Monday, May 24, 2010

MAKING SACRIFICES

My hubby gets a little nervous when I come home from work talking about this topic! God has been working in my heart and challenging me to think seriously about what I can give up in order to care for the least of these, in order to help fund our adoption, and in order to become less like a 'consumer'.

I heard my boss say recently - 'If your child was kidnapped and the kidnapper was asking for a $30,000 ransom... what would you do? Would you sit around and think about whether or not you should sell your car? I don't think so... we'd re-mortgage the house, sell the cars, do anything we had to do to bring our child home. Well, if God sovereignly and divinely chose a child for our family, then why aren't we doing just that?'

I came across 2 blog postings recently as well - Andrea over at Babe of My Heart challenged us to 'live more for the kingdom, live more for others'. Amy over at Building the Blocks challenged us to think about just how important adoption is to God. I LOVE that although I've never met either of these ladies, God joins our hearts and crosses our paths for His purposes!

So dear friends, SHARE WITH ME some ways that you have made sacrifices to fulfill His purposes in your life. Maybe it was staying home with your children. Maybe it was a job change. Maybe it was to care for someone in need. Can't wait to hear what the Lord is doing in your life!

15 comments:

  1. hmmm..We live very frugally. Most of our clothes are from Goodwill, yardsales, or clearance racks. We hardly ever go out to eat. There are times when I wish we could do (fill in the blank) but when I compare it to adopting, supporting missions, and staying at home and homeschooing my kids...it never comes out on top.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where do I even begin? We have learned it is more important for Colin to enjoy the work he's doing than working for more money. Work is half of your waking life! Its not worth chasing $$ if you come home grouchy every day. And now that I stay hom, our family motto is: "Lynette is not going back to work for ____". So sometimes the blank is filled in with things like "toilet paper that doesn't feel like sandpaper" or "name brand food" or "the extra $.50 it takes to run the clothes dryer today". Being cheap is not convenient. It takes a lot of time and effort. But we do everything together- the girls help in the garden and help hang the clothes on the line. We garage sale together even though its not very much fun with a 1 year old. We talk about what we need and what we don't need. And every day we thank our good and gracious God for meeting our needs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just love your heart my friend. Thank you for being just the way you are. :0)
    I have found that the simple (and cheap) things in life are the most fun. A picnic at the park, feeding the ducks and running through the sprinkler. We have learned to go without all the extra 'stuff' that most people think they cannot live without. Clutter= stress anyway. ;0) I cut everyone's hair, work out on my own without paying a health club, we have a garden, love garage sales and learn to say NO. :0) We keep meals simple and rarely eat out. If we are missing out on the good stuff we have yet to figure it anyway. LOL
    Praying for you daily!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Christi - I love your heart!!! So, I agree with Amy - the cheap fun things are the most fun, and often make the most memories!! our big splurge every year is joining our local beach for around 90 dollars - it provides three months of outside fun, gets the kids exercise and gets us out of the house (you will see why we need to do that down below:)! One of the big things that we did in the past two years was meal sharing (four families - each make four whatever's, swap, and then eat leftovers the other three nights!). This saved us at least 50 a month, and saved me from the witching time food struggle! I also cut all my boys hair (including my husband's), we do not belong to a health club, we eat out maybe once a month, we do not use the air conditioner unless it is 88+ in the house, or the heater until it is 58. (I know that that sounds crazy to most, but it saves us thousands a year, we just layer on the clothes in the winter or live in the blow-up kiddie pools in the summer, and when I lived in Yemen, nicaragua, and costa rica- I survived, and we did not have heat or AC!!) just a few thoughts! I quit work when we moved to NY, and now I only work two shifts a month (I am a nurse) and that pays for the boys to go to a christian school. Lately - we have been talking with the kids a bunch about needs and wants, and that has also helped Eric and I to put things in perspective!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is a great example of why the money doesn't matter. I don't understand why that's so hard to grasp. There are people out there who actually disapprove because of the financial aspect (fortunately they aren't people who's opinions matter to me, but in the end isn't it only HIS opinion that matters anyway?). Anyway, in order to fund our adoption (so far, we have a ways to go yet) we pulled my 401k, sold our car (to an Ethiopian couple, funny enough!), and downsized our SUV to a sedan. I am also a SAHM and we both stand firm on that decision even when things are tough. Thank you for sharing your heart!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This year for our 10 year anniversary, instead of going to hawaii or on a vacation together, we are saving to go to Uganda. We are so excited to get back to Africa and be a tangible help to people in need. I hear people say all the time that they 'can't' help, but there's a difference between need and want, and many times I feel like, in our pre-adoption life, we spent money on wants, not on needs--eating out, entertainment, new gadgets. I think about all the money I've dumped into Starbucks from the ages of 20-29 and I'm ashamed, really. I was sipping on coffee while children were dying of hunger. When we started asking the question, "Is this a NEED or a WANT?" it changed everything.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amy--I agree with Becca and Amy--you have an amazing heart!!! I thank God for all you wonderful ladies!! Well, let me tell you...living in Southern California on ONE TEACHERS's income is not easy, but we do it because we know that it is what God desires and it's what's best for our children. Needless to say, we live with the bare minimum. No cell phones, no TV service, free wireless internet...no subscriptions to ANYTHING! And far as I can tell, it actually frees up my time TREMENDOUSLY not to be a slave to my phone or TV. My kids NEVER complain of boredo. We have monthly family movie nights at home, play board games (which I can do without, but the kids love :T ), we read A LOT, and go to parks, storytime at the library, public beaches, the mountains, free museums and the list goes on and on. Our goal is always to try to stay free of debt which saves money. The only debt we have is our mortgage and the cash-out/refinance we did from it to fund our adoption. But we found that God ALWAYS provides, just what we need, not more, not less. I've truly seen this in these past few years with having children and me not working. I think as long as our hearts are for God's glory and we pray, pray, pray...we have nothing to fear, especially when it comes to things like finances. =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post!!! We have always lived frugally, so as to give as much as we can, and have found that the Lord has always provided above and beyond what we need! In the middle of our adoption journey my husband was laid off from his job (and I am a stay-at-home mom), and we were so thankful for having learned early on to live on less - we were able to complete our adoption with NO debt (except for our house mortgage, which we had already). Here are some of the things we do:

