By Erica Irwin
Ten years ago, I had a lot of hang-ups. I had no idea what it meant to follow Jesus and did not have a church home. The few church experiences I had left me feeling offended and judged when it came to tithing and financial giving. My unbelieving heart was hard and guarded.
By the middle of 2009, we found ourselves in a huge financial disaster. And in the midst of selling and losing all of our earthly possessions I was heartbroken. I loved and treasured all the bright and shiny things of this world. They defined my success as a person and seeing them all slip away was just too much to handle. As we were preparing to move out of our first home and into a small apartment with our almost two-year old son my sweet husband suggested that we start attending church. My response back to him was, “how is that going to help?”.
Eventually I agreed to try it out and we landed at Summit Church’s University campus one Sunday morning in September 2009. I immediately knew that something was different in that place and left feeling surprisingly comfortable and at home. I didn’t know it at the time but God was at work in my life. Over the next 6-8 months God continued to break down walls in my heart and I began to immerse myself in God’s word. I saw my sinful heart for what it was and began to see my need for a savior. In June 2010 I was baptized alongside my husband and gave my life over to Christ. I was once in darkness but now was given new life because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I still am in awe of the way God worked in my once hardened heart.
We continued to struggle financially and when it came to tithing and giving I was unsure of how to release the control. We were now expecting our second child and drowning in medical bills. I knew that God was calling us to consistently give of our finances and was asking me to surrender them to Him. I just didn’t understand how we were supposed to pay our debts while also being generous givers. I was trying to work to control it all and searching for a solution.
My husband kept pursuing me and kept trying to get me to see that our giving wasn’t something that we did if and when we could. He kept reminding me that we give of our first fruits and then we handle the rest. I still didn’t trust that it would all work out but I agreed to follow his lead and hoped and prayed that something big would happen. And then God showed up and boldly proclaimed His presence in my life. He began to make His plan clear to me in a series of events and in the end, my husband had been given enough overtime work to pay all of our medical bills to the exact dollar of what was owed to bring our baby girl into the world. I knew in that moment that I had seen a true act of God in my life. He heard our prayers. He knew our needs. He provided for and cared for us in mighty ways. It was no longer my money. I was at peace right where we were at.
God broke through the walls around my heart and I was able to surrender all to Him. I felt incredibly blessed even in the midst of the few earthly possessions we had and knew I was rich in heavenly treasures. I felt heard by my Creator and all I wanted to do was follow Him and live under His teaching. It hasn’t always been an easy road. I often catch my sinful heart slipping back to that place of wanting to be in financial control. But then I remember that time when I was searching for something more in all the wrong places and how God boldly taught me that He is in control of every aspect of my life and how he has promised to love and care for me despite my sinful soul.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
And so, as a daughter of a King, I will boldly proclaim His name for all my days.