This week on Tithe.ly TV, Dean and Frank talk with Clayton and Ashlee Hurst, the pastors of Marriage and Parenting at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, about how to work through the complex and difficult relationship between money and marriage. They recently wrote the book Hope for Your Marriage: Experience God’s Greatest Desires for You and Your Spouse.
During the show, they talk about:
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Dean Sweetman: Good day, everybody. Dean Sweetman here along with Frank Barry. Getting ready for another great show. Frank, how you doing today?
Frank Barry: Yeah, doing awesome, super excited about today. Money and marriage is a great topic.
Dean Sweetman: It's a big deal, maybe the biggest deal inside of marriage. So we've got a couple of awesome guests. We got Clayton and Ashlee Hurst from Lakewood Church. Hey guys, good to meet you.
Ashlee Hurst: Hello.
Clayton Hurst: thanks so much for having us.
Ashlee Hurst: Glad to be here. Thanks for having us.
Frank Barry: Yeah, it's so good to have you guys on the show.
Dean Sweetman: Absolutely. You guys have written a book about this subject. Hope for Your Marriage came out a little while ago, and if it's anything like me, sometimes you just get perceived as the expert on things. But I'm sure you got so much to share with us today on this is really, really important topic.
Dean Sweetman: You guys have been at Lakewood Church for a long time now, and you serve as the, the marriage and parenting pastors. Can you tell us a little bit about that role and what you guys do kind of day-to-day in the church?
Frank Barry: And maybe your journey there, too?
Dean Sweetman: It'd be great to hear.
Clayton Hurst: Yeah, for sure. We both grew up in church. And before coming here, I was a children's pastor at a church in east Texas. And we felt like God was calling us down here, and I got involved in the children's ministry and actually worked in media for a number of years.
Clayton Hurst: And about almost five years ago, Pastor Joel and the leadership of the church really felt like, "You know, we need somebody that's specifically looking into and trying to take care of our married couples. Just trying to offer some different tools and resources."
Clayton Hurst: And so, we started doing that. We've been in here for almost a little over 14 years.
Dean Sweetman: Wow.
Clayton Hurst: Been married for 23 years.
Ashlee Hurst: It'll be 24 this summer.
Clayton Hurst: 24 this summer.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: And have three kids and love being a part of the church, love helping couples. And this is obviously a huge topic in marriages.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah, it's the number one prayer need at our church. We have prayer time at every service here at Lakewood Church during the service, where people can come down front all over the place. We have prayer partners. And so, the person over our prayer department did a survey not too long ago and we found out that marriage is actually the number one prayer need at our church.
Ashlee Hurst: And we feel like we're not alone. We feel like it's probably the number one prayer need in most churches. And you know, I know we're going to be talking about finances today and of course, that plays a big role in that communication. But anyway, we do a lot for marriages at our church.
Ashlee Hurst: We feel like it's extremely important. We have marriage classes every weekend. We have three different marriage classes ongoing. We have three premarital classes every week that are eight week courses, getting people prepared for marriage, and we have marriage life groups.
Ashlee Hurst: We just had a marriage retreat last weekend. Well, we had about 300 people there. For us, that sounds like a lot for us. We always say, "Oh, it's a little bit smaller, intimate," but I guess that is a big number.
Frank Barry: Yeah, that's bigger than most churches, right?
Ashlee Hurst: Because we have marriage conference. Right, right. It's funny, I know it's kind of ironic to say that, but we have a marriage conference in August and we have about 7,000 that come to that. So for us, this one's smaller and easier to manage, but still, I guess we say it's more intimate because there's more one-on-one time at our retreat, but-
Clayton Hurst: But everywhere across the board, marriage and finances, finances is always top one or two issues that come up in every marriage, every counseling session that we talk with.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Frank Barry: Wow. So, I guess that that's what led to writing the book?
Clayton Hurst: Well, we were actually, we were approached to write the book.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Frank Barry: Oh, wow.
Clayton Hurst: We felt like, "You know what, we're not really experts, but all we have is our story." And so the first five years of our marriage, we kind of found ourselves in almost a valley of hopelessness. We grew up in great families, both in Christian homes, great marriage legacy across the board.