    Have a $125 monthly grocery/household expenses budget - it can be tough, but we do it. (Before Bete came home, our monthly household budget was $100, the $125 is for a family of 4)

    Go re-usable with whatever we can - this means cloth napkins, cloth 'paper-towels', cloth menstrual pads, family cloth (yes, that is cloth toilet paper - google it, lots of people are doing it!) :)

    We turn off lights we aren't using, unplug electronic things that are not in use, take quick showers, have our own garden, hang our clothes to dry, only have one car (purchased used), say NO a lot to things we want but don't need, rarely ever eat out, never buy drinks in restaurants/coffee shops (water is free and better for you!), we have internet service, but it has to pay for itself (I sell something on line once a month to pay for it), we have credit cards with rebate points and only use them for gas and groceries(which are on set budgets) - every once in a blue moon, we redeem our points for a gift card or cash, instead of buying/renting books or movies we use the library (inter-library loans for things our system doesn't have), go to free concerts, story times at library, garage sale for things we need, never buy ANYTHING unless it is on sale, generate very little garbage so don't need garbage service, buy our food from local farms,etc and make most things from scratch, cut down on meat and eat beans/lentils and rice and oatmeal, a lot. :)

    Barter!! We love trading skills we have or things we don't need with other people who have skills that we could use or things we do need!

    We have a $80 per year family clothing budget, which is a fun challenge to keep. We buy clothes at garage sales and thrift stores and have occasionally participated in clothing swaps. When I garage sale, I also keep my eyes open for clothes or shoes that I know are really good brands/quality, but might not fit someone in our family, and then sell them on Ebay or Craigslist - in doing this, I have actually come out below our clothing budget most years, and have diapered and dressed our girls completely for free.

    Before buying anything we ask "do we want it or do we need it?" And we've found we need a lot less than we thought! And if I find myself thinking "should I buy this??" I probably shouldn't!

    There are a few of the things we have done to free up money for things with more eternal value. :) Like our Ethiopian Princess! Sorry for such a long comment!!! :) We find we value what we have more and special treats are a lot more special than they have ever been before!!!

    Many of the things I mentioned above - I thought they were going to be sacrifices or hard, or in some cases,gross! But they have not been any of these!!! :)

    Blessings,

    Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  9. Someone just said to me today, "That's so awesome that you're ABLE to adopt... There are so many people that wish they could do that but just can't afford it." I just smiled and said, "I'm not sure how we do it, but we make it work!" I wanted to say, "Well, I'm going to be a stay-at-home-mom and my husband is a full time Ph.D. student and we are able to do our adoption on our budget, so if you really want to, you CAN adopt!" But I was afraid it may come out a bit too snooty in the heat of the moment so I just bit my tongue. Plus it was a stranger in the grocery store... (Why is it that these things always seem to happen in the grocery store?!)

    Anyway, all that to say, it IS about sacrifice and planning and being good stewards of what the Lord has given you! Do Matt and I eat out a lot? No! Hardly ever! Do we go to see movies as soon as they come out? No! Are those kinds of small sacrifices worth bringing our baby home? YES, A MILLION TIMES OVER! For us it's about the little things like that. It's about living within your means and staying out of debt! It's extremely important to us that I be able to stay home with our children, so even while I was working, we only lived on Matt's income and put mine into savings. That way the habit is already there and not as much of a shock when I quit working...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I buy NOTHING for myself ever...I don't shop, use babysitters, mother's day outs, hired help etc...I still probably spend too much on the kids (still working on that one :) but I feel we're pretty cheap most of the time...well, atleast compared to all those around me :) To adopt again, i'd give up anythng...Now that i know the LOVE I feel for LL...I give up anything to come up with the money to adopt again...kj

    ReplyDelete
  11. Christi God has truly given you a heart of His own!!! Josh and I are adoptive parents of 2 little boys with special needs. We have sacrificed many things in this process but we wouldn't change it for the world. We can't wait to adopt again!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post...great question. We ALL could live on a much tighter budget. I am embarrassed to see Sarah's clothing budget and food budget. We all waste too much.

