Friday, January 9, 2009

Middle of the Night Thoughts


Been up since 2:45ish. This post-menopause thing has its perks (if you look for them). Can't sleep? Almost kind of fun. Bear with me here - Everyone else is fast asleep and I get to wander around some sweet blogs to leave a few comments......Rach and Mr. Daddy (who live just feet from a river that was cresting and flooding dangerously yesterday), Grace (lives in Uganda and adopted Ella from Sanyu - where Elizabeth and Elijah are from), Carol (adoptive mom whose gifting from the Lord is quilting for others - amazing!!!), Leslie (traveled with us when we got Isaiah and they got Lily), Ellie (waiting for her Lily), Carolin (heading to Ch*na to get her sweet baby girl Rebecca), Jean (just home from Ch*na with her new precious 8 yr old), Suzette (who is a military mom), AnnMarie (who has the cutest little brood that keeps her Joyfully Busy), Lori (former blog stalker turned friend), Jaime (adoptive mom and military wife), Tina (another military mom) and Marianthe (just home - finally! - with her precious Creighton Gideon and a military wife) and of course Sally (my virtual twin - who is also a military mom): just to mention a few today!!!! Good gracious - ya' sure can hop on alot of blogs when you "have all night"!!

Well at least everyone was asleep, until Elijah woke and started to cry and cry at about 4ish. I waited awhile thinking that he would just settle back in. Nada. Finally I went and comforted him, gave him a drink of water and laid him down. But probably somewhere in there he wondered if he was missing out on some fun alone time with Mommy checkin' friends blogs and here he sits eating Cheer*os snuggled up beside me. Sweet little baby boy!
Anyway, on to some other things....
Since I have my email address in the sidebar I have been getting tons and tons of email! I love it!! Keep it coming and I am trying very hard to answer them all personally. Y'all have said some very, very sweet things (awww, makes my heart happy and brings me to tears) and many have asked some great questions and from time to time I will attempt to address them in a post, because if a few of you are thinking it - then that probably represents a whole bunch more.
Really, this whole internet/blogging thing is absolutely delightful. Uniting people from around the world with common hearts, dreams and hopes. So very, very super cool.

One of the things that seems to be a prevailing question/concern is about our economy and how that affects adoption. Yesterday as I was praying about this I felt like the Lord wanted me to speak some truth about all this. His truth. So hang on: here we go....
Yes, the economic system in our world is in serious, major, humongous trouble. BUT God's economy is plentiful. Yes, people are losing their jobs (our sweet son-in-love, Ryan, lost his job last Wednesday) BUT Almighty God is the ultimate Job Placement Agency. Jehovah Jirah is still on the throne and He is the meeter of all needs.
If we were to do a study of God's principles an over-riding theme is that God deeply loves three specific groups of people and we are commanded to care for them. The poor, the orphan and the widow.
So call me crazy: BUT I do not think that when the economy is struggling that the King of Kings changes His plans and says, "oh I didn't realize that the dollar would be worth far less and you guys would lose your jobs and so yeah, don't worry about the poor, the orphan and the widow. I didn't realize that this economy would go 'bust' and yeah, ummm so, you guys really better button up your giving and hang on to every penny you get."
Absolutely not!!! He has called us to care for the poor, the orphan and the widow - period! Dw and I firmly believe that no matter what - His commands are not optional!! In fact, we are of the notion when times get tough - give more away!! When you are wondering how you are going to pay for something - give even more away to the poor, the orphan or the widow.
There is something about God watching our hearts and seeing that we are trusting HIM not the savings account, our home value, or our IRA. He says, "Give and it will be given to you - pressed down, running over..." Does that make sense? Only in GOD'S economy.
Recently I was talking to a group of friends. There is a popular notion out there that "when I get alot of money (the lottery/strike it rich in business) then I will finally be able to really do something big for God." But I think that is a very wrong game plan. God is watching our stewardship NOW. He says, "When I gave you little, what did you do?" Have you hoarded it? Have you kept it for your own pleasure - because after all, you 'earned' it and you 'deserve' it? Are your 'needs' really needs? Have you been generous with the small amount you have?? I think the word "generous" is key.
Dw and I are totally convinced that He is watching our stewardship and if we are faithful and generous in little - THEN He will pour out His financial blessings BECAUSE He knows that you are trustworthy - you are doing what He wanted you to do in the first place - faithfully and sacrificially giving to the needs of the poor, the orphan and the widow - even when you had little.

