How it feels to finally be Debt Free!

a bumper sticker I dig

I’ll have to take you back to the beginning in 2008 when my mom encouraged made a deal with Jeremiah and I that if we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for 12 weeks that she and my dad would help pay for Jeremiah’s seminary education. We knew she was serious and who wouldn’t take up that kind of offer? So, we enrolled in the class at a local church with $45,000 in Debt– credit cards, student loans, 2 car payments, and more. During our first class, we found out that our debt surprisingly lined up with the average American’s debt.

Throughout each week, Dave Ramsey’s principles blew our mind. We started to see where we had been foolish and honestly hadn’t been living by God’s word in the area of finances. We started with the lowest amount of debt first and worked our way up. We cut up our credit cards (scary but it felt great!), Put $1,000 in our emergency fund as Dave says to do and starting building our savings. Most importantly, we got on a budget/spending plan. Even though we failed at it at times (and still do), we had a target to shoot for and we finally had control of our finances, rather than our finances controlling us.

We ate out less, didn’t really buy clothes, had a grocery limit, sold stuff, held garage sells, sold a car, didn’t buy unnecessary stuff and before we knew it, we were chipping away at our debt incredibly fast. We even had a baby and didn’t go into debt doing it because we saved, saved, saved!

Now two years later, we are proud to say that we are DEBT FREE!

The feeling is surreal still because for so long we weren’t truly free in that area and it impacted our marriage. But now we are and it’s our desire to encourage others out there who feel like it’s impossible. So many people encouraged us along the way and most importantly, God gave us the grace we needed to persevere and follow his plan.

I wrote a few posts a while back about our journey here and here and here and several more under the Finance category on this blog if you’d like to check those out.

While we’ve actually been debt free for about 3 months now, I can say that managing finances will always be a battle and we will never arrive, but I’m so thankful that our eyes have been opened and that above all, we are learning to better steward what we’ve been given because all that we have is a gift from God in the first place.

Thank you for sharing in our joy today!

Don’t Be Afraid

FearlessHB_LThe economy, global warming, finances, job losses, health care, swine flu… Behind these issues often comes the word FEAR. A lot of us are living lives in fear and can’t seem to tackle it. I’ve definitely had fears and struggles when it comes to those things.

But God has been showing me more of his love lately and it’s been casting shadows on the fears I’ve had inside. When I go to his word, I’m strengthened because he addresses my very fears (amazing how He knows them all) and gives me such indescribable love and peace.

1 John 4:18 says it beautifully: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I love how John says that perfect love drives out fear. If we live lives constantly overwhelmed by fear, we’ll never have the life God wants for us. We’ll never experience the depths of his love. Our goal is to be made perfect in love, and not fear. The way to do this is to cast our cares, worries, and concerns upon Him. To literally throw them on him. And he will take care of our burdens for us.

A few months back, I had the opportunity to meet mega bestselling author and master storyteller, Max Lucado. I absolutely loved meeting him and talking with him for a little bit. He just had this great peace about him. You just wanted to be around him. He barely answered the questions I had for him. He just wanted to know more about me and my family and what I did.

My work was interviewing him for some small group training videos to help leaders across the country. We asked him some questions about fear, keeping in mind he was writing a book called Fearless. Max’s clip has been edited and you can check it out here at

If fear is something you really struggle with, in addition to finding all you will ever need in God’s word, be sure to pre-order Max’s book to get another glimpse on the topic of fear.

Finances, Debt, & Freedom

piggy20bank1It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on finances. Can you tell the very word makes me nervous? Maybe it does for you too especially in our economy’s present condition. Well the good thing is that for us, right now, things are going really well.

Jeremiah and I are down to $1,000 left on his school loan and around $10,000 towards our car. A year and a half ago, we were about 30-40K in debt. Now, we’re $11,000! Jeremiah has mentioned how simple it would be to pay the whole car off in a matter of months but with the season of life we’re in (with him in school, internship, ministry, etc.), it’s best to wait and chisel away at the debt as we can.

We would not be where we are without the help of Dave Ramsey and my Mom spurring us to take his 12 week class- Financial Peace University. Finances is just one of those things, like sex, that not too many people discuss and many families don’t talk about growing up. So the result: ignorance. And it’s bliss. I’ve been there.

I’ll never forget a few months ago when our community group at church sat down and we went through each couple’s budget- every detail from car maintenance to cosmetic allowances. I hadn’t done that with anyone, ever in my life. But something about it was so freeing. There was accountability there and we knew we had each other’s best interest in mind. Our goal was to steward whatever resources God had given us the best we knew how.

Even now, I admit the struggle to constantly be aware of what I’m spending. What I’m saving, etc. It’s not easy or always black and white to know what God would do in this or that situation. But I do know for sure, that plummeting away at this debt is bringing him glory. It’s getting us farther away from bondage and closer to freedom.

