Sunday, March 24, 2019

Financial Fiascos

Have you ever just felt God push you? I mean literally, I feel like a scared little girl about to go out on stage in front of 100,000 people and tell my most embarrassing secret all the while saying, "No! I can't do this!" As God is behind me pushing me and saying, "Yes you can, remember I am right beside you." I have tried every way in the world to get out of this post. I have even had 10 other ideas of a post I should make:) God doesn't like my sense of humor I assure you. I can feel His convictions. As nervous as I am of admitting my biggest shortcoming I know this set of posts will be the ones that many people will be able to relate to on various levels. 

I would love to say I have never had financial fiascos until my divorce, but that would be a lie, denial on my end. I lived a VERY blessed childhood. I don't regret a second of it, nor do I blame anyone for my shortcomings, but I will say there is something to teaching your child financial responsibility no matter how difficult they make your life. I was given much as a child and young adult, all out of great love. The only problem was when I became an adult on my own I had no idea what a budget meant or how to live within my means. My 20s was not some of my best years financially, but after hard lessons, I went into my 30s completely debt free. I took Crown Financial and Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class and learned how to finally budget and live within my means. 

Then life happened and well as the saying goes, I fell off the wagon! Big Time!! The past 4 years I have lived in a tunnel; I believe that would be the word for my state of being, but I have lived life to the fullest, made some amazing memories with my kids, and accumulated plenty of debt. When things finally came to a head last summer and I realized my life would never be what it once was and no amount of going, spending, or denial would change that. I practiced adulting (yes it's hard to adult sometimes:)) and went to a counselor. I needed to admit my shortcomings and get advice. 

My counselor is amazing! Can I just say everyone should have someone neutral to talk to! I have learned SO much about me in the past 10 months. The one thing I have learned in this entire process is to accept your mistakes and then set realistic goals to correct the mistakes. I knew my process wouldn't be an easy one and I had to hit rock bottom before I could rise up and re-build. November was my flat on your face, can't breathe month. I honestly thought there was no recovery from my bad decisions. It took me 6 months to get up the nerve to even add up my debt! I was that scared of facing reality!! My counselor was very patient with me and gave me baby steps each month to get me to where I needed to be.

Then an amazing thing happened!! My next session we discussed how to accept my mistakes, take responsibility for them and correct them. Not making excuses, but accepting it. I couldn't continue to live in my tunnel and I had to get my act together! It has been one of the most painful and beautiful processes I have ever encountered. Mostly because for the first time in my life I am depending on God and my faithfulness in Him to take each step. No bailing out! Oh, I can't say I didn't ask and the best gift my dad ever gave me was the answer no. The crazy thing was before I even had an answer God spoke to me that day. (Yes call me crazy, but I have conversations with God often.) He asked me did I trust Him. I said yes of course I do and He said your dad isn't going to help you, but I will be here with you every step of the way. I knew my head was saying this is too much for me, but my heart was saying God is going before you.  Y'all my daddy has never told me no when I have really needed something, so I really thought I was not hearing God right. (Can I just say the pain on my dad's face when he told me no was enough to break my heart. He was heartbroken to say I had to do this on my own.) The peace I had was CRAZY and when dad started talking I was completely calm, no fear because I knew this time I had to figure out my crazy mess myself. Don't get me wrong, my dad came back later to say he would do whatever he could to guide me, but right now I knew I needed to lean on God. 

This journey won't end soon, my realistic goal is by the age of 50 I will be debt free. I am praying it will be sooner with hard work and discipline. The amazing thing is I will be completely debt free at the age of 50! 

I post this to say, we ALL have our fiascos! Mine is finances. Yours may be financial or maybe alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. You are not alone and you don't need to feel alone. We are in this life to build each other up and pray for one another. I don't have all the answers, but you better believe my tribe includes a dear friend who rocks Financial Peace and she keeps me in check. You may not feel led to share your story on a blog, but share your story. You will be amazed at the blessing and freedom you will receive. I know the more I share of this journey the more healing I will experience. 

This was in my reading today and I thought it was a perfect verse for this post:)

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Imperfections Galore!

We all have them, imperfections that is, and we all tend to concentrate more on them than the beauty we have been given. I was prompted to create this blog in December. I have prayed about it for months now. Each time getting a knot in my stomach at the prospect of sharing my imperfections with others.

God, I can't do this! What will I say? How will I put my faults out there for others to read? How can my imperfections help others? I don't have the words. I am not capable. You name it and I came up with the excuse.

God has sent numerous people, devotions, sermons, and scriptures in my life the past 2 1/2 months to push me in this direction. Yes, I tend to be a little hard headed! My counselor (if you don't have one you need one) put it in black and white for me a few weeks ago. He said, "Is this your blog or God's blog?" Wow!! Was I again making this about me? Yes, I was! Then this past Thursday a sweet friend came up to me on a field trip with tears in her eyes telling me how a post I had written on Facebook was exactly what she needed at the exact time she read it. A tear slid down my face because I knew I was not being obedient to God's will in my life. My imperfections had helped her. If only I could get past me and to Him I knew this blog would happen.

 I am me, full of imperfections, shortcomings, and disappointments, but to Him, I am worthy, beautiful, and His. He doesn't see them as imperfections at all. Wow, what a relief! I can only pray each post will brighten your day, make you feel worthy of your calling on this beautiful planet we call Earth, but most of all I pray you will feel His love rain down on you.

 Yes, we all have imperfections galore, but we can choose to hide them or allow God to use them, find the beauty in them. I invite you to gladly allow Him to use them to bring others to Him! May your imperfections shine for His glory!