Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Much is Too Much? - Part 2


I know some of you are hoping that tonight I will give you a direct answer, maybe a dollar amount or a maximum square footage. You're hoping that I just lay it out, that someone told me the secret answer and now I'll tell you. There's a good chance you'd do it, whatever "it" is. I know this because I am you.

We started on this journey a little over two years ago and I remember looking up in the dark at the chandelier hanging over my bed, whispering to Cory that I just wished someone would tell me what to do. I talked to my brother-in-law and his wife and hoped that they might somehow know "the number". There had to be a number.  Tell me what it is and I'll live beneath it. Tell me what it is and I'll hand it right over.

No one ever did tell me. Because there is no number. And I think God planned it that way.

Wise people have kicked around the idea of living beneath the median income in the United States. Give the rest away. It's an intriguing idea, but I haven't done it. I'm above the median.

Is that too much?

I think it is. Or what I should really say is, For me, it is. Because as so many of you have pointed out, this is a personal thing. There's no boiler-plate template hot-glued to the back cover of my Bible or yours. For me, it doesn't make sense to have one million dollars sitting safely in the bank while people starve and children are sold into slavery. On the flip side, we do have an emergency fund. We keep handing it over to hospitals and doctors and I'm thankful that we have it. (Thanks, Dave!) Maybe that's too much for some people. Maybe soon, it'll be too much for us.

For most of my life, I had everything I wanted and I made sure to give some away. I truly never stopped to consider what life looked like for most of the world. I couldn't reach out and touch it, so it sort of didn't exist for me. I knew poverty was "out there", but I didn't know poverty closed its grip around my brothers and sisters. I just didn't see it that way. I didn't know they were mine.

At the point that we started to really understand, we began to ask God to guide us, specifically our finances. Around that time, a hole opened up in the bottom of our lives and money started pouring out. I now see those months as some of the most obvious times in my life that God stepped in and rescued me. He knew that for me, the money had to start going away. I had to see for myself that I was His and that the cash was His and that He was the boss of both of us. I had to recognize that my self-worth was not tied to my bank balance. I had to begin to believe that I was really under His providence, and if He wanted take it, well, He could take it.

As the money funneled out, as the balance dwindled, I started not to care so much. Soon, Cory and I started to believe that our house was too much. It was too big and too expensive. It didn't matter that we could afford it. It was too much. This does not mean that your house is too big or Dave's house is too fancy. Those are not questions under my jurisdiction, and I thank God for that. But He made it clear to us that the money we had tied up in our "dream home" could be better spent elsewhere. He had different plans for that money. We tried, for a while, to convince ourselves that it wasn't true. We tried to believe that we were just reacting for the sake of reacting. Maybe we had dreamed it all up. But then we remembered that we, on our own, would never in a million years have dreamed that up. We would have sipped tea on that porch until we both had cataracts. That's what we would have done.

So we sold.

But now what? How should we operate in our everyday lives?

Well, we live beneath our means. We don't charge anything. We pay cash for vehicles (then crash them the very next week, but whatever). We keep our budget. We give, only now our giving is becoming sacrificial, because the supply side is no longer as abundant.

Of course we still spend. We still spend on things we don't need. We still buy a bag of mostly-ugly tea towels at a garage sale for a buck. We eat out an awful lot. We have two fancy cameras under this roof. We're building a house right now, which is a landmine of opportunities to get it all wrong.

But for over two years now, not a single non-essential purchase has happened without me thinking about if it's what I really should do. Trust me, it's as annoying as it sounds. I don't think it's guilt. I don't think I'm a martyr. I'm not trying to make it into a bigger deal than it is. But I think that when we began to beg God to direct us in our finances, He wiggled a worm into our hearts and minds that just won't die. It's always there, always making us ask the question twice.

I never need the new shirt, but I often buy it. Sometimes, I don't, because I feel in my bones that it's not what I should do. There's that voice now, and I can always hear it, even when I plug my ears, even when I choose to ignore.

