband mentioned to me that the checkbook numbers were off a bit. Now, all of you who have been reading along for at least the last few weeks know that I gave him the finances to manage because I was a controlling wife in this area and gave way to fear and pride often because of it.

When he said this, at first I was really tempted to say “You’ll figure it out. Thanks so much for handling this for us!” In fact, I might have said something like that. I can’t remember.
According to the books I’ve read and the majority of the advice I’ve seen, that IS what I should have done. And let me clarify, for many men, that IS what should be done. That can be a “bait” sentence, to get you to take it over – find the mistake – belittle them for making such a silly mistake – and then say “I’ll just do this from now on again.”

But I was able to read from my husband that he was not pitching bait. He was just sharing with me that his numbers weren’t quite adding up. There was no attempt to get me to banter back and forth with him, or to take it over again.

I prayed.

And then I said to him the next day, “I have some time, would you like me to glance over the numbers and see if I see anything?”

He said “Sure. You can take a look.”

So I did. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes when you’re looking at a long list of numbers can help. And after a couple of minutes of looking, I did happen to see what wasn’t adding up.
Not for ONE SECOND did I feel like it was a silly mistake. For crying out loud, there have been MANY times where I’ve sat at the computer with the checkbook off, only to realize that I forgot to carry a one two weeks earlier and my numbers were messed up for a few weeks.

I circled the spot where the number was off, and then put the checkbook away. I didn’t call him to brag that I found it or act like a fool. I didn’t tell him what a dumb mistake it was (because it wasn’t!) I didn’t go ahead and look at all the purchases and try to question what was bought where and freak out about anything I saw. I didn’t take the time to write in the receipts and go past where he was in the checkbook just because I was online anyway. It was NOT mine to take back over! And he’s been doing AWESOME!!

When he asked later, I let him know I had seen it, circled it for him, and thanked him for taking care of the money for us!

A few months ago, this is NOT how this would have went down. In fact, when I just looked back over what I typed… I’m laughing because I’m tempted to say “who is this girl? Because she is NOT me.” But the truth is, she is ME – the me that belongs to the Lord instead of to my flesh! It’s the me that the Holy Spirit can use, not the me that resists God’s design so I can be selfish and proud.

What I realized is that, I am called to be his helper, and I can do that without having the control or a fearful or proud spirit. I can be full of service and support without being vocal and loud about my actions or concerns.

Learning to respect my husband is also challenging me to rethink my role as his helper and figure out where my husband needs my help and where he doesn’t.

I can honestly say, I wasn’t checking up on him. I haven’t been asking him every day, “Are you getting everything wrote down in the checkbook?” “How are the numbers adding up?” “Do you need my help?”

He doesn’t need me to babysit him.

But when he’s extremely busy working long hours at work, and a number gets flipped around somewhere, or a receipt comes up missing, or something gets wrote down twice, I can certainly be a second pair of eyes in my spare time and help out when needed.

Practical Application –

Check my motives before helping my husband. Am I asking to butt-in, or is he asking for my help? If I’m trying to butt-in, I need to butt-out!

Look for ways that MY husband communicates to me when he wants me to bring my qualities and skills to the table and be a helpful support. I DO NOT need to be a condemning, loud or obnoxious criticizing shrew. I need to be a quiet, supportive, loving, respectful helper!
God’s design for my role was to “help” my husband be the man of God he is called to be. I can’t do that by taking his role as the leader, criticizing his every move, keeping my eye out for his mistakes and then be sure to point them out, babysitting his actions and decisions or offering to take things off his plate when he doesn’t need me to. But I can fill that role by helping him be successful in all these areas by supporting him, encouraging him, following him, serving him, respecting him, and helping him when a need arises to do so.

Especially by really studying HIM as much as I’m studying from everyone else ABOUT him!!!

I gave up money control – Update!

15 Jan

I promised when I started this blog that I was going to be real.  If I am going to write “Practical Applications” that are really attainable, instead of leaving Christians with a desire to change, but no real way to get the new results, then I have to be willing to also share when practically speaking – I still blow it even with steps to follow!

So I told you all about how I turned over the responsibility of the finances to my husband a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been doing really well.  I haven’t been on the computer checking the balance, I haven’t worried if the money if flying out of the account since I don’t have the constant reminder of where we are at, and I have even been able to let go of my need to write every receipt in the check book the second I get in the car or home (depending on if I’m driving or not : )

Two weeks ago, when heading to church, my husband forgot the check book.  Which isn’t a big surprise because I’ve had it on me for 11 years.  I was totally calm, not upset at all, and just reminded him that “it’s no big deal, we can just put it on next weeks check.”  And that was that.

This Sunday, my husband remembered the check book, and before church had sat down and figured out what to write it for and had it all ready ahead of time.  WITHOUT any coaching or prompting or NAGGING from me!!

And on the outside of the envelope at church, where you write down how much money the check is for, I glanced at it.  I SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE THAT!!

