Opening Deaf Ears

By Shin Mishina

“I am a failure with our finances,” I said to my wife, Lisa, as we sat in our bedroom talking (probably fighting) about money. It was a Saturday morning in late 2009. The home we had purchased a year earlier was no longer a blessing to me, but more like a curse because of the heavy mortgage payments that came with it. Our two daughters would soon be off to college, but how would we pay for that? Christmas was right around the corner, too, and we hadn’t set any money aside. I had lost hope and felt like a failure.

My wife had heard about a Financial Peace University (FPU) small group to be hosted in our neighborhood in January, and she strongly suggested that we join. I initially resisted, perhaps because of embarrassment and maybe the $100 we had to cough up for the curriculum, but I soon relented, knowing full well that we needed guidance. So, I reluctantly agreed to join the FPU class.

My wife had heard about a Financial Peace University small group

During the first two to three lessons, I felt horrible. I almost disliked the person who wrote the curriculum, Dave Ramsey, because he pointed out everything I did wrong financially! But one thing Dave said in a later lesson completely changed my attitude: “Personal Finance is 20 percent head knowledge and 80 percent behavior; the problem is who you see in the mirror – YOU!” It was like a salvation experience: to gain freedom, I had to change first. In other words, repent. From then on, I was able to humble myself and start to understand that God owned everything and I was just a manager of His resources.

When Lisa heard me say the words “I am a failure with our finances,” she later told me she wondered, “God, is this your answer to my prayers?” As a planner who thinks ahead, she had brought up money subjects many times in the past, but her thoughts always fell on my deaf ears. Each time that happened, she would pray that God would reach me before no time was left to save for retirement. In those days, she clung to God’s promise in Joel 2:25, that He “… will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” So she said to me, “Well, then, let’s go to that FPU class!”

When Lisa heard me say the words 'I am a failure with our finances'

Starting from the first class, we were all like sponges. All the information about finances that we had heard about were laid out in an easy, understandable plan. Then, by the second lesson, we realized we had some spiritual changes needed in our lives. By the sixth lesson, we were able to listen to each other and discuss our dreams, values, and fears without getting defensive. We came to realize that it wasn’t just the two of us working this out, but it was the three of us: God, me, and Lisa.

Fast-forward nine years since then. We’ve hosted more than thirty classes, and what miracles we have seen! God has gone far beyond what we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), transforming hearts and minds both in members’ lives and in our own lives. As we write this story now, we are totally debt-free, including our house, which is nothing short of a miracle and couldn’t be possible without God’s interventions.

As we write this story now, we are totally debt-free, including our house

Throughout this journey, we’ve learned to be content with what we already have and to live well within our means, never to rely on borrowed money to extend our lifestyle. Being debt-free also gave us a space to look outside our own lives and help others. We now have an offering fund, actual cash set aside in our budget ready to be used to help people or ministries as God directs us. It’s an awesome position to be in!

God has been merciful to us, just as He will be to anyone who turns to Him for help. No matter who you are or where you are financially, there is always hope. If you don’t know where to begin or need some guidance on how to move forward financially, we highly recommend Financial Peace University. This stuff works! As you work the steps, God will not only transform your financial lives, but will also change your family tree for good.

If you’d like to sign up info for the upcoming Financial Peace University 9-week class, please email kathyf@northshore.church.


 

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