By Gloria Nesloney
When people think about healing, the first thought is physical healing. However, there were various areas in my life where healing was necessary. I had physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds that were obvious and some that were hidden. Along with some of those wounds came financial wounds. When I needed surgery, when I was depressed, or when I didn’t have hope, each time I was going through an ailment, it depleted me. Financial strain only complicated the issues. I found myself on a slippery slide down to poverty on more than one occasion. It seemed as if every time I was getting back on my feet, I would dig deep into my empty pockets only to find lint fragments. So many days of struggling, I thought it was my destiny to be poor and stay poor since I had grown up in poverty. I worked hard, but I identified with piggy banks that were used for decorations not saving money. I accepted my fate, like sand through the hourglass was money in my hands.
I had just become a Christian in 1995, and tithed for the first time. I was on government financial assistance and paper currency was issued. I remember having the brown one dollar food stamp booklet and I would purchase a small bubble gum pack for twenty-five cents so that in return I could have seventy-five cents change. I did this a couple of times in order to have some cash for toiletries and hygiene products. One day, I put the quarters in the offering plate as a tithe and prayed, “Lord, I know you can multiply this if you want. I don’t know how you are going to do it, but I know your word says you can.” Little did I know the request I was asking was going to open a door for my first part-time employment at a clinic that week. I worked at the clinic for a couple of months and though I saved finances when I could, again I would find myself with no job and no money. I was able to find a part-time job, save for a while, and be broke again. The cycle continued for almost ten years.
All I knew was I didn’t want to stay in the generational financial rut. I had to do something different than what I was doing. So when I was twenty four years old, I moved out of town to look for permanent employment. I worked at the school, hotel, insurance company, court house, ice-cream parlor, coffee shop, chiropractic office, hospital, radio station, and radiology departments. I learned everything I could, but the positions were from a temporary agency. I was at the mercy of the agency to hire me. Don’t get me wrong, each of the part-time position jobs I had were beneficial to me, but since it was part-time, I couldn’t keep up with bills in a new city and continue working in order to get ahead or at least balance my budget. When I wrote my resume, it was filled with gaps of unemployment because I would find odd jobs that were not part-time or full-time positions rather these jobs were on an as needed basis like baby or adult sitting, yard work, homeschooling, or housekeeping.
In the summer of 2002, I was taking classes for ministry and our assignment was to watch a video about the importance of tithing. Under my breath, I said, “But I have already done that, and I gave more sometimes as an offering. Why can’t I seem to stay blessed?” I heard the Lord say, “What is it to you?” I was caught off guard and that was when I learned that being blessed had nothing to do with tithe or giving, but rather, trusting the Lord, the attitude of my heart, and full obedience. Then I heard the Lord say, “$100,000 will be yours.” I laughed out of doubt because I was living paycheck to paycheck always lacking or barely making ends meet in that season of my life. But, I knew if the Lord said it, it must be so. Even though I couldn’t see it at the time, the many ways the Lord has provided me exceeded my expectations and have been more abundant than what He promised.
I stayed with several friends during my time out of town. It was a time for me to learn to trust the Lord for everything. It was common for me to help around the house by cleaning or doing chores to help compensate for my stay. During the day I would walk or catch a bus to look for employment. I went to every building I could and would fill out applications. I would bring home several business cards of all the places I went to prove that I was actively looking for employment. I was declined for job openings one after another for almost three months. I was qualified as I had a college degree, I had certifications, I was teachable, and I was willing to work. I just didn’t have the key needed to open doors of opportunity. I had to face my fate. Again, I was lacking, but still I tried.
One day, I was helping a church set up for an event, and a folding table dropped on my foot causing excruciating pain, with a bone popped out and lots of swelling. I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, and now walking was very limited to look for work. Rent was coming up and I had lost hope. So I prayed. “Lord, I need your help. You promised you would take care of me. Show me where I should go, what I should do.” Immediately, after I finished praying, I get offered financial help to help pay for the medical care I needed for my foot and rent for the month. I thanked the Lord on how quickly the answer came through. That evening I had a dream of moving back to my hometown and in the dream I’m dressed in business attire, working behind a desk in my own office.
Eventually, I returned to my hometown in 2004 with no money to show that I was ever employed. I didn’t want to move back to my hometown, but I knew that I had a house that I didn’t have to pay rent and it was better than trying to pay someone else what little finances I was receiving from working. The attitude of my heart had to change about moving where I didn’t want to go. For just a little while I had stopped searching for employment and decided to make a vow to Lord that I would stay in my hometown if he provided me with the job he wanted me to have. My determination was evident when I asked to borrow $50.00 so that I could paint my house. What I lacked was that I never called my house my home. This time I was going to make it my home by painting it with bright welcoming colors.
As I was painting my home, the Lord spoke to me and told me he had a job lined up for me. About two months later, I was called in for an interview for a position I didn’t apply for and a company I have never heard of. A friend purchased me a blouse, skirt, and shoes for my interview. I went for the interview on Friday and was asked to come in on Monday as my hired date. It was a full-time position working for the oil industry with a major corporation. I had my own office behind a desk. I worked there for ten years until I married and relocated.
While I was there, I was encouraged to invest some of my salary. Since I have never done that before, I didn’t trust it. Plus, the poverty mindset had not changed in me yet. It wasn’t until I took some financial classes that were offered by the church that I learned how to save, how to budget, how to invest, how to get out of debt, how to stay out of debt, and how to purchase wisely. The phrase I live by was taught by Dave Ramsey during the Financial Peace class, “Live like no one else, so that you can live like no one else.” That was when I started to have some of my salary invested in the multi-billion corporation when the shares were low and affordable for me. Though the stock markets have had their ups and downs, I am benefiting from compound interest these days for saving when I did.
One example of how the Lord has provided was when I was asked to go on a mission trip to Mexico. I knew I could not afford it, but I knew I was supposed to go. The Lord provided all of the finances through an anonymous donor. I had a tumor that needed to be removed by C-section and the medical bills were totally paid. Somehow, I had just enough to continue to give for tithe and offering. There was a time when I was ministering in North Texas and a stranger handed me an envelope with about $700 cash. It was just the amount I needed for a room I was renting and to pay for my phone bill so that I could get prospective calls for employment.
Another time was when my husband and I were invited to go to Uganda. We could not afford it but I knew we were supposed to go. On a Saturday evening my husband tells me, I said, “I know the Lord wants both of us to go, but we can’t afford it. If the Lord wants us to go, He will provide not just what we need for the expenses but also a little more to allocate for the time we will not be working.” On Sunday morning we were approached by an elder who wants to meet with us after church. He did not know our discussion or our situation. He gave us more than enough to cover the expenses for both of us to go to Uganda and to take care of our bills for the month.
As I write today, I can continue to testify that I have been blessed more than I could have imagined. This is to give hope for those who may have had financial struggles. We all have had financial struggles, but when it’s constant it can really weigh on a person's worth, their capabilities and desire to move forward in the workforce.
When I learned secrets for financial freedom, I had the power to pull the proverbial plug off for the cash to flow. Sometimes it trickled in and sometimes it was a wild river. The generational lack of finances stopped with me. In return when He would provide, I would use the tools for budgeting, saving, tithing, and investing knowledge I received from the financial classes. Now I help train others who are going through a financial slump get into position for their financial freedom.
I learned that being blessed isn’t about having financial security. I have found that being blessed is more about being obedient even in the little things and the blessing will follow. The amount $100,000 proved to be just a number to look forward to, but the Lord has out done Himself by providing healing in every area of my life that exceeds monetary value. The scar of being in poverty is a reminder of the faithfulness of the Lord.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV