Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Prepared for the Storm

Episode Resources

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Leslie Basham: Karen Melby knows what it’s like to feel vulnerable and alone, but she also knows where to find hope.

Karen Melby: If you are a widow or you’re about to become a widow, if you cry out to the Lord, He will come, and He will take up His defense for you and help you.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 201, for August 22, 2018.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, we’re talking about something today that can be a little uncomfortable or overwhelming or anxiety-inducing, but it doesn’t need to be any of that because Scripture talks a lot about our money, our resources, the gifts God has entrusted to us and how we can honor Him with them. So it’s important to think about these things sooner than later.

I’m so thankful to be sitting at a table here at the studios of Our Daily Bread Ministries talking with my friend Karen Melby, a fairly recent widow. We go back a long ways. We’ve walked through a lot of journey together, and she’s sharing out of that journey with us.

And then we have Lisa Hagenauer, who’s an estate planning and probate attorney. That’s a mouthful.

Lisa Hagenauer: Yes, it is.

Nancy: But it’s something we need to be familiar with. So thank you, Lisa.

And then we have Andrea Karsten, who’s a financial advisor. And, Andrea, you were just telling me about how the Lord used Kingdom Advisors in your life. It’s a ministry my husband has been connected with some years as well. They have an annual conference for financial advisors. Ron Blue is the one who had the heart for starting that ministry.

Others are now leading it, but I love how they talk about “God owns it all.” And what a responsibility we have to care for what God has entrusted to us and how we’re going to give account to Him. So this is not just making sure that we have enough to live on forever, because we’re not going to be here forever. But it’s about how do we honor God with this worldly, physical, tangible stuff He’s entrusted to us, and how do we honor Him, not just during our lifetime, but beyond our lifetime.

Kingdom Advisors has been a big part—as have some other ministries. We named Crown Ministries in the last program. These are some good, biblically-grounded people who have helped us to think about these subjects.

Lisa: I absolutely give credit to Kingdom Advisors in how it is that I practice today. Kingdom Advisors, using rock-solid biblical principles in teaching, ultimately to give peace to those of us here today, that if these biblical principles are practiced, that we are then following God’s plan.

God has a whole lot to say about money in the Bible. It’s been said more than 2,300 verses of Scripture in the Bible, 75% of the parables that Jesus speaks, have to do with money and possessions.

Nancy: Yes.

Lisa: God does have a plan for that like He does for everything else, for sure.

Nancy: I’ll tell you what else I love and that gives me a lot of comfort when it comes to this area, because it’s not . . . I was a piano major in college, and I’m a Bible teacher, and this stuff about wills and financial plans can feel very overwhelming to me. But that verse in Proverbs 2, verse 6, that tells us, “The Lord gives wisdom.”

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: Understanding comes from His mouth. And so, the Lord gives wisdom, and He puts wise people in our lives to be able to help us in the areas where we don’t have wisdom.

In the last program, we were talking about the importance of having a team.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you hire all these people because we left that conversation and we said, “I think somebody could be listening to this and thinking, Wow! You have to have a lot of money to be concerned about these things.”

But the fact is, for example, we all need a will. And, Lisa, tell us what happens if you don’t have a will when you die or when your mate dies or when your parents die. Why does that matter?

Lisa: Right. Well, it’s important to understand that when you are looking at whether you need a will, and I think 99% of people do need a will.

Nancy: I take it back. I said 100%.

Lisa: Yes. You said 100%, but I would say 99%, and the reason why I say that is the will is how we transfer our assets to our loved ones. That’s one method.

Nancy: . . . or to charity

Lisa: . . . or to whomever we want to make sure, in our continued stewardship, that that money flows to when we’re gone.

Nancy: So even if you’re single and you don’t have dependents, you don’t have a family, it’s going to go somewhere.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Nancy: And if you don’t have a will, what happens to it?

Lisa: Well, if you don’t have a will, and you don’t have some other way provided for it to transfer . . . For instance, it’s important to know that not everything would be transferred from your will.

If you have a retirement asset, as an example, a 401K, and, let’s say, just for discussion purposes, that’s all you have, you own nothing else (which, obviously wouldn’t be the case). But you designate beneficiaries on that 401K, and that, by law, transfers when you die. Whoever those beneficiaries are, receive that money.

Nancy: So even that may be needed to be updated.

Lisa: Yes. I can’t tell you how many times I have had situations where people come into my office, and we talk about, “Well, let’s review your assets and where they’re going. And have you set that up?”

“Oh, yes. I have my spouse on there, and I think my kids are contingent on there if something happens. Yes, I’m pretty sure.”

Then when we take a look at it, it’s actually not the case.

Nancy: I talked with someone recently who does have a life insurance policy, but the beneficiary is their mate who has been in heaven for three years.