Then there is the whole issue of tithing. Yes, I am a pastor's wife, but long before we were in ministry, infact even as a little girl: I tithed. While Dw was in law school (many, many years ago) we not only tithed but we generously gave away. If we knew of a need, we gave away - anonymously. We had a blast doing it. We would pray for creative ways to give to those in need, so that no one, and I mean no one, knew. It was so stinkin' fun.

I know there will always be a few debaters....: Does God really want us to tithe? Is tithing for today?
Over the years we have heard the arguments against it, and all I can say is: Are you kidding me? Generous God has generously blessed you and you think you have found the loophole for tithing? Oooookay.
Yes I realize it is between you and God and I will leave it there BUT listen to the heart of what I am saying.
When Dw was in law school I was the only one working. I made a whopping $150.00/week (yes it was 30+ years ago but no, we didn't ride dinosaurs to work). Never once did we take a school loan and never once did we use a credit card. We prayed and watched God provide. After being married a year we even were able to fly to TX to visit one of my brothers with money we had saved. I am convinced this was only because we had been faithful to tithe and faithful in giving away generously to those in need throughout that first year.

When Dw set up his law practice it was abundantly blessed from day one. (Think about it: How often can you say "Godly" and "lawyer" in the same sentence?? The Christian Community loved him!) While practicing law we had a friend, who was also a CPA who did our accounting for us. He would come and sit at our dining room table and go over our personal finances and then Dw's work books. Everytime he would shake his head and say: "I don't how you guys make ends meet. You give so much away!"
Now you have to know my heart - I am by no means patting us on the back. We were merely being obedient!! We gave generously and God poured in generously. We lived simple lives and were frugal and gave away generously - but God had been watching us doing it from the get-go; when we had very little ourselves we tithed and gave away generously.

Years later we continue to give away and are absolutely amazed at how God has blessed us!!
The first day that the stock market did its big 'drop' is the day that the man called about our camper. We did not have it advertised at all (advertising is such a waste of money that we didn't necessarily have). The "cottage" as we referred to it was sitting tucked away on our acres. Only in God's scope of planning could this have been orchestrated like it was....cause we had nothing to do with it selling other than that we were begging the Lord to sell it.
So out of the blue, on the very worst day possible day economically (in many, many years) we get a phone call from a man who had heard from a friend that we might want to sell it and could he come see it? I stood mouth gaping. Come on? Who buys a camper in snow country as it is just about to turn very cold on the worst day in economic history? Come on people - who does that? Only a man prompted by Almighty God. He was gettin' the "God-nudge" that that very day was the PERFECT day to buy a camper!! Go figure!
But would that camper have sold if we weren't tithing and giving away and in the process of adopting Elijah and Elizabeth and Jubilee? I just don't think so.
Infact Dw and I are convinced that tithers are Recession/Depression Proof. Remember David in the Psalms said: "I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread." It does not mean that times won't get "crunchier", but He is the provider!!

When it comes to adoption what does this all mean? I think that God's plans for the orphan are still the same - He longs to set them in families. He is their advocate and He WILL provide all that is needed supernaturally to bring them home. We have fasted alot in all of this (and that is a subject for another day)....

BUT we must be wise stewards: tithing and giving away to the orphan, the widow and the poor.

So the game plan?? Get out of debt! Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Stop needless spending. Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Downsize your home to have less mortgage (or no mortgage). Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor. Cut up your credit cards and pay them off. Give to the orphan, the widow and the poor.

And THEN watch and see our Miracle-Working, Mountain-Moving, Awe-Inspiring, Gasp-Giving God provide supernaturally for you to bring your next one home!! It's gonna' be so stinkin' amazing!!