Clayton Hurst: We just kind of assumed that we would have it all together and knew all the answers to all the questions. And we realize is that we were preparing for the wedding day, but we weren't preparing for all the days that were to come. And so, it was kind of a slow descent, when we write in the book, it was kind of a slow descent into this valley of hopelessness. And we dealt with everything from communication, the finances, intimacy issues across the board. And because we really didn't have the tools that we need to have a successful marriage.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. I mean we spent, most of our work on, our relationship was done before we were married because we were trying to woo each other, you know? And we went to one premarital counseling appointment, I think, and we were like, "We've got this, our parents have been married forever. We grew up in church. This is no big deal. We'll be fine. We loved going out on dates, no problem."
Ashlee Hurst: But you know, slowly, we have some funny stories of things that happened between us at the beginning were just funny things of differences we had between each other. Like you know, for instance, to save on time-
Clayton Hurst: Maybe all the things I did wrong.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah, save on time. He decided he wanted to get a 55 gallon trash can to put in the middle of our very, very, very tiny kitchen. So, you'd only have to take the trash out like once every other week, I guess?
Dean Sweetman: What to go, man.
Clayton Hurst: Did it in college.
Ashlee Hurst: Did it in college, thought it would work for us.
Frank Barry: Logical husband move, for sure. Very efficient.
Ashlee Hurst: So we had a lot of different funny things, but then it just slowly turned into a really bad place in our marriage and we needed help. We were really good at putting on masks and pretending like everything was okay. If you were probably to ask anybody during that time, they would probably say, " No. I had no idea that they were having any issues at all."
Clayton Hurst: Yeah, we were on a church staff at a different church for about three of those years, and so we were really great at putting on masks and in fact, couples would come to me for marriage advice.
Clayton Hurst: I was really great at telling somebody else how to have a great marriage. I just wasn't willing to apply it to me, to myself. And I think that was the turning point. It's actually the first one in our book is, "God kind of just spoke to my heart and said, are you willing to do whatever it takes to have the marriage that you've always hoped and dreamed of?"
Clayton Hurst: It's really a breaking point for me. I think I came home and talked to Ashlee and said, "Listen, I know what we'd been doing hasn't been working, but I'm willing if you're willing." And that was really the beginning of kind of coming out of that valley and we talking about that in the book.
Frank Barry: Yeah. Was it challenging to write a book together? So, you were approached, something, you guys. I'm sure started sorting through that and figure it out. And then, yeah, talked a little bit about writing it together?
Ashlee Hurst: Yep. We were kind of different than most people that write books. Most people that write books are actually pursuing to write a book.
Frank Barry: Right.
Ashlee Hurst: Usually. And for us, we were approached and so, like Clayton said, our first response was we were not authors, we don't have degrees in counseling. Why would you want us to write this book? But the more we prayed about it, we just really felt like we had a story to tell.
Ashlee Hurst: And we've found that it's not really a unique story, it's more of a common story of just disagreement, miscommunication, and just finding ourselves in that valley. And so for us, writing the book, there were challenging parts to it, just because we were newbies and we didn't really know what we were doing, but it was very therapeutic for us.
Ashlee Hurst: We had to talk about things that we hadn't talked about in a long time. And we realized, honestly, in some places there was a little bit of hurt still there. There was still some healing that needed to happen in some areas. There was still healing from our childhood that we really hadn't delved into much that we needed to talk through.
Ashlee Hurst: And so honestly, we tell people now we're like, "If you really want to work on your marriage, write a book." It's so helpful because you really have to unpack.
Clayton Hurst: Everything.
Ashlee Hurst: I mean, we had to unpack the last 20 at that time. 22 years in a book and it really helped us to walk through some things again and it was very healing.
Frank Barry: Yeah. Yeah. And you had, obviously the books on marriage and finances, for couples that are really struggling with their finances, whether they're six months in or 20 years in, what's maybe the one thing or the big thing that you'd like to get them all to learn early on and the rule follow?
Clayton Hurst: I think the number one issue are the number one thing that we try to tell them is to be as vulnerable as possible. And that will help not only in finances, it will help in communication across the board.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: Ultimately, you find the number one issue, you've got the big three. You've got finances, you got intimacy, and communication. But really, the number one if you boil those things down, it really comes down to pride. Because when you're willing to lay down your pride and admit, "You know what? I need some help," right? "I need to deal with this."
