"I've learned to trust in the Lord completely," sprightly 74-year old Edie Smith of Cincinnati, Ohio, told me during one of our several visits. "But I didn't learn that as a young girl."
Edie continued to relate how she had come to that point. During World War II she and her parents fled their home on foot in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs to avoid the Russian occupation of their small town in Poland. Praying in fear for her life, Edie was grateful when they reached a relative in Czechoslovakia. As a 17-year-old at the time, she and her cousin dressed in ill-fitting, dark clothing with babushkas to hide their hair. They put charcoal on their faces in fear of being raped.
After being transferred to a refugee camp in Germany, Edie married a young GI and started a new life in America. Two sons later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a 50% chance to live through the surgery.
"It was then that I really put my full trust in the Lord. Through God's grace, I survived the surgery and vowed to live my life for God," she told me.
At age 57, after an unforeseen divorce, Edie began working at a day care center. "It was important to me to stay out of debt, plus I loved working with the children."
Edie prayed to be a good steward for the Lord. She began by purchasing small shares of stock. Her "dribs and drabs" grew bountifully through the 1990's. Edie desired to return to the Lord some of the material wealth with which He had blessed her. Her Thrivent agents, Joy Schwartz and John Hoover, were invaluable as both professional advisors and friends. This eventually brought me to meet with her, Joy and John.
A series of talks, fueled by some of Edie's scrumptious European torte cakes, brought about a consensus of the minds. Edie and her favorite ministries would be best served through a gift annuity. The substantial increase in income enabled her to purchase a life insurance contract for her sons to replace the stock she used for the gift annuity. Because this was an irrevocable gift, she also received a sizeable tax deduction and a partial bypass of the capital gains tax. Most importantly, the remainder upon her death will go to the ministries she has designated for the Lord's work here on earth.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Edie told us in gratitude. "I didn't think it was possible, but we've accomplished everything I wanted. The Lord is so good!"
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