Lisa: That is very, very common.

Nancy: So that needs to be updated.

Lisa: Yes, absolutely. That’s how we end up in court a lot. I had a will recently where the gentleman had ten different people listed as various beneficiaries, and by the time he passed, everyone had predeceased him. This will was back to, like, 1972, or something like that. There was no one left, which is unique. You don’t see it very often.

But I do see a lot of times where someone is gone. And what happens to that person’s share? Does it go to someone else? Or, if you don’t provide for it, then it could actually flow through their planning and go to their kids. Maybe that’s your intention, but maybe it’s not. So it’s really important.

The planning itself not only necessitates that court action, if you don’t have it done properly, but it promotes problems with the dynamics between adult kids. Maybe they don’t get along swimmingly during life. We all have different personalities. Those little cracks in the relationship, or those little difficulties become exasperated so much, and you lose relationships over those things.

So the planning helps when the matriarch or the patriarch of a family passes away. If there’s no good planning in place, sometimes I see those families just fall apart because it promotes, sort of, disagreements.

Nancy: That happened in the Scripture where two men came to Jesus and said, “Lord, tell my brother to give me my share of the inheritance.”

Lisa: Yes. Right. Absolutely. We see this happen a lot.

Nancy: I think we should say that—and this is another subject, a parenthesis here—that it should not necessarily be assumed that all of the assets the Lord has entrusted to you should be passed on to your children—for various reasons.

Lisa: Right. Absolutely.

Nancy: Maybe your children are not walking with the Lord or don’t have responsibility. There are verses in Scripture about how an inheritance quickly gained in the beginning can bring ruin.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: You may have more than what your children can spiritually handle.

I’m so thankful when my dad passed—there were seven children, ages eight to twenty-one, so no adults. I am the oldest in that family. This was sudden. But he had made provision, and we knew this in advance that the large percentage of his estate, whatever he would have when he went to be with the Lord, was not going to his children.

Now, he wanted to make sure that our needs would be met, that my mother’s needs would be met, that she would be cared for, but he also wanted us to know that he cared about investing in ministries.

He was a generous giver in his lifetime. We were prepared to know that he wanted us to have those same values.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Nancy: That was part of his planning, part of his preparation, to say, “How can I honor God not only in my lifetime with my giving and my living, but how can I provide for my family and honor the Lord beyond my family by investing in the Lord’s work?”

There is with our generation, those of us sitting around this table who are “boomers,” that a huge amount of wealth, trillions of dollars that our generation is transferring to the next, and we need to be asking these questions: “How can we advance the kingdom of Christ as we turn loose?” We’re not going to be holding onto those dollars. When our body is room temperature, we’re not going to be doing anything with that money. We’re not going to need it. We’re not going to have any bills to pay.

We need to make sure that we have cared well for the ones that God has given to our care, but also investing beyond our lifetime where we can in the Lord’s work.

Now, let me ask you, again, I think some people could be listening and think, This is for people who have a lot of money. I don’t have a lot. I’m just kind of getting by. Is this something I can do with a simple online will? Or do I have to have an estate attorney?

Lisa, what do you tell our listeners?

Lisa: I think it’s really important to educate yourself if you’re doing that. I’m not an estate planning attorney who thinks everyone needs a trust or trust planning or extensive planning and that everyone needs an attorney. I think if you own personal property, and you have some simple assets that you have beneficiaries designated on, and you don’t have children with special needs, or minor children, or any of those types of situations, a simple will online will actually serve people just fine.

The problem is making sure you educate yourself enough to understand your situation and know that that’s where you fit in, because there’s so many people who think that they don’t need it, and then we find out, “Oh, they actually have a special-needs child who receives governmental benefits, and now they could be disqualified from their benefits because they receive an interest.”

If you have minor children and anything is passing through that will, do you want them to receive everything when they’re eighteen? Because they will if you have a simple will. You can’t control when they receive it. So sometimes more complex planning is important there where you can say, “Okay, they’ll get a certain amount at twenty-five or thirty or thirty-five.”

So there is a very small subset of people who I think can adequately do an online will, but you have to make sure you fall within that category.

Nancy: So I think a key thing you said is get educated.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: And that may not become your primary area of expertise.

Lisa: Right.

Nancy: But you need to find somebody who is knowledgeable about that who can at least help you know what you need to look for.

Lisa: Right.

Nancy: The thing we’re saying is: Don’t ignore it.

Lisa: Right. Absolutely.

Nancy: Don’t pretend like or convince yourself that you can keep going because, especially, the younger you are, the more you just don’t think about these things. As you get older, you start going to more funerals, and you see more people going into that season of life—our parents, some of our grandparents, and peers now—not being adequately prepared.