Because I’m a money FREAK – I was adding up numbers in my head – OK we missed a week, it had cashed in vacation from the end of the year on it (which I couldn’t be positive of how much it was because I hadn’t asked my husband for his pay stub as I always would have in the past on week’s like that) and I knew my babysitting money needed to be in there, plus this week – and CRAP!

In my head I’m saying “Don’t say anything, Don’t say anything, Don’t say anything” when out of my mouth comes “that’s not the right amount.”

UGH!!!!!!!!  I was so mad at myself!!!! Then since I said that, I had to briefly explain what I was thinking, which turned into translating, “You’re not doing it right” and it was a frustrating mess.

So I couldn’t worship.  I was really ticked at myself. Two songs into a pathetic attempt to praise the Lord in the middle of my sin, I whispered in his ear something to the effect of “I’m so sorry, that was uncalled for. Thank you for handling this for us.”  ((Honestly, I’m NOT bragging on myself here, but I’m REALLY glad I have learned what I have and apologized quickly for blowing it.  This is NOT how this would have played out AT ALL in the past.  I would have had to prove to the “T” why I was positive he was wrong, and then be angry for at least a day if not longer about it not being done the way it should have been.  How’s that for disrespectful and unattractive?))

He was really sweet to hug and put his arm around me and say “It’s OK.”  It really wasn’t OK, but he was choosing to forgive quickly and make it OK.

The rest of the day was just fine.

However, Monday morning when I was praying and repenting of my sin, I felt the Lord uncover to me why I reacted like that.

The truth is, it wasn’t the control thing like I thought at first.  God has been incredibly gracious with a super natural power to help me lay that down.

It was because we have always tithed at least 10% exactly and we’ve seen the Lord take care of us in some incredible ways over the last 11 years.  And I had a panic attack that if we didn’t continue to do that faithfully, the Lord’s blessings and provision would not be on us anymore.

I was literally in frustrated fear that God wouldn’t bless the remaining 90% if we weren’t diligent to write the check for the exact right amount of money.

I felt like a block head when I realized this.

Practical Application:

Be incredibly thankful for how far we’ve come in our marriage in the last few years but especially the last 6 months because of what I’m finally learning!

Be EVEN MORE thankful that I have such  a forgiving and patient husband!!

TRUST GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t stress this enough.  God is BIG enough to lead my husband without my supervision, and HE is BIG enough to know my heart without my “acts” of service always being “perfect.”

Money – and the ugly truth.

5 Jan

God gave me the pleasure of uncovering the truth about money in my life this week to a new level of understanding that I had never really fully uncovered before.

Money is (hopefully on the way to being “was”) my idol.

But not in the typical way that might be popping into your mind.  I’m not talking about Materialism.  I DO NOT have a desire to have “more” of anything.  Sure, there are things I want, like this REALLY awesome pair of boots I have my eyes on, but I know that I will most likely never own them, and I would never sacrifice what is necessary, be a poor steward, or refuse to give where God is leading just to keep or have more for myself.

Materialism in my mind says that you can find no satisfaction in life because everywhere you look you “want” something or everywhere you look people have “things” that you want and you just can’t find happiness because there is always something more you desperately want to have.

That isn’t me.

I’m talking about Money (NOT materialism) being my God.  Money is my idol.  BECAUSE, money is my security.

I have controlled every aspect of the finances since the day my husband and I started dating.  For one, I’m really good with budgets, researching deals and savings, and I don’t mind at all writing checks and getting things paid on time.

But if THAT was why I was in control of the finances, that’d be one thing.  But that isn’t the only reason that I was.  And I JUST discovered this to the full measure this past week.

It’s because I only trust myself to handle the money and that makes me feel secure.

I have the checkbook balanced to the penny, CONSTANTLY.  There will never be a moment in time when I don’t know to the exact cent, how much money we have.

And if major purchases come up and the money goes down, I’m upset, feel unsafe, have anxiety and worry, stress out, and have a bad attitude.  On the flip, if there is extra money put in and I’m able to catch some sales which leaves us a little higher than we were last month, I’m happy, feel safe, take great pride in my budgeting abilities and feel great security.

The fact that I stay home and my husband brings in 90% (because I do babysit and do crochet) of our income, has NOTHING to do with feeling like my husband is my security, provider or protector.  Because in my mind, I handle the money so I make sure I’m safe.

I’ll even go so far as to tell you that, as DISGUSTING as this is to admit, my husband “running purchases past me to be a team” was seriously a very nice way of saying “asking my permission.”  I ultimately always had veto power.

My friend April had the courtesy to help me see this past week that this situation is just an obvious symptom of The Fall of Man. Men are quick to give up power, and women are even quicker to take all the power.

When in reality God created men to be the provider, protector, and leader and the woman to be the helper, receiver and nurturer.  We were never intended to have “Veto” power.  We were intended to come along side them and follow their leading so we could be protected as we both reach the top of the mountain together.

All I’ve tried to create in my marriage is my own security which is a total lack of trust in my husband to make good decisions for us, which is a lack of faith in the Lord to be sovereign of His design of marriage, and to provide our needs without my constant worry and intervention.