Clayton Hurst: It really kind of removes the walls between you and your spouse and you realize that, you know what? She's not on the opposing team. She's on the same team. So if she wins, I win. But if she loses, I lose.
Frank Barry: Right.
Clayton Hurst: So we try to help couples to not only get to that place of vulnerability, but also, practical things of filling out a budget and getting on the same page when it comes to finances. There's been seasons in our life, our married life, where we've stuck to a budget. We've been on a budget, different types of budgets at different seasons. And it's funny. Whenever we're on a budget, things are great.
Clayton Hurst: As soon as we get on, it's so crazy. And t's so simple, it's hard type of issues in marriage. I think that's what we try to encourage couples, too, just the little things even. One of the things that we talk about is how you were brought up. Kind of your normal, especially as young couples are waiting longer and longer to get married, into their mid-twenties or late twenties or beyond.
Clayton Hurst: You've had on a number of years where you had this normal in your life, and now your spouse now has this normal, now you're merging together. And so, just like you get out on the freeway, you try to merge some traffic. If there's not a yielding to each other, there's going to be a crash. And so, you have to kneel to each other. You have to lay that pride down whenever you're working with finances or any other issue in marriage.
Frank Barry: Yeah. That's awesome.
Dean Sweetman: So good. You know, finances, like you said, the top three, right? And all of the surveys say that, too. The money thing. What do you think it is about money inside a marriage that causes so many problems for people? Like specifically, what have you guys seen in your experience and your researches? Why is the money thing so divisive and it brings up so much hurt?
Ashlee Hurst: I think it goes back to what Clayton was just saying. I mean, every example I can think of in my head of couples we talked to, it all boils down to pride. We've talked to couples where they're not willing to share bank accounts. "Well, why aren't you willing to share bank account?" "Well, because I earned this money, it's my money."
Dean Sweetman: Right.
Frank Barry: That's such a common on, right? At the beginning you're like, "Why won't you share a bank account?" It's the craziest thing.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. We just talked to a couple a couple of weeks ago that they were like, "No. We're not going to share bank accounts." And so, anytime we talked to couples, regardless of what we're talking to them about, we always start with that question that Clayton said earlier,
Ashlee Hurst: that the Lord impressed on his heart. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to have the marriage you've always had to dream of?
Ashlee Hurst: If your answer's "no," then there's probably not much we can do to help you, but if your answer's "yes," great, let's keep talking. Well, they usually always say yes. Well, once we start talking, say we have the different bank accounts. "Well this is my money I want to do-" and then we bring that question back up.
Ashlee Hurst: "Okay, well this is an area where you probably need to humble yourself a little bit, maybe give a little bit, and take a little bit, and come up with this budget and come together because you told us. You were willing to do whatever it takes to have the marriage you always hoped and dream of," and that takes sacrifice.
Ashlee Hurst: That takes willing to give up some things that you held tightly to and you feel like are yours. You know what? None of it's yours. It's all God's. You know? And we make sure they know that too. Everything you have is the Lord's. It's not yours. So why are you holding onto it so tightly? And then, break that down. It could be a plethora of things. It can be things from their past, I don't know.
Clayton Hurst: Yeah. And I think it also kind of delves down into the number one need, of most men, is honor and respect. The number one need of most women is love and security. You know? So if you're not communicating with each other in your finances, it can come across as disrespectful to a man and it can come across as shaking your wife's security to her very core.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: And so, you've got to be at that place to where you're willing to lay down what you think is right for the betterment of your marriage.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah. The bank account plan together 'cause it brings light into your spending habits. And you know, if you're not willing to do that, often it's probably an indicator that you're hiding something, and you don't want to kind of bring to light into that whole spending habit thing.
Dean Sweetman: And I can see that right there, that's a big pressure point for couples of don't want to do the finances joint together.
Frank Barry: Yeah
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: I think that's when you get to that place of vulnerability, when you're willing to expose yourself. Like you said, we've got some dear friends that they face this about three or four years ago, and because he was dealing with some pride and probably some-
Ashlee Hurst: Just shame. He had gotten them into a place where they were really struggling financially. He had made some poor decisions in their finances that she didn't know about. And so, instead of being open about it, he hid it.
