Mark and I have had several ups and downs with our finances. We have been very poor and unable to pay rent or utilities. We have sold possessions to make ends meet and eaten lightly. We even went to a lawyer to discuss bankruptcy. It was tough years. Yes, years of uncomfortable poverty for God to get our attention.
God's conviction came through Scripture very clear. Mark and I needed to fast. We needed to fast specifically from eating out. After a deep look into the checkbook and an account of cash spent, we noticed that a huge amount of our money went to eating out. OUCH!
So, in talking with Mark we both knew what was needed. We could not eat out anymore. This made us plan every meal and go to the store and buy those items. It was the beginning of freedom. Thankfully, God released us from the fast and we have resumed to eating out in a reasonable way. Mainly, we have to stay in our budget. Soon God began phase 2 for blessing us with financial freedom.
God began to convict us on tithing the WHOLE amount with a cheerful heart. YIKES! How could I give such amount to the church when I barely had enough to make ends meet--much less be cheerful about it. Well, once again it was hard to argue with Scripture. Mark and I felt the extreme conviction that we should tithe on every amount given to us except for birthday and Christmas gifts. It was tough and hard, but we trusted God.
We have made it through rough patches with God being extremely faithful to us financially. One of the most memorable moments was when God moved us into the Army. We took a huge pay cut, but knew God to be faithful.
Every month I would get about $1500.00 a month. Sounds like a lot until you add groceries for 5 and a car payment. This is when another lesson came up...pay off debt quickly. We would receive lumps sums of money for moving and Income Tax and God would place it upon our hearts which debt to get rid.
On September 1, 2005, God placed it upon my heart to place the verse that convicted me and gave me the most Hope. So on the front of our budget file we placed a verse to say every time we pay bills.
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
It took awhile, but I think I finally learned the true meaning of this verse for my family. One day we didn't have enough room in the refrigerator for all our food and the pantry was overflowing to the cabinet. The boys drawers were too full of clothes and we didn't have enough hangers for their clothes. My bank account was the same, but all my needs and wants were met. We didn't have "room enough for it."
Mark and I don't have much money and we are still working on paying off bills. However, our hearts are cheerful! Our children are clothed nicely and our house overflows with wants. Yes, we are finding financial freedom through Christ.
Thank you Jesus for teaching me with such patience, love, and faithfulness.