    When we were trying to come up with $10,000 to cover our referral so many people gave so much. We even had some very dear friends sell their stuff to give toward our children coming home. It was humbling to say the least.

    We buy thrift clothes. Don't eat out. Don't buy toys and junk that we don't need. Set our air and heat on extreme numbers.

    But I think the best thing we should do is sell our stuff and give to the poor. Isn't that what the word of God challenges us to do?

    cris

    ReplyDelete
  13. Christi,
    I saw your post the other day on the AGCI listserve and I've been wanting to share.....

    First of all, let me say by feeling called to adopt, God will provide. Yes, that might mean hubby brown bagging to work, planning a budget (Financial Peace envelope system),and extra side work.BUT, for those he calls, he will equip. That means everything including money.

    I just resigned my teaching position at one of the best schools in our county. I had been reassigned 3rd grade....I'd always wanted to teach 3rd grade and couldn't wait. However, as I began to plan with that team of teachers, I felt God prick my heart and tell me it's time for me to go home. We are in the "waiting" stage right now and it may be several months.I know He's wanting me to sew into our new son/daughter/both from Ethiopia the way I sewed into my 11 and 9 year old. When they were little, I stayed home. I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!! Yes, the neighbors were upsizing, buying new cars,and people would say, Wow! You are so lucky. I wish I could stay home. Now, they say the same thing about adoption....Funny how that is. I really believe in my heart that God will provide in amazing ways when we step out in obedience. Sometimes it is harder to obey when you've been living on two incomes b/c you know what that feels like. Stepping out is scary, but that's what faith is all about. I believe staying home with your children is a huge priority. No one can love and teach your child like you. It is worth it. I've also found thankfulness a key in this journey. I'm still working on having a thankful heart in the small things...like each $20 donation, each time God provides side work for my husband, my insurance coverage lasting through the summer, that I can be available now to take my son to his middle school cross country meets and sit there fully engaged....not stressed or thinking about teaching strategies for the upcoming week.....

    Sometimes it's a choice between what's good and what's God's best. I'm typing this for myself right now as I need a daily reminder. I wish you and your husband the best in your journey and I can't wait to see how God proves himself faithful to you. It is exciting!!

    p.s. I think we're really close to you on the waitlist....

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, lady, it doesn't look like you need any MORE ideas.... but I was challenged last fall by Crazy Love by Francis Chan who had referred to the scripture - "love your neighbor as yourself". What does that mean? Well, since we are $$ people (true, even if I don't want to believe it) I put it in dollar terms. At Christmas we made the decision to get two gifts for each child - not big gifts - modest gifts. Like chinese checkers for Q. And I bought everything online - avoiding the stress of stores and the compulsion to see and "need" something on some shelf. Then, what we did was for every dollar we spent on gifts we spent on others. So, for example if we wanted to buy a 100.00 gift but couldn't afford 200.00 (the second 100.00 for someone in need) then we couldn't afford the 100.00 gift. And we gaged it all from there. It was the first time we gave dollar for dollar to those in need as we had spent on our own family. It was good and it's not exactly frugal living - it's a little step in loving others as we love ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Christi and Dan:
    I am so moved by reading all of these posts. I have been praying about how to best contribute to my new (niece(s)/nephew(s) hAhA and will continue to do so. As you know, I got my hip replaced this spring and because of that I have been concerned about doing my own garden without extra help from our busy boys....I am just going to do it now because a garden with weeds still produces food. Also, when our boys were young we started them with garage saleing on their own budget. They would get 4 quarters which is a big deal to a 2 year old. They learned early on that was all they got and they could use it how they chose to but it too would run out and you cant count on a buyers remorse return to customer service. I am going to go back to ways that I used to be good at and pinch more and more. Thank you for the challanges from all of these posts. Here locally we have a "food share" program that goes to the VFW monthly and you pay around $30 for approx 2 weeks of food. Fresh fruits and veggies as well as meats. It is really worth it. Also I used to be part of a meal share program as someone mentioned in a previous post. We each would make enough of a meal for 6 families....I know it sounds like a lot....and then we would meet and 'swap' meals in reusable containers. Most meals were good to go in the freezer and sometimes they needed consumed in a week or so. Either way you would go home with as many dishes as you brought. It really was a great time and energy (bill) saver and was great fellowship to have a dessert at the exchange.
    ALWAYS PRAYING
    Heidi

    ReplyDelete