I would like you to welcome a guest today. You’ve met her before when she was a guest for me for Fellowship Friday. I loved Marriage Monday’s topic on finances and my dear friend, Kristi, has a beautiful testimony to share. Pop over the chrysaliscafe and see other posts on this topic!
Budget….that word used to send my stomach churning. I hated that word. To me it meant, you shall not have any fun, you shall not spend money on anything deemed frivolous – you know “girly stuff” , you shall live an extremely modest lifestyle and absolutely no way will thou ever eat out. It’s so funny how one word can create such emotion in us. It’s so funny how God will use that word and turn your life around for the better.
In January of 2010 our church put out the word that they would be holding a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace seminar. I had heard of him but didn’t really know anything about him or what his program was about. My husband and I had been through a lot in regards to our finances, we had come a long way but I was still not satisfied with how things were going. I felt we could be doing better. We had given up credit card debt years ago after having been through credit counseling when we owed $40,000.00 on credit cards alone, not including our home and car at the time. Those were rough times, we had learned our lesson. So I thought. God had other plans.
The flyer for the seminar had me intrigued and so I asked my husband if we should consider going. “No”, he said, “ We’re doing fine, we don’t owe anything except for the house, I don’t think we need this.” So, I gently pointed to one sentence on the flyer which said, “Do you use credit cards for your emergency fund?” Well, that was us, no we didn’t use credit cards but we had one for just in case there’s an emergency. Well, my husband still said no and so I began the process of submitting to God and to submitting to my husband. I prayed that if God wanted us to do this He would change my husband’s mind. It was not easy waiting on God, I wanted it now. I wanted more financial peace, the promise given on the flyer and from what others at church had been testifying to who had gone through the program before. So, I tried to wait patiently and leave it to God.
On the night of the introduction of what the seminar was about my husband announced he was going to go watch it. Then after watching it, he decided that we would indeed take the seminar. Oh, was I excited and scared at the same time. I had no idea what would all be involved. I had no idea how much God would require of me.
The first thing God did was answer my prayer that my husband become more involved in our finances. I had been doing them all by myself for the last 11 years. I thought that it was going to be a wonderful answer to pray until I realized my husband had his own way of doing things and God was asking me to submit to Him and to my husband. But God is faithful and through the program my husband learned that we both needed a say in our finances, that it would not just be one of us doing all the work, we’d be working together. But at the same time, for 11 years I had pretty much free reign of our finances, I kept my husband informed and even asked for his advice here and there so to now have to completely share and give up my will at times was not always easy for me. There were times I did not agree with my husband but I submitted to his decisions and God was so faithful, every decision turned out just fine.
Then with in just a few weeks, the “B” word came into play. Yes, Budget….we were now being asked in class to come up with a budget and to follow it. I hated the idea. I felt restricted, being the total rule follower that I am, I knew once we had it down on paper for me it was written in stone, unmovable, unchangeable. I admit that I was not the easiest person to get along with when we first started this process (Hi, me Laurel here – I can attest to the truth of that statement 🙂 ). I remember feeling like it wouldn’t work, that we’d never have any fun anymore, that we could only buy generic food, and I didn’t even want to think about all the things we would have to give up. Chained…we’d be chained to that budget.
Fast forward ten months and I was literally telling my mom, “ You really should get on a budget, it’s so freeing!” Yup, Freeing! God moved a huge mountain in my life, I gave up my will for His and oh, how wonderful it’s been. I don’t stress about money and how are we going to pay for this or that because I already know it’s there, it’s in the budget. I no longer feel guilty going grocery shopping and wondering did I just rob Peter to pay Paul here? What will we have to go without because I spent a certain amount of money. I no longer feel guilty if we go out to eat. I no longer feel guilty because it’s in the budget but not only because it’s in the budget but because there is a limit to it, we don’t overspend in any area now with out even realizing we’ve done so until it’s too late. The best thing about our budget is that we know now where every penny is being spent or saved. We no longer sit and look at the checkbook and say, “Where did all the money go?” We know exactly where it went.
I praise God every day now for our budget. And I praise Him that we do get to eat out, I do get to buy my girly stuff, granted I have to save up for it and wait a little longer than I used to but it sure is a nice feeling to know I can get it and it won’t mess up our finances. We’ve paid off $15,205.00 since March on the second mortgage. We have now paid off half – kind of exciting. And I praise Him that we do have fun and in most ways we are enjoying the things or times out more because we are not in the back of our minds asking, “Can we afford this?”
Thank you Kristi for sharing your heart here again…
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