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Seven years ago I sat on my bed in my huge master bedroom, in the house that was making us dead broke. I had laid all of the credit card statements on the bed. I was getting ready to confess to Mark how much debt I had racked up. As his feet hit every step of the staircase, my heart began to race faster and faster. My hands started to sweat, and I knew that I couldn’t turn back now. He needed to know the truth and we needed to be open, in order to move forward.
I had been spending without abandon. I had charged a lot of things and never told him, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew that I had to come clean, but after many failed attempts at doing so this would be the time I would succeed.
He came into the bedroom and I blurted it out – we have $40,000 in debt. There… I did it….I was now freed of the hidden secret of my spending woes. I was expecting Mark to yell at me, but he didn’t. He hugged me. He told me it would be okay and we would get out of it. He showed me grace that day, and that same grace was what encouraged me to change.
That was the beginning of a long journey of getting out of debt. Along that journey I had to take a job outside of the home as a server at a fine dining restaurant. I started smoking cigarettes and drinking wine every night, so that I could handle the stress of that job. I started becoming a person that I was not, because I was so mad at myself.
I wanted desperately to quit my job, dive back into my church, and spend more time with my son. Not to mention the fact that I was struggling with infertility at the time and so desperately wanted to be pregnant again!
Mark and I sat down and looked at our finances and in a fateful discussion, he told me that I could stay home if we were to cut our grocery bill from $1,000 a month, down to $200 per month. As a spender, that was laughable! $200 per month – we spend more than that per week! I am also an over-achiever, and if you give me a goal to achieve, I will do it.
I started playing the DrugStore game and getting most of our toiletries on sale. I learned how to meal plan, coupon, and put together healthy meals on a budget. Two months after I was given that challenge by Mark, I quit my job, and was finally a stay at home mom.
I continued to coupon and feed our family of 3 on $50.00 per week, I did that for about two years. It was a LOT of work and I spent around 10-15 hours per week strategizing and planning out our meals. I felt like I was contributing to my family, but in a different way. I saw couponing as an hourly wage in giving back to my family.
I stopped spending carelessly and started paying more attention to prices and sale cycles. My shopping habits were starting to change and now I was getting things for free! The first time I got asked to do a coupon class was by my local Mom’s group. Six of us huddled around a coupon insert in my living room talking about how I saved so much on my groceries. THAT is where I learned that God had given me a gift, and I needed to share it.
Shortly after that small coupon class, I was asked to do another one at a local ministry. This class was for about 50 people, and again I felt like I was doing something that God had given me an ability to do. I felt like I had something that could help them.
It has now been seven years since that conversation on the bed. I can still feel the sweat collecting on my palms, and remember the nervous thoughts running through my head. I remember being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stop spending money. Afraid that I would always be a spender.
I am continuously brought back to is a story in the bible book of Esther. Esther 4:14 says “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” If you look back at the context of that verse, you will notice that she has been under a lot of attack for her heritage. She also is in a position to help save her people.
When thinking about that verse, I am reminded that what I have gone through and everything I learned – was meant to happen. I was born at this time in history, and made those mistakes for a reason. The reason is – I am now blessed to help millions of people every year!
This past week I was blessed to be able to speak to a large local moms group, which is one of my favorite things to do. One thing that God has told me is, “I have given you a platform – don’t waste it.” I hold onto that word and realize that I went through what I went through, so I could help YOU!
Just think, what if the struggles/troubles or season you are going through right now is for a greater purpose? What if the pain of infertility, marriage struggles, financial struggles, or parenting struggles is all meant to be for the good? Realize that you were put on this planet at this specific time, in your specific city, and what you are going through can be used for good!
I now think back to that conversation seven years ago, and smile. God has grown me and used me at this specific time in my life, to help each of you. And for that I am blessed!
Thank you for allowing me to use my gifting and coming here to visit me each and every day!