I don't necessarily see giving only as helping others. I used to. And I wish it were still that way. But what I now know is that the giving is usually just as much about how it impacts my heart as how it impacts their life. It targets my ugliest areas, my pride, judgment, self-righteousness, greed. It holds a mirror to my filth and through obedience, it shines me back up.

Here's another thing I believe - I believe that God never finds fault with giving. Sometimes I'll think of a random thing and wonder if I should give it to so-and-so. I don't always do it. I don't always feel a loud-and-clear directive to do it. But I do know that God would never wish that I had kept more of my stuff or my money or my time for myself. So I'm trying to err on the side of the gift, knowing that sacrifice and obedience are refining and believing to my toes that they splinter the lock of self-involvement. They crack open the storehouse of joy.

Maybe God does want some people to be "extra rich" so that they can give more, but the God I see makes much out of little. He doesn't need us in the first place, really. He can carry out his purposes with or without us. He wants us to identify with Him and love like He loves and I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it's hard enough to do that with my "normal" level of wealth, always right there distracting and disarming me. Maybe God isn't up in Heaven calculating income/giving ratios on a giant calculator made of solid gold. Maybe he really does expect all of us to give everything. (That scares me sideways.)

So here's what is too much: Too much is the thing that is not on the table.

It's the house that we would never, ever sell. It's the designer jeans that we won't give up because they are the only ones that fit right. Too much is the car that we say we have to have, so our clients trust our success. Too much is the $800 table that we could pay cash for, but leaves us with a pit in our stomach. Too much is buying four boxes of on-sale strawberries when we know we won't eat more than three before they go bad. Too much is that thing that we justify. It's the thing that our fingers are clenched around. It's the thing we think we deserve. The thing we think we've earned.

I see too much in my life most days. But that's the thing - I see it now. I may not always choose to respond in obedience, but I have asked God to show me my "too much" and He has followed through.

We keep making adjustments. We're learning to hold things feather-lightly. We're growing. We understand that we are still so very wealthy in the eyes of the rest of the world, and that's a difficult thing to make sense of. So far, we have not been told to give everything away and live homeless. We are grateful for the blessings God has entrusted to us, knowing that tomorrow, He may have us hand them back. We take seriously his command to care for the poor and we know we can't really do that if we're spending all our money on ourselves. We know we are to care as much for them as we do for us.

We have miles and miles to go. It's a constant battle. I love cute outfits, old junk and Gorgonzola cheese. None of those things are bad (especially not the cheese), but all of them theoretically could be bad.

My hope is that just as I look back now on this legendary moment in my life, I will look back in two more years to today and laugh a little over how far I've come. I hope my life will be more about letting go and less about holding on.

To me, that's what kingdom living is. It's about holding loosely. It's about believing - really believing - that I'll be held accountable for all of it, one day. I can't answer for you or for him, but I'd better be ready to answer for Shannan Martin.

59 comments:

  1. This is inspiring. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I have that same worm.......somewhere - I can't remember where, I received this thought that has helped me - some of the time - when I'm considering purchasing something that I don't really need. I began picturing the child who is starving asking, "Mam, do you have anything to eat?" And I have to say no because I've spent all I have on what I don't really need. I can relate so much with everything you wrote. There's a different view and it just won't go away - permanent and fixed. Praise the Lord and I'm forever grateful for His grace.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I wish we could talk about this in the real-live person.

    I do.

    xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  4. okay. yeah. this is bang on. it's funny (sometimes it's not though) because whenever we do have our emergency fund stocked (it has happened once in five years) it gets completely wiped out the very next day. the day we had a full fund, i felt comfortable. the day it was knocked out, i began begging and pleading for the Lord's hand to carry us though whatever emergency's may come since we had no way of paying for them. the more money i have, the less i think i need God. and i know God knows that. probably why we will always have just enough (which is really A LOT). also? being married to a man in full-time ministry helps with that, too. ha! but really, life is so much more than money. isn't it? thank you, for being Jesus' hands to me, my dear. xoxo. i wanna shout these posts from the rooftops.

    ReplyDelete
  5. we've never had 'a lot' by american standards . we live well under the 'average' income. then add 4 kids and we're really below. somehow that's 'excused' me from feeling excessive. but i am. i feel sick from the excess {and wish i could spell excess right the first time}. i adore you girl.