39 Simply Sweet Words:

  1. Can I say I was tickled pink that you were emailing encouragement in the wee hours?!?! :) Thank you so very much!

    Really loved your post on tithing. And God is so creative about the anonymous thing - isn't it a kick in the pants to watch Him meet needs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen! Our lives forever changed after visiting the county of our daughter's birth. All Americans, no matter how "little" they have, are among the wealthiest people in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A BIG FAT AMEN!! We have seen God's economy work perfectly in our own lives. We are currently struggling with a lack of work for hubby, yet we had a surge of income at the end of the year putting us in the within the restrictions of China to adopt our next daughter. We are also wondering how we will PAY for our adoption...though my heart is just so set on raising funds for The Morning Star Project. I know the money will be there for us when we need it.

    Tithing, giving and serving opens up Heaven's gates of blessings.

    Praise God for HIS thriving economy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. AMEN and AMEN. Your post is so inspiring. Giving opens up Heaven's gates over and over again. I love how Lori put it "Praise God for HIS thriving economy".

    Thank you for also mentioning my blog.
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is EXACTLY what has been on my heart lately. In fact, my hubby and I went out on a date last night and talked New Years' business--what we want to focus on this year. And I have been feeling like God is saying, "GIVE MORE and watch what I will do!" We want to be extravagent givers! I also want to really pray and have faith a whole lot more. So I am excited to see what kind of year we will have when God starts doing His thing! I do not fear weak economies. Not in the least. My Daddy is rich!

    ReplyDelete
  6. OK... so I love your menopause... I know you don't.. but I do. The fact that you can write such encouragement and wisdom in the middle of the night is such a blessing. These things have been heavy on my heart lately... thanks for communicating the truth by your example. Thanks again Miss Linn. Love you, jen

    ReplyDelete
  7. with all those Benjiman's in the pic. Dad must have sold a few of those bovines off some of his hills???????

    The widow with one mite,gave more than all.
    Yet the wealthy,that gave a tenth gave nothing at all. :o)

    The water has gone down alot, and it's a creek not a river behind our place although it could have made the river classification yesterday. LOL can you believe that it goes dry in the summer???? the two rivers that are just south of us must have made the lake classification though. the Skookumchuck (my fave. steelheading river was raging. a couple of my buddies houses had water up to almost the eves. :o( We could have sat on the second story and fished out of the window, guess there is a bright side to everything??????? although if I would have had to launch the boat to get there I should of just stayed in the boat!!!!!! (and to think I had to stay at work and help work out an evac. plan) kinda scary Eay!
    Well I hear Itty Bit gotta go get him breakfast and a bath. then maybe go see if I can lend a hand in the aftermath. Thanks for the prayers

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you sister!!!! I love to give anonymously! It makes my heart soar with glee! I also love to give to others who are adopting children who need homes! If it is God's will and not ours, it will happen!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so fired up about this post, I am coming out of "hiding." I am a friend of Sarah & Chris' from Indiana. I have been secretly reading your blog for weeks now. :) This post hits so close to home for me and what God is doing in my heart these days. My husband is currently in a doctoral program at a seminary in Kentucky, he is a teaching fellow (the bottom of the Seminary food chain), and I stay at home with our 4 young boys. We have never had less income or more expenses in our lives...but, we are making it debt-free! I so strongly believe that we can live much simpler than the world tells us we can...and be more generous than the world can understand! The bonus is a contented heart, the joy of giving to our brothers and sisters, and seeing God glorified over and over and over again! :) Blessings to you for sharing this good word!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Linny!! What a wonderful post. I must link this to my blog. You say it so perfectly well. Amen!!
    trina

    ReplyDelete
  11. AMEN!!! I just old my DH, who came home early for his birthday a bit ago ;) while the house was quiet, that Linny was PREACHING again. He just laughed and said, well what was the message about today? I said, orphans of course and tithing too!

