While my husband and I have been giving, we had not been fully tithing the "first 10". The recent message hit home and we committed to tithing the first 10%.
Financially we are doing well and are blessed, but we had been struggling personally. Although my husband's business was increasing, it was not strong and he was not doing what was necessary in order to get his billing under control. That was a continual issue between us.
I have been blessed and successful in the role I am in as a recruitment lead. I took this position as a W2 hourly employee and while lucrative, stable and permanent, there were no benefits. We had good medical coverage previously and W2 hourly made sense before, but with the new Affordable Care Act, our coverage went from $600 per month to just under $1300 per month for our family with an out of pocket cost of $12,500 before we could see any benefits. I was angry. The amount of $26,000 per year is not affordable! We have been without insurance for almost a year and the risk is high with an active 10 year old boy. I knew of options such as Medi-share but was not compelled to sign up. I was just angry.
I had spoken with my manager in November 2014, asking how I could transition into a full time employee, having been there for 3.5 years. He indicated that this couldn't be done until the following year unless I was willing to take a cut in compensation, which didn't make sense. He did what he could and increased my hourly rate with no issues, which I was thankful.
I was angry again, I felt the company was letting me down. I was frustrated with my husband for not stepping up and I began looking for other jobs instead of praying and giving this up to God. I distanced myself from others and also from my church.
I was also looking into insurance alternatives, one being Samaritan ministries and felt compelled to sign up. One factor you had to get was your pastor's consent. To be honest, we had stopped coming regularly since December and I was not sure that I could go there and claim in all honesty that I was a "regular" at my church.
I finally came around. We were committed to coming back to church not because of the insurance coverage, but because I was trusting God to guide us. At the beginning of a service, I was led to commit to the first 10% and wrote the check willingly and with peace. Previously our giving was around 7-8% but I was compelled to write the check for the 10% at the beginning of the service, with no idea what the message was. I love God and His ways!
The next day, my manager called me up to tell me that he was going to put me in for the promotion and the conversion to a full time employee as an exception. We discussed the dollars and they were a bit lower than the current W2 hourly rate but with the benefits as well as the bonuses and commissions, it would somewhat equal. Either way, the peace of mind of having full corporate benefits for my family was a true blessing.
I sat down and was working on the new budget, seeing how this would work putting the first line in the budget being “Tithing to my Church.” Other goals were to see if we could pay down a couple of credit cards and keep our savings strong as we had been doing.
Somehow the budget not only balanced out, but there was more. I wanted to base this on my salary alone and what my husband could commit to bringing in monthly, not the bonuses /commissions I would be getting. This was a cut of about $1,200 per paycheck for me. I was thinking how is this going to work out?
With God's Grace and Him alone, the numbers not only worked out, but with the first 10% still on top, I was able to increase what we put towards paying off the 3 credit cards aggressively, still keep our high level of monthly savings and there is a net sum at the end that is not below zero. Trust me, I had to pour over the numbers a few times and sit back in initial disbelief and then in amazement. I am truly amazed and thankful.