I wanted to return to She Speaks 2010 but we couldn’t afford it. I entered every scholarship opportunity, but wasn’t chosen and wasn’t able to swing it financially. And I will admit, I was too proud to ask for scholarship or help from my friends. I would pray at night that God would miraculously step in and provide a way, but He remained silent and I got angry.
It reminds me of the story of the guy praying for God’s help when the river was rising and his house was flooded. He climbed on the roof, praying the entire time, “please God, help me.” A boat came by and offered help, but the man refused, “God will provide.” He said. And the water moved higher. A helicopter came by and offered a rope. “God will provide” the man said. And the water moved higher. The water covered the man’s house and he drowned. When he got to heaven he asked God, “Why didn’t you save me.” God said, “Who do you think sent the boat and the helicopter?”
My pride got in the way, just like the man who drowned. But I didn’t realize it then. I just stayed mad.
I stopped writing. I stopped reading blogs. I stopped my devotions. I had a good old fashion temper tantrum. The conference grew closer and my disappointment became greater. But God loves his daughters, even the spoiled ones, and one night, while I was wallowing in my pity party for one, God spoke. He asked me,
“What, my darling, have you done with the tools that you were given last year at the conference?”
My mouth dropped open and my tears dried up and I realized no words were truer spoken and then He topped it off with the perfect scripture. God is cool like that.
To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. (Matthew 13:12)
He was right (of course He was, He’s God) I had not used even 25% of what had been poured into me in the prior year. I had not worked on my messages. I had not developed the gifts that He had given me. I had gotten jealous of those who seemed to “have it together”, whose blogs were better, whose calendars were full, who were making a difference in God’s Kingdom while all I had done was whine and cry. I had allowed my gifts to grow stagnant. I had gotten my mad all over my gifts and they had wilted.
My intentions were good, my desire was there, but so was my pride and I wanted it all now. Yes, I was acting just like this. ( It’s embarassing to admit).
God and I had more work to do. The first thing He did was change my heart. I asked God for forgiveness. Then I prayed for His direction and His desire. I got out my notebook from the last She Speaks and all the resources I had purchased. I started writing again.
Then the conference came and I prayed for and celebrated with the others who could go to She Speaks in 2010.
I made a commitment to apply all that I could, not only with my speaking and writing, but also in my church, in my home, and in my work. And God is good. He blessed me with acceptance into the Leadership Academy at my work that I had applied and been rejected for 3 years. I was poured into with leadership skills, customer service, performance improvement, over and over, more than I could have imagined. And I have combined that knowledge with the knowledge that the leaders at She Speaks and the Proverbs 31 team pours out at the conference and throughout the year. That is their heart, to help each of us to understand the gifts we have received and how God wants us to use them to further His kingdom,not to further OUR agenda.
This year, 2011, I will be returning to She Speaks with a different attitude and a different intention. An intention to listen and be ready for whatever God has planned for me, and if it is a boat, a helicopter, or a friend who needs an ear, whatever He brings to me, I will accept. I am so ready to come back and so is my heart.
I want to say one thing. I wish with all my heart that we had done this sooner, but I am thankful that, even though this is not always easy, Rodney and I are doing this now.
Our FPU journey is continuing. We have discovered things about ourselves that have been very enlightening. I found out that I am more of a grocery snob than I realized and I don’t like to spend cash, at all.
The biggest situation that has come up in the last few days has been about college. I am trying to finish my bachelor’s degree but because I work full-time I need to do it online. I was accepted at Liberty University, which is a private Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia. I thought I would be getting more grant money but we just found out that instead we will have to do student loans for a portion of it, to the tune of about 10 thousand dollars a year, so approximately 30,000, in order for me to complete my degree. Yes, the odds of me getting a job that would markedly increase my income is good, but it is no guarantee.
