If you haven’t seen my husband’s half man bun yet, I feel sad for you. In this moment, it is probably one of my top five reasons why I love being married to him.
You might think that the woman behind Paul’s man bun is me, which is an understandable conclusion. But the truth is, it’s actually a fabulous human named Kortney, the only person who we trust to touch his hair now. She lives in Denver, and if you are in need of a haircut, please just do it. Here’s her website.
Paul and I went to see Kortney when we visited Colorado briefly at the end of August, and per usual, one of us sat in her swivel chair, the other sat on a bench two feet away, and Kortney stood in between us, her tool belt around her hips, and her scissors in her hand. Talking with Kortney will give you amazing perspective on anything you can find. 1) She is crazy well traveled, and can tell you adventures from her year in Asia, or you can ask her about the pictures on her wall, which are from her last trip, to Peru. And 2) She is crazy wise. We talked about life and God and marriage and money, all of the real things. We told her how much we are struggling to trust God with our finances, and how between going to Cuba and moving, we have been watching the numbers in our bank account decrease at an ever-increasing rate. Sure, it was okay to not be making any money in Cuba- we were missionaries, and we were living on about three dollars a day, total. We were totally fine. But now?
When we got married, a couple we admire greatly gave us a huge monetary gift. When we opened the card it came in, we were sitting on the floor in my parent’s basement, fresh back from our honeymoon. I dug into the envelope, noting who the card was from, then saw the amount written on the check.
“Shut. Up.” I stood up, laughing in disbelief, said nothing to Paul, placed the check/card combo on the floor, and walked out of the room.
Paul was still sitting on the carpet, not even noticing the check, and I heard him yell to me from the room I had just left.
“Kait! What? Where are you going?!”
“Open the card!” I yelled back, pacing, full of adrenaline in the next room.
Paul was silent as he found the card and opened it, then appeared behind me. “Oh my God,” he said, laughing as well, the shock not being able to come out of his body in any other way.
We thanked the couple a few days later in person, and Paul and I both teared up a bit in doing so. They laughed at us, the wisdom of their years towering over our gratitude.
“You will be surprised how fast that amount will disappear,” they told us, seeming happy that we were so grateful, but nodding and smiling with a knowing look, that money is money, and it will disappear.
And once we were back in America, moving, putting down deposits, buying furniture, the whole amount drained in about a month. One. Month. We were (still are a bit, actually) shocked.
In situations like these, Kortney is my new example for how to handle money. She is probably one of the most God-fearing women I have ever met, the kind of person that believes loving Jesus goes from your heart to your hands, and that when you have been given the greatest gift, how can you not give your life back?
As we sat in Kortney’s downtown Denver studio, overlooking 16th St Mall, she told us how much she understood our woes.
She giggled to herself as she snipped at Paul’s hair, before suddenly pulling back, throwing her hands in the air, and looking at the ceiling. “I ask God all the time!” she exclaimed with a smile, “Why do we even need money? Wouldn’t the world just be so much better without it?!”
She laughed, hands returning to Paul’s locks, and told us her story, the parts we weren’t able to hear while in Cuba. Six months ago, Kortney had a happy, stable job at a salon she loved dearly. Then, God changed her plan. She knew he was calling her to open her own salon, start her own company in Denver, where she could be her boss, and minister to her clients in the way she desired.
She went all in, renting a salon chair, starting a brand, buying product, and prepping everything for her grand opening, her dream.
“You guys,” she explained in a near whisper, eyes widening, “Days would go by without a single client. It was just me, sitting in the chair, trying to figure out what I could do to get people to come.”
She was heart-open honest about that season, and how scary it was.
“I would just look at the numbers in my bank account,” she said, laughing now with the perspective only time can give, “And watch them go down!”
She stepped back once more, pulling herself to stand straight up, eyes back to the ceiling, as if this was the position that she approached her God in when she talked to him. “I just kept thinking, I’m not going to make it. I’m not going to make it. God, I am not going to make it.”
Kortney said that one morning, during the worst of it, she found herself frustrated and confused - she had been following through with the plan that God had laid out for her. It would have been easy to keep her stable job, with her stable income, instead of walking out on the limb in the direction she believed God had pointed. And here she was, after following his pointing, with no money, and no clients.
During that morning, the Lord reached out to her, and convicted her deeply for not trusting in him to provide for her. And again, later, at a meeting for her home church, the whole group was invited into a time of repentance and confession. Through tears, she confided to some of her closest friends and church body the worry and stress that the enemy had been plaguing her with, and how she had believed lies that God wouldn’t take care of her. She told them that she was coming close to not making her rent, and she was at the end of her rope financially.
After her public repentance for distrusting God and prayer, the friends she was with started eying each other, and confessed that they had a secret to tell her.
“They told me that they had been praying as a church last week, and felt like they were being called by God to support my business,” she said, eyes growing bigger, and voice rising higher with excitement, “They said to support my business felt like a way to minister to normal people, and they felt like not only were they supposed to do it with prayer, but with money!”
In that moment, these normal people, the small home church Kortney belongs to, gathered together from their own pockets the money that covered the gap she was missing.
“You know what,” she told us, nodding as she made her own conclusion, “They kept saying though, that they had already written the check- that they were going to give it to me even before I repented to them, that they would have given it to me even if I didn’t.”
Tears fell, unstoppable, down my face. I looked at her with her scissors, then looked at Paul in the chair, then looked up at the same ceiling she had been talking to.
“That is wild.”
I think, when I listen to Kortney tell me stories like this one, from different parts of her life, that our faith is only as big as our boldness. Kortney is willing to take big risks to follow Jesus- to quit her job, put her life on the line to honor Him. I think because of that, she sees God show up in big ways.
I so often find myself thinking, Well, even if we don’t have jobs, at least we have savings. But maybe God will keep depleting my savings until I’m able to think, Well, even if we don’t have jobs, and even if we don’t have savings, we have the Lord.
God said that we cannot worship both Him and money. When Paul and I merged our bank accounts after we were married, we had the first of many “money talks”. But one of the things we agreed on from the start was that if God gave us material wealth, it probably meant that he trusted us to give it back to him, to use it where and when he wanted. We absolutely need to be wise with our savings and our money. But I’m learning that at the same time, we cannot build walls of safety around ourselves with our money, and expect to see God’s miraculous provision.
We just aren’t leaving any room for it.