    ReplyDelete
  6. p.s. do you have the same pinterest/coivet issues i do? been contemplating a post on loving pretty things vs. coveting...not sure where to draw that line...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For whatever reason, I don't often struggle with coveting stuff in general or on Pinterest. I'm sure it happens every now and then, but I run from that feeling. I hate it.

      I definitely appreciate things. I like them. They inspire me, give me ideas, etc... Sometimes I think it'd be nice to have them, but I don't feel like I very often "covet" them.

      Or maybe we just define "covet" differently. Ha ha!

      Delete
  7. Oh girl! You spoke right to my heart! God does amazing things across big wide open seas from your home to mine! People tell me that my husband needs to chase more money or live away from us for a time maybe working in a mine underground for 12 hours a day 14 days in a row.

    They tell me to get a job when I am at home with 5 children home schooling them.

    Yet, God provides! He always, always does!

    I take a deep breath though as my faith is often so very weak when those bills come right in :(

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh boysey...

    I have dreamed up e-mails to send you in the past few days...and then let laziness overtake and never send them. This unsent e-mail will lie with the fourty or so odd made up emails in my mind that have never been sent in response to posts...

    and my commenting skills are lacking-that's fo sure!

    BUT, I had to quickly comment, I understand and agree. Yes and amen! I KNOW we (as in me and my lil fam) are called to 'give' more than just opening the door at the grocery store and smiling...or baking cookies for the neighbours. Not that things like these are trivial, but I can feel it in my bones that there is more to this gig...and not in a condemning, guilt ridden way. In an jump around, whoo hoo, life abiding in Christ is wild...!

    Where I do struggle, and let the guilt and stuff I don't think is from God creeps in is here: "But for over two years now, not a single non-essential purchase has happened without me thinking about if it's what I really should do." This makes me feel insane. I understand what you are talking about. I don't believe "spoiled" is just having too much...you can be spoiled with one pair of jeans if you are not grateful. Where do you lose your gratefulness? And anyway, I digress, I didn't mean to talk about gratefulness...

    Egads! Your statement I relate to and is what makes MOI crazy day in and day out. I feel guilty over getting something new, or trying to fix up the house...how do we go about this without guilt...do you know what I mean or is this all too mumble jumble Canadian talk? It's starting to feel like it and I don't think I can explain myself...

    I'm going to quick hit publish before I chicken out once again! haha!

    Miss seeing your babies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! :) I don't think it's guilt talking, at least not for me. It's just an awareness that all of these "little" things matter. They can add up to a lot. It's that mindless buying that I used to be so good at - I can't do it anymore. Every purchase deserves a bit of thought. I don't go losing sleep over buying a book. I don't pray over a new pair of shoes. But I always find myself pausing for a moment and then I go from there. Sometimes I walk away, sometimes I buy. It's just not mindless anymore.

      Delete
  9. You...you...you. man i wish we could just sit and chat. first jen hatmaker and now you! may God continue to use you to move mountains.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dearest Friend, never is there a day that I do not wander by to read what farmgirl/rentalgirl is writing on. I have been here every single night, not weighing in, but only taking it all in... I adore you, therefore I adore your writing. These are your experiences you share so courageously with your readers. We have watched your highs and lows, because you have shared them with us. This is how I describe giving. Letting others know they are not alone. My parents died with nothing, they were not a burden. I was tired, sad, angry and scared. But in the end, it was not a burden, it was life.

    Today at the shop, Chippy Shabby was standing outside the store door waiting to come in. She was traveling through from her home in Wisconsin, on her way to Ohio. Of course, RR had told her she must stop by Mishawaka. I say, she was standing outside the store door, because I was a half-hour late for work... My old truck broke down, and I could only start walking. I had never met her, only have followed her blog, she did not know Mishawaka Antiques girl was ~G~. All I could do was apologize for her wait. She was understanding, kind, and encouraging to me.

    The walk was pleasant, the company great, I kicked the old truck when I came home tonight.
    ~G~xo

    ReplyDelete
  11. This was so wonderful. You really got me with the designer jeans and the "things we've earned."

