I guess our credit rating must be rising, judging from all the credit card acceptance pitches we are getting every week. It keeps our shredder busy, but the chickens like using the shredded paper for their bedding. I haven’t actually checked our rating, I just assume since banks want me to take their credit cards they have decided I am a good risk. But they aren’t likely to ever get a response from our household. Credit cards nearly wrecked our lives at one point, and we have committed ourselves to never getting another one.Until the week of 9/11, we were just another family living the American dream, a double income household with kids, and credit cards. We had about $40,000 in credit card debt when my husband lost his job that week, in a layoff that wasn’t ever going to call him back. Four weeks later my temp job went away, too. And after 9/11 the economy was frozen for about six months. The help wanted ads dwindled down to almost nothing. Nobody was hiring, nothing was happening.
With six kids at home, that was excruciatingly stressful. Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy is never a fun place to be. Answering the phone usually means collection agencies pressuring you to send them more of what you already don’t have. Many of them will lie or threaten to get you to give in to their demands and that stress can take its toll on a family if you don’t know how to deal with it. We talked about bankruptcy almost weekly, but miraculously never had to go through that process.
I say miraculously and I mean it. There is no logical, mathematical reason why we should be financially solvent today, except for the provision of God. We’ve had no windfall of income, no influx of cash to help us pay our bills. We still own our house and our cars are old, but paid for. Yet if you look at our income, we are still below poverty level, even a dozen years later. We negotiated what we could with the credit card debt, paid off what we could as we were able, and over time, got every debt settled or cleared. We learned to be content with what we had, to live on less, shop more wisely for food and clothes, and to live within our means.
There is no nest egg of savings, and we have lived without any medical insurance since 2001, but we have never needed it. Not because we are such thrifty, smart people, but because He is, and He’s brought us work and income as we need it. We told the Lord in 2001 that we would not live on credit cards ever again, we would trust Him to provide our needs. And every month, He has! I doubt we will ever be wealthy, but He provides us with enough to pay our bills and put food on the table and we’re happy with that.