By Sara Parker
In 2005, my husband and I were living in Maryland, which ranks among the top ten states for high cost of living. I had quit my job to become a stay-at-home-mom to our two newly adopted sons, who were then 1 and 2 years old.
The boys filled our home with laughter. And also lots of dirty diapers. But mostly laughter, because they were just so darned cute.
But I had a secret: Serious credit card debt. As in, more than $20,000.
Well, it was not exactly a secret, but I didn’t talk about it much. After all, we’d been warned.
Adoption is expensive. And, on one income, it posed a serious financial risk. We’d been advised to go the foster care route, but we were young and wary, and had only recently experienced the miscarriage. Our journey clearly pointed toward adoption within days of our visit to Shady Grove Fertility Center in Annapolis, Maryland. Still, where would the money come from?
Even as well meaning friends and family posed the question, I couldn’t offer an answer. In the car one day, the topic of adoption came up on a Christian radio station. My heart lurched when the guest speaker advised that no one should ever go into debt to pay for an adoption. We had already begun the process; had sunk several thousand dollars into the first steps—but moreso, our hearts were set. Were we wrong to take on debt? Were we sinning in an effort to get what we wanted—even if what we wanted was simply a family?
Almost immediately, my heart rejected the speaker’s statement. After all, we had not entered into debt without a backup plan. Our townhouse had nearly doubled in value, and we could have easily sold it, paid off our debt, and downsized to a small condo or apartment until my husband’s job situation improved. At the time, he was working a full-time job and a part-time job, and pulling an income of less than $40,000.
Still, our backup plan was not desirable. On paper, the plan seemed agreeable, but in reality, it stunk. We didn’t want to lose the house. As months passed by, and the debt continued to creep up, I started to sweat. While my husband busily applied for new jobs, I questioned my prior sense of peace. Had I really felt the reassurance from God that the finances would work out, or had I just been fooling myself in my desperation to become a mother?
One night, a few days after Christmas, I sat staring at our bank account statement online, close to tears. January’s mortgage payment would have to go on the credit card.
The situation looked grim. We were closing in on $25,000 of debt, and I had no idea how to fix the problem. At that point, I believe I had even stopped praying that God would fix it. But while I had written off His faithfulness, He had not written off mine.
Around the third week of January, my husband received a phone call that changed everything. He was offered a conditional letter of employment, and a new job was set in motion. Six months later, right before the economy crashed and house values plummeted, we sold our house and moved across the country to Texas. My husband’s salary had nearly doubled, and we had been moved to a state that sat happily near the bottom of the cost of living index. We paid off the debt, socked money into savings, and bought a house with a yard for the kids and the dog to run around in.
Just like THAT.
And isn’t THAT just like God?
Fear can paralyze. Anxiety can control. But we serve a God who delights in freeing us. While you stare at your bank account in despair, while you sit by the bedside of your very sick child, while you toss the last employment rejection letter into the trash, don’t forget that none of this is up to you. Ask God to make His presence known in a miraculous way. And when He does,(and He WILL, I guarantee), shout it from the rooftops.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippines 4:6-7
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.