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're brave, and honest, and good. And your salsa recipe is incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's funny because I woke at 3 a.m. and couldn't sleep because I was worried about MONEY. God's so funny. So I rolled out of bed, fixed a big pot of coffee and caught up blog reading. I can't tell you how I needed the assurance that God will always provide enough, and that he will let me see when I have, or want, too much. Thanks for writing about the stuff that makes us squirm. I always grow a little inside when I read your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  14. So beautiful! So anointed! "Err on the side of the gift"?! I am in love with that statement. And "I didn't know they were mine" stopped my heart a little. Also I sooo agree that it IS mostly about us, otherwise couldn't He just wave a magic wand and be done with it? I need this way more than He needs my little stockpile. Even when I'm not wholeheartedly ready for everything you say, I just slip it way down deep in my heart and wait for it to it to sprout. Thank you.

    ps, if you read this too fast, you will see the words "crackhouse of joy"... :O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to come and re-read this post again. And I love it even more, if that's possible. And I have to clarify, where you wrote "crack open the storehouse of joy" is where I first accidentally saw "crackhouse of joy"...must slow down when reading...

      Also, I have to go to Sam's today. I'm already feeling excessive, and I'm not even at the store yet. I will pay attention. Amen.

      Delete
    2. Crackhouse of joy might be my new favorite phrase. Now I must figure out a way to work that gem into a conversation. ;)

      Delete
  15. fpfg how i love you
    my favorite post of yours ever

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just... thank you. Being hit in the gut doesn't usually feel so right.

    "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Heb. 12:11 I WANT that, so why am I so reluctant? You're right, God is not just a sadistic tyrant ready to deal the blow as soon as we are willing to yield. Why is it so difficult to trust him? He is worthy of our trust; all this stuff I hold onto for "security" is a lie, an illusion of being blessed.

    Between you and my pastor's sermons (on Hebrews) I have no excuse if I never embrace this lesson.

    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  17. Shannan, I just have to disagree with you.

    Gorgonzola IS bad.

    You, on the other hand, are very good for me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Shannan -you are honestly one of my favorite bloggers :) I love this series. I definitely feel challenged to examine my heart and make sure every part is His. whatever that means for our family. xo ellie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Big things going on in your heart and head Shanny. BTdubs, I don't believe a merciful God would expect you to give up cheese. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wise words. Hard words for me who has to much and likes it that way. Your words remind me that when we trust and listen to God and sacrifice those things to Him, God blesses us too! thanks for being brave shannan.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think you are talking directly to me, as usual. Good stuff. We do try to give as much as we can, but we are strapped down, trapped by all the stupid debt we amassed in our stupid past (did I mention we feel stupid?). Need to be gazelle focused just to get rid of that debt (not too worried that we will end up millionaires, ala Dave).

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love your posts (even though I'm still trying to figure out how you paid off the entire house that fast, lol)

    "So here's what is too much: Too much is the thing that is not on the table.

    It's the house that we would never, ever sell. It's the designer jeans that we won't give up because they are the only ones that fit right. Too much is the car that we say we have to have, so our clients trust our success. Too much is the $800 table that we could pay cash for, but leaves us with a pit in our stomach. Too much is buying four boxes of on-sale strawberries when we know we won't eat more than three before they go bad. Too much is that thing that we justify. It's the thing that our fingers are clenched around. It's the thing we think we deserve. The thing we think we've earned."

    Exactly, I've been horrible hoarder of great finds at Goodwill, God helped me recognize it and stop.. I just did my 1st Super Saturday 50% sale last weekend for the 1st time in 6 months and I found myself being extra self-analyzing over everything I saw that I thought I wanted/needed and was pleased when I put a good amount of "STUFF" back (I still found blue mason jars w/glass lids & zinc hardware though)

    And as God, in his great wisdom, has led me to a co-ordinator at a women's shelter who is in need of 75% of the "STUFF" I've hoarded just 2 days ago... it's time to let it go :)

    Just this morning, God spoke to me, I bought a pair of purple sunglasses for Spring Break on clearance but just found them again this morning, tags still on & I was gonna wear them today when God reminded me of a lady at church who LOVES purple, so I'm going to gift them to her tonight :)

    Thanks for the new view on Dave's store it up here :)

    -Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Girl - I am only one line in on your comment but have to say: We have never paid off a house! Sorry if I was unclear. We have been out of debt except for our mortgage. Part of selling our farm is that when we move, we will have a very small mortgage, but we'll still have one. Had to clear that one up! Back to keep reading.... :)

      Delete
  23. I think you hit the bulls-eye with your pen: "Too much is the thing that is not on the table."