We can’t wait for the day to call Dave Ramsey’s radio show to say, “WE’RE DEBT FREE!”

America becoming an undeveloped nation?


I was doing some research today and ran across some startling info. I don’t know what to take of it yet. Gerald Celente–who I’ve never heard of before today– is the CEO of Trends Research Institute. He’s renowned  for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events. He accurately predicted the 1987 Stock market crash, the Fall of the Soviet Union, the 1997 Asian currency collapse, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and what’s happening right now in our economy. His track record is at

Well, Celente is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions – all within four years, cautioning that putting food on the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

According to his recent Fox News interview called “Predicting Obama’s Impact” (posted on YouTube on Nov. 10, 2008), by 2012 America will have become an undeveloped nation. There will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and holidays will be more about obtaining food than gifts.

This all just seems too crazy! Doesn’t it? For some reason something in my heart tells me I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened though. I’m not at all saying I believe this guy. I’m really cautious of wacky people who try and predict the future but Celente has made his life following trends. He knows and understands history. His track record is insane.

Regardless if we think he is on to something or not, I really think all the more that it’s time for America to wake up and begin seeing what’s at stake. Is the media blowing a lot of this up or are we in denial as to what America’s future could  look like? Right now, I am trying to ask myself what changes I can make financially on a day to day basis to better prepare for the future. For our family, since we’re just about debt-free, it means saving, saving, saving. And of course praying nothing like this would happen, but still preparing for a potential rainy day. Would love to hear your thoughts.

two days with “iPhone”

0283_apple-iphone-case1A few Sundays ago, our contract ended with Sprint and we were contemplating buying new phones. Jeremiah did some shopping around and just couldn’t find what carrier he wanted. He knew how much I loved my sister’s new iPhone during Christmas and spontaneously, he decided to purchase two new iPhones for us under AT&T. I was really excited about it. He bought a pink case for me and everything. That was Sunday.

After having so much fun playing with the phone and loving its ridiculously amazing features, both of us around the same time began doubting the decision. Jeremiah knew we had 30 days if we wanted to take them back. We figured out the numbers and with our plan over a span of 5 years, we would have spent $10,000 on the two phones. We decided that maybe should go towards the baby’s fund or towards the church. Whatever. Well Monday came and a lot went on at work evaluating the future more closely with the economy the way it is. I then evaluated my decisions and what I could do personally. On Monday, I said “Let’s just take them back.” (I think Jeremiah was waiting for me to say it).

He was really happy at my suggestion. (I know he wanted to make me happy and I honestly believe we might have just kept them if I said I wanted them- who knows) but I also knew deep down that he was probably thinking it wasn’t the best financial decision. All along I think I made too many hints at what I thought I wanted and Jeremiah probably felt he should provide in that way. I know that many people have this revolutionary phone (all the guys I work with do) and I am not at all judging their or your decision, but for me personally, choosing to let go of the phone was what I knew I should do. I already struggle with checking email too much and with that phone I knew I probably would even more. I also knew the ability it had to define my worth or “status” or keeping up with what’s new. I even knew it could quickly become some kind of an idol as strange as that might seem. Even though of course I know it’s a heart issue.

For a short period, I was bummed we gave them up but yet I also felt so freed especially knowing the money could go elsewhere. In 5 years from now, what will compare to the iPhone? Maybe nothing will. Who knows. I may even have one in the future, but for right now, this was the decision we had to make. Those two days were really a time of growth for me- learning to let go and not put my worth in material things- something I will continue to learn all my life.

The good thing is I have enough friends that have them so I can play with theirs if I need a fix!

God, My Mom, & Dave Ramsey

It’s been several months since we took the Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey. Looking back on the class, it couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for us to be in it. My mom is the one we have to thank because she “urged” us to. We had no idea we would get pregnant during that time either or even that the economy would look a little different six months later. God’s timing is always perfect.

We now have 3-6 months of income saved. Our savings account has never looked so big. It’s almost surreal. Our credit cards are gone and the only debt remaining is about $8,000 on student loans and a car payment. All that to say, we would not be where we are without God, My Mom, and Dave Ramsey! We are no way near perfect in the area of finances but we’re striving to keep growing.

The highlight for me this week was my first guilty feeling of purchasing a pumpkin spice chai frappucino for almost $4.00. Now, I love to splurge and treat myself (I don’t over-indulge too much at all). I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself. But something just clicked and I thought, this is definitely a lot for a drink that was gone in 2 minutes!  My husband agreed it was a huge step for me. I mean it’s Starbucks, come on.

Later on in the day I learned more about the condition of our economy. It’s pretty crazy what’s going on right now. I’m more encouraged now to be wise with the money God’s given us. It’s not always easy but so worth it.

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