I am currently in a quandary over our financial state and have been so since the news that Esther would be losing her job at some undisclosed time in the very near future. My beautiful wife sat down last night to research how God has chosen to bless us financially over the past few years and as a result has blessed me with a realization of just how securely He holds us.
Some background, for those who don't know, is that in 2006 Esther and I came together in the feeling that God was leading us to Spokane. There were job prospects, but nothing firm. Esther had a good job as an Opthalmic Technician in Chicago and I had a (financially decent) job at a funeral home, where we also lived. We were doing alright financially at that time, though we weren't exactly stashing money away. We could have been... at various points, but we never really did. In fact, we had considerable debt still, despite Esther's repeated efforts to the contrary. We saved some money between realizing God's leading in August of 2006 and actually moving in April of 2007 but not (as we would discover) enough to fully cover the costs of the move.
When we arrived at Spokane the job prospects we had lined up came to naught. I worked a temp job at Dal Tile and helped my dad put siding on a house while Esther worked very hard at a job both menial and difficult (deli counter at Albertsons). Suffice it to say this wasn't exactly the promised land for us. Through this time, though, we became connected to Berean Bible Church through Jonathan Blycker whom Esther had been in Moody Chorale with years before. This was an excellent connection for us and it was really a tool God used to make clear His leading in bringing us to Spokane.
A fellow church-goer, Shannon Freeman, introduced me to the Transportation department of North By Northwest, where I have worked happily ever since. Esther became acquainted with the Jarvis family through the church and that developed into a wonderful job and a wonderful relationship with the two youngest Jarvis boys. Both of these developments have blessed our lives in different ways and both of them have cemented in my mind the confidence that God had a very clear plan in moving us to Spokane.
By 2008, the debt we carried over from Chicago and added to with the expenses of the move had become a real issue in our lives. I personally always had a fatalistic view of finances. I felt that there was no chance of ever "getting ahead" financially in life, so why bother making any plans or trying to save anything? I was convinced saving was utter foolishness and the quickest way to lose money without receiving any benefit from it. In September Esther finally prevailed upon me to go through Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey's program) with her. We took the whole course and made changes accordingly to our life.
Here's where the facts are, finally, going to come into play. I hope you've stuck with me so far.
Since September of 2008, we have paid off $11,851.01 in credit card debt. When we first made our plan, we projected we would have all of our credit card debt paid off by March 2011. This was assuming we didn't need a new car or experience some other catastrophe which would drastically alter our tight budget. As of January 2011, we have only $2,152.99 credit card debt remaining in spite of the following:
1) We have purchased not one but two cars, paying (thus far) $6,684.60 total, with only $1750 left to pay.
2) We have paid over $10,000 in medical bills related to Malachi and his birth.
3) We have traveled by air to see family and friends five times, and helped two people come to Spokane for a visit.
4) We have just under $25,000 in retirement savings.
5) We have a son!
6) Esther, Malachi and myself are all in good health.
I share these figures, of course, not to trumpet our successes. If you were to join me in examining the work I've done over the past two years and the finances we've accumulated I think you too would see a disconnect between what ought to have been, and what actually is. Around here we call that God's blessing. We call it a visible example of God's hand at work.
When we made our plans in September of 2008, we expected nothing more than to subsist and pay off our credit card debt by three months from now. God has accomplished much more than that.