    I'm not there yet, not there, but God has been teaching Rob and me for the past I-don't-know-how-many-years to live with open hands lifted high. He fills them with what He chooses and He takes out what He wants when He wants. Because He loves. Sometimes our hands have been so full that my head is spinning, and other times so cracked and empty I just knew it was time for the Lord to return.

    I am learning not to feel guilty when God blesses financially. Because the Gift-Giver does not give gifts to bring guilt! But I do not, cannot, hold onto the gift, just the Gift-Giver. The more I cling to the Giver, the more the gifts themselves lose their luster.

    I pray that someday I can say with Paul: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12,13).

    Thanks for sharing your heart here in this very public forum!

    ReplyDelete
  24. oh. my.
    and yes.
    and this may be one of my favorite insights into your heart.
    it's dug deep into me, as well, this awareness. and you've expressed it so well.
    and your expression of how annoying that is???--true that :-)
    have a great weekend!
    steph

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for this inspiring post. It was lovely and so are you. Cheers to a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Shannan - I NEVER comment on blogs, but you moved me to tears this morning. I want a "number" too... We're house-hunting now and have our eye on a 1891 monster of a house, and I keep asking myself if it's too much. That one line -- "Too much is the thing that is not on the table." -- that was God using you to convict me. Thanks for your beautiful words!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is packed full of wisdom and spoken from a place of love & grace. It's obvious you are seeking the Lord because I see Him in these words. Thank you for this!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Looking at the life of Jesus, really looking at it, is always a Game Changer.

    I'm a Southern Christian Woman. Raised in the South my entire life. Looking at Jesus messes it all up. I'm not as holy or godly as I thought.

    The longer I look at Jesus, the more it seems I am a white washed tomb. Pretty on the outside, empty on the inside. Although I'm a sucker for all things white-washed, it's not the defining banner I want on my life.

    As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus, peace becomes ours in abundance. Overflowing. So does grace. The giving, the sacricice, the denying ourself to follow Him, it creates such abundance on the inside.

    (loving these conversations on your blog!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am in love with this line, "Although I'm a sucker for all things white-washed, it's not the defining banner I want on my life."

      Delete
  29. You are so wise for such a sweet young thing! I love these sort of posts, they make us all think. You have such a great way with words. You paint pictures with them.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  30. My husband and I have always had the belief that "if money can solve the problem, it isn't really a problem." That kind of helps us hold our money more lightly.

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, is all I kept saying after reading alot of the comments, so, to you Shannon, all I can say is Thank You for putting it down on paper to share with us all.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your honest and that makes you authentic. I admire your questioning. And I could just sit and ponder all of this with you for hours upon hours. With the salsa of course. Thinking, too...

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you, you dear girl. I love how God is using the Internets for HIS glory and our blessing.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Shannan, thanks for bringing up such a controversial topic. One that brings out the squeamish in us all. And no you didn't give a number but you did give a clear answer. Ask and pray and wait and see. God certainly does deliver!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm glad you wrapped this up the way that you did. I think the trouble with discussing what God is doing in your life is that people begin to get defensive right away or some people even agree without really thinking about what you are saying. It was confusing at times to figure out what exactly was being said...however I've been reading your blog for a while and I knew how much of a struggle this life change, heart change, really was. Thank you for writing your perspective and for sharing what God has been showing you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you, your posts are a blessing.

