My husband and I are both writers. This year marks our 13 year anniversary, and for those 13 years, we have had the desire to be full-time writers. We have looked into so many different ways of making this happen, but we never could find a way to support five children on such a questionable income.
Let me also explain that we have never really had a perfect testimony of tithing either. We paid tithing, but we always paid on our net income and we never made it a priority to pay it first. Often times, we would use what was allotted for tithing as our grocery money with the justification that we would just make it up with the next check. We always made it up, but never put it first.
Last December, Sean and I were both studying and pondering and separately received revelation that we needed to start making tithing a priority. I read something somewhere that said if you wanted the net blessings you should pay on your net income, but if you wanted the most blessings, you should pay on the gross. In December, we made the decision to write a check that would make up the difference between our net income and our gross income and paid it on the last day of the month. We had confidence that God would bless us for our sacrifice.
We also made the decision to put tithing first. It is the first check we write and we do not even question whether or not we should hold on to it "just in case" there won't be enough for everything else. As we continued to pay our tithing, our trust in the Lord increased and again, Sean and I both received revelation separately that he should not renew his contract as a teacher and that we should start looking for writing jobs to fulfill our desire to be full time writers.
Sean was blessed right away with a part-time job writing science and math curriculum while he was still teaching high school. Since February, he has been working both jobs in order to prepare for the transition. I, however, could not find anything. I have a BA in English, I am a published author, yet I could not find a writing job that didn't pay more than pennies a word. I began to get discouraged but kept doing all I could to trust in the Lord.
I continued to write for FamilyShare and I noticed some of my articles were very popular. I then noticed heavier traffic to my blog and I began posting more often. I began to feel the Spirit inspire me with thoughts and ideas as I thought about what to write. Writing those articles and writing on my blog is where I find joy and a greater dose of the Spirit. My only concern was that while I enjoy writing on my blog very much, it was not going to provide for my family and I had to stop and look for real work. That's why I stopped posting.
At the beginning of June, school ended. I could still find nothing by way of work, and to make matters worse, the company Sean had been working for part-time started giving him projects quoting a payment that was so low that there was no way we could ever provide for our family. Even though we had felt the Lord inspire us to move in the direction of full time writers, we had no idea how we were going to provide for our family. I began to be angry and frustrated; angry with my husband for quitting his job, even though I told him I felt the same as he did, and angry at God because we had been paying our tithing faithfully for six months without seeing the promised blessings that come from it. I felt He had abandoned and forsaken us. I began to doubt myself, wondering if what I felt was revelation was just me and not really the Spirit at all.
One of Sean's final checks came from the school and it came time to pay our tithing. It wasn't even a thought in my mind. I may have been frustrated with God, but I was not going to undo everything we had worked towards by doubting now. I paid it, believing that some day, those promised blessings would come. I have always held on to hope. It is what got me through as a child.
Three days after I paid the tithing, those blessings did come and they have changed not only the way I look at tithing, but the way I look at Heavenly Father as well. The company that Sean was writing for came back and raised the price of the projects 2 1/2 times what they were originally going to pay him. Not only will he be able to make more money than he was as a teacher, but he will be able to do it in just a few days a week and he will be able to spend the rest of the week writing the books that he wants to write.
Because we made tithing a priority, I won't have to write for money at all. I can write for me, and for you, and continue to write the things of my heart.
What I learned from this is that God has a plan for all of us. We may not understand what it is, but if we listen to the promptings of the Spirit, and keep the commandments and covenants we make with our Father in Heaven, He will not let us down. He is bound to keep His promises when we do what He asks.
So my testimony is simple and it also serves as my advice to you:
- Listen to the promptings of the Spirit and follow Him.
- Do not doubt yourself! This is Satan's way of getting you to stop doing what you ought to be doing.
- Keep the Commandments! Do what Heavenly Father asks and you will be blessed.
- Trust Heavenly Father. He has a plan for you, and His plan is much better than yours.
I know God lives, I know He loves me, I know He watches over me and blesses me. The remarkable thing is that He doesn't just do this for me, He does this for you too! So let Him!