Stan Patton - 04/11/2010
This story actually begins over 30 years ago, when we wanted to move out of the city and own an energy-efficient home. The plan was to have it built but that changed to us doing the work with help from friends and family.
Before moving, my wife had a dream about "isolation". I didn't know it then, but do now, that it was from the Lord and He was isolating us from many worldly things. Before the move, we had always been fairly conservative with our money. We had a few vacations with my sister-in-law and her husband, allowing us to save on cost. Garage sales were actually a fun experience, especially for kids clothes and their toys.
With the G.I. Bill, we were able to have only a very small debt with my education, which had been paid off early on. But we really bought into the lie that it was okay to be in debt for a house and education. But where is it found in the Bible that any debt is okay? We found that when we waited on the Lord, at least in the area of vacations, that it was worth the wait. One work assignment (vacation for the rest of the family) was a six-month trip to France for our family. And another one was to sunny California for four months, in which we were able to use the bonus and unused per diem money to drastically reduce our debt, plus it allowed me to visit my dad who lived in California.
During the course of our building project, I was laid off several times and when I got a new job it usually paid less than I made previously, thus making our building project difficult. We used credit cards to live on during the lay-offs and we saw no end to this nightmare. We also were building at a time when construction costs were rising and the price of new homes was falling. Our credit union gave us a home equity loan, which was an adjustable rate loan, which we were not comfortable with but didn't seem to have a choice. Our bills were mounting faster than our income was.
The Lord blessed me with a much better paying job in early 2000, so things were starting to look a little better.
At the end of 2001, we made a commitment to get out of debt within seven years. We were under what seemed to be an insurmountable mountain of debt of about $130,000 (around twice my annual income at the time), including an $80,000 mortgage with a $1120 per month mortgage payment and $50,000 in credit card and personal debt incurred when I was laid off. We started playing the credit card game where you switch over to a low or no interest card short term, until that offer runs out. We only ate out at low cost fast food restaurants once in awhile. We didn't go to any barber and, instead, cut each other's hair, which we had done previously but now we were really serious. We also received some unexpected early inheritance money that finally paid off the rest of our debt, allowing us to be debt-free before the seven-year commitment and allowing us to build a pole building for our younger son so he can have his self-employment business debt-free. The Lord has blessed his commitment to being debt-free and has flourished his business.
We thank the Lord for His deliverance from our mistakes and helping us to get debt-free! We're now able to go wherever the Lord may lead, with nothing to tie us down. May this testimony encourage others out there to trust our God to deliver them from debt or any other bondage they may be in.