So what did I do about this?

Practical Application:

I put everything on Auto pay except one bill.

I paid everything up through the week that I could.

I made a really neat print-out of what my husband would need to know up-front. (I didn’t give him a mess of stuff!)

And I handed him the paper and check book and said “I can’t do the finances anymore. I’m not being respectful, or trusting and am struggling with pride.  I know you can do this and I trust you to handle this now.”

And I haven’t touched the check book since.  And I won’t.  I’ll now hand him all my receipts, stick to the budget he gives me, allow him to give me the “allowance money” instead of me giving it to him, stop balancing the checkbook constantly or evaluating where we are on-line, let him pay all the bills and write all the checks, and give him my opinions when they are relevent and trust him when they aren’t.

No, this isn’t making me a doormat.  It’s letting him carry weight that he was designed to carry, and giving me the chance to be provided for and focus on things that build up the home, instead of carrying stress that the bank account gets to determine my mood and safety.

 

SURPRISE!!!

25 Sep

The absolute most shocking thing happened in my house last night.  Oh, I hope I can do it justice to describe it because from what I’m gaining as feedback lately, there are a lot of women like me out there.

I wrote fairly recently about money control in our home. To get the full picture of this post I’m writing today, you really should click on that and read it.  It isn’t extremely long or anything.  And it really helps lay a foundation for this post. Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

….

In short, I handled every aspect of the money for 11 years.  And I loved it because of the control freak in me, and I hated it for the anxiety-ridden worrier in me.

Anyway- my sweeper died last week.  You can imagine in a house with 4 kids, two days without a sweeper is a big problem.  Thankfully we were gone all weekend so that helped slow the growing piles of dirt, or at the very least, kept us from having to look at them.

The last time we had to buy a sweeper, (which was less than a year ago) I spent 7-10 days studying and researching every concept of sweeping,  including all attachment options, suction power, weight and maneuverability and of course, EVERY review imaginable.  I was seeing filters and 5 star ratings in my sleep!

I talked my husband into a coma with my relentless debate of “should we get one that costs a lot but is expected to last a long time, or just get the cheap one because of the steep disappointment if we spend all that money and we aren’t happy or it doesn’t work.”

Do you know what he said then?  I’m not real sure.  Probably something about not caring what it costs, to go ahead and get what I need.  Who knows for sure.  It never really mattered a whole lot what he said when it came to big purchases because I was going to make the final call. (Holy cow, I cannot believe I just said wrote that out loud!)

Do you know what I did?  I bought the cheap sweeper.  You know, not the absolute cheapest, but the next one up. And that was only after price comparing every possible store that sells the sweeper I had in mind.

And guess what people.  We have a dead sweeper in less than a year.  Oh, I’m so proud of myself.

I’ve never handled being frugal and wise well at all.  Truly, the line is so darn blurry.  I’m like 50/50 on the whole deal.  Half the time I make the right call to “go cheap” or “go expensive” and it works out for me and the other half the time I get totally hosed.

Last night the most unbelievable thing happened in my home.  I was so busy yesterday, I never started looking up all the sweeper options (and like you read a minute ago… I gave the financial control to my hubby.)

The husband had a business supper to attend and when he came home, he walked in with a DYSON sweeper.  WWWHHHAAAATTT????!!!!  I couldn’t even talk.  He kept saying “you look upset.”  I was NOT upset.  I was shocked.

First of all, a DYSON??!!  WOW!!  I’m use to buying the $60 Hoover or Bissell depending on my “best find” research for that year.

Secondly, he didn’t ask me. (Not that he needs to, but he always would…mostly for fear that he’d have to answer to the “wrath of Kayla” for spending too much money, not researching it enough, buying it from the wrong place, etc.)

Third, he NEVER shops.  EVER! (He just hates doing it.)

AND fourth … he never really surprises me with gifts. (Again, the wrath of Kayla.  The poor guy could never win because I’d find a way to make a point that I could have found it cheaper, better, or didn’t really need that gift at all.)

He admittedly said that even two months ago, he probably wouldn’t have done what he did.  Shame on me.

I’m so proud of him! What an AWESOME gift and surprise!

And thank God that He never gave up on me and is revealing my sin to me and helping me see the filth that I was walking in daily.

Practical Application:

I’m still human. And I’m still growing.

1.) The first thing I have to do is to STAY AWAY FROM GOOGLE!  I could easily sit down and do what I would do in the past.  And that is to see if he actually could have found it for a better price and thoroughly study every review out there to make sure he got the best sweeper for the money.

I don’t need to do that.  My husband did his own research and that is more than enough.  We have a 5 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.  Plenty of security and wisdom.

2.) Thank him, thank him, thank him!  He did an AWESOME job!  And he deserves to know how happy I am and how thankful I am that he saved me a week of research, a year of complaining, and a pit of buyers remorse from picking out another piece of junk!

3.) Praise God for the changes in both of us.  What a brand new couple we are becoming.  I’m shocked! And so thankful!!