Since the beginning I have known that this journey wasn't about money. I mean from the outside it kind of seems like it is ALL about money, but for K and I this journey has been about finding a closer relationship with God and along the way learning some really great ways to be good stewards of our money. I feel like the Lord has torn down pretty much all of our old ways of thinking about money and replaced them with new, better ways. We feel like we truly understand a want vs. a need now. For example, when my friends are untying my swimsuit and twisting it all up and tying it back up at the lake because I didn't realize how stretched out it had become and I wasn't able to walk around without flashing the whole beach, that constitutes needing a new swimsuit (true story, by the way). Something else we have learned is that God shows up in different ways. This year so far has been all about being a "slave to the lender." K has worked an average of 85ish hours per week with little to no sleep. God has continually shown up for us with random gift cards, encouragement, free babysitting and some friends that took us out to a nice restaurant (which was the first and only time we have gone on an evening date all year). How have we stayed connected, you ask?? By the grace of God. Seriously. I can't give you an answer for that, but we have somehow managed to stay connected, if not grow closer through these last six months. This journey has been long and difficult so far, but guess what? We paid off all of our debt last Tuesday, June 10th!!! WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I am ecstatic now, but the day we paid it off was pretty much a joyless day (that crafty crafty Satan).
When we paid off our debt it was the day after we had dropped my car off at the shop, again. It had already gone in last month needing a new starter motor and $650ish dollars later it ran fine...until this month when K was taking our oldest to a sleepover up in Shingletown and was pushing the pedal to the medal and only able to go 40mph!! So it went in to a different shop since the last one didn't know how to pick up a phone and let you know things about your vehicle when you had specifically told them that you were stranded at home with three kids who needed to get to school and no car because your husband works out of town (can you tell I was upset?). Long story short, there was no joy or excitement when I sent that final payment because we had this huge looming unknown of my car and weren't able to find out until Thursday night that our bill was going to be 3600 bucks! Talk about taking all the wind out of our sails. We have the money to cover it, but it's going to take every single cent we have. I moped around for a day or so feeling sorry for myself. Funny how quickly and easily we can get discouraged even after six months of God showing up faithfully. Like He wasn't going to show up this time as well. God used some great people in my life to pull me out of my pity pit. My parent's encouraged us first, since I was at their house when I found out the cost of my car. My good friend Melissa told me it was going to be like driving a new car without the new car payment, which I honestly hadn't thought of. My good friend from high school called me up to tell me that she and her husband were so encouraged by our journey that they are starting one of their own and were wanting to say thank you for living this journey in the somewhat public forum of the internet. More friends told me at a party last Saturday how our journey and this blog has impacted them and said thank you. So THANK YOU to all of you!!! You probably didn't know how much you helped pull me back up after getting knocked clean on my butt. "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2. Thank you Jesus for showing me the fruit that we are producing. It's so encouraging!!! It is to your glory God that we bear much fruit! :)
So here are our totals:
- New debt total as of June 16th- $0.00!!!!!!!
- Amount paid off since April- $3972!!!
- Amount paid off since we started- $24, 042.66 (higher than our starting total because of interest paid and a car issue that K had)
So, you must think we're going to Disneyland now or something, right!? We're debt free!!! Well, not so much. While we are debt free (besides our house), the call that God placed on our lives was for the whole year, not just until we became debt free. So we will still not be buying anything new for ourselves or any house projects etc. until next year. We've made it this far, right!? There are some things that we feel like we can relax on like coffee dates, but for the most part we're on to baby step number three and trusting God to lead us. Our next goal is to have 10,000 of our 36,000 emergency fund built up by the end of the year.
A side note, if you are reading this and feeling discouraged, please don't! Know that this journey is the result of God working in both of us for quite a while. K and I haven't always been on the same page when it comes to money, God brought us to this place with a lot of hard work and obedience. However, be encouraged in the fact that if we can do it as two non-financial people with zero experience and just a few tools from the Dave Ramsey course, then you most definitely can! Seriously. If we can do it, ANYONE can. haha! Praise the Lord!