A Glimpse From the Past
It seems like just yesterday… but 1987 was the worst year of my life. I was 11 years old, my parents were getting a divorce, our newly divided family was struggling for money, and I was not handling it well at all. Despite my mother’s strength, wisdom, independence, and education—including a Master’s degree in Theology—at the end of the day, she was still a single mother trying to figure out how to make ends meet.
As I watched the only life I had known fade into the distance, and experienced an unwelcome new reality filled with fear, disappointment, transition, doubt, and the devastation of not having enough of anything, I learned a lesson that would serve me well, and ultimately lead me to my current career as a financial advisor. At age 11, I realized that regardless of your age, race, class, background, education, or status, if you don’t have control over your own finances, then you don’t have any control at all.
For the first decade of my life, I had grown up in what seemed to be an ideal, two-parent home where Dad was the primary breadwinner and chief financial engineer. Mom was the primary homemaker, caretaker, and nurturer with an income that was secondary to his; and as long as nothing ever changed, then everything would be OK. But things did change, and everything wasn’t OK.
There’s an old saying that the only constant is change. It’s true. But if you don’t prepare and plan for change, then you are accepting financial defeat before the battle even begins. I decided to prepare myself by going to school, getting the appropriate certifications and degrees, and changing the way I thought about money. I acknowledged and embraced the idea that until I took control of my own financial destiny—in Christ—that my life would never be my own.
I accepted early on in my walk with the Lord that I would endeavor to know and embrace His word and His will for my life. One of the first and most enduring lessons I learned was that it is God’s will for His children to be blessed; for all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him, Amen. But I also realized that my future was not solely God’s responsibility. I had to do my part too. Once I understood this principle, there was no question in my mind about God’s position on money. The real question was, ‘How does God want me to handle the finances and abundance that He blesses me with?’ I learned that most people give money too much credit and associate it with values it simply does not possess. For years, parents, preachers, and Sunday school teachers have misquoted the same famous passage of scripture, often stating that “money is the root of all evil,” when in reality the Bible states in Ecclesiastes that money is a [defense] or asset and answers all things; while “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The irony of finances within Christianity is that everything belongs to God, yet at some point almost everyone manages their money like it only belongs to them.