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When God says, “You first!”

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For years, Kelly Ficarra successfully ran two dance studios outside of New York City. Then the recession hit, and dancing was no longer a priority for many. Kelly’s income drastically went down. Meanwhile, her studios needed major HVAC, flooring, and plumbing repairs. “I was bootstrapping all of this with personal credit,” she recalls. “And month after month, slowly it starts to snowball where the debt starts to build.”

When her debt reached $52,000, she got a second job stocking shelves, as she continued to try and keep her business going. Kelly confesses, “I don't like to fail at things. I was rolling change to pay my rent. I was worried, and I remember one night falling asleep, just praying, ‘God tell me what to do.’ I woke up as if there was a voice in the room that said, ‘Be still.’ I get up, I go to my computer, I open the email and the scripture of the day that day was Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It's almost like God said to me, ‘Okay, it's just me and you now, what are you going to do?’ And I needed a plan. You know I was praying to God, saying, ‘God, God, I need you to move in my life.’ And He was looking at me going, ‘You first.’”

She decided to trust God and close both studios. She found a cheaper apartment, got rid of her car and cable and began going to church. A friend gave her a book by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland that introduced her to biblical money principals, including giving 10% of her income away. Kelly says, “I thought to myself, ‘These two people who wrote the book have lost their mind.’ And I thought, ‘You know, God, I can't give right now when I don't have anything, when I have more, I'll give more.’ And I feel like the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘You had more at one time. You didn't give me anything then either.’ And it's so funny because I would say, ‘Oh God, I want to submit my life to you. I trust You with my heart and soul. Yeah. But I don't know if I could trust You with 10 cents on every dollar.’ I had to get over that.”

Kelly started tithing. “From that point forward, I never had another late bill. I never seemed to struggle,” she exclaims. The scripture says, ‘If you tithe, I will pour out a blessing that's more than you can contain.’”

A year after, she got a job in sales and her income went up 25%. She gave more and her debt began to go down. “Getting a better job, having opportunities to make more income, I think that is directly related to tithing,” Kelly proclaims. “God, He's the CEO, He's the Chief Eternal Officer. We are the CSO, we're the Chief Stewardship Officer. In the middle of service, I felt that God spoke to my heart and said, double it.”

She didn’t know where the money would come from, but she doubled her offering. The very next day, Kelly heard about a sales contest at work. She entered and won. She explains, “I felt like God's looking at me going, ‘Mm-Hmm.’ I had that special offering back ten times over. But it was my job to be obedient and to trust and to move in faith.”

From then on, she committed to give even more. She started working for a debt counseling company, and within three and a half years of closing her business, all of Kelly’s debt was gone. Since starting to tithe, Kelly has now received five promotions and her income has quadrupled. “It's very clear what God instructs us to do,” she exclaims. “He will never leave us short when we decide to give.” She concludes, “I would encourage anyone who has been struggling with the idea like I was, take that leap of faith.”


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Zsa Zsa Palagyi
Zsa Zsa

Zsa Zsa Palagyi loves to tell stories about the Lord. Originally from California, she moved to NYC to work in TV, where she committed her life to Christ and was later called into Christian media. Now a CBN producer and Christian radio on-air personality, she seeks authenticity and enjoys art, culture, travel, fitness, fashion, the beach, and cats.

About The Author

Cheryl Wilcox Headshot

Cheryl Wilcox, Coordinating Producer, The 700 Club. I hail from a Jesus loving SoCal surf family 🏄🏻‍♀️. I’m the mother of two brilliant, business owning daughters. My heroes are the Great Emancipators and Corrie Ten Boom 🇳🇱. I scull 🚣🏻‍♀️ for life balance, (it’s a little easier than surfing) and I’m passionate about organic food 🥗 and gardening. Since 1989, I’ve produced feature stories 🎬 for CBN. In my free time I enjoy reading about the lives of Saints – like Julian of Norwich🇬🇧. I’m baptized Anglican. Christ is King! 💫