Part 3: Rock Bottom
The year 2006 was an amazing rollercoaster. We had our first son in May of 2006. After a miraculous delivery, my wife and I were on cloud nine. “Debt, what debt. I’m just glad my wife and child are well after that deliver.” That is what I thought until a hospital administrator came in and said “I’m your case worker, and I was wondering why you delivered at this hospital since you don’t have insurance here.” The smile immediately left my face. Somehow that hospital fell out of our network in 2006. We would have to come up with all the money to pay for the birth. The bottom fell out financially. It was amazing that during that time, I was able to find the same peace I had in 2002 when I didn’t have permanent work. I gave that issue to God and had faith that we would be provided for. God again saw us through that situation. Because the delivery ended up being an emergency and we had no other options, the insurance ended up covering the birth. Glory to God.
While the delivery crisis was averted, our credit crisis did not. In late summer 2006, our debt payments, along with living expenses, exceeded my income. My interest rate increased to almost 30% on one card. I called the credit card company, Bank of America, and talked to a manager in customer service. “Do you realize that this increase will forever change the way my family lives, just because a payment was a day late.” Again, grace was extended and our rate was reduced. A couple of things also came together in 2006. The van, the start of all debt, was going to be paid for and I was going to get a raise. This was going to increase our cash flow by almost $350. Unfortunately, that was a full month away and we were not going to be able to pay some bills.
I talked to my wife about how dire our situation was. Let me pause here for a second. One important thing to note is that when it comes to finances, my wife and I used to agree on very little. In fact, during our pre-marital counseling, we scored a ZERO in compatibility when it came to finances. Our counselor commented that no one had ever scored a ZERO in any category before. When you factor in that financial disagreement is the chief cause of divorce, you would think we were doomed. So we talked together and I said that we need a bridge loan, an amount of money that would get us through the next month when our cash flow would turn positive. We both agreed to ask my wife’s parents for the loan.
Normally, when you have to go to your in-laws, you have to eat a piece of humble pie. Fortunately, I had already been on that diet, so I didn’t have a problem asking for the loan. We did the same talk that I’m sure millions of parents have heard about how we want to be accountable, it is only the one loan, we’ll never do it again. I meant every word of it. I’m sure they had some reluctance, but they extended the loan. It wasn’t a large sum, just what we needed for the bridge, but it marked the beginning of the end. I am very thankful for their generosity. From August 2006 until present, we have not taken on any new debt.
In October 2006, once we made the last payment on the Van, my Saturn died forever. We prayed that it would last until the Van was paid off, and that is what we got. Later, we learned to pray for longer periods of time. We were now a one car family, but we had no intentions on getting a car loan. Again, my wife and I entered into prayer and prayed for God’s provision. We would wait and see how God would provide.