Curt and I talk a lot about financial responsibility. We share our story in our book, when we speak, with people at our church and friends. We aren't ashamed of our story-- of the low places we've been financially. We firmly believe in the verse "And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32) And we believe that God orchestrated our situation and the timing of getting out of debt when we did so that we could share our story during this dark economic time, offering hope to others. And also on a more personal level, so that we could be prepared for Curt's unemployment during the first half of this year.
On Saturday we drove to Boone NC for a book signing and had some uninterrupted time in the car to talk about money. This is a topic that used to send us into battle mode. We couldn't talk about the state of our finances without it turning into a major fight. I am happy to report, there was no fighting involved. But there were some tense moments. Because we are still cleaning up the mess that got made as Curt was unemployed. We are so grateful for his job-- it was God's provision financially as well as personally for Curt. He's enjoying working again. We're enjoying a steady paycheck.
But we can't pretend that those 6 months didn't happen. And we can't live as if they didn't. We need to buckle down, to recoup our losses and get back into "no matter what" mode. No matter what we're going to rebuild our savings. No matter what we're going to evaluate the necessity of what we're spending. No matter what we're going to clear up the medical bills that have resulted from a few unfortunate events. (We shared in our book what our no matter what's had to look like when we were getting out of debt.)
We determined that it's time to put our noses to the grindstone again. To get vigilant. To be laser focused on that target of a healthy financial picture. We had it once, and I believe we will have it again. As I told Curt the other day, we had no income with 6 kids for 6 months. We can't expect to have emerged unscathed. God did protect us in miraculous ways. He did make us so aware of His goodness during that time. But we also have some remaining work to do to get us back where we know we should be. We have to be relentless. The point is to recognize what's happening and respond properly. It's to catch yourself at the top of that slippery slope before you go sliding down. We were at the bottom of that slope once. I don't ever want to be there again.
If you are in the middle of a mess-- or worried you're headed towards one-- make time to talk to your spouse and create a plan together. Pray first. Ask God to help you talk about this touchy subject without fighting. Ask God to help you see a solution. Ask God to knit your hearts together.
He will do it. It might not be overnight, but He will do it. Curt and I are living proof. I am so glad we can talk about finances in a constructive way now, and that we can make a plan and work on it together. That's what makes all the difference.