A $5 Wallet
Glynnis Whitwer

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2 (NIV)

“Wouldn’t it be weird if someone only had $5, then bought a $5 wallet?”

My 11-year-old son Robbie laughed at his own wit, as he related this latest pearl of wisdom. After passing along that gem of insight, he ran off to play. I considered his words, and the idea of someone spending their last dime on something, only to be unable to use it properly.

What started out as a humorous observation became a haunting question for me over the next few weeks. I knew God had a message in it for me, and one day I got it! I was that woman who bought a $5 wallet with her last $5. Only it wasn’t money spent on a wallet. It was my life!

A woman who spends all her money is living with no margin for financial emergencies. She doesn’t even have money for necessities. However, my problem wasn’t monetary. It was my schedule. I had invested so much of my time in “good” activities that I had no margin in my days or my life for any emergency, let alone all the things I had to do. My overloaded schedule left me drained and empty, both emotionally and relationally.

The year 2006 was a challenging one for me. My husband’s consulting business was growing, which left me assuming most of the household responsibilities. Plus our two adopted daughters consumed so much of my time. Add to that the needs of our other three children, the blessings of my own work, volunteer roles, writing and speaking, and I knew I was on overload. There was simply no margin in my life. Christmas was the final straw when I barely got the tree up and then left it sparsely decorated.

So I started praying and asking the Lord to reveal the things that needed to be dropped. A few things were easy and obvious and those went quickly. I had to ask for help in a few areas of my life, and am learning to accept things done around the house in ways different from mine. I’m still praying because there’s more to be pruned. The last options are big and I need to be sure of the Lord’s direction before I eliminate something based on my frustration rather than the Lord’s leading.

My son’s innocent comment has become a profound guiding principle in my life. I don’t want to be the woman with a beautiful wallet that is empty on the inside. I know Jesus came to give me an abundant life, but that meant spiritually, not an over-flowing to-do list.

In 2007, I think I’ll keep that “$5” and forgo the “wallet.” I’d rather have the margin (and the spiritual, emotional and relational health that comes with it) than more great opportunities.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the wonderful blessings You have given me. I thank You for my church, ministry opportunities, my job, family and for health. Help me to align my priorities every day with Yours, and to make decisions that bring honor and glory to You through how I live my life. Please show me what I need to prune in order to create more margin in my schedule. I want to give You all the glory through my obedience. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
When You're Running on Empty, Hope and Help for the Over-Scheduled Woman
by Cindi McMenamin

P31 Woman Magazine

Application Steps:

Consider if your schedule is overcrowded. Ask God to reveal one responsibility that can be delegated or released. Then act upon His answer.

What does having margin in our schedules really mean?

Why would God want us to have more flexible time?

What relationships/commitments take the most time in your life? Are these at the top of your priority list?

What is one thing you know God is asking you to do, but you haven’t done yet?

Why haven’t you done this?

Power Verses:
John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NAS)

Isaiah 26:3, “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” (TEV)

Ephesians 5:17, “Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.” (MSG)

P.S. We wanted to let you know that Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, will be on the Oprah Winfrey TV show this Monday, January 29th to share the amazing story of adopting her two sons from war-torn Liberia, Africa.

Please join us as we pray that Oprah and her millions of viewers will see God’s hand in Lysa’s story; that seeds will be planted and His mighty Kingdom will increase; and that, above all, God will be glorified!

If you would like more information on adopting children in Africa, please visit www.acfinet.org. Or, if you are interested in helping children in Africa through sponsorship, Proverbs 31 Ministries has partnered with Compassion International and supports their humanitarian efforts in Africa and other areas of the world. For more information on sponsorship, visit Compassion International.

We treasure your friendship and prayers!

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Blogger momsmusings said...

I just found your blog and I think it is awesome. This post really made me think about what I choose to do with my life. It has been a year, so far, of learning to let go of certain things that are holding me back, so this was refreshing! I will be back!

Blogger dreamingBIGdreams said...

I have loved that I have found your blog. I also watched Oprah today and must say that you did an incredible job of representing GOD and the adoption world. My husband and I have adopted one son (domestic) and have one bio son and know that we will adopt again someday. Your story inspired me and encouraged me on our journey.

I thoroughly enjoyed your blog/devotional. It is so easy to get overwhelmed and wrapped up with all the "To Do's" to miss out on the very important things in life and the blessings as well. I know with being a working mother of three young children I get very overwhelmed and frazzled quite often. However, I do know that God gives me the peace I need, restores me and lets me know the things I need to let go of and how to prioritize my life. We get comfortable in our "own routine" and it is scary to let go of certain things but by faith we know God's routine is much better even when we don't understand. I'm struggling with some time managment issues so this post made me think. I also watched Oprah today by chance and was very impressed with you Lysa as well as the other families that took the "giant leap of faith". I will pray for your family as well as the others. You are definitely an inspiration and God is using you in a mighty way.

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Hi Friends,
I couldn't believe how much airtime Oprah wound up giving us and how they let the story be about God. I'm thankful.

Three and a half years ago, when we decided to adopt the boys, I thought it would mean the end of my ministry here at P31. I tried to make peace with that but it was a struggle. There were days I wanted to walk away from this adoption-calling God placed before us. Being obedient to God didn't make sense on paper. It wasn't like we had all this extra time, money, energy and white space in our life. It wasn't convenient. But I knew God had placed a deep desire for Him in my heart and a longing to be obedient no matter the cost. So, we said yes.

At the time, my friends and family did think I was nuts! And to be honest, I remember laying my head on my pillow at night thinking I am nuts! But I also knew that obedience to God was the only way to peace and real joy...so Art and I held our breath, prayed,
and jumped. We landed in the middle of an entire community of our friends who said yes with us.
What a gift to be able to do life together with others experiencing the same joys, struggles, and opportunities as us.

And it wasn't the end of ministry for me at all. I just kept putting one foot in front of another and the path led me to things that would have never happened had I tried to write my own story.

I picture God smiling and saying, "Obedience can sometimes be hard but I will sprinkle lots of fun in as well."

I am more convinced than ever that obeying God is the shortest route to God richest blessings.

Sweet Blessings ~ Lysa

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