God led Linda Pinkston and her family to us for our 2014 IOG golf tournament.
Linda is raising four children by herself and also supporting her mother who all live with her. They find a way to make things work in their small house that Linda finds herself sleeping on the couch to make room for everyone. Linda puts everyone else first and this year we are going to put her first and try and make things a little easier for her and the family. Our goal this year was to pay off the family vehicle and help fix up the house.
The tournament was the best we have had in seven years. We had 24 teams and raised over $25,000. The founders would like to thank each individual person who came and donated for this cause. This is only possible with everyone pulling together and making it happen. Thank you!!
Below is the email from Linda to all the particpants of IOG 2014!!
Where to begin? I am still processing all that happened Tuesday night! My first thought, upon waking Wednesday morning, was, "did that really happen?? Or, did I dream that?". Because it really was like a dream-it just seemed impossible it could have actually happened! I am profoundly humbled that y'all would do this for us. I don't have the words to express my gratitude. But, please do know that even though I am not a person given to displays of emotion in front of others (I have always said I would be the world's worst lottery winner), my lack of an emotional outburst should never be construed as ingratitude. I'm beyond grateful for what y'all have done for us. I can't even begin to say thank you.
When we were driving back on Tuesday evening, I told Kay that I felt like Job. Let me elaborate. My family has been through so much the last six years-the arrest and imprisonment of my ex (my kids were ages 13, 9, 8 and 7 at that time), the loss of child support as a result, the difficulty in finding a job, all of the things my kids have missed out on, the things we've been unable to afford (not just "luxuries", but sometimes even necessities), ignoring my own health issues (i.e.: the teeth!!) to make sure my children were cared for, the issues with our home that we couldn't afford to address, etc., etc. It has been very difficult at times, though I have been sustained by the knowledge that my Father is in control, and that none of this had taken him by surprise, and that we were never beyond his care. I have not always understood everything, but I have trusted that he was in control, and that he was allowing these trials for our good and his glory. And, I have tried, through all of it, to examine myself and learn what God wanted to teach me. And, I did, indeed, find much about me that needed to change-thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, etc., that were wrong...about God, others, and myself. As awful as my ex was, God showed me a lot of the things that had been wrong with ME during my marriage, as well. I also realized that, though I would have said otherwise, I was very dependent on our money, on our resources, instead of on God. I liked being able to buy stuff, and enjoyed the status that went with some of those things. Having things, of course, is not wrong. It is our attitude that can be wrong. And, when we allow our worth to be tied to what we have, it is wrong. Over the last six years, I've learned that everything I have comes from the hand of God. It is up to him to provide. I've learned to be content with what I have. And, very important to me, my children have learned this. They have learned to appreciate what they get, and not take it for granted. They've learned that we are here, not to be "happy" all the time, but to be conformed to the image of Christ, which sometimes involves suffering. And, they've learned that you don't have to be rich to share the gospel. :)
So....on Tuesday night, when you mentioned the laptop (on which I am typing this :)), tablet and printer, I thought, "this is so awesome!!" Because we NEED at least one more computer in the house. Seriously! :) No more squabbling about who's been on the computer, how long, etc. And, it allows grandma more time on there. :) And, yay, no more trips to the library to print things off! And, my daughter can use the tablet at school. That was really awesome enough in itself, solving a big problem in our house!! But, then...the teeth! Well, that was like Christmas! I assume Kay must have told you about that, because I'm pretty sure I forgot to mention any of that during the interview. What a tremendous blessing! I've just learned to "live with it" when it comes to the teeth. It was a low priority compared to so many other pressing needs. So, that was amazing! But, when you unrolled that banner with the car on it...and the "Paid In Full"...I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT. Well, except when I see the big banner hanging on the wall in my son's room! ;) That one thing frees up almost half a month's pay!! That moment changed SO MUCH for us! And, I knew it. But, that wasn't all!! When you said y'all were going to help us get the house ready to sell, THAT pretty much changed EVERYTHING. Here's the amazing, crazy thing. I don't pray for God to "give me stuff". I worry about my kids, and how all this affects them. But, I don't worry much about "me". And, let me tell you that one of the things God has changed in me is that I have learned the value of money, and to not be wasteful with my money - I even make my own laundry detergent! I've learned that even when you have money, you need to be wise with it. Oh, how much money I wasted all those years! And, I have become a saver. I only have a few hundred in there, but I continue to add to it and build it. And, it makes me so excited when I can put money in there! :D And, so, I have been TRYING for several months to figure out how I could either bring more income in, or free up some of the money I have. A different job is a possibility, but I LOVE Cornerstone, and it is truly ideal for my family. I seriously can't imagine a place that would be a better fit for us. Selling the car is a possibility, but I NEED a car. EVERYTHING always came back to the house. And, my thinking was that if I could JUST sell this house, I could find a decent foreclosed home, buy it, and pay down my car enough that the payments would be much lower, and maybe have enough left to pay for at least the root canal, and just figure out the other dental stuff later...and, maybe put a smidge in that savings account! :D And, of course, I want to get away from this house before my ex is released from prison. So, it always came back to selling the house. THAT I have been praying about. But...how was I going to have the money to get the house ready to sell??? It was like a vicious cycle. SO, after everything over the last six years, Tuesday night, it felt like God said, "Okay, we're done". Everything I was trying to figure out was solved. I don't mean I don't have any more problems, or that I'll never have any more trials, but these problems, these things I've been trying to figure out for so long, THESE problems are solved. I told Kay that, for me, this is absolutely a LIFE-CHANGER. For the first time, in so many years, I feel HOPEFUL for our future. I feel like we've just cleared a MAJOR hurdle, and that this gives me a foundation on which to build a better life, a better future, for my children and myself. And, how did that happen? Like something out of a movie! Only God could orchestrate such things, and do so in such a way as this!! I don't call many things a miracle, but, to me, this is a miracle. HOW can I ever thank each of you for that?? I have no words. I have nothing materially to give. But, there is this...
One of the other things that has been hard for me during this "sojourn through the wilderness" is that I have not been able to give to/help others as I would like. I have always been a giver, but that has changed over the last few years, with every penny being accounted for. But, now, I feel, for the first time in a long time, that I may be able to be a blessing to someone else again. I'm not rich, and I can't do things like y'all have done, but I might be able to help a kid go to camp, or buy a mom in need some groceries...or whatever opportunity God might present. I have been thinking of possibilities the last few days, and it has been so exciting!! AND, one of the first thoughts I had Tuesday night was this-again, I'm not rich, but my children and I are able bodied, and we are good workers, and we like to serve. I can give ME. So, I would TRULY love to be able to help in any way that I can with your efforts to bless another family next year. I may not be able to give large amounts of money, but I can give time, I can give labor, I can give service. If y'all would allow us to, we would so love to help in any way we can. If you can use us, we would be HONORED if you please would.
Thank you, each and every one of you who had any part, in any way, in blessing us in this way. I am forever grateful to each of you, and I mean that...
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (TRUTH!!! :)), according to the power that works within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.