Clayton Hurst: And that caused a huge, obviously, disconnect with each other, you know? And so, they had to get back to the place of vulnerability and just saying, "You know what? Here's what happened. Here's what I've done. I've messed up. Do you forgive me?"
Clayton Hurst: And really trying to get to that place of exposure so that you can move forward.
Frank Barry: Awesome. Yeah, I even know from my own marriage, me and my wife, she feels a great sense of security when the budget is in place and we're sticking to the budget and we're both aware of exactly where we're at. As soon as it feels like something, even though we share a bank account, we have the budget. If something feels like, "Oh, we're late on paying something," or something's coming up.
Frank Barry: As soon as there's any sort of unstable feelings going on that she feels, it worries her. Right? Then it starts weighing on her. Right. So, I have to be really good at keeping great communication with her. And it ebbs and flows through our marriage, right? Where sometimes you're doing really good and then, we start falling off the rails on the budget, and then it gets worse and then we got to get back in.
Frank Barry: And so, it's just kind of an up and down thing. Like, the kind of the common things you were mentioning definitely apply to us.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah, and I love that you're saying that, too, because we talked to so many couples. One of the first things we go over with couples is to understand the number one need of a man and a woman, and how important security is for a woman. I feel like a lot of times men don't really understand that.
Ashlee Hurst: Some men might see you having to reassure her as her kind of like, "Why isn't she getting it? Why does she keep nagging me about it? Why can't you just understand.? Why do you have to say it more than once that everything's okay?
Ashlee Hurst: Well, it's because our number one need is security. We constantly need to know that everything's going to be okay. The finances are good. Let's talk about this. You know, it can't be a one time talk of "everything's fine. I've got it. Don't worry about it."
Ashlee Hurst: No, it's like a weekly thing. Okay, where are we at now with the budget? How have we done with our spending? Where's this going? How are we looking right now? Every time we talk about that in front of an audience, all the women in the audience are going, "Uh, huh. Yep." Every woman is shaking their head because security is so- I tell Clayton security is as important as me breathing air. That's how important security is to me. And I believe every woman.
Frank Barry: Yeah. Will you talk about some of the like non-negotiables? And I think maybe the one bank account, maybe the budget, but what are some of these other like non-negotiable things that come into play as it relates to finances destroying a marriage?
Ashlee Hurst: Well, we were just talking about this the other day and we've really stepped this into motion really late, but we should've done it sooner is how much is too much to spend without the other spouse knowing?
Ashlee Hurst: And that's something we've really been talking about lately is, let's set that limit of "Okay, is it $20, are you okay with me spending $20 or $30 without me talking to you first?"
Ashlee Hurst: What is the amount that you need to talk to your spouse about that they're going to get upset about? And I think that's an amount you should both agree on and set non-negotiable. If it costs more than x amount of dollars, we're going to talk about this before we spend any money.
Clayton Hurst: Yeah, I think a lot of times we even go below that. There's times to where she needs to go grab something or I need to go grab stuff. And it's more out of courtesy and out of the love that you have for each other to shoot a text or pick up the phone and say, "Hey, I was going to go grab this. Are you good with that?"
Clayton Hurst: And it's not a question of asking permission, but it's helping each other realizes that this is our money that God's entrusted us and so how can we navigate through this together? And ultimately, there's no small denomination.
Clayton Hurst: Whatever limit that you place on it, you realize that, "Okay, out of the respect from my spouse, I'm going to make sure that we're both on the same page before we move forward with this," and it makes a huge impact.
Dean Sweetman: So good. Just maybe come, we're talking about sometimes you develop habits inside the marriage that then you need that kind instruction that you guys bring. If there was some couples who were engaged listening and they haven't got the chance yet to create some bad habits, alright?
Dean Sweetman: What would be a couple things that you would advise younger people potentially getting married on this whole area of talking about money?
Clayton Hurst: Stay away from debt of any kind as much as possible. The free t-shirt that you got in college whenever you signed up for the credit card. I think that's huge. It always goes back to communicating with what was normal for them.