    Oh, I am linking to!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How beautifully said (I have no idea how you can even think at such an awful hour :) )!
    I absolutely agree with every word--I LONG to have a heart that is soooo open to the children that God would add to our family. Older children, younger children, SN children, healthy children---just to be open! Each time we have adopted we have had the "how in the world can we afford to do this, Lord" questions---BUT, God has opened the floodgates and provided for every need we have ever had. Oh how He LOVES a CHEERFUL GIVER! NOT Tithing is just not even an option for us---our first fruits do NOT even belong to us, they belong to the Father.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. Hope you're having a blessed time with your son there.
    Adeye

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh Linny you are so right. Debt is a curse, we have it and are trying everything we can to get out of it.

    On another note I just have to say something. Linny, everytime I pull up my blog I see the followers and I just have to say that picture of Elijah and his little belly makes me smile everytime I see it. That has to be one of the cutest pictures ever taken.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a wonderful post!! Thank you!!

    Sharla

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a lurker too, who had to say AMEN and thank you for being faithful and speaking the words God has for you to share!! I can tell you stories about the Lord urging us to give our last $10 away and meeting that leap of faith with a miracle! We have been debt free for a good 12 years, no credit cards,no car payments... He has provided several cars for us over the years we have driven the last gift, a 92 volvo wagon with close to 300,000 miles into its eternal rest! Now we need car needless to say. I have been feeling that maybe we should buy a car (take out a small loan and get something nice with a 3rd row!)
    Well, I received our answer from the world on that thought! The pat on the back we get for living within our means for 12 + years is a 24% interest rate on a car loan. NO THANKS! God has something better planned! Another miracle vehicle! Can't wait to see what it is.
    Your post has just confirmed what the Lord has been telling me. Thanks again! You are such a blessing!

    Also, Christina, Are you at Asbury?!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Linn, I've been following your blog for the last couple months now, but this post really hit home. My husband and I are adopting a little girl from China and working on some other "options." Since taking this leap of faith, the Lord has really been speaking to me about adoption, and I'm in for the long haul I'm afraid, lol. In the meantime we are feverishly trying to become debt free, and you have really given me the incentive to really listen to what the Lord has been telling me for awhile and that is to get rid of a few unnecessary toys of mine, i.e., Blackberry and DirectTV. Thank you so much and keep up the great work with those kiddos. God Bless You!

    Jackie

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow< What a post!! Thanks for being so transparent and real about what He expects of us. I am frugal (I love that word) but I can cut back more in order to give more. Thank you.

    To Him ALL the glory,

    Beth
    Waiting on TA in TX

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great post! When God tells us to do it we know He will provide! I can't wait to see how He is going to provide the funds for us to adopt our daughter. We just focused on getting out of debt last year and this was going to be our year of saving money. God must have a different plan. I just went back to teaching two years ago so we could pay off everything. We didn't even have our $250 deposit for our adoption and the day after I wrote the check I got my teacher bonus. Guess how much? Exactly $250. We knew then that this was His desire and He would provide. I can hardly wait to see where it will come from! Thank you for encouraging others that we can NEVER outgive God!

    ReplyDelete
  19. P.S. You did sign my Guestbook!! It worked.

    ReplyDelete
  20. God Bless you Linn- you are awesome and our Dear Lord is so incredible! Thank you for your bloggy ministry! It is uplifting and so encouraging. Those babies of yours are tooo cute!! Thank you Jesus!

    Love from Jean

    ReplyDelete
  21. Linn,

    Thank you so much for this post. You helped confirm in my heart what God has been trying to tell me about caring for orphans. We are still paying for our first adoption but we need to remain faithful and follow God's calling and trust in Him to provide. I am so glad I found your blog; it has been a tremendous blessing to me.

    Hugs,
    Robin

    ReplyDelete
  22. Awesome Post Linn - I love it. You manage to be so encourging while not pulling any punches.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What an amazing (and timely) post! Thanks for taking the time to share your heart (which mirrors God's heart so beautifully!) We too felt called to downsize our home and simplify our lives. During that same time, God called us to adopt. I always laugh that we bought a smaller home and added another person! :-) I was amazed whenever we sent in fees towards the adoption, a check would arrive in the mail out of the blue. God has replaced those funds and multiplied them back. Yes, He does provide AND shower us with His blessings when we are obedient.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Preach on my sista!!!! Give, pray and watch God do His thing!!!! He's amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well, I know why God kept you up into the wee early a.m.!!!!