    As at least one other commenter said, we are also in the situation of being below the average American income, never owning a new car, never owning more than one at once, etc... but it's important to remember that we're rich. We're really, really rich. Even speaking just in the financial dimension -- there's the worldwide comparison of rich/poor, but I also think about the work KC Willis is doing over at the Lakota rez, and how many people there are living. And how they are usually so much more thankful -- more peaceful -- and more faithful -- than I am on a daily basis. When they don't have heat. Or enough beds. Or enough pots to cook with. And I complain when we have to do without our car for a while here and there.

    It also makes me think of an enlightening point I heard Zac Poonen make once, how when Jesus told the disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, their surprise was because they considered themselves rich. They didn't say, "Whoa, it's a good thing we gave up everything to follow you, Lord! Whew -- that was a close one!" They thought about what they had (even if it was just a staff and a pair of sandals), and wondered if it was too much, too much in their lives, too much for them.

    ReplyDelete
  38. On the off chance that you can somehow know how many times a particular person clicks on your blog, I want to assure you I'm not a stalker :-)
    I found your blog a while ago and am having a great time reading and getting to know you a bit better.
    I love your sense of humor, your great writing and your tender heart. So great to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Your last few posts reminded me of a C.S.Lewis quote I found early in my twenties that has been so good for me (when I'm open to it...): "I don't believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule it so give more than we can spare. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small." Ouch. But brilliant all the same.
    Money is such a volatile thing, isn't it!?

    ReplyDelete
  40. LOVE these past two posts....soooooo good ~ convicting and inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing your heart♥

    ReplyDelete
  41. "Too much is the thing that is not on the table." So true and I just love the way that you said that. It sounds like Jesus is working something so cool in you - it makes me praise Him and want to know Him more! So glad I found your blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dear Shannan,

    Re: Dave

    You. Go. Girl.

    Just checkin' in witcha. It's the addled Preacher's Wife from East Tennessee, sendin' you some love.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I agree with everything you're doing and thinking about....here it comes...except the you can never give too much. I've worked in the social service industry for many years. I do believe you CAN give too much. What I see now is very kind people giving and others that have been conditioned to become takers. We can't give a person the thrill of success. Often things are the reward for dedication, sacrifice and hard work. I'm talking about on this country not in deprived countries where the sacrifice is hard to comprehend. The road to hell CAN be paved with good intentions. The older I get the more I pull back and think who is really benefiting the giver that needs to be needed or the taker that is subtlety being told you can't do it so I'll do it for you. The line to enabling and empowering is a tough one to figure out sometimes. Just my thoughts. I want everyone to succeed but as a client said to me one day...some people just LIKE the thrill of being bad. Good is boring. Hey they live it they know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get what you're saying here. (Holla, When Helping Hurts!) Cory and I have had many of these conversations. So I think that there are people/situations where giving would be the wrong approach. But in general, speaking only from the perspective of "giver", we can't give too much. Find the right person/situation and give it to them. I think this goes back to the point that often the giving is more about our heart than "theirs", whoever "they" happen to be. We have to be discerning. But I really want to learn to err on the side of giving. I just don't need all that I have, and there's always someone, somewhere who does need it. Thanks for your thoughts, Kathleen. You really did raise a great point.

      Delete
  44. oh girl. this is it. this is the treasure in the field, the one we need to sell everything we have to buy... this is the secret to joy. you have found it. and i am learning it too. i feel an excitement bubbling up in me, at how Jesus is calling us all home, right here, right now, in how we live. bless you friend. you are absolutely right: we cannot give too much. love you.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Just so I'm clear, I could not love this post more.

    ReplyDelete
  46. yep...some of the same lessons you're learning, we're learning, too.

    it started in India 12 years ago on our first visit, and he's been so patient to teach us more and more as the years roll on by.

    We learned the MOST when our house finally sold last year and we lost all the equity...it really, really, really isn't ours. It's ALL his.

    ReplyDelete
  47. You are so wonderful and you always touch my heart with all your posts, these two last posts were great and really made me think and you are totally right about it all.
    much love :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Something I know for certain: I am a better person, friend, woman, daughter, wife, servant and disciple because of YOU. And He is using you to change this world one little word at a time. Yes, this I know for absolute certain! xo

    ReplyDelete