Clayton Hurst: We had a couple that I just married a couple of years ago, way before they got married, they were newlyweds and they needed to come over and talk because it was almost like a deal breaker for her because how he dealt with money and how she dealt with money growing up were completely different. And the differences were she was brought up in a home that you either use cash or debit card, and he was brought up in a home to where he had a credit card that he put everything on, but then he paid it off at the end of the month to where he never carried a balance.
Clayton Hurst: That's just how he was brought up to do it. And I said, "Well, you know what, he's not carrying a balance and anything like that." I said, "Y'all need to come to an agreement to where this was his normal, this was your normal, but what's going to be in your normal?" You know?
Clayton Hurst: And 'cause it was almost to the place of they were looking at the same issue, but they were looking at it from different ends of the binoculars. She was looking at it coming in and he was looking at it from the other. So I think for young couples, it's having that understanding prior to going into marriage at, "Okay, who's going to pay the bills? How are we going to talk about this? How are we going to process when we get paid? What's that look like?"
Clayton Hurst: You know, there's something that we do with every couple that we marry is go through-
Ashlee Hurst: Assessment.
Clayton Hurst: Assessment test that a great ministry puts out that we basically ask a lot of those questions and they see really, really simple, but it's kind of what we go back to, is that what we prepared so much for the wedding day. We didn't think about all the days that we're going to slap us in the face right after the "I do."
Clayton Hurst: So, having that plan in place really takes the emotions. It really takes the guessing out when you can have those plans in place for day one, as soon as you get married.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. And I was going to say to get into premarital counseling, get into premarital counseling, getting into premarital. Go to a church that has premarital counseling and make sure includes a lesson on finances, and really take that to heart. Like he said, that assessment's so good that we have couples take- I mean it, it really breaks things down. I mean as far as like who's going to mow the yard? I mean, it really talks about, I mean it gets really detailed.
Frank Barry: Who's washing the toilet? Who mowing the yard? Who's doing the budget? Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: It's also great because it says who did this for you in your family?
Ashlee Hurst: Yes.
Clayton Hurst: Was it your mom, was it your dad? Who modeled it to you and now who's going to do it whenever you get married?
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. And it also identifies, "Okay, are you the saber or the spender?" Because a lot of times in marriages, one person's the saver and one person's the suspender.
Dean Sweetman: Very, very true.
Ashlee Hurst: Right? And so, how are you guys going to make this work? You know, you've got to compromise. Pride comes into play there again because sometimes you get really prideful on, "Well, this is how I've always done it," you know? Okay, well there's gotta be some compromise. And then of course, we talked to them about making out the budget as well, but my number one thing for anybody that's engaged is to absolutely go through premarital counseling that also has a lesson or two on finances.
Dean Sweetman: I might be old fashioned, but I hope the wives aren't mowing the lawn.
Frank Barry: And I mean, I was the one with the credit card debt from college, the free t-shirt, for sure. And my wife on just for whatever reasons, came from a great family, did well with their finances and stuff, but she didn't learn about writing checks. She actually had to go to check writing school because of how many like bounced checks she wrote.
Frank Barry: And so, we had the funniest situation, but we had debt, school debt, student loans, all this kinds of stuff that we had to work through, but it was a good lesson. Right? And having people around you to help us through it was was major.
Ashlee Hurst: I had a professor in college, he was a math professor. Genius. But I walked in one day to get some help and he was balancing his checkbook and he had messed up and I'm like, "You're a mathematical genius. How is this possible?" So it happens to the best of us.
Frank Barry: Yeah. Money does weird things to people. That's right. Maybe a little bit of an offshoot question, but how do you guys help couples or what have you seen work well when it comes to managing your money as a couple? Budgeting and also being generous. Right? 'Cause God wants us to be generous people and he wants us to be generous financially. Right? And that can mean a lot of different things for people, but how do you help couples get on the same page with respect to giving?
Clayton Hurst: Yeah, I think that definitely is a hard issue. I think you kind of have to begin teaching. I think it has to be a part of the culture that you surround yourself in. We always tell couples, it's like, "Hey, listen, you're, your friends are going to change when you get married. You're single friends aren't going to come around as often, so it's important that you find great godly friends that are around you. People that are maybe farther along than you are."
Clayton Hurst: I think one of the things tangibly that we try to do here is we offer marriage mission trips, so that so that couples can go out and serve together. I think we also offer different things to where couples can serve together here in the church. So, it gives them that opportunity to really go hand-in-hand and serving somebody else.