This should remind us that this is a stewardship issue. This isn’t just a matter of being financially successful. It’s a matter of honoring Christ and blessing our families and promoting the advance of the gospel through how we handle, in our lifetimes, and beyond our lifetimes, what God has entrusted to us.

Karen: Let me just interject something here. Speaking as a widow, one of the things the Lord really impressed upon me is that He cares about widows. There are several verses in the Bible where He talks about His love and His concern and His care, that He will be a defender of widows.

Nancy: And also that He’s going to go after those who use widows and take advantage of them.

Karen: I wanted to just say, especially to your listeners who might be in a situation where they are expecting to become a widow—you might have a husband who is sick, or even if you are not, maybe if the sun is shining and you and your husband are very healthy and happy right now, just tuck this away—that God will take care of the widow.

Nancy: Yes.

Karen: I knew beforehand that God is faithful, but I have seen His faithfulness. I have been able to experience how, even in my ignorance when it came to all this estate planning and financial planning, all the administrative details, the beautiful thing is that because God is a defender of widows, He steps in, and He puts people in place for you.

If you cannot financially handle all of the expense of an estate planning attorney, I believe that God will provide a friend for you or somebody in your circle who will hold your hand and come alongside. Your prayer simply has to be: “Lord, show me what I need to know. Just navigate the course for me and open doors. Introduce me to people that I need to have in my life who will help me navigate this new path that I’m on.”

Nancy: This is a very real provision and protection the Lord provides.

Karen: It is.

Nancy: And it’s also a command to the people of God to care for the widows.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: “This is pure religion and undefiled,” James tells us, “to care for the widows and orphans in their distress” (1:27). We all probably have widows in our churches. If you have some financial expertise or some connection to someone who does, look around and see who may be being overwhelmed or may need just somebody to walk with them.

In fact, your son, Karen, was one of the ones the Lord used in your life. He has background as a financial advisor, and that’s a blessing God gave to you as a widow.

Karen: Yes.

Nancy: But there are others, if it hadn’t been for Drew, the Lord would have had somebody else.

Karen: Absolutely.

Nancy: That’s why we want to encourage those who have some knowledge in this to say, “Don’t just care for your own needs, look around and say, ‘Is there somebody—a single mom who’s struggling to pull this together, or somebody who’s going to be widowed?’”

Those relationships that you and Scott had invested in, discipling, nurturing spiritually, encouraging in the Lord in the years when you were healthy, some of those turned out to be people the Lord brought into your life to step in to help you with those needs.

Lisa: Yes. That’s very true.

Karen: As far as this team goes, two of them were completely new to me, but the Lord did that. The Lord put those people in my life to help navigate that whole course of the unknowns. It’s like opening a door into a black room. It’s that house that you talked about when the lights go off, and you don’t know your way in the unknown. But God does. He goes before you, and He puts the people in place.

I guarantee you if you’re somebody looking for a widow, and you want to reach out and help a widow, and you ask the Lord, “How can I help?” He’ll show you.

I also can be sure that if you are a widow, or you’re about to become a widow, that if you cry out to the Lord, He will come, and He will take up His defense for you and help you.

Nancy: You were telling me today just about a little thing, and it’s not in the realm of finances, but it’s just God’s care for those who need care. You had a situation, I won’t go into all the details, but where you were needing to transport some stuff for a wedding shower for one of your daughters, and your car had an unexpected need to be taken into the shop. You’re a juggler, Karen. You always have a lot of stuff going on.

You ended up with a loaner car from . . .

Karen: . . . a very large minivan . . .

Nancy: . . . the repair shop that was perfect for what you needed.

Karen: Exactly.

Nancy: You were telling me that if Scott had been here, he would have thought ahead and thought, “How are we going to carry all of this stuff?”

Karen: Yes. “How are we going to get these from Wheaton, Illinois, back to Grand Rapids?” He would have thought of that. I had not thought of that.

Nancy: But the Lord had.

Karen: He did, and He caused a problem in my Jeep. (laughter) So the Jeep dealership gave me a loaner car, and I was very upset about it. But as I pulled away, as I turned and looked at the amount of space in this minivan . . .

Nancy: You realized it was just what you needed.

Karen: I realized, I am so sorry I complained, Lord. This is Your provision for me that I had not even thought I needed.

Nancy: Yes.

Karen: He went ahead of me and provided for me.

Nancy: So when we talk about financial planning—wills, estates, trusts—we’re not saying you can control the whole future, like, “This is in my hands.” We’re not saying you’re going to be self-sufficient, because things happen. I mean, nobody had a clue my dad was going to drop dead at fifty-three. There was no warning that my mother at forty would be widowed with seven children. We could not have anticipated that.

