Chapter 7: Money Matters

This chapter really gets at the ways that husbands and wives communicate about finances. It sparked very interesting …. conversation… in our class. The writer details three developmental stages for money management: financial child, financial adolescent and financial adult. There was a lot of discussion about the pressure on the spouse who does the finances if the other person chooses to turn a deaf ear or be totally uninvolved. You really ought to read this chapter! As always, it is important that we look at our own behaviors rather than our spouses. And how difficult is that!

This chapter is basically a workbook that helps couples understand their own identities regarding finances and to come into agreement about the way money is handled. Amos 3:3 says “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” Since many couples never come into agreement (or even discuss) the ways they are going to use money, is there any wonder that finances is one of the greatest stumbling blocks in marriage?? As a person who has been married for over 26 years and part of a couple for whom finances have been a major battle ground, I can tell you that it is critical that we stop letting the enemy have even a toe-hole! We honor God with respective and thoughtful use of our finances. And that takes BOTH partners and requires that both move into financial adulthood.

What does finances have to do with intimacy, you ask? I’m glad you did. It has everything to do with intimacy. How can you expect to have soul intimacy (including physical intimacy) when the lack of agreement about finances may be the cause of pain, anxiety, fear, and frustration? We learned early in this study that we start our journey to intimacy with a strong relationship with God. God is just as interested in how we use our money as God is about how we use our bodies. If you don’t believe me, count the numbers of time money is mentioned in the scriptures!

God bless.

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Pain- Another lesson

Hello,

I have had new reasons to thank God for his provision. On Tuesday afternoon I had foot surgery. Naturally, I was told not to eat after midnight the night before. Sam’s Club became a classroom in the suffering of others as I walked up and down aisles filled with people offering samples of delectable foods that I had to decline. It occurred to me that every day poor children go to school and are forced to smell food they cannot buy. Not being able to eat was a matter of choice for me – a choice that millions of Americans do not have every day. Lesson number one! The surgery went just fine but since I’ve always been pretty healthy I underestimated just what kind of recovery I would need for the surgery. In my mind I would have surgery on Tuesday afternoon and by Friday morning I’d be feeling as right as rain. I would be working in my office and taking care of all of the things I needed to attend to. I didn’t count on the foot continuing to be swollen or running a fever. Even though I am in pain and not feeling a 100% I still can reasonably expect to fully heal. Riding through our home in a wheelchair is an inconvenience. The crutches are not likely to be a permanent part of my attire.  Lesson two. Every day I see people for whom the wheel chair is a permanent part of their lives. Their pain is not fleeting. The frustration of not being able to do things on your own is part of their daily routine. I need to be careful about how I frame my own experience in light of the suffering in this world. One of my colleagues, Sister Alice Ann, gave me sage advice a couple weeks ago when I was belly aching to her about the additional surgery the doctor wanted me to have. She reminded me that I could offer my suffering to God, that my temporary suffering could draw my attention to others for whom suffering is on-going.

So, in the midst of this healing (for which having surgery, buying over-priced medicines etc is in itself a major privilege) I thank God for helping me to see beyond my own immediate needs and cares. God is awesome.

Thank you

I had the most phenomenal weekend. On Friday night I was honored to perform the marriage ceremony for a young woman who once was my student and who lived with us her senior year at UD. Our Betsey married a wonderful man and a terrific 10 year old son! We had a great ceremony that created, not just a marriage, but a family! God is so awesome. On Saturday morning many former Ebony Heritage Singers returned to sing under my direction again. The beautiful voices! The wonderful people. Saturday evening my family hosted a birthday bash and 150 (if not more) people filled our home to help us celebrate. Jonathan wrote a beautiful song which he performed and Jamie created a great slide show of photos. I was surrounded by people who love me. Yesterday, we performed a spectacular concert for people who have been so supportive of my work and the Ebony Heritage Singers. We sang many of my favorite EHS songs from over the past 15 years and it was beautiful. Family and former students came from all over the place.  As I ended the night writing in my prayer/gratitude journal, I asked God to remind me of this weekend the next time I have a pity party and especially the next time the enemy tries to convince me that I don’t matter!  Satan is a liar! Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate in ways great and small.  I am blessed beyond measure!

To get a copy of the concert recording, contact Soundwaves at Mail@soundwaves.org.  Tell them University of Dayton Ebony Heritage Singers Concert, April 6, 2008. They will bill you!

Happy Birthday and Thank You

Today is my 50th birthday! Where did the time go? It seems as if only yesterday I was a college student, then a graduate student. A short time ago I was a younger, slimmer wife and mother of two darling toddlers. When did my toddlers become adults, one finishing a masters degree and the other a young mother, herself? When did the face that looks back at me start to not match the vision of the face I carry in my mind? Little Donna

This morning as I had my quiet time I thought about the fact that I have reached 50 years of age- three times the age my birth mother was when she died.

PeggyPeggy died suddenly and unexplicably when she was not quite 16 years old, carrying my brother or sister with her to heaven. I wonder what she thinks when she and my heavenly sibling see her baby girl at this point in my life. I know she’s always been there, watching from her place on the other side but I wonder what she sees and thinks. She didn’t get a chance to help me grow. She was not here to protect me when I needed it. She wasn’t here to dry tears, wipe skinned knees, cheer when I sang my first solo, puff her chest out when I received my degrees. She didn’t get to punish me for being disobedient, to teach me how to be a lady. She hasn’t been here to hear any sermons I’ve preached or concerts I’ve conducted. Yet, believing God is sovereign, I know she did just what was her task to do. Peggy’s job was to live those short years, to bless those few who even remember her and to give birth to me. If that sounds narcissistic it is not meant to be so. God had a purpose for my life, one that is constantly being revealed (especially when I get myself out of the way). God chose Peggy as the one who would bring me into this world. Through her life, and even through her death and the ensuing years, God has been shaping this vessel for God’s holy purpose. Would I have chosen a different path? Certainly. Would I have wanted Peggy to live? Absolutely. I am just now coming to the point of really appreciating her and being grateful instead of angry that she died and left me alone. She didn’t choose that path either. From the little bit I’ve gleaned about Peggy, she loved her little girl (me).

So, on this 50th birthday, I give honor to the mother I never knew. Thank you Peggy for giving me life. Thank you Peggy for whatever you had to go through as a young mother, a girl really, since you were so very young when you conceived me. Thank you for being an angel encamped about me. Tell my brother or sister hello. I love you.

Your little girl!

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