The setting is our kitchen table. Across from us sits a well dressed financial advisor. He is surrounded by stacks of crisp white paper, official looking documents, and spiral bound booklets that are going to help us to put our budget in order and plan for our future. All of the financial decisions that we have made over the past 29 years, the good ones and the not so good ones, are laid out before the eyes of a complete stranger.
It’s humbling. Overwhelming. Sobering.
There are certain settings in life that put you in a position where you find yourself feeling your most vulnerable. Such as…
- Sitting in a doctor’s office wearing one of those paper gowns that open in the back
- Being in labor
- Giving birth
- Getting your hair cut and colored
- …and sitting at the table with a financial advisor as he looks over all of the financial decisions that you have made over the past 29 years!
The season of life we find ourselves in is a bit surreal. We have been so busy living life, raising our kids, being a part of an amazing ministry, and trusting God to provide for all of our needs, that sitting down and planning in this way never really crossed our minds. We sometimes tend to feel like we are still “young” but then our 27 year old, or our 24 year old, walk through the room and we are reminded that we are at a point in life where we need to be thinking about life quite differently.
As we talk about our future and the standard of living we want to live, I am so very grateful for what God has been teaching us. For years we have been “forced” to live simply because of the job my husband had, where we lived, and the amount of money we have made. For the most part, I have been okay with the way we have lived. I knew what we were called to and adjusted to that. I suppose we were minimalists before it was cool to be a minimalist! It was a God ordained calling!
As we look ahead into what is considered to be “the second half” of our lives, we don’t want our standard of living to change. We want to continue to live simply. We want to use our money wisely and in a way that will further God’s kingdom. What that will look like is yet to be seen, but we are planning with that in mind.
The other night I walked into our bedroom and found my husband sitting at his desk. In front of him was an open wallet and two watches. I stood there next to him. Silent. Staring at the bag that the hospital had given him. His father’s “personal effects”. What was left in the room when he passed away. A few dollars, some business cards, and a couple of credit cards. Two watches. There they sat. Another reminder that he is gone.
The reality is that he has left so much more than that. He left a legacy of being wise with his money and generous with all that he had been given. “I want to help!” He used to say. “God has been so good to me!”
The way that God has led us to live over the past 29 years and the example of my husbands parents, have culminated into our adopting a philosophy of life that we hope to implement for the rest of the time we have here on this earth:
Live simply. Bless others.
Oh, sure! There are things we want to do. Trips we might want to take. Things we might want to purchase. But since we have recently walked through the deaths of both of my husband’s parents, we are even more aware of the legacy we want to leave behind. We don’t want our children to have to sift through a mess that we’ve left. Anything that we have been given, we want to hold on to loosely, invest wisely, and allow it to be used for God’s glory…for generations to come.
Our goal is to follow in the footprints of my in-laws. We want the voice that echoes in our children and grandchildren’s ears, long after we are gone, to be one that says, “I want to help! God has been so good to us!”
The reality of the season of life we are in, and what that means, can be humbling. Overwhelming. Sobering. But we are so grateful that we have the opportunity to evaluate and set up a plan, so that we can finish well.
Live simply. Bless others.
“Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.” Proverb 15:16
“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6