>Yep. It’s been a bittersweet story for us. So much blessing, but a lot of mistakes as well. In November we will have lived here 5 years… the longest place we’ve lived at one time, married! In short, we really couldn’t afford our house from the beginning and made it work by putting other necessities (and non-necessities) on credit, so we could pay our mortgage.
The day we moved here, Matt bought a really nice truck… with payments attached. Yes, he needed a truck for work, but as we found out a year later, God can provide with no strings attached! He was gracious and when we knew we had to sell his truck to get rid of those horrible monthly payments, he was able to sell it for the exact price he bought it for the previous year. Matthew paid cash for his current Toyota truck, no extended cab, complete with rusty spots and a constant ticking sound and really loud muffler. It’s been going strong for three years now, almost at 200K miles. Well, maybe strong isn’t the best word… but last week when it needed to be jumped numerous times in order to start, we were thankful that it only cost about $3 to fix it. Oh, I could write a few chapters of funny stories about that truck… let’s just say, it’s been going! =)
Anyway, back to the story. It was about this time in our financial down-slide that we discovered a small group in our area doing a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class. We hooked up with them, which led to us going to Gateway Church in Parkesburg. This alone was worth everything we experienced, as it has been nothing but a blessing for our family: spiritually, emotionally, and financially!
Since taking this class, we have paid off close to $40,000 in consumer debt. We can almost count on one hand now, how many more thousands to go, and are really really excited to be completely debt free.
One of the ways we kept sinking lower, was to put 50% of our take-home pay towards our mortgage. This had to stop and we spent the last couple of years tweaking, but not successfully lowering our budget to fit the other 50%. We worked with our mortgage company to see if we could refinance or do anything to help make it possible to keep the house. The best they were able to do was make it so it was about 45% of our take-home pay. This wouldn’t work either and we worked on actually paying our bills with cash and starting to chunk out our debt. We tried to sell our house but it just didn’t sell. Eventually, our mortgage went into default and we are now facing foreclosure if our house doesn’t sell. Are we proud of this? No. It’s rather embarrassing, actually. There’s nothing like making a bad choice which leads to awful consequences that everyone can see. We’ve all done it. It wasn’t easy for Matt to trade in his dream truck for something that is about as far from manly as you can get. It isn’t easy to live like you can afford something until reality comes marching at your door and shows you otherwise. We’re not proud of the decisions we made which got us to where we are. But we are thankful for the chance to grow in wisdom and in closer dependence upon God.
The plain and simple reality is, we have so much to be thankful for. We’ve gone through one of the top five things that cause divorce, and yet our love is even stronger for each other. We’ve been humbled and forced to learn that contentment matters to God, not possessions. I could go on and on about the lessons we’ve learned. I could also go on and on about how God has provided for us. While we’ve messed up, He’s forgiven and strengthened us for the task ahead.
While praying and seeking God’s will about where He wants us to move, I got really really discouraged. I searched Craig’s list and came up with horrible dumps that fit our price range, or nice doable houses that fell way out of our price range. Matthew has a favorite thing that he likes to tell me, “God hasn’t provided it yet, because it’s not needed yet.” Time and again we are tested on that. Well, school is starting up again and the Sheriff’s sale is quickly approaching. Through friends at church we heard of a house in Coatesville for rent, so we checked it out. After we looked through it I thought how perfect it would be. I was expecting something out of our price range, and when the landlord told us how much I had a hard time not hugging him. It was as if God was saying, “Go ahead and take it! I saved this just for you.”
So, August 28th is our hopeful move-in date if everything gets finished that we need to do. We are excited to move on to another chapter in our lives. I will give more details of our move a little closer to the date. But I’ve written enough and I have boxes to pack!