My husband and I got married in October of 2012. Although we are polar opposites on the financial spectrum—I am the saver, he is the spender—we wanted to get on the same page. We never had arguments, it was just hard to see the other’s perspective sometimes. Six months after we got married, we signed up for Financial Peace University class through our church.

Financial Peace University is a nine-week class taught by Christian economic leader Dave Ramsey. We learned about relating to each other, budgeting, goals, etc. By the time nine weeks were over, we were ready to get our emergency fund in place and start knocking out our debt. Any little extra amount of money we had to throw at our debt, we did. This included selling jewelry, music CDs and DVDs. We also put the difference in our raises from work toward it, and also money received for birthdays and Christmas.

In July of 2014, I received the news that a family member had passed. A few weeks later, I received a call and learned that a financial blessing was on the way. I was absolutely stunned. We had been working so hard on our budget and throwing everything at our debt. How could this be? I was indeed in shock for several days after. Over the next few months, paperwork was mailed back and forth, and phone calls were made—all the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s when it comes to the legalities of things.

Finally, in December of 2014, the blessing arrived. I nearly fainted. It was more than enough to pay off our debt, have an emergency fund, and start investing for retirement. We sat down and lined out our priorities. (I knew from the beginning how much was coming.) However, seeing it in my hands was a whole other story. One of our priorities was to bless other people, and it was the most blissful giving I have ever done.

When we went to visit my cousin on Thanksgiving, we informed her of the blessing we received and the amount we were going to bless her with. She immediately started crying and telling us how hard things were lately, being a single Mom.

We blessed my Mom next, which she was grateful for. She was excited to get out of debt and have some savings.

Third, we blessed my Mother-in-law for all she has done for us. It took quite a bit of convincing, but eventually, she took it.

The next person I blessed was my friend Jaelithe. She and her family had lost their home in a tornado in November of 2013. They had had a rough year dealing with the insurance company and FEMA and just getting back on their feet. Things were slowly getting settled, and they were going to get a check from the insurance company soon. I told her I didn’t care, that tornado or not, I would have blessed her anyway. She opened the card that contained her blessing and started to cry. When she got home and gave the card to her husband, he was in shock too, but both were deeply grateful.

The last person I blessed was my friend Becky. She was taking care of her two grandchildren at the time due to her daughter’s health issues. She also had a crazy year, being off work for severe burns to her foot, her beloved dog dying, and her husband being diagnosed with an aneurysm in his abdomen. That was the worst year she had ever had in the eight years I’ve known her. I had given her the Christmas presents I had bought her, and once we were done with work for the day, we went out to her car.

I explained to her that we had received a financial blessing and that we would no longer be in debt. That we would be able to invest some and save some and bless some. Then I handed her her envelope. She opened it and started saying, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I have never seen a 100 dollar bill before.” I chuckled and proceeded to tell her how many were in there and then she started to cry. It took some convincing, but she agreed to accept it. I quickly got out of the car before she could change her mind and tell me no. It was the best holiday season ever. I never dreamed that I would be able to give and bless like that in my life ever.

Since then, I have continued to pursue my career as an author. My dream is to earn lots of money from my writing to take care of my friends and family as well as others. I want to start a homeless shelter for people living on the streets with mental illness and a foundation to provide a grant for single moms with late-stage cancer to put towards their child’s everyday expenses, college fund, or wedding after they are gone. I want to be able to give the rest of my life blissfully and bless others.