Three months ago I would not have batted an eye about this. But we are working harder at our finances than anything else we have done since we got married. I do not want to undermine that by going 30,000 dollars in debt. I’m trying to decide what to do. It’s too late for me to go back to the community college and I didn’t put in for financial aid there, believing that I had it taken care of at Liberty. I could wait and go back to the community college in January and complete my associates degree but that’s delaying it even more and only if they have all the classes I need (not likely).
I’m debating on calling the Dave Ramsey show and asking his advice but I think I already know what he will say.
“Beans and rice, two or three jobs, and sell so much stuff the kid think she’s next, and pay for it as you go.”
It’s amazing when things change your heart so radically that you lose sleep thinking about going back into debt.
This is why I wish I had known this before. This is why we are pouring this over, around, and into DD as much as possible, so she will not have these issues. No debt. NONE. Her future husband will appreciate it and one day, when she is secure due to her financial peace, she will rise up and call us blessed (Proverbs 31:28).
This is where we are right now. Are we debt free, no, not yet. Do we have our money named and our budget organized, yes. YES. YES!!!!! We are getting there, one step at a time. One baby step at a time.
WH and I started Financial Peace University last week. For anyone who is not familiar with this program, Dave Ramsey created it after he experienced financial challenges including bankruptcy and losing everything he had . He understands and uses common sense approaches in order to help people obtain financial peace.
Dave states that a couples #1 argument is over money. WH and I were the exception to the rule. We never argued about money. The reason we never argued about money was because we never talked about it.
We got paid, the bills were paid most of the time, and the tithe was paid… sometimes, and if we wanted to do something, we did it, sometimes and then the end of the month would come and we would stress and pray that nothing major would happen because there was no money. No savings, no rainy day fund. This caused a lot of emotional stress…until the next paycheck and the cycle would start all over again.
Reaching Financial peace, like many things we do that are life changing, requires a journey. We do not just wake up and have peace. It requires a trip. On trips, there will be obstacles to overcome, challenges that you were not prepared for, and surprises around the corner. WH and I have experienced many of those and this journey has just begun. It is exciting, but I must warn you, it is hard.
WH and I agreed that the first and most important part of our journey was being sure we were being obedient to God. Our tithe. People get so weird when you talk about tithe. Do you tithe on the net or gross, do you tithe on gifts, etc? You know what you are supposed to do. Give to God first. Do not make it difficult. We set up through our church to automatically take out our tithe every week. It is done first and we budget with what remains. We do not have to think about it, we do not run into the temptation of using it for other things. God gives us everything and only ask for a pittance in return. The least we can do is return to Him what He asks for.
The next step for DH, DD and me was to sit down and dream. I have been with my husband over 9 years and we had never shared our dreams. Yes, the silly dreams, “if we win the lottery…” (Redneck retirement fund), and the ambiguous, I wish we could _______ dreams. But we never sat down and said okay, honest, what makes your heart smile, what do you dream about, what do you want more than anything besides world peace, a cure for cancer, and Colonel Sander’s secret recipe?
And we shared our dreams. I found out my husband had wanted something since he was 10-years-old. He had a secret dream he had never told anyone. No, I am not going to tell you either, that is for him to say, but it broke my heart that I never knew. Then it made me excited when we started talking about how we could make it come true, together, and his dream became our dream and we took a step closer together and took a step further on our journey.
We followed FPU suggestions and wrote down those dreams. It’s will take a while, but it’s a lot easier to pass by Starbucks, forgo the pizza on Friday night, and not buy those super cute shoes, when we are all on board with our dreams and we are working towards a bigger goal.
That was just the first week and I have so much more to tell you. There were lots more ah-ha moments this past week, but I am out of time for now and you probably need to go get more coffee. Thanks for stopping by for a few minutes and spending some time with my pixels and me.
If you are interested in Financial Peace University there is a link on this page that will take you to Dave Ramsey’s site. Dave Ramsey does not know me, does not read my blog, and I do not get any props from him or FPU. I just believe in what he does and wanted to share.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me directly.