Just thought I'd show some love to all my fellow "gazelle-intense" pals out there and tell a little story that might (I pray) inspire you!
First thing- if you haven't seen this blog: Cha Ching on a Shoestring- you must!!!! The deals blow me away. I got Leelah a cheapish pair of Toms and a free Starbucks and loads of other goodies simply by liking her page on FB and checking her blog out. Do it!
It's the beginning of the year, and if you are a church goer you've probably heard the tithing sermon by now.
Some of you out there might be like my hersband and I.
You are not tithing or if you are, you are giving 2-5% and that's after taxes - i.e. net income. You have the mindset that due to financial constraints, you are simply not able to tithe.
Look my dearies, I'm not judging you. Up until 3 weeks prior, we were you.
Let's first get this out of the way. I'm no one's Holy Spirit and neither are you or anyone in your life that thinks they are.
Let me urge you to get with your spouse and pray that debt down and budget together. That is the one thing I hear over and over on DR's show, couples get through this debt dance together. You have to win as a team.
Prayerfully consider as God's steward of the money He gives, what to do with what you have been blessed with.
Steward: (definition from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/steward)
Definition of STEWARD
: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns (as the supervision of servants, collection of rents, and keeping of accounts)
: a fiscal agent
a : an employee on a ship, airplane, bus, or train who manages the provisioning of food and attends passengers
b : one appointed to supervise the provision and distribution of food and drink in an institution
: one who actively directs affairs : manager
According to a stat I heard on Dave Ramsey's website, only 3% of evangelic Christians tithe. I'm not sure if that is for 10% or period. But still. Dang. Dave proposes that people are broke (which is "normal") and that's why tithing is not a priority.
I agree completely. That's why we are doing are best to financially osmosis teach Leelah how to not be a "slave to the lender."
Here's where it gets real...
Personally speaking, we were not able to tithe the full out 10% of our gross income because of our diligence in paying off our debt to obtain that long awaited goal (Since 2008!) of Debt Freedom.
However, my heart has known that we have been called to trust God and obey in tithing 10%. Before taxes.
A choice nugget I've heard and what has helped me to understand tithing is that God does not want or need your money.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.- James 1:17
He wants your obedience and your trust in Him that He will provide for all your needs and then some.
I would like to share our "then some" story.
Yeah I heard the call. Some years ago in fact. And there's been a lot of turmoil in between hearing it and putting it on the back burner. There were full out fires on my stove, Lord! Grease fires of health onslaughts and trauma!
And then 2013 happened...
The tithing sermon and class message.
It was time. Time to obey.
So we dreadfully made out our budget together, like always, and added in the new amount for the church giving. Set it up for electronic giving- that way we couldn't forget- and grinned and bared it.
We were confident that this move was going to completely devastate and halt our progress in paying off debt.
I did have a little twinkling thought and quietly said to God, "I know You know what to do with our money. You are bigger than our debt." Some kind of a heart cry like that.
This was a Thursday night. We have standing Budget Meeting (BM you might say) once every 2 weeks together. That sounded a little gross...
Friday, (otherwise known as the next day) after I get done basically whining at lunch with my girlfriends about being gazelle intense for 5 years, John informs me via text:
"Just received the biggest bonus ever!"
Glory all to our Father for this and THEN SOME moment!
This is not bonus-bragging by any means. God is the one that gave us this! And you know what we did with it?
Paid my car off thus leaving John's school loan as the final chunk of debt.
There we were thinking we'd be dead in the water with our debt payoff and God ACCELERATED IT by 3 months time!!!!!
This is not a prosperity Gospel message. This isn't just name it and claim it. This is just our little story of His "then some" for us.
Did we like putting down that number in our budget? No.
Did we understand it fully? No, we're Aggies.
Did God know what He was going to do with it? Yes.
Do I think God was mad at us for not giving in the past? No. He knew when we would give and He gently leads.
Thank you Lord for gently shepherding us to this moment and beyond.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.