This Is Me

Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Finances & Adoption: Seriously?

God's Riches Poured Out...
So last month I posted a rather honest discussion about where my husband and I were at financially.  We had recently finished paying off over $10,000 in credit card debt, and our next endeavor was to pay off our car.  It helps to stay accountable with yourself when you know you've shared personal knowledge with a flock of people.

I'm going to stop that thought real fast and share one reason why having no debt was so important to us.  Not only is it a burden in and of itself, but my husband and I have a burning desire to adopt internationally.  And because of the expense of international adoption, having debt seems like a brutal anchor preventing you from bringing your child home.  It's a horrible feeling.

Thankfully a fire was lit under us and we turned our finances over to God.  A few things we did included: making ourselves accountable to someone (so important!), set a fairly strict budget, made giving the first priority on our budget, and aggressively restricted unnecessary purchases (although I do have a small coffee that terrible?).  Not sure if God just wanted to bless our imperfect attempt at faithfulness, or if He is eager to get our child home to us, but since last month He supplied our needs "far more abundantly than all that we could have asked or imagined."  In other words, in less than one months time, God hugely blessed us and we were able to pay off the entire remainder of our car loan.  We are now officially, 100% debt free.


Continuing to Trust...
I'm not a huge fan of flipping open my Bible to an arbitrary place and having God speak to me randomly.  WAIT - I didn't say I've never done it - I have, and believe I have been spoken to.  But as an everyday devotional, it's not my personal style.  I do, however, believe God loves His children, and His desire is to fellowship with us, so its definitely within His capacity to speak to us on a personal level - we just need to be available and listening.  

With that said, I had the amazing opportunity to go off to a women's retreat with a good friend of mine this weekend.  It was AMAZING.  Though I could go on forever about the speakers, the fellowship, even the food, I want to keep this tied into the subject of my post - finances and adoption.  Despite God's continued faithfulness in our life, I am nervous about the idea of funding an international adoption without the use of debt.  It weighs heavy on my shoulders and is a constant prayer on my lips.  

Well, the final night of the retreat ended with an extended time of worship and prayer and I knew more prayer on this situation could only be good.  So as I silently attempted to word my prayer request just right (tacky, but I was really fearful about how I was even going to ask for prayer!), the same visual kept coming to mind:  this situation was like a giant mountain that I didn't know how to climb, and I didn't have the ability to move.  There was a lull in the worship then and I opened my eyes to see if the prayer and worship time was coming to an end, but no, the worship leader started into the next song, singing, "Saviour, He can move the mountain..."  Of course that turned me into a crying mess.  It wasn't even an answer to my prayer request - it was an answer to my stupid attempt to grammatically format my prayer request!

But then I shared my request with  a couple ladies who had made themselves available to pray.  And before we even started praying, one of them let me know that adopting a child is worth going into debt for, and that we have to be willing to make sacrifices sometimes.  I was taken aback and wrestled with the "wisdom" that she shared with me.  Of course I would be willing to take out a loan, if that was really the only option and God made it clear it was necessary.  But is He not able to provide in a manner that doesn't require 14% interest?  

I spent that night talking with my friend about the incident.  Why would it seem like I was given a promise (God could move mountains) only to be told that debt shouldn't be considered bad in this situation?  Why have my husband and I both been convicted about our debt, and been blessed so richly when we purposed ourselves to get rid of it?  

It didn't take long for my mind to find peace.  The next morning I was browsing through some books when I picked up one entitled "Fragments That Remain." 

 It is a compilation of notes and letters written by Amy Carmichael, a missionary to the children of India.  I flipped open the book, not to be spoken to, but to see how the book was formatted (I'm starting to see an odd pattern), and the page I opened to had the heading "Finance" written in bold italics.  That caught my eye so I read what it had to say:

Are we asking for too much?  But is God poor?  He whose city streets are paved with gold, cannot He give us not spoonfuls only, of the dust of these streets, but handfuls too?  I love the symbol of those streets - gold underfoot, just where it should be.
So long as the word is in the Bible, "It is NOT the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish," so long surely must we continue to save children, 
and therefore we shall have gold enough to save them.

In summary, I don't believe God would give me competing desires.  But I do believe God's heart is for His children, and He wants to provide in a way that will bring glory to Him.  I just don't think a loan accomplishes that goal.  For one, He has provided my husband and I with creative abilities, and I think using those to do fundraising will be a great start.  So look out friends, we're headed on a wild ride!


Andrew said...

Doing the wrong thing (getting into debt, which the Bible clearly teaches is bad for you) is a great way to do the right thing (help needy kids). Also, using God's promises of provision as an excuse for getting into debt would make about as much sense as using 1 Corinthians 7 as an excuse for marrying a non-Christian. Which is to say, I'm sure there are lots of people who do it. :)

Andrew said...

Wow, "not a great way".

The Professor's Wife said...

Congratulations on being debt free! How wonderful!

I think you totally have the right perspective Jessie. We have a burning desire to get out of debt too, in order to save for adoption, but unfortunately we got ourselves into way too much student loan debt in college and seminary (over 22K still left!), so it will likely take us several years to pay that off, and then several more to be able to save for adoption. (This is my biggest hesitation about quitting work actually, but if I don't get better so I can take care of my kids, then working would be a useless endeavor!) But, like Russel Moore talked about in his book, Jacob worked for Rachel for 14 years, and I'm sure it won't take us, or you guys, that long.

Every vacation we don't go on, every meal made from scratch, will seem worth it when we are able to hold that baby who needed a home in our arms. I'm sure that you will feel the same way. And keep praying for God to provide - I'm sure that He will, in small and big ways, but sometimes He makes us wait, even when we want very good things. I know, believe me I KNOW!, it hurts horribly, but God will honor your patience and hard work, and may miraculously provide earlier than you expect!

The Professor's Wife said...

And I really would love to work together with you on starting a home business - it could help us both out with our adoption goals!

Michelle said...

Jessie, you are such an inspiration to me and my hubby! We have several thousand in student loan debt, and we just got a new car with a loan. At the beginning of this year, we made the decision to be smart with our money and give first, save second, pay bills and loans third and be extra careful with the rest. it has been difficult, but knowing that someone else is doing/has done it is such an encouragement and makes me feel like it's actually possible. Praying that the adoption thing comes in God's timing and that He gives you both strength until that day comes. love you!!

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