Categories : Listening to Each Other Listening to God


A weekly tradition we’ve started in Jerusalem is going to the open market and giving each kid their age in shekels (about $0.25/year) to spend.  They choose any of the fresh or dried fruits, nuts, vegetables or breads they want. It gets them interacting with the merchants, making decisions, and it’s a great antidote for the minimalist blues.

In the past I’d have said it’s also a great way to teach our kids the value of a dollar (or shekel).  I might have gotten spiritual and used the word stewardship.  But God brought me here to learn the opposite lesson.  Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is spend. it. all.

Before you jump to conclusions about me, please understand: I’ve been a tightwad all my life. It was hard to spend money on myself because I did the math and knew how many needy people that money would feed or clothe or house.  I thought about the missionaries we supported, the well we wanted to dig, the slaves we wanted to free.  And that sounded a lot more fun than buying new shoes.

Which is great. As long you’re free to buy shoes or free a slave or whatever the Holy Spirit prompts you to do.  But I wasn’t free.

When we went from one income to no income, I felt justified in being even more careful how I spent money.  And when we sold our house, it was (mostly) easy to give away most of my possessions.  It’s (mostly) easy to live out of a backpack.  It’s (mostly) easy to go without comfort, convenience, friends, family, you name it, because going without is what I do really well.

But do you wanna know what’s hard?

What’s really hard is spending money hand over fist.  Jerusalem is one of the most expensive cities on the planet.  Plus, we came here to initiate a court proceeding to prove my citizenship, involving several thousand dollars in legal fees.

expenseSpending this money isn’t building the kingdom in meaningful ways (that I can see).  We don’t even get to enjoy it most of the time. After praying, fasting, and asking other people to pray for affordable housing, we ended up in cramped quarters that cost more per week than we’ve ever paid per month anywhere.  Then yesterday I met a family whose monthly rent for a spacious house with a garden is exactly what we pay for 2 nights in our one bedroom apartment.

How did they do that? They prayed.

Hearing this drove me to the edge of my sanity.  When I asked God about it, I sensed him saying, “I’m sparing no expense forming you into who I created you to be.  You’re heart is so valuable to me, money is no object”.


Obedience looks different for each of us, depending on what God is doing in our lives at that moment.  How free are you to obey, even when it doesn’t seem “spiritual”?

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  • Heidi

    Dear Hannah,

    thanks a lot that you don’t give up, even when it makes no sense. It only seems so… Thank you that you dare to listen to God’s voice even at insanity’s door… I can empathize with you very much!

    Sharing your weakness makes us strong. Sharing your confusion makes us clear! And your struggle for fun makes us thoughtful and hopeful…

    Not our flesh (that might insist in saying: God is unfair…), but indeed our spirit smells the sweat fragrance of the Lords presence and ways throughout your lines and life.

    My sense is that God’s behavior with you at this place and in this situation is for a BIG purpose, like a pattern needed at this very moment – for the Jews and for the world outside.

    Your story reminds me of Hosea:
    Hos.1,2 …the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom.

    That seems as silly as spending money without income but with fun, and living with a “big crowd” of children (BnB-Ezers words) in an expensive city with terror around every corner.
    Jes,55,9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
    10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it

    You are a family that abides the storm / issue in a way God likes very much. He needs you so much to be a window/mirror to be looked in, like Hosea should show “for bad”, so are you “for good”!!! You know what I mean?

    Your heart IS really much more valuable than money… Not only for Him, but also for us!
    The Israelis need to get to know you. They (and we) need your attitude… And they will be jealous of your valuable everlasting crown, King’s daughter. They will be – I am sure.
    So, please: Don’t hide yourself, but share your life in humility with everyone God sends to you, even the ones in big houses with small prices…

    Much love and high esteem, hope to see you very soon,

  • Holly C. Wyse

    The article feels like it jumps near the end–is there a paragraph missing between the example of the family that lives in the house with the garden and the sentence that starts with HOW? I didn’t follow your thought process easily there. Just a thought…
    Still, what you wrote is so important for me today. You have no idea.

    • Hannah Kallio

      Thanks Holly, I’ll elaborate a bit on that.

  • Holly C. Wyse

    Hannah, I really needed to hear this today. Thank you

    • Hannah Kallio

      Oh Holly, you have no idea what a comfort it is for me to hear that! Shalom, sweet friend!