Debt Free Living, Part 2 – God Provides



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Debt Free Living, Part 2 – God Provides

Hello everyone! I included a couple of my answers from a recent interview about debt free living and how living without debt relates to my faith. Here are two more of those interview questions and in a future newsletter, we’ll include the final part, my answer to the top lessons I would give a family or even a single person who is dealing with a tight budget.

-Jill

Interviewer: I have read some incredible stories of God’s provision on your blog and website. Would you share some of your favorites? Include some of your own!

I know people get excited about all the big things God provides for us, but more times than not it is the little things that blow my mind. Once, during very hard times, my folks paid for us to drive back for a visit. The day we got back I ran to the grocery store while my husband unloaded the car and gave a piano lesson.

When I got to the store, I walked past the tomatoes and stood looking. What I wouldn’t have given just to taste a tomato. It had been so long but I only had enough money for bread and milk, so I shrugged and went on. When I arrived at the checkout counter, I saw the people in front of me picking out magazines and putting them in their carts and once again I thought, "Wouldn’t it be nice to have a magazine to read?" Still, I didn’t dwell on it and went ahead and checked out.

I arrived home and there on the table sat not one or two but a huge box of home grown tomatoes. I went running through the house so excited to find out where they had come from and there on the piano bench sat 3 stacks of decorating magazines with about 15 magazines in each stack. My husband walked in to find me in a state of shock. The piano student had brought the tomatoes and my grandmother had had my husband stick the magazines in the car before we left for home and I hadn’t seen them.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

I had a 40 year old roof which leaked like crazy, but I was barely able to pay our basic living costs, much less pay for a new roof. I messed with it for years. It would leak so bad that, if it rained while we were at church, the 5 gallon bucket in the attic would fill up and still leak into the living room. We finally figured out how to set our large shop vac just so under the leak in the living room. Then we ran the hose from it into another 5 gallon bucket so it would over flow in the attic bucket into the shop vac down the hose and into the last bucket. Clever huh? But a real pain. Finally, we ended up putting a child’s swimming pool in the attic because the leak became so large.

One night we had a terrible storm and I was standing outside looking at the shingles from my roof laying in the driveway. I was chuckling to myself thinking, "At this rate they won’t need to tear off any of the 3 layers of old shingles by the time I can get it fixed."

A neighbor happened to walk by and asked "Have you thought about calling your insurance company?" He said, "To be honest, 90% of the time they won’t fix it, but you might try." I took his advice and out came the adjuster. He said, "We will fix it and even pay for painting the inside and the carpet where it leaked." I was beside myself with excitement… but then he said, "We’ll pay for it– you only need to come up with a $1500 deductible."

I crashed. I had no where to get $50, let alone $1500. I told him there was no way I could come up with the money and thanked him. He said he had to crunch the numbers and file a report anyway and would call me tomorrow. He was a rather harsh and intimidating man and as he walked away, instantly, the story of Nehemiah came to my mind. I prayed like crazy that God would soften the man’s heart the same way Nehemiah did the king’s heart.

The next day the adjuster called and couldn’t have been nicer. He said, "I stayed up late last night and re-figured your numbers. If we do this and this and this, I think we can make so you don’t have to pay a penny."

In two weeks I had a free new roof.

Interviewer: Have you seen an uptick in traffic in the last year? Book sales up? Do you have any statistics?

Our book sales have steadily increased but the increase has not been any greater than that of any of the other businesses I have had in the past. You would think with these "hard economic times" that our books would be flying off of the shelves, but I am not surprised that people aren’t falling all over themselves to learn to how to get out of debt.

We had a business for many years selling player piano and nickelodeon parts. I was always fascinated that these instruments had been so popular during the Depression when money was so tight. After doing some research, I found that statistics show, when times get hard financially, people spend their money, no matter how bad it gets, on two things to help relieve the stress– entertainment and beauty products.

That really makes sense because look what people are buying so much of now– big screen TV’s, vacations, trips to the spa, make up, having their hair done– and don’t forget comfort foods and large sizes of fast foods and restaurant food. It is human nature to want to buy something to make our "flesh" feel better rather than to buy a book teaching us how to get out of debt and stop spending, which is exactly what the flesh doesn’t want to do.

Read part 3 -Dealing With A Tight Budget

Read part 1- Debt Free Living


Comments

  1. rose says

    yes GOD is sooooo wonderful and HE helps us even when we dont ask…
    not to be dismal, but i think i have mentioned b4 that bc of the on-going construction in this area/neighborhood, rats/mice are all over the place… and yes the winter time is brutal trying to keep them out… in fact, this year, i prayed so hard that we wouldnt have any problems with them and yes HE did help us… we did have a few in the attic (how they got there i have no clue, i thought i had sealed all of the holes but it doesnt surprise me bc last summer the landlord had to patch the roof in several areas where they chewed to get in the attic)…
    yes GOD is wonderful … not only does he provide for us but he also protects us! *especially if you are as frightened of mice as i am (i know it might sound silly to some but i am deathly afraid of them)*…
    thanks for sharing this with all of us…
    rose :D

  2. Anne says

    Your testimony is certainly encouraging as I have been where you have been. We have given up our land line, and t.v. connection. I thought we would really miss the t.v., but it gives us more time to talk with each other and read, and that’s not all bad. Early this summer, our air in the house went out and we have spent the summer with lots of fans blowing. You know, it has been extremely hot, but when I see my power bills and how low they are, I am really loving it!

