The Secret to Freedom — and it’s not what you’d expect

A brief conversation with her husband changed the trajectory of her life when he told her, “You don’t make our house a place I want to come home to.” Wendy Pope faced two choices: take the words to the God who loved her, or let the words take root in her heart and sprout bitter resentment toward the man she loved. In trusting God with the painful words, He taught her the life-changing disciplines of Yes to God which cultivates trust in God, No to Self that invites revelation from God, and Maybe to others that welcomes freedom with God. Wendy and Scott recently celebrated 27 years of marriage, are deeper in love than ever before and hold hands each night as they fall asleep. It’s a grace to welcome Wendy to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Wendy Pope

W

hat comes to mind when you hear the word freedom?

Go ahead and take a few minutes to think about it.

Perhaps patriotic images of flags and the pomp and circumstance of hometown parades celebrating a nation’s birth. Maybe the privilege to pursue personal dreams or express your ideas and opinions without restriction or interference. Possibly financial independence.

Freedom may mean life without confinement—unbound by bars, a diseased body, or physical abuse.

What if you considered the idea of freedom as freedom for something rather than freedom from something?

Freedom for something is applicable to everyone, no matter their circumstances. Even those who are experiencing financial limitations, physical restrictions, or any other encumbrances can live in freedom for.

Freedom for says what’s ahead of me is an opportunity rather than an obligation. There’s hope, possibility, and optimism in freedom for.

In Christ, we are free for many things, but my favorite is generous giving.

My daddy was a modest man who made a modest income. He never had ambitions to be rich and famous, have a financial portfolio, or have a fancy office with “CEO” on the office door. No, he only wanted a few dollars in his worn-out wallet, to be able to drive his truck until the wheels fell off, and to work hard every day until he physically could not.

He benevolently gave to anyone in need: hitchhikers (back in the day), the hungry, the poor, widows and children, church folks, and unchurched folks. In all the years I lived under his roof, I never knew my father to miss a tithe. My parents trusted God with their finances and generously gave to others.

Then Hurricane Hugo slammed the Carolinas on September 22, 1989. The devastation was horrific in our city. Debris lined the streets for weeks and neighbors rallied to help one another. My daddy was a general contractor, so when the city restored power and cleared the roads, the phone starting ringing.

One particular job he accepted changed our lives forever.

My father was up on the roof when he fell and broke his leg. It was the worst break the orthopedic surgeon had seen. His first recommendation was to amputate from the knee down. After prayer and lots of consultation, we opted for my dad to undergo a series of surgeries to repair his shattered ankle and badly broken leg to be followed by months of therapy with no guarantee of real success.

The doctor forecasted that my dad would not be able to return to work for at least one year, if ever.

Our family was without words—and an income. But we didn’t worry; God had always blessed the work of this hardworking carpenter.

Daddy was faithful to God, and we knew God would be faithful to us. We didn’t know how, but we knew Who.

Worker’s comp paid 30 percent of my daddy’s salary, but that was hardly enough to live on (my mom’s arthritis kept her out of the workforce). To help with expenses, I moved back home from college rather than living on campus. We did all we could to minimize our spending.

One evening while my mom was writing out the bills (these were the pay-by-check and snail-mail days), I noticed a check to our church. I questioned her, “Mom, why are you tithing? God knows Daddy isn’t working. Do you really think He still expects you to tithe?” Her reply: “You can’t out-give the Lord.”

It wasn’t long until I learned the reality of her words. While my parents faithfully continued to tithe on a reduced income, ten couples in our church committed for a year to cover the 70 percent income loss that worker’s comp did not pay. This is the greatest testimony of generous giving I’ve ever witnessed.

My parents gave exponentially, and it was given back exponentially.

When approached about giving, most people think about money. Some may think that if you don’t have money, then you have nothing to give.

However, generous giving means more than opening our wallets. While some have the financial means to give extraordinarily, others have talents and time they can offer.

Jesus is our best example of giving, don’t you think? He never collected a paycheck and didn’t own a home or anything of value.

Despite His meager means, He gave what He had: love, compassion, time, and of course, healing. Jesus spent time having dinner at His friends’ homes (Luke 10:38–42), as well as religious leaders who sought to discredit Him (7:36).

He invested time even with those who opposed Him.

Freedom for generous giving isn’t only about money.

Being a good steward of all that you have and having a willingness to make investments in the kingdom of God helps provide you with opportunities to give generously.

Consider babysitting for a young couple in your church who are financially unable to pay for a sitter. Invest in a relationship with a college student who is far from home and needs a little TLC. Offer to help in your community’s food bank on a weekly basis. Open your home to host a small group. Take a church bulletin to a shut-in and spend some time talking with her about the Sunday service.

An investment of time and talents is just as valuable as money.

Additionally, it’s not just about what you give; it’s about the heart behind the giving. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

Put on a happy heart and a cheerful deposition what Jesus teaches in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Freedom in Christ for generous giving motivates us to put down our phones and computers to develop real relationships that are unconcerned about likes, emojis, and memes.

Relationships nurtured in real time rather than FaceTime.

Freedom for inspires us to double the recipe and share it with a neighbor or to buy two winter coats at the sale—one to keep and one to give away.

Freedom for helps us celebrate that we’re not consumed with freedom from something.

It allows us to joyfully embrace God’s economy, and trust Him to supply all our needs while we are assisting those need.

 

Wendy Pope lives in North Carolina with her husband Scott. They have two grown children who are following God’s calling for their lives. Wendy writes and speaks for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She the author of Yes, No and Maybe: Living With the God of Immeasurably More and Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pause and Plans. She leads women to life change through her online study, Read Thru the Word, a study of the One Year Chronological Bible. 

Sometimes when life feels routine, we succumb to the weariness of every unfulfilled dream and unanswered prayer. When all the “unmets” of life surround you, do you wonder, Is this as good as it gets? In Yes, No, and Maybe, Wendy invites you to discover anew the call to live the life Jesus died to give—the immeasurably more life. God wants you to know the life He’s created for you. He longs to meet your hurts with His mercy, fill your emptiness with His love, and wash away your guilt with His grace.

With God, life gets better and better. The God of immeasurably more is waiting for you. Let go of what isn’t fulfilled in your life and embrace the immeasurably more life God has for you.

[ Our humble thanks to David C. Cook for their partnership today’s devotion ]