Credit Cards vs Prayer

by nikkilehman2013

It’s a big day today.  I had to look through my prayer journals to get a good timeline.  I found an entry in 12/2007.  Just one word, finances.  

When Paul and I married in 2006, I had no debt.  I prayed my way through college and the wedding.  God always provided.  I firmly believed then and still believe now that God knows our needs and all we have to do is ask.  We never need to depend on a credit card.  I had four faithful years of testimony to that from 2002 to 2006.  Miracle after miracle to show that God will take care of business.

Things changed when Paul and I hastily purchased a home in March 2008, before we had any children.  After we adopted our girls and had two boys, I needed to become a stay at home mom.  After being reduced to one income, there were several months when we were not making enough to pay for the lifestyle that we desired.  Instead of relying solely on God’s provision and adjusting our lifestyle, we began to turn to credit cards.

Next thing we knew, we had a home that we could not afford and about $20,000 in credit card debt.  A good portion of that was tuition from Paul’s expensive school, but instead of relying on God’s timeline for that education and our livelihood, we took our own path and found ourselves drowning.

We prayed and asked God to grant us faith in finances, but it took some time to fully turn from our old habits.  Sometimes we would get really close to being debt free (at one point down to about $4,000), but before I knew it we had racked up more.  It was a slow fade. Simple excuses would arise, like, “I’ll pay this off once the check comes…”  Funny how once that check comes we suddenly had other more pressing expenses.  That’s how it works when you try to do it yourself.  There will always be another bill, an unplanned expense, or an urgent need.

So in September of this year we finally had enough.  Paul and I agreed that we would no longer wait to be debt free to live by faith.  We would put away the credit card and trust God for all our bills, even if it meant eviction or an empty fridge.  

This was not an easy choice, or a carefree lifestyle.  Some months God really tested that commitment.  There were months when some bills got paid late, the kids ate a lot of spaghetti, and we learned to do a few things for ourselves (like cut hair).  

But you know what?  We really saw God move.  Once again I was living a lifestyle where I saw miracle after miracle.  That check in the mail at just the right time, a random refund with an unplanned bill, unexpected groceries from someone who “felt” they should drop a few things off.  It never failed.  Life didn’t feel easy, but it did feel right.    

And as of today, we are debt free.  By the grace and mercy of God, we are debt free.  DEBT FREE, I just want to scream it!  God is so good.  He never fails.  And yet, it is so hard to trust Him.  Hard when I think I know what’s best.  Hard when the world tells me I better pay up.  Hard when I don’t see a way out.  Hard when I don’t understand.  

Basically it’s hard when I’m focused on me.  I’m getting an amazing opportunity and I don’t want to screw it up.  To trust God and not Visa.  To trust God and not myself.  Christian, we don’t belong in the world of credit scores and low interest.  This is not our home, this is not the final stop.

God is so faithful.  Live a life characterized by prayer and faith and you will truly start to see miracles.

This is easier said than done.  Sometimes things feel very imminent and we rush to swipe the credit card.  It’s ironic almost.  We claim to worship a God who is all powerful and outside of time, but then we panic and try to answer our financial woes ourselves.  My credit card statement from last month condemns me guilty of that.  

It’s time to start living different.  Because when it comes down to it, I want to be a person who turns to prayer, turns to faith, turns to God.  And in the end, my life may not be easy, it may not be pretty, it won’t be perfect, but I firmly believe it’s “achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)