    God is so awesome and each day I fall more and more in love with Him. Being out of work has given me more time to read and study his Word. I am not sure what He has in store for me, but I am sure it will be exactly what I need.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  3. angela lott says

    That is so true.Last year this I had 2 major surgery’s I am self employed so that mean I was out of work for 6 months,I rental was about to be auction off,all my bills was 6,000 in the red.I lost 22 pounds.But through prayer ,and faith,I moved into my rental property that help me save it I’m back at work.

  4. Sharon says

    A note to Ginger who put the funeral on a credit card. Suggest going to a local bank to see if she can borrow the money at a much lower interest rate than the credit card and pay off the credit card. She will still save in the long run.

  5. Fran says

    Reminds me of lyrics I heard of a song : “When there’s no shoes on my feet I know where, where to go”….God Works!!

  6. says

    Thank you for another thought-provoking article. I would like to know your thoughts on public assistance. My dh has medical problems that require frequent doctor visits and a lot of medication, but we get Medicaid and Medicare and so far everything has been covered. I would like to start a little emergency savings, but the way I understand it, we could lose our Medicaid if we save up too much money, or even if I earn too much at my home business. Do you have any words of wisdom for me about how to have enough faith in God to go ahead and save and earn and lose the help? I feel like I am “part of the problem” (in our country) the way things are, but it’s comfortable, too.

    Anyway, I really appreciate your ideas and your website.

    • says

      Barbara good question. I’m not sure if there is a perfect answer to it but let me tell you a little bit of my story to maybe help explain my answer.

      Most don’t know but about 2 years before my husband officially left me we had been separated for a year. One night things came to a head and I knew I could no longer stay there. I was up all night crying and praying asking God what He wanted me to do. After a couple of hours of this God very quietly told me to go live with my in-laws.

      To some this may not seem like a big deal and maybe this was just what I was wanting to do and thought this up myself but you see my in-laws for almost 15 years really didn’t like me at all. Going to live with my in-laws to me was the last place I wanted to go at that time. Going to stay with my folks made much more sense. My folks had a small apt. in their home we could live in. The lived in the Denver metro area and I knew I could get a job there pretty easy and I would have built in babysitters. Plus they liked (loved) me.

      My in-laws on the other hand lived in a small town, with very few jobs or places to rent or buy. Plus I wasn’t sure if they still really liked me or not. It wasn’t all their fault they just assumed things to be true which weren’t and later found out they weren’t true. Which plan would you have preferred . This is why when God told me to go to them I was shocked. It made no sense.

      Thank goodness God had dealt with me enough up to this point that I had learned the plan that made the least sense was the one He usually chose for me to do. As it turned out He knew best. I of course like many children do didn’t just say ok. I started coming up with all of the reasons why I shouldn’t including the ones I mentioned above and one by one He made it clear they were just excuses. In one last ditch effort to convince Him I shouldn’t do it I said my mom will have a fit that I’m not coming to them and I don’t feel like fighting her on it. It was like God said let me take care of it all.

      It is interesting how God works. About 3 weeks earlier my in-laws had come for a visit and we had had a real heart to heart they felt really bad about all those years of misjudging me etc. and asked for forgiveness. Of course I said yes and we actually were closer then we had ever been. Humm. Interesting that that had happen just a few weeks earlier.

      I was up all night and at 6:30 I called my parents to tell them I had planned on leaving that day to move to my in-laws. My mom said she thought that was a great idea. Shock! Shock! She said they wouldn’t mind having me but the Bible said when the husband dies or is no more his family is suppose to take care of his wife and kids. Well pick me up off of the floor. Another worry and excuse taken care of. I then called my father-in-law and he said they would come right away to move me (it was a 6 hour drive).

      I had 6 hours to pack up everything from 12 years of marriage that filled a 2500 sq. ft. house. Plus I could only take what would fit in 2 pick ups and a horse trailer. Don’t forget I had had no sleep the night before and only about 3 hours the night before that not to mention being emotionally drained. To me just the fact I was able to do that was a miracle in and of itself.

      I drove out of town with only $35 in my pocket and no credit cards or money in a bank. I remember as I was driving I started having second thoughts. Am I crazy? Where in the world were the kids and I going to live? I barely had money for a few days food let alone rent. But then I remembered, I was doing what God wanted me to do. It was His responsibility to take care of things when I got there.

      When I arrived. My grandmother-in-law informed me first thing that they owned a small house that had been paid for many years ago and they called it their mission house (all these years I never knew about it) and they kept it empty in case missionaries needed a place to stay. It had stood empty for awhile and they felt God wanted them to have me use it for as long as I needed, rent free. I didn’t need to pay for water because it was well and the electricity was free too because it was hooked up the the farm’s electric fences. My folks came to visit the next week and brought me a bunch of groceries which helped so much.

