Tagged: fundraising

First World Manna in the 21st Century: A Wife’s Perspective on the Support Raising Journey

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Raise your support in 100 days!

We came out of the training ready, expectant.  The promise (ok, my heart twisted it into a promise) made me excited.  “We’ll go through half of our savings and still feel like we’re “trusting God” while maintaining a position of control.  Yes, Lord, I want my faith to grow!  No, Lord, I don’t want to go “too far” with this test.  Don’t lead me to the point of true surrender, the point where I don’t know where the next day’s manna is going to come from.”  Maybe I wasn’t saying (or thinking) these words exactly, but it is where my heart was.  It was exposed on day 1.

Right after David retired from the fire department, we got his “cash out” check and it was half of what we expected.  He called and after hearing the department’s reasoning, he answered everything calmly with “Well, this is very disappointing…very disappointing…”   Meanwhile, I was on the opposite couch and gauging from the conversation and his body language, I knew.  I didn’t know whether to scream or cry.  When he got off the phone, I was angry with him, that he wasn’t more mad on the phone (Christian wife A+).  They needed to know how much this hurt us.  They needed to know that our well-being, our very manna, was at stake.  Or so I perceived.  David responded calmly, “God knew this would happen, this is not a surprise to him.”  Back to the drawing board – we would have to do this in shorter time than we thought.

Again, on day 100, I got angry and…scared.  First, the anger.  What started as a gentle nudge, “David, how many people have you called today? Who is your accountability partner?” turned into endless questions dominating my mind’s space.  I couldn’t sleep.  And for those of you that know me, I sleep.  A lot.  I was consumed.  His answers, however incomplete, gave me some sense of control.  “If he contacts 10 people every day, and 50% of those return his call, and 50% of those support us, we’ll be done in 2.5 months!”  I couldn’t stop my heart’s own madness.  I had never struggled with anxiety more than a fleeting thought, and here I was – drowning in it.

Then, the promise in the midst of the testing.

For you, O God, have tested us;

you have tried us as silver is tried.

11  You brought us into the net;

you laid a crushing burden on our backs;

12  you let men ride over our heads;

we went through fire and through water;

yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

The day I read this, my heart changed.  I had something to cling to.  I had been praying for a promise and this one leapt off the page.
First, the psalmist recognizes God, God that is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love to his people, as the one actively testing.  He is not passively sitting and watching.  He has not been defeated.  His voice is tender: “I know this hurts, but good will come.  Hold on.”  Listen to the psalmist:  “YOU brought us into the net; YOU laid a crushing burden on our backs; YOU let men ride over our heads.”  My God, my Father, the lover of my soul is in control.  His purposes have to prevail.
Second, God brought through the testing to a place of abundance (also translated ‘relief’)!  And although His abundance may not equate to my financial prosperity, His abundance is good and worth enduring for.
And then, another:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Seek first the kingdom of God, don’t be primarily concerned with manna!  Every time I was faced with a tempting thought to withhold generosity: to cancel our monthly charitable giving, to make the woman we were ministering to day and night pay for her own meals, to stay at our free apartment even though we didn’t have time to do the ministry that came with it…again, “Seek first…” echoed in my mind and heart.  Give it up, give it all up for His kingdom.  He will take care of you.

So here we sit, in His abundance.  He has increased my trust in ways that a quick 100 Day stint wouldn’t have.  Financially, He has sustained us, and even prospered us in ways that words cannot adequately capture.  He has involved His children in His heart to restore the nations of the world to Himself.  He has helped me recognize my weakness without His intervention.
He has fed us manna.
Now, with great joy I can declare, alongside the psalmist: “He has laid a crushing burden on our backs…yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance!”

Fundraising in Ministry: Airing the Dirty Laundry (Pt. I)

ImageI don’t remember, but maybe I was experiencing some type of gluten-induced coma that day.

It went something like this:

“God, the time is here!  We are both getting to do what we love, and I cannot wait to fundraise.  Ok, so maybe we thought it would look a little different…with us going overseas to save orphans and all.  But, you have been preparing us for this for the last several years.  You have come through for us in big ways!  I know I will experience you in ways that I couldn’t in any other way.  And that will trump every difficulty along the way.  I will be so in awe of you, that my afflictions will seem light and momentary!  So, let’s do it!  This is an adventure…and I love adventures!  I know there will be up’s and down’s, but knowing you will make it all worth it!”

Light and momentary.  You can’t fault me for trying to be Biblical.  But honestly, the ‘afflictions’ (3rd world problems) have been more so…’heavy and seemingly endless.’

The funny thing is, I’m not an ‘overly optimistic’ personality.  I think I’ve just been given a courageous personality in a lot of ways…for better or for worse.  A lot of times, when I read the Bible, I’m convinced that this is actually who God is and what He promises (I thought that was normal for everyone, but have since learned that its not).  And I have taken plenty of these type of scary steps before.  Steps into the unknown.  But in a momentary lapse of judgment, it was as if I forgot all the struggle, all the pain, all the fighting with God, all the prayer, all the sleepless nights…that came with the other scary steps.  Confident in my own wisdom, I convinced myself that God would make Himself glorious by stacking the odds against us, and then showing up big time.  I thought we would be some freaky type of modern day George Mueller, praying secretly in the closet for funds to arrive…and they just…would.  I was wrong.

There is a little something in me that has wanted to “hold off” on writing this series until I was in a better (more ‘spiritual’) place with this season.  Everything in me knows that I will probably laugh at some of my heavy burdens once it is all over (like today’s antics leaving me stranded in Plano with nothing but a 1/8 Camel Bak of water and 3-$100 bills, don’t ask).  But, I think what all of us need most is someone to be courageous enough to be honest.  Really honest.

Honesty forges gaps that nothing else can.  There is something so beautiful about raw honesty.  It reminds us that we are not crazy, and we’re not alone.  I wish I would have read some type of testimony (other than George Mueller’s…note to self, don’t read crazy “best case scenario” versions of what you’re about to go through!) of a woman that has walked this road before me.  When I said that to David, he gently reminded me that testimonies were, in fact, part of the assigned reading for our fundraising bootcamp.  Oops.  Something tells me that they’re not putting stories like mine in those books, though.  Because if they did, I doubt anyone would willingly quit their job and choose to “trust GOD!!” (insert cheerleading stunt off of the living room couch here)  So, this is my non-bestselling version of some things you might expect (or may already be experiencing – God have mercy on your soul!).  Stay tuned.  And for the love of God, pass this along to those that are in this season, or will be in this season in the near future (or any future, for that matter).  I’m on a mission to kill the false pretenses about what you’ll face and get to the nitty gritty, the good, bad and the ugly.

Glad you’re along for the ride.