December 8, 2010
Financially Free Christmas
"For nothing is impossible with God."
Luke 1:37 (NIV)
The reality of our poor financial choices hit my husband and me one night just a few days before Christmas several years ago. What should have been a time of festivities and celebrating became just another cause for stress in our lives. We didn't know how we were going to afford the expensive presents on oyr kids' lists. We didn't want to tell them no, yet to buy gifts meant adding to our already overwhelming debt load. We took God at His word when He said that nothing is impossible with Him. And yet, from where we sat, our financial situation looked impossible.
For years, we had been trying to do something to change our financial picture, to no avail. We desperately wanted to stop using credit cards, yet financial emergencies always cropped up that drove us back to credit card purchases. We wanted to begin tithing and saving, yet there was never any money leftover to do that. We wanted to begin chipping away at our debt, and yet we saw no way to do so. We felt trapped at every turn. We had gotten ourselves unwittingly into a financial mess. Never before had we felt so strongly about getting out of that mess than that night.
I watched from our parked car as the other shoppers "rushed home with their treasures" like the carol says. I vaguely wondered how many of them were slipping deeper into debt as they charged purchases they couldn't really afford. Meanwhile, my husband and I sat in that parking lot for over an hour. We talked through what it would take for us to change our spending habits and take steps towards achieving our dream of being debt free. God met with us there and united our hearts with a purpose and a passion to see it through.
The plan we mapped out was not a quick and easy solution, but it was the real picture of what it would take. Though neither of us realized it then, that night was the beginning of a major change in our lives. We were embarking on a journey that would enable us to escape the bondage of debt and begin to enjoy financial freedom. It took us four and a half years but we are so glad we did what it took to change our family's financial picture.
If you are approaching the Christmas season with that same sense of fear and dread, I urge you to not let another day go by without making a plan and committing to do whatever it takes to avoid debt. If you're married, have this hard but necessary conversation with your spouse. By next Christmas your financial situation might not be 100% better, but it will be better than it is this year. And each Christmas, with perseverance, it will get better. It won't be easy, but it will be the one of the best things you will ever do for your family. Ask me how I know.
Dear Lord, I want to honor You with my finances. I want to tithe and save and stop borrowing money. Please help me and my family to know what steps to take, and to seek out the wise counsel we need to change our financial picture. I trust You to do the impossible. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Marybeth's blog
Living Financially Free: Hard Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Money and Your Marriage by Marybeth and Curt Whalen
A Recipe for Christmas Joy (E-Book) by Marybeth Whalen
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If you are already financially free, is there someone you can counsel who might need to know how to make wise decisions with money?
What one thing can I do today that is a step towards financial freedom?
Can I prayerfully set up a time to talk calmly with my spouse about what it would take to change our financial picture?
Is there a local church or organization that I can get counseling from to help me devise a plan?
Psalm 37:25, "Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread." (NLT)
Psalm 34:9, "Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing." (NIV)
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