Mary Smith admits that she did not manage God's gifts wisely, but now Mary and her husband Chris will lead Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class together starting January 22. Read her story:
Twelve years ago I was walking in my Highland Shores neighborhood with a friend. We were laughing and joking as usual then the conversation turned to the topic of stewardship. (Keep reading. This is not an appeal for money.)
She said, "Mary, my husband and I have a real problem. We want to be able to give more but we don't see how that will ever happen. We are hurting pretty bad financially. We can't even pay for our daughter's dance recital costume. And, if we can't do that, she can't be in the recital."
I was stunned. They were driving nice, new cars. They were living in a huge $350,000 home with a pool that, frankly, I envied. Her husband was working. There had been no medical catastrophe. And, here they were unable to pay for a $125 dance recital dress. Believe me, as I am writing this, I know this is what some would call a "first world problem" or trivial compared to not being able to eat or being homeless. But, in that moment, I saw true despair in her eyes where there should have been joy and excitment.
I would like to say I offered some kindness and comfort but all that came into my heart was judgement for not managing her money better and pity for the daughter not being able to participate in the recital.
At the end of our walk together, I walked back to my house alone. As I walked up the driveway, I realized my husband Chris and I had two incomes and were living pay check to pay check - accumulating debt. We had very little savings. We weren't giving as we wanted. One small hiccup in our finances would have meant disaster for us and our five children. I began to feel that same despair and hopelessness as my friend did.
About this same time, Chris began telling me stories of some guy named Dave Ramsey he heard on the radio talking about money and how to manage it better. I would tease him thinking he was listening to some "get-rich-quick infomercial" but when Trietsch decided to hold a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course, I relented and asked Chris if HE wanted to go.
I was bugged when I found out couples should attend together. Why couldn't he just tell me what I needed to know? I agreed to go to the first session and see where that led. It was nice to be with a group of people sharing similar struggles and I made it through the entire course.
I wouldn't say Chris and I ever fought about money before but we were definitely not on the same page about how to manage it. The class gave us the structure and the language to be able to have calm, productive discussions that helped us reach decisions we could both support. To be partners. Slowly but surely, we implemented the FPU practices. Those practices changed the way we manage God's gift of money and they changed my despair first to hope, then security and finally confidence.
Fast forward to 2016, we have no debt (except our mortgage), we are sending our fifth child to college without use of student loans, we have retirement savings and joyfully give to our church and those in need.
This January, Chris and I will be facilitating the FPU class at Trietsch for our 7th time. We still laugh as we introduce ourselves to the class with the statement, "You are going to hear Dave talk about a lot of things you should never do with your money – we use to do almost all of them!"
Come join us, come change your life with money, come change your life.