Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free. At. Last.

Today, is a good, good day.
Last night's post was all about getting real and that theme is going to carry into today's.
We have not had a very financially sound marriage.  We combined our money right off the bat but never sat down together, made a budget or a plan for the future.  We spent fairly impulsively.  We have paid off and spent our credit card back up more than once.
We lived for about two years, almost maxing out our overdraft every, single paycheck.
Looking back now, it's amazing how we didn't default on mortgage payments or get our phone turned off.  But then again, it's not amazing, it's God.
Back in the fall, things were getting worse, fast.  I had a sit down with some wonderful friends and combed over every aspect of our situation and put it into a spreadsheet.  I was shocked.  I was embarassed.  They were such a blessing and the catalyst for what has been the nine months that followed.
We carried on, made some small changes but were still consistantly living past what we were making.  I went to work for my MIL and made a very good amount of money.  We got comfortable again because of all the money in our account and proceeded to do some more projects around the house.
Then February rolled around, and a phone call with my MIL and the painful decision to sell our trailer sent me into a tailspin.  We hadn't changed our habits and our hearts toward money was not different and we were quickly back on the path to ruin.
My MIL offered to help.
She is an amazing woman, whom I trust but that was a hard "yes".  It's never nice barely all your money "uglies" (as I called it) to anyone.  But she was patient and loving.
We made some serious changes, cut our spending, switched banks and opened about 100 bank accounts.
We started a system where we paid half of each bill amount from each paycheque so that the leftover from every paycheque is the same.
I was resistant and stubborn and oh, so overwhelmed and once again, embarassed.
My MIL was very gracious and oh, so very right.
We have been steadily, relentlessly and diligently dealing with each paycheque as it comes and working hard at our smallest debt.
In November our credit card statement said this.......

BARF - almost $9300.00
This morning I checked my online card statement and this was the balance......
Then I did this.......
And now I look like this (crazy unbrushed hair, smeared make up, jammies and all)!!  I actually took three other photos of myself that were less ridiculous looking but settled on my initial reaction. 
To be honest, I have no idea how we paid off that much debt in seven months.
What it is, is a true and indesputable testament to my Father's faithfulness.
A few months ago we thought the only way we could get ourselves on a better footing was to sell the trailer.  Lots of ya'll might not get it, but I love that trailer.  Not because it's a toy, but because it's a part of who I am, how I was raised and how I want to raise my kids.
Mr. and I stood unified on the choice even though we were both heartbroken (me more than him).  We wanted to make the right decision and be an example for our kids.
We had hardly a bite and have since decided to stop trying to sell it.
That might change but we finally feel like we have learned our lesson and begun walking the path of stewardship and submission to God's will for our money.  We feel like maybe, He will bless us with being able to keep it. 
We have become so content.
I can't tell you how happy I am with what I have and how my once uncontrollable addiction to spending money has been replaced by a deep-rooted gratitude and a passion for responsibility and to be free of debt so that we can give more to the kingdom work.
I feel so free, knowing that I will never (God willing) carry a credit card balance again.
I feel so in control.
Before I was undoubtedly a slave to money.  It controlled me.
Now, things couldn't be more opposite.  I look foward to every paycheque and my chance to make the income we have been blessed with stretch and go far and work for us on our path to freedom.
We still have a significant amount of consumer debt and with much work and discipline I plan to be free of that for my 30th birthday in about two and a half years. 
I can't think of a better way to celebrate such a milestone birthday!
These bits and pieces from Psalm 18 brought me to tears.  They are so fitting to how I feel.

"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.  I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.  You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me.  You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!  He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me.  Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.  He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever."


Shawna said...

through tears a very very delighted and elated AMEN!!! God is so very good!

Joanne said...

Tears here in London....tears of joy, tears of thankfulness for a heavenly Father that truly does provide when we release it ALL to Him. Rejoicing with you at this amazing milestone!!!

Michelle B said...

Christy I am SO STINKIN PROUD OF YOU!!! Thank you so so so much for sharing your journey with us!!! God is good.

Laura said...

Christy... your situation financially is a mirror to ours in ways I cannot even begin to describe to you... and the funny thing (or should I say, the crazy "God" thing) is that Psalm 18 is exactly what I read this morning and then I wind up here later in my day to read it again. I have been so amazed how God has provided and blessed us above and beyond our "needs" in a financially tough time that was brought about by our own sin and stupid choices when it came to our money... feels so FREE to just have given the whole situation up to His control... and debt free will feel pretty good too I'm sure. Praying an extra blessing on you and your family today... thanks for sharing this.

Melissa said...

Good for you for seeking help and turning your habits over to God. Praying that you will continued to feel His hand of guidance and blessing as you walk this path to freedom!

kelly ens said...

Christy - I came to this post by Laura and am so encouraged by it. what a tremendous display of God's faithfulness to His children! Our financial situation is different than yours but still incredibly challenging and I am inspired by what you've written to take a deeper look at how we are spending and the lack of wisdom we are drawing from God to apply to our resources.
thank you - and God bless you and your family! I'm really looking forward to adding your blog to my reader so i can follow and read a bit more on your blog :)
ps. my blog is private, but i love handing out invites if you're interested (oddsandens at gmail dot com)

Crystal said...