Living and Giving as His Beloved[addtoany]
It’s our joy to introduce you to Janice Munemitsu, a friend of Women Doing Well. We know you’ll be inspired by her story, which originally appeared on Gospel Patrons.
Hello, I’m Janice Munemitsu, born and raised a farmer’s daughter in Orange County, CA. I spent my business career growing some of America’s favorite food brands. Fifteen years ago, God moved me to ministry, leading my church’s capital campaign—the 9 months that lasted 9 years! God worked in my heart and the hearts of thousands at my church, increasing our generosity for others. I now serve with Generous Giving and the board of National Christian Foundation California. I am also a spiritual director in private practice and serving students/staff at Biola University.
When my grandfather and father died, so many people told me how much they did for them after WWII, providing necessities and employment to help get the Japanese American community back on their feet. Though no one had much, they gave of what they had to help others. I believe this is what God calls me to do, do the most with what I have and give generously, knowing that He is a God of abundance, not scarcity. It is God who provides and His desire is for us to depend on Him physically, emotionally, and spiritually—body, mind, soul.
A pastor once told me, “God always pays for what He orders.” It’s true! When God tells me to give, He has either already provided for it, or He will as I trust Him in faith. I have learned that He is a God of abundance, not scarcity. Running a capital campaign for my church for 9 years, 3 back-to-back campaigns, was God’s lab of trusting Him and really believing Psalm 24:1 – “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Everything!
Dangers of Wealth
My immigrant grandparents came to America with virtually nothing. My parents were sent to internment camps during WWII, not knowing what the future held. We are a farming family; I started working at age 5. A trifecta of a saving mentality! Saving comes naturally to me, but I am being trained by God to make saving a lower priority. I am learning that my security is in Christ, not in my savings account. He wants me to put His resources to work now vs. putting His priorities on hold.
Treasure Jesus because He treasures me! I grew up in a Christian culture focused on being obedient vs. being beloved. This led to a mentality of what I “should do” and being valued for what I can do vs. being loved for who God created me to be. When I feel in my soul that I am His beloved, I want to follow and obey vs. the obligation of obedience that tends to enslave, restrict, and leads to legalism. John 15:4 “Abide in me…” is where I want to live. Beloved and Abiding!
I Wish I Knew…
As a young believer, I wish I knew then that I am “just enough” for God. The world and the church communicated a “be better, do more, go beyond” theology to please God. You had to be better, do more, and more was never enough. I didn’t understand His Grace and that God loves me for me, not what I should be or should do for Him. I have had to learn as an adult that His deepest desire is intimacy with me. I am still learning to abide in Him and live as His Beloved.
“Sabbath is the time to receive silence and let it deepen into gratitude.” (Eugene Peterson) Solitude and silence have become a bigger part of my life. Listening for the Lord in times of quiet and in the hectic busy days of life refuels and sustains me and helps me “be present” to hear God’s voice. Silence focuses me on God and disconnects me from my ego and pride, moving me toward thankfulness. Gratitude leads me to treasure God’s grace and abundant love for me. And as it relates to giving, gratitude turns what I have into “enough” so I can give more freely for others.
I give first where I worship, my church. Then I give to where I know the integrity and authenticity of the leadership/person and see the Holy Spirit working in the organization/individual. I don’t give just to 501c3s. Sometimes, its to help a friend in a tough season, or sometimes, I don’t even know why God says to give to someone. God’s voice and listening are important to me because God often tells me where to give and how much to give. Often I have an amount in my mind to give, and God changes a digit or adds a few! He’s stretching my faith for sure!
When I asked the Lord for a mission statement a few years ago, He gave me “inspiring spiritual freedom.” This closely aligned with the verse He gave me years before: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom.” (2 Cor. 2:17) Inspiring Spiritual Freedom reflects my work as a spiritual director, helping people find greater intimacy and freedom with the Lord, and at Generous Giving helping people “take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Tim 6: 19)
If I had to choose three words to be remembered by, they would be: Faithful, Joyful, Beloved
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