    I've been battling some sleep issues and can't sleep many nights and tonight was one of them! Your post is SO incredibly timely as we are all feeling the pinch of the tightening economy. I am with you 100% dear Linny! You are preachin' to the choir here (but I am very thankful for the reinforcements!!)

    Thank you for sharing such truths. Tears were rolling down my cheeks one evening about a month ago when I listened to James Dobson talk about having to let so many Focus on the Family employees go. I then received his Christmas newsletter and was once again moved to tears. It is in the hard times when we need to reach even deeper into our pockets and then watch God as he works. We did just that and have already seen the blessings from sacrificial giving..

    When we compare the ultimate gift God has given to us, that loose change in our pockets suddenly seems so meager.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog, Linn. After several years of fruitful youth ministry in Indiana...we were called to seminary. My husband is studying & teaching at Asbury Seminary near Lexington, KY...about 1/2 finished with the classroom work for his PhD in Biblical Studies. He has about 2 more years to complete it and then it's on to writing his dissertation. Meanwhile, I stay home to change diapers, play with cars, and chase little boys! :) Brad's a gifted teacher and God has affirmed this gifting over and over again...so, Brad is excited about teaching/ministering at a secular university in the Religious Studies department. So many prof's in this field are non-believers...and Brad really has a heart for people who don't know Jesus. It's been an exciting ride so far - can't wait to see what God has in store for us next! :) Blessings to you!
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh how your post blessed me today!! Thank you so much!! ~stacy

    ReplyDelete
  28. Absolutely! With all four of our adoptions, God was the one to abundantly provide. We did not have one cent to go towards our last adoption, but God provided more than enough. We even received one grant that we didn't even ask for!! He truly is good!

    George Muller (whom I know that your new darling is named after) said it well:

    "Observe here particularly that we, the children of God, should be different from the nations of the earth, from those who have no Father in heaven, and who therefore make it their great business, their first anxious concern, what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed. We, the children of God, should, as in every other respect, so in this particular also, be different from the world, and prove to the world that we believe that we have a Father in heaven who knoweth that we have need of all these things. The fact that our Almighty Father, who is full of infinite love to us His children, and who proved to us His love in the gift of His only-begotten Son, and His almighty power in raising Him from the dead, knows that we have need of these things, should remove all anxiety from our minds."

    Blessings,
    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi! I wanted to tell you Kamryn Rachel seen a picture of Jubilee today on your blog and got so EXCITED she kept saying something in Chinese over and over and I told her that Jubilee is getting a family and she smiled. She knows your daughter well! I can tell. Also heres a little humor from my 6 year old Kylah who looks over my shoulder whil i am reading blogs, she is just starting to read and she said when i was readin yours (Hey, Mom where is Simple City?) lol......... Out of the mouth of babes! lol.......... Prayign for you, Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am having one of those "hormonal" nights as well and thought of you first off, so here I sit by the fire in the dark next to my sleeping dog who is making some gross bodily noises thinking of you!

    I am also thinking of my doctor who told me that sleep issues have nothing to do with hormones...guess I better find a new doctor because I think there are many of us!

    You are right though a fun time to catch up on everyones blog as they sleep!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh Linn, When we walk this out and know it is true ... why do we fall back into those same ruts that we were in before! Thank you for sharing your heart about this. It can be such a struggle when adopting and trying to pay off bills. The first place that seems so easy to take from is tithing! Oh what a mess that makes of everything. Many blessings, Lisa C.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Alright, so I'm late on this one...wasn't even in the adoption game when you wrote it. However, it was divine that I run across it tonight of all nights. My husband sits across from me writing out his testimony for a grant...two actually. When we said YES to God, we stepped out on faith big time financially. Barely surviving, always tithing, we were less than OK. Adding an adoption to that financial picture is crazy madness...or is it submission? Hmm....I'm going with submission, because I see it through Bible eyes as opposed to the world's eyes.

