2 posts categorized "Marriage and Money"

A Full Coffee Measure

Hi everyone, Ann here! Coffee measure

Some SUM moments are so tough they’re funny when you look back, and I couldn’t resist sharing one with you. It was the time a well-meant speaker at church said these words from the pulpit:

“Every year my wife and I sit down and decide how much to give to church.” 

I'm afraid that did it for me. I crumpled into a self-pitying heap in the back of church. See, I’d been attending for months, and gave nothing. Not a dollar. I hadn’t felt able to ask it of my husband.

It was painful, I guess, because my heart badly wanted to give. I knew the pastor needed to at least eat. I knew God wants us to financially support the one who sacrifices their life for that work, so that they can survive (Gal 6:6).

Eventually, I asked, saying to my husband, “Look, I at least need to cover the cost of the teabags I’m consuming.” Point taken. “How much are you thinking?” he said. I put forward an amount the size of the widow’s coin (Mark 12:42). “That’s substantial,” he said. Any money going to a church was a sacrifice on his part.

Both of us made a sacrifice that day out of love. We agreed on that small amount.

This was step one in my giving. But months passed and a new conviction came. I wanted to support some of the other ministries that have helped me: They too need money to function. But how could I?

I went for months feeling convicted and frustrated until, one day, I seemed to hear God whisper: “How about you give me $5, Ann?” I had a sense this had something to do with coffee.

It took a while to get it, but eventually an a-ha moment came. It seemed God was saying this:

“Why don’t you go without a latte and give that amount to a ministry?”

What a great idea! My daily latte was a highlight. I could still get a coffee in the kitchen at work; but the bought latte was the ‘fat’, like Abel’s best sheep in Genesis 4:4. "Ok, God," I said. “It’s a deal!” 

Once again I approached my husband. “Um, you know I like lattes. I’d like to do without those and donate the $5 to some ministries that have helped me.” Graciously, he agreed. So it began. He would see the occasional bank item for “xyz ministries,” sometimes he’d ask me, and I’d say “coffee money.”

It was always nerve-wracking, but one night I couldn’t believe it when he thanked me. Thanked me!?  He said, “I really appreciate how you’ve thought about my feelings. Thank you.” My heart soared. I felt like God had given me a strategy to give my best: not just to Him, but also to my husband. As we often say here, honoring our spouse is honoring God.

That was a while ago now, and I’ve moved past the coffee method to other ways of giving. But lately I’ve felt God show me something about that situation that brought new perspective. It came in the form of a vision. In this vision, all I saw was a little coffee scoop and that scoop was filled with oil, pouring over.

I wonder if you’ll see the meaning of this picture quicker than I did, but I didn’t get it (that’s always a sign to me that I couldn’t have made it up!) It took me a few days, and then I went “Ohhhh, Wow!” It’s a visual of this:

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 (NKJV).


I struggle to convey everything this means to me, but oil, in scripture, symbolizes the Holy Spirit, His anointing, His light, His glory, His crowning. SUMites, for some of us our giving feels as small as the widow’s penny in Mark 12:42. Yet, God knows exactly what it cost us. His eyes fall on us in return. Pressed down. Overflowing. A latte looks small but, to me, it wasn't; And I now know what follows.

I’d love to hear your adventures with giving. What kinds of things have you learned, or how are you finding it?

Lovely chatting

Ann


Slay..... The Marriage Killers.... FINANCES

Slay The Marriage KillersHello SUMite Nation,

Well it’s astonishing that half of January has passed already. We have fasted and the Summit registration went live. Already registrations are rolling in from Florida, New Zealand, Michigan, Washington DC, Minnesota, Nevada, Australia, and a few more places.

Oh, I’m so hopeful you can be here. This is going to be the Family Reunion/Family Summit of a lifetime! Here is the link to register, Hear The Roar. Here is the link to the Facebook Travel Group.

I’ve pondered over what to write about in the last few weeks. And sometimes I think I’ve said all I have to say about marriage to a pre-believer. However, I know that there are new readers arriving who haven’t walked this unique marriage path for the number of years as I have and because of that, I want write about the basics again.

For those of you who have been married to your spouse for more than 20 years, I’m asking you to add your experience, wisdom and encouragement to the discussions. Please take time to read the posts and share your thoughts. Your love and voice is needed to encourage some young wife sitting at her kitchen table, ready to throw in the towel. (That was me once.)

So, let’s talk about Marriage Killers.

In the next several post I’m going to share the top marriage killers. I’m asking the community to share your thoughts in the comments. Perhaps these posts will turn into a book one day that will help the next generation. So please share.

CONFLICT OVER MONEY

Fights about spending, credit card debt, and financial over commitment are the fuel to crash and burn a marriage.

Mike and I are fortunate because this is ONE area where we agree. It’s likely due to my many years as a banker, (I worked for 25 years in corporate America as a banker. I retired a Vice President/Lending Manager after starting as a bank teller as a teenager.) I gained an appreciation for financial restraint and a strong sense of responsibility over my checkbook. (I could be fired from my job if I bounced a check. I needed my job!)

Mike gained his financial accountability from his years as a starving college student. But what if you weren’t taught to budget? What if you grew up and mom and dad who virtually gave you whatever you wanted? Or what if spending and saving were not taught, talked about, nor modeled?

Destructive conflict with regard to finances in a marriage is where there are two spenders and a tit-for-tat attitude by both.

He says, “If she spends that much, then I will too.”

She thinks: If he is spending his paycheck like that, then I’m going to do the same.

Similar conflict exists where one spouse is responsible but the other lacks financial responsibility and disrespects the values of the saver.

Examples exist on both sides of the sexes. A husband drives home a new truck to an astonished and heartbroken wife who is saddled with a car payment they can’t afford and was not included in a large financial decision. OR a wife continues to spend on the credit card even when her husband points out they aren’t making a dent in paying it down.

In the Donovan home, throughout our entire marriage I have handled the checkbook, bank accounts, filed the tax returns and managed most of our money decisions. The stress of meeting obligations has weighed heavily upon me. This is true of every person who handles the money for the marriage. There were years where we lived paycheck-to-paycheck and I worried how and when to purchase groceries, pay the insurance or balance the bills.

And before my marriage, there were weeks I would pay the bills as a single mother and have $25 left for gas to get me to work for two weeks. Scary. But by the grace of God.

However, I always found a way to get the bills paid and I forced myself into restraint. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t splurge in certain circumstances. I did. But not outside of what I could afford.

So, SUMites it’s tax season. It’s time to talk finances with your spouse. If you are walking on eggshells over your money, it’s time to visit Dave Ramsey and get yourself out of debt. It’s time to take control of your finances and bring peace into your lives. It will be difficult at first but becoming financially free from debt and the constant stress of financial pressure will release an enormous freedom over your marriage.

Start with prayer. God cares a great deal about our money. There are over 500 verses in the Bible about money and 40% of Jesus’ parables deal with money. Ask the Lord to help you. Ask the Lord for supernatural provision. I could share several stories about when I needed money or provision and the EXACT amount came into my hands within the week.

But, God also expects his people to have self-control (gift of the Spirit). So ask for, and exercise, self-control and make a commitment together with your spouse about how and when to spend money. Talk about the boundaries that need to be set if one or the other oversteps this commitment.

Ask God for the money to get to the conference. I can’t wait to hear your story when it shows up.

Alrighty, what is your story about marriage and money? I’ll see you in the comments. Hugs, Lynn