|Here we are! Thanks Bethany Skinner for the amazing photo!|
This time last year we had zero credit card debt. We had our mortgage and my car loan. That was it. Then one of our two HVAC units went kaput. We decided to replace both because the other one couldn't be far behind it at 24 years old, and then found out that all of our ducting was just the worst ever and blah blah blah…it ended up costing us $14,000 of which we didn't have. Que two empty credit cards sitting in the safe. But, we thought, it's just the perils of owning a home! It's (and here's the kicker) "justifiable debt." We can't be without HVAC!!! Oh no!!!
Fast forward to July 2013. We sat down to have our committee meeting (all you Dave Ramsey peeps know what I'm talking about, if you don't know it's just a meeting to discuss financial goals etc. in short.) and realized that we had way more debt than we wanted. $22, 300 to be exact, with my car loan and a new camera I had bought (more "justifiable debt." It's for my business!!!!). Fast forward again to January 2014…the 3rd of January to be exact. New committee meeting, new debt total! $22,400. Wait, that can't be right. Five months have passed and our total has not only not gone down, but UP by $100!?!? Snap. That meeting confirmed everything that God had been speaking to me during the month of December.
Finances were on my heart all through December, I couldn't figure out why. We were doing so great with our money, in my mind. haha! We had a trip fund started, anything we wanted to do we had an envelope for it. "Is that being a good steward of what you've been given?" The Lord would ask me. Of course it was! We were saving for things, and we were budgeting fools! Sure we had that pesky debt still, but it was "justifiable." "Unavoidable." Then came the Given series at church and it seemed like every single week Nate was just preaching to me and no one else. "Stop looking at me Nate!" I would think in my head, even though he wasn't. Then came my friend, Rebecca Gafner's blog entry about God calling her to not buy anything for herself for the whole year. THE WHOLE YEAR!!!! You can read about her journey here. When I was reading about what God had spoken to my friend, he spoke to me. "Can you go a whole year being content with you have?" I must not have heard you right God. That would mean no thrift stores (my fave), no yard sales, no yarn, no fancy coffees. That can't be right. I wrestled with God about this for about a week or two before I decided to spring it on my husband that the word wasn't just for me, but for both of us! Nice, right? Good thing God gave me a verse the very next day to confirm everything or we might have bailed. Just being honest. :) Proverbs 3:9-10 is what I opened right up to. It says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." Well, I don't drink wine, but that all sounds pretty good to me!
So, fast forward to today, the 14 of January, 2014, Kris and I both are committed to not buying a single thing for ourselves this year and throwing every last penny at this "justifiable debt" because let's face it, debt is debt and it's still preventing us from giving to causes that we would like to or helping friends in need etc. Debt is bondage. Debt is an unnecessary weight that many of us carry, especially the "justifiable" stuff. We are super excited about this year and what God is going to do and teach us through this.
Oh!!! Side note! After we had calmed down and given ourselves to this word for this year, we got the most random (but not random) phone call from Shasta College asking for Kris. I answered and said he wasn't home thinking it was a telemarketer. She said who she was and then I had to eat my words and say oh yes he is home, he's in the back burning (go figure). After some profuse apologies on my end for my out right lie K got on the phone. They had found his half done application for being adjunct faculty from a year and a half ago and were wondering if he was still interested in helping with their overcrowded EMS/Fire program!!!! WHAT!? So nuts. Just more confirmation that God isn't going to call you to something without providing every step of the way.
One more side note, one of our goals for this year is to pay off that $22, 400 in debt by the end of this year. Yep. By January of next year we will be debt free except for our mortgage. It's going to take a lot of sacrificing to get there, but I think that is the point. It's supposed to hurt and be uncomfortable. The journey to most things worthwhile usually is.
If you made it to the end, thank you for reading! I know it was long. My subsequent updates will not be as long. Feel free to share our journey with anyone you know that might be struggling with this. If we can help motivate anyone else, like Rebecca did for me, that is amazing. So here's to 2014 and a debt free 2015!!!!!