Friday, February 17, 2012

1 Timothy 5:8

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

On Preparation and Attachment

Preparation is important. The Bible tells us so, clearly. It is up to us to prepare and to provide for our own house. But the verse also says to "provide for his own." Who are "his own?" That's a question that I think each person has to answer in front of the Lord for himself.

We prepared, we diligently put aside money for savings, trying to live within our means, trying to provide for others around us as well. For us, "his own" was anyone in our small group, our homeschool group, or Layne's office. We put aside monies, we tried to help wherever we could. Sometimes it was money for medical expenses, sometimes it was Christmas gifts left on a porch all wrapped--on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, it was a ticket to Promisekeepers or Dare2Share.

We prepared for our family, or we thought we had. We were both covered with life insurance. We assumed we had ENOUGH life insurance. We had savings for emergencies. However, we had no idea how large the bills from a medical emergency could be. We assumed (wrongly) that our health insurance would take care of us. We had the best plan available--of course they would keep up their end of the bargain if we paid premiums, right?

Now, let's talk attachment. I'm not talking about the attachment you have to your wife, or your children...I'm talking having your accounts attached by an outside source. For instance, the IRS or a hospital.

They don't do that to widows and widowers, do they? Yes, they do. In a community property state, your spouse's debts are your debts. When he or she dies, the bills do NOT go with him or her. They are laid at the doorstep of the remaining spouse for payment.

Ahhhhh but you can have a trust, correct? Yes, you can. But a trust does not protect you from these bills. Your family trust can be attached, you can be sued, and the entity that is owed money can take it, and most likely, they will.

Now, let's talk providing and preparing. If there was one message I could give to men out there it would be: Really prepare. If tomorrow, you didn't come home from work, what would you want your family's life to look like? Do you want your wife to continue being a stay at home mom? Do you want to continue homeschooling? Do you want them to move closer to family?

Well, then you must save and provide insurance to cover that. But more than this, you must provide for the bills you will leave.

What if you are placed on a respirator for ten years. Who pays those bills? You have no life insurance payout in most cases (some pay half if the condition is terminal.) Do you have disability insurance to cover you?

How will your wife get health insurance for the children? Have you provided for THAT?

What if you don't die in an accident, but you get cancer. Do you realize you will probably leave behind, no matter what insurance you have, hundreds of thousands in bills that are due upon your death?

You need to insure for those bills, as well.

Now, to those who have friends who are widows or widowers... before you begin throwing rocks:

Most widows and widowers I know were not made wealthy upon the death of their spouse. They were mostly financially devastated. Yet good "friends" will whisper "Well, she/he should be able to pay for that, he/she just got life insurance." "Did you see that Bob got a new lawnmower? His wife must have left money."

Hint: They do extend credit to widows and widowers--having something new doesn't mean the item was paid for in cash.

Or, worse yet: "Why didn't he or she leave enough for his spouse to live on?"

I find that most couples have NO IDEA the money that a long illness can take from the family. There can be job loss, there can be medical expenses not covered by insurance. There will be decisions that at the time, you cannot make in a logical fashion--what would YOU pay, for instance, if you thought there was a possible cure for a disease that was sure to take your spouse? $40,000? $100,000, $1,000,000?

I once spoke to a lawyer friend, and we both believed that churches should do seminars for couples on preparation. There should be resources to explain the REALITIES of trusts and wills, the importance of saving and insurance, and why it is important to prepare now, for something we will all face one day, physical death.

I think that perhaps, in this case, "your own" is the members of your church. And perhaps, we need to care for our own with teaching and care. Now THAT is a church program I can get behind.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ephesians 5:25

"Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"

I was dumbstruck as I read it...a father waited impatiently on the doorstep of his home for his visitation time with his two young sons. When the caseworker arrived with the children, he took them inside quickly, shut and locked the door, and as the caseworker called 911, the house exploded.

What causes a man, a father, to do such a thing? What turns a man from a loving husband into a murderer? What selfishness entered his heart and caused him to turn back on God and his family?

I have been twice blessed. I had Layne, a man of sterling character, who loved us so very much. As my eldest son intoned just this week in a family meeting "My father literally laid his life down for his family."

Then, this weekend, we had a bit of a scare, when I began to have chest pains. Now, everyone who knows me will understand that I don't do doctors or hospitals--I think I have seen my share in the last years, and I really don't care to spend my free time being poked, prodded or investigated physically.

But, it was bad enough that when David asked, "Do we call 911" I nodded affirmatively.

So I found myself in Layne's world. A world where your lines get stuck over and over with stuff that burns like acid and tastes like window cleaner. I found myself tearing up as I thought of the man whose lines I had to clean daily--and how he bravely winced and kidded "Are you going to hurt me again?"

Over and over I hurt him, in order to try to save him. Multiple times, the nurses caused him to cry out, the doctors gave him instructions and prescribed medicines that would make him incredibly ill. Yet he did all this, not for himself, but for us.

Then, as I lay in the bed, in his position, this weekend--I watched David trying to sleep with his head on the bars of the bed. I watched him endure all I endured for Layne--sleeplessness, feelings of inadequacy, and well, sheer terror that no matter what you do, you might be losing the person you love most.

It was then I realized just how blessed I am. To have been provided two husbands who are good men, and caring men. Who put their families before themselves. In today's "It's All About Me" world, that is beyond unusual.

Yet, not all women are so blessed. The Powell family met a violent end because of a breakdown in the leadership of the home. The father sought to take their lives in place of laying his down for them. My heart and prayers go out to the extended family who have to deal with the aftermath.

As I peruse emails and my Facebook page, I realize that so many of my friends are blessed. Their spouses love them, and together, they lead homes and raise children to be honorable, loving, and kind. Sometimes, I think Christians take for granted that this is how life "is". We don't truly count our blessings when our spouse goes to work instead of off to take care of his or her own selfish needs. We don't whisper a prayer up when things go wrong, hoping our spouse will have our back--because we just know they will. We really need to appreciate our spouses though, and we need to show them that we honor and appreciate them.

Valentine's Day will come and go, but truly...does it need to be a certain day to do something small to let your spouse know that you don't take that calm assurance of acceptance and care for granted? Why not let them know TODAY that consistency and reliability is noticed and life giving, and as important as any gift of flowers, candy, and dinners out. Sometimes, a simple kiss and an "I notice" can mean the world.

This morning, I am back at home, with a list of doctors to visit. I'm blessed that my hospital stay was covered by some amazing insurance, provided by my husband. I'm blessed that if I need to be driven to tests, my sons and my husband will provide transportation and support. I blessed because of the godly and honorable men in my life. I want them to know that quiet, strong support is important to me. It is life giving. Thank you.