Clayton Hurst: I think that helps kind of bring that down into their heart. I think whenever we started doing marriage missions trips, we made it a part to where they were going out and serving in the community and doing and partnering with whoever we're partnering with.
Clayton Hurst: And then we bring them back and say, "Okay, so what was that right for you and your marriage? Like, let's talk that through and your marriage and how do we pass that onto your children? That heart of generosity." And so we tried to do a couple of different options to help people build up in that generosity mentality.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. And we try to get them to understand the importance of tithing and how it's all God's anyway. He just wants 10%, that's pretty awesome that he doesn't want 100%. Right? And just how blessed. We like to share stories about just how much it's blessed us by giving and how we can see-
Ashlee Hurst: There was a time, gosh, early on in our marriage where we were really struggling. We stopped tithing and it really changed. It became worse and we really struggled during that time. I didn't even know. He didn't even tell me because he handled the finances at the beginning. I didn't want to get-
Clayton Hurst: Darn husbands.
Ashlee Hurst: I Know, I didn't want to have anything to do with finances because my mom did the finances in our family and I saw how much she struggled all the time, and I was like, "I don't want to have anything to do with that."
Ashlee Hurst: So, we were already off balance because I didn't have anything to do with the finances because we feel like it should be a team effort. You know? It shouldn't be one person just handling it. Both should be involved and know what's going on. And so, I think you're okay with me sharing, and this was several years ago, but because we were struggling, he stopped and it became worse.
Ashlee Hurst: And I was just like, "What's going on?" I've seen some credit card bills and different things and he was just like, "I stopped tithing, and I am feeling so guilty about that and I know it's wrong and we've got to start back."
Ashlee Hurst: And I'll tell you, as soon as we started back, things started happening. We were able to pay some things off. We got on a budget and there's such a blessing on that when you are giving to the Lord and when you're tithing that first 10%, and when you're able to give more, it's amazing.
Ashlee Hurst: I love hearing the stories of- Rick Warren is somebody that I listened to all the time. I mean he gives, I think he switched it now to where he gives 90% and lives on 10%, and just how much the Lord has blessed him in that area. And with his book and everything.
Ashlee Hurst: It's so remarkable. And so we always encourage couples, especially in premarital counseling, make sure you're giving that first 10% .it will make a huge difference in your marriage and in your life.
Clayton Hurst: Yup.
Frank Barry: Yeah. So, one last question from my side. If there's a couple that's really struggling, right? There in that spot where things have just gone all wrong and they're really struggling, what kind of hope can you give them? Like, what have you seen? What are some of the things that have worked to get people out of that and into a really good spot financially? And therefore, in their marriage?
Clayton Hurst: I think realizing that if you're struggling in any area in your marriage, realize that it probably took you a while to get to this place, and it may take a little bit of time to get out. But take a step a day, take up one step or come to an agreement with each other to say, "Okay, today, what can we work on? Today, what can we establish?"
Clayton Hurst: And it's amazing how when you put a few steps together, you can get to the end of the week and maybe you're not where you want to be yet, but at least you're not back where you used to be. I think when you can put a couple of those steps together, even in the area of financing, just evaluating where the expenses are going, what, what kind of budget can we put in place? What different resources could we put and learn from?
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: When you begin to start taking those steps, things start happening. God begins to bless the unity that you have put together.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah, definitely putting God first. When we were going through our struggle in our marriage, we really leaned on Matthew 17:20, where Jesus is talking to the disciples and he's saying, "Just with a mustard seed of faith, you can speak to that mountain and it will move."
Ashlee Hurst: And so, we didn't have a lot of faith that our marriage was going to be okay. And we had a little bit of faith. And that's all God requires is just a little bit of faith. Put Him first, a little bit of faith and watch God move.
Ashlee Hurst: Fast forward several years into our marriage, we had one daughter and were really praying to have another child. And we're praying and praying and I thought I was pregnant that I found out that I actually had a cyst that I had to have surgically removed. Well, during that one month of time, in my whole life, my insurance was really expensive and Clay-
Clayton Hurst: Her husband had the great idea to get rid of her insurance and shop for some more. And it just happened that week later, she found out that she had a cyst.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. So in that one month of time of my whole life that I've never had health insurance, I was rushed to the emergency room and had to have emergency surgery. And so our bill was $40,000.
