My husband and I started out at his Mom and Dad's home so that I could go to school for Legal Secretary. I wanted to be a lawyer, but we didn't have the money, and I simply wanted to be in the legal field. I was a girl anyway and wanted to get married so the schooling would have just been in the way. I looked at my class ring the other day and the only picture I choose was of a man and a woman looking into the sunset with the word "memories". Which seems to be the theme to my life.
As young couple's do, we got a credit card and since we had credit, we used it. My husband bought me my first "word processor". From there we began Christmas shopping for the expensive gifts for the family members, that we couldn't afford, but had credit so we did it anyway. Then we bought our very own run down house and we started remodeling with the credit card so that it was nice like everyone else's. From there I wanted to own my own bar because bars are fun, and since I couldn't get a loan, I used my credit card. I just put you through 13 years of my life in one paragraph and I don't think I have a single thing I just mentioned, but I guarantee you, I'm still making the payments for those things I no longer have.
Now we are smarter, we spend a whole lot less, and do a whole lot less, not because we want to, but because debt has forced us too. I refuse to file bankruptcy, so we keep pecking away at that huge mountain, and there are days it seems like it is Everest. The challenge of all challenges, taking one step at a time through frozen ground and days needing oxygen just to breathe some days.
I've tried all sorts of ideas that seemed to fail, or I gave up to get ahead. I've spent hours and days and years trying to figure out how to recover. I've lived without, I've cried, I've believed in something more, I've believed in a whole lot less. I've put up with things in jobs I normally would not have if I didn't have to, and I've stuck it out because I had no choices, I had to keep going to try to get on top of Mount Everest.
At the end of the day, I look back and realize how much debt has impacted our lives. We've lived far below amazing standards. We are limited to what we can do and where we can go. We might be seen as "cheap" these days because we refuse to go backwards. Debt has been a prison that we have learned to live in, and it has no open doors, no freedom.
I wish I would never had tried to keep up with the Jones. I wish I knew they had family that handed everything over to them. It's robbed me of joy, of time, of peace and of life. We live in a world that you can't take a step forward without money. People are killing for it... and for what? To have things instead of memories?
I think about Elvis a lot. I think about what a lonely man he must have been in the end. He had fame and fortune, he had women screaming for him, he was "adored" by millions, he had it all, even a family...but in the end, he was so lonely, he must have felt he had nothing. Abused prescription drugs to quiet the voices. I wonder if he simply needed Jesus?
I remember writing my first book and thinking it was the answers to all my financial problems and all my spiritual problems. It was neither. Matter of fact, it costs money to write a book and guess where the money came from? Yep the dreaded credit card. Regardless, it was a way to help someone through depression, through adultery, through painful times, and I felt like it was my way to hold someone's hand to get them through. I've had countless emails, messages, letters and phone calls to tell me that is what my story did, and that is far better than gold.
John the Baptist didn't have anything. He wore camel skin for clothes, and ate grasshoppers and wild honey. I wonder if he wanted to be someone too? He didn't charge people for his services, and when his time came to fade away, he even said, I have to decrease in order for Jesus to increase. One thing that John had was time for people and lots of it.
At the end of the day, if you want to be alone and be lonely, you'll probably buy stuff. But if you are like me and want memories..."stuff" will never cut it...
...store up your treasures in heaven. My treasures are people I can touch with simply God's words...