The founder of our ministry, Life Action Ministries, the parent of Revive Our Hearts, at age forty-two was diagnosed with a brain tumor and seven months later he was with the Lord—five children twenty-one and under.

We don’t know the future. We know we’re going to die, unless we’re here when the rapture comes and Jesus takes us to heaven. We’re not saying that if you do this planning that, therefore, there won’t be any hard things in your life. We’re not saying that this is like a, “I’m so afraid of what might happen that I’m going to take control of everything.”

We’re saying that this is just trying to be faithful stewards of what we do have, including your children.

Lisa: Right.

Nancy: That’s part of the planning for them and their provision and their protection. It’s not going to keep hard things from happening to your children. It’s not going to keep hard things from happening to your family.

But we honor the Lord with what we do know and what we do have, then we can come to Him and say, “Lord, I need Your protection. I need Your help. I need Your grace in these unexpected things.”

Lisa: I think that’s huge, Nancy, because, as women, we ought to be engaged. We’re engaged in lots of different areas of our lives. We lead full lives, for sure. But this is one area that we do have to lean into even when it’s uncomfortable—and in advance.

Andrea: Right. That’s that preparing concept.

Lisa: Whenever you can, even if it’s inconvenient, join your spouse in the conversation when they go and see the financial advisor, and when they go and see the attorney, or when they have to update the forms. It’s not that the two of you have to be there to dot every “i” and cross every “t,” but to know who’s sitting across the table.

Nancy: Who they’re even talking to.

Lisa: Exactly. Know who the agents and advisors and counselors are. Who’s on the various documents? Who’s authorized on your account? Where is it located?

I bring this up because I do have couples that I work with, and I’ll make an appointment to meet with both of them, and only one shows up. “No! Where’s your spouse?”

“Oh, she had other things going on today and decided not to come.”

That’s hard.

Nancy: Down the road, that’s going to be harder for them.

Lisa: Right. I do understand the household division of duties. So you want to accommodate the couple, but where possible and when possible, be engaged. Be involved.

Nancy: Robert and I were driving up to Grand Rapids today. He had a meeting, and we had this recording. We were saying, “You know, just a starting place is you and your mate need to talk about these things.”

Lisa: Absolutely. The first step.

Nancy: In the busyness of everyday life, it’s one of the things that can just get put off and get put off and get put off.

Lisa: Yes.

Nancy: Robert turned seventy recently. I’m at the sixty-year mark, and . . . How did this happen? I was just thirty yesterday! (laughter)

Lisa: Right.

Nancy: But have the conversation. I think if you have a tense relationship, or you’re not on the same page about other things, this can be a really hard thing to talk about. Maybe one is more motivated to talk than the other. But I think as a wife you can say, “Honey, I know you want what’s best for our family.” Approach it in a humble way, and not putting pressure on him, but say, “Can we talk about this?”

Lisa: Right.

Nancy: Ask questions. I’ve found some of the teaching that, Lisa and Andrea, you have done. And, Karen, what I’ve heard in your story, to be so helpful for Robert and me. I’m thinking, Okay, some of this stuff we have in place. Some of this stuff we need to talk about and see where we are.

Lisa: Right. And try to make a date. Make it a fun time. But set it on the calendar to do it, and you’ll feel so much better when you’re done. Just sit down and make it happen. That’s your first step. And the confidence that you’ll feel is just amazing.

Nancy: On the next program we want to tick off what some of those things are that you just need to be sure you have in place. We also want to talk about something called advance directives—this has to do with some end-of-life issues, planning for that. It may not be a comfortable conversation, but it’s a really important one. And, again, it’s part of our honoring the Lord with each season of our lives.

So be sure and be with us for that next conversation here on Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with Karen Melby, Lisa Hagenauer, and Andrea Karsten about preparing for the future.

For some of our listeners, today’s program has brought up very specific emotions and needs because you’re already in a season of widowhood. If that’s you, we’d like to send you a devotional by Margaret Nyman called, Hope for an Aching Heart.

It’s our gift to you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Your gift will help us continue to point women to God’s Word for practical help in every season of life. Ask for Hope for an Aching Heart when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visitReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one copy per household for your donation of any amount this week.

You can also support Revive Our Hearts in a significant way by planning to give a gift from your estate. As you’re thinking through the future, don’t forget about giving to ministries who are building God’s kingdom.

To help you think that through and evaluate the tax ramifications to your giving, we invite you to check out an online tool called, “My Legacy Planner.” It’s simple, confidential, and only takes ten minutes or less to complete. Go toReviveOurHearts.com to get your free “My Legacy Planner.”

What three major things do you need to have in place in your estate plan? Find out what these essentials are tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth believes in God’s promise to provide for His children. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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