    Either way, we took that leap of faith, and God has blessed. As I sit at the kitchen table with a flood of adoption grant paperwork, thinking perhaps this will be one of the ways the Lord will continue to provide, I have been so encouraged by your words. Jehovah Jireh!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Just wanted to say, a year later and this word is so true and inspiring! We have been on a 16 mo. journey to bring "little G" home.God provided the finances in a mighty and amazing way. We just continue to wait on the govt and red tape to allow us to bring her home. I cannot think that after all the amazing things He has done that He will shut the door.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is my first time reading your blog. I can feel God through your words on this blog. Hallelujah! Praise be to God! Your story in this posting is so encouraging, and right on target with God's word! Amen! Thanks for being His vessel on the web.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hey, I'm a Christian, Godly lawyer... there are at least two of us in the world!!! :)

    When we stepped out to adopt our daughter six years ago, we boldly told God that we would go wherever he wanted us to and do whatever he asked, but we would not go into debt. God got really creative. Our daughter came home a year later, no debt incurred and no silent partners either. He just made sure that our financial requirements were met each and every time. We still praise him for his abundant goodness!

    You can't outgive God!!!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who has been called to adopt, yet wonders HOW can we afford this only to have God come through with the EXACT amount needed at exactly the time we need it. I love what you said about God being the orphans' advocate and how He will supernaturally step in the gap to bring them home. And here I was thinking that it was all about ME. Thanks for setting my perspective straight!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Linny,
    I just found your blog today via Jenny Wagner (The Wagner Family) and read a bunch of posts, including this one. You have articulated a message that I've been attempting to get across on my blog for months (maybe years)! I just wanted to let you know that I have linked to this post, to your blog, and have exerpted portions of the post. I hope that is all cool with you?!
    God bless!
    Tyler
    P.S. I believe I will be taking your advice for women who's hubbies are not into adoption. First, I am going to stop complaining about and allowing myself to be/feel overwhelmed by the five children and the big, beautiful house I've already been blessed with. Next, fasting and prayer. Thank-you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Linny,
    I truly feel God led me to this post today. For months I have had this strong desire that I am to be home with the children he has blessed me with and just recently feel he wants us to adopt again. I have been struggling with how and just today before I read this I told God I needed a sign as to what his plan is and how is this going to happen. I have had the thought for a long time that we should sell the house and get completely out of debt and then figure out where to go. I even got so specific to ask him to find us a place where I can store our 2 deep freezes with our frozen food and meat and a place for all my home canned goods. I feel he wants me to eventually home school as well...To step out in faith and not rely on my controlling self...woa
    Please pray with me. I love you and your family and my prayers are with you and all you are going through.
    God Bless,
    Carrie
    www.hiswillandgrace.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Linny~
    I'm a blog stalker. I am raising three sons with my darling Man and we have a soocer-filled, homeschooling, mini-driving, golden-retriever owning life. And we are waiting to adopt. Waiting to WAIT, actually. We are getting out of debt. We are paying off med school and the debt that accompanies staying home to raise your boys while the MD went through school for a hundred years. And you know what? It's really BORING. We sold our 5700 sq/ft home and moved to another state to a rental less than half the size (which we fit into so perfectly, by the way) and have long-since cut up all credit cards and are always tithing and are hugely downsized and now...we wait. We pay off debt once a month...and WAIT. And it. Is. Boring. I want to be finding our daughters. I want to be waiting on immigration. I want to be fearless and striving to be "worthy of the gospel". And God instead wants me to be bored...and OBEY. :) I say this tongue-in-cheek. I KNOW He has a plan. I know He is going to bring our children home. I know He has given me plenty to do until then, but sometimes it's hard to do the unexciting BRING things instead of all the Yippee Jesus things. THANK you for the reminder that we as a family are on the Right Path to Adoption, even if at this stage it's boring. ;) I love you.
    Esty
    www.olivemyboysandme.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

It's always good to hear from bloggy friends. Bless you.