Clayton Hurst: Over $40,000 in medical bills.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. And we did not have any resources to pay for this. And so, it's funny the way the enemy can attack you. Sometimes, I felt like "This was my fault, how could I have done this to our family? When I had no control over it.
Frank Barry: Right, right.
Ashlee Hurst: And so, I remember we were in the dining room and I was just weeping and Clayton got on his knees and he just began to pray over us. And he mentioned that scripture, "Lord, with our mustard seed of faith, we're believing that you're going to pay this off. We don't know how it's going to happen, but we trust you."
Ashlee Hurst: And so right after that, Clayton, his group of men that he was accountable to at the time. He just asked for them to pray and one of them was a doctor and he said, "Hey, call them. Tell them you're going to pay cash and see what they'll do." He said sometimes they'll bring down the price if they know you're going to pay cash and it's not going through the insurance company.
Clayton Hurst: I said, "I don't have cash."
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. We're like, "We don't have that."
Frank Barry: You're like, "Wait a minute."
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Frank Barry: And so I did. And it actually reduced it to about $20,000, which we still had nothing close to it, and then ultimately about a two week period-
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: Just praying, God supernaturally opened doors in, ultimately paid it off within about two weeks.
Ashlee Hurst: We had a family member that paid for half and somebody from the church that paid the other half.
Frank Barry: Wow.
Ashlee Hurst: I mean, and we didn't even ask. We just prayed. We were just praying and believing and trusting God with our little mustard seed of faith that he would take care of us and he did.
Frank Barry: Very good.
Ashlee Hurst: So, above budgets and above talking about your finances, trust God. Believe in Him. So, if you need a miracle in your finances, if you are struggling like we were, and you have just thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Of course, get on a budget, figure out how to get out of debt, but also trust God to help you, you know? And he's got super natural blessings out there waiting to be used, but they can only be activated by our faith.
Dean Sweetman: So good. I mean, you guys have got a beautiful story that you tell. Just by the way, just before we wrap up, where can people get the book? 'Cause I feel like the book, if this 30 minutes is any taste of what you guys have produced, I think people need to get ahold of that thing.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Clayton Hurst: Thank you. They can get it anywhere books are sold. If you get it online, Amazon Christian books, Books-A-Million. We've heard great reports from literally around the world and people somehow getting ahold of it and it's really impacting and helping marriages.
Ashlee Hurst: Yeah. It's called Hope for Your Marriage.
Dean Sweetman: Hope for Your Marriage by Clayton and Ashley Hurst. Guys, this has been a fantastic show.
Frank Barry: Yeah.
Dean Sweetman: And I know we have all different kinds of people listening to the show, but I feel for sure this is going to really have some impact on some people. So, I want to thank you so much for coming on today.
Clayton Hurst: Thanks for having us.
Ashlee Hurst: It's an honor.
Frank Barry: Really great, guys. Yeah. So good. And people, the folks watching, folks on Facebook, YouTube, on the Tithe.ly website, go grab the book, man. Help these guys spread the word.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah. Absolutely. Hey Frank, next week we've got a really fun guest. They've been a partner of ours for awhile.
Frank Barry: That's right.
Dean Sweetman: Terrific church planning network called [Stadia. 00:32:38]
Frank Barry: Yep. Stadia Church Planning.
Dean Sweetman: Yeah, and we got Michelle Parker talking about all good things, judge management, digital giving, church planning. It's going to be a really fantastic episode.
Frank Barry: Yeah, yeah. Michelle, we've known Michelle for a long time, for a few years now. And at Stadia, they used Tithe.ly church management for I think all of their church plans. And so, she comes from the accounting side but manages a bunch of that. And it's going to be great to talk to Michelle and also talk a lot about like church planned fundraising. So, it's going to be a good show.
Dean Sweetman: Terrific. Awesome. Well, hey everybody, thanks for listening. We love bringing the show to you. Appreciate taking out the time. God bless you. Have a fantastic week. And we'll see you next time. See you.
Frank Barry: Thanks, guys. See you.