      In spite of all of that I still had to find money for more food, clothes for the kids, toiletries, medical (which I had none) etc.I did everything I could. There just were no jobs in town. I drove a tractor with no a/c in 100 degree plus weather for a couple of weeks, I took in a small amount of sewing and ironing. One day when I was down to my last pennies an out of town visiting family member stopped by to see me and before they left they gave me $50 not even knowing how desperate I was. It was enough for a whole month worth of groceries.

      Things were hard there. There were no thrift stores and garage hadn’t really started being a big thing. No credit cards to buy groceries and we didn’t even have a Walmart or anything like that. It was much harder to stretch my money.

      Finally after struggling as best as I could and still no job, my grandmother in law pulled me to one side and had a talk with me. She said every member of this family yourself included has paid our taxes faithfully and not once have any of use used welfare or disability so if you need to now go get some because that is why we have paid it all these years.

      I went the next day and applied for welfare. The sweetest woman helped me and she said you are the type of case this money is to be used for and there is nothing wrong with it. She said it is the people who come in here and are 3 & 4th generation still living on welfare just because they know how to work the system.

      I was on it for a few months found a job and later moved back to Kansas. Just being on it for a few months to catch my breath helped so much. My time there was one of the best times in my life. I had been going through a very rough time and didn’t know it but soon was going to be going through an even harder time which made the above look like a walk in the park. God used that time there to restore me, to give me strength for the next battle in my life I was going to fight and I can never thank Him enough for that time.

      Interestingly enough 10 years later through another strange story which I don’t have room to explain here I ended paying almost all the money I had received from welfare back so in the end God really took care of everything.

      Now that being said I will try answer your question. It is a hard place to be in and I understand exactly where you are at. You want to get off of it but would feel more secure if you could save a few months of savings before you just stop but can’t do that because you are only allowed to save a little. Plus you aren’t sure you will be able to manage for medical on your own.

      Since I don’t know all of your details and am guessing on some things here are a couple things which might help. First find out exactly how much savings you can have. I know it is $2000 sometimes but what I am not sure of is if that is per person or household. Once you find that out save that amount up. Next take any other money you have and instead of saving it pay the extra on to your house and debts. For me in the past I have found having my home paid off and debts paid have been the best savings account I can have. Once you get those under control then you might try to go off.

      One thing too. I’m not sure about the welfare right now but I know with disability that you can work and they will adjust your disability payments so you still receive your medical but get less on your monthly check in proportion to what you make and with disability in many cases if you go off and get sick again you can get back on easily with in a year or so. The thing you need to do is to call your county and see what their policy is because they do differ in each state. Most of the time if you explain your story they are pretty nice helping. Once in awhile you can get someone not so helpful like at any other place but they are usually pretty good.

      One last thing be sure to check and see if your husband will be accepted by any insurance companies if you go off the Medicaid. Just call a few and ask. If he has serious medical problems and can’t get insurance you may have to stay on it for a bit more until you can find a solution. For example if your home business can swing it you can become a corporation, get company insurance and then put him on as an employee or employee’s (you) spouse and get insurance that way. It is a little hard and complicated but it really is a matter of doing a bunch of calling of different places and things.

      I know this may sound overwhelming but hope if gave you some ideas. Holler if you have more questions.

  7. Amy says

    Hi Jill: I got suscribed to your website yesterday and have been reading everything you wrote, it has been a blessing. I was brought up with the same concepts and ideas that you have. My parents are pastors in South America, and even though I never thought we were poor, we didn’t have abundance of money either. Tehy were very wise in all the biblical principles they used, and always made sure to teach us to value work and live debt free. I went to college (abroad) and did a masters here in the USA debt literally free, God provided in many ways because being a alien I didn’t qualify for loans, etc. I got married to a wonderful Christian man 3 years ago. He has been raised very different from me: he owes over $100’000 on school loans, and even though he wants to pay for them, we haven’t really started paying. He is the one that works, I stay home with our two children (this is where I feel God has called me to be for now since they are young). We disagree a lot on how to handle our money. I can be very frugal and happy with it, but it seems that all my efforts on saving money go on waste because he will spend that money on some coffee or some pop on a gas station almost daily. How can I honor his leadership in the home? I feel that we can’t have a way out of debt. In the last 3 months he started using a credit card and now we owe about $5’000, I feel terrible, almost as a sinner. I know God placed me at the house with our children for now. What are your thoughts on this?

    • says

      Amy I usually try to reply to something like this right away but I’m afraid I am at Tawra’s and have 5 kids running around wanting “Nan’s” attention. Yours isn’t the first question along this line that I been asked so as soon as Christmas is over and I get back home I am going to try and write a whole article in detail on this subject because it seems to be a real problem for many and is hard to answer with just one or two sentences. Sorry to be so vague but truly will try to get you answered when I get home. Jill

  8. susan says

    i had no idea you were Christians, What a Wonderful Testimony!! I soo enjoyed these articles. God bless you!!

    Susan Miller

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