It’s hard to express the feeling I feel right now, but it is good, very good.

Today I made the final payment on our last credit card. The FINAL payment, even earlier than we or any one else expected.

WE ARE OUT OF DEBT!

I can hardly believe it. January 2006 (and yes I remember the month, it was a very significant and intentional decision) we stopped acquiring more debt. I say stopped acquiring, because to say we were paying it off would have been laughable. We didn’t even know if we had enough to make all our minimum payments at that point. There were many months when we could barely eek enough for the $30,000 (I cringe to even see that number) of debt we had accumulated.

The financial story of the last five years has been anything but a steady climb to financial security. In the past five years we’ve made a major move to Orlando, with a brand new baby and no jobs, and we had three children with all that entails. There have been many set backs on the financial plan, many times we had to take payments back to the minimums for a season, but as soon as there was a raise, a change in payments, anything, we put more on the debt.

We knew what we were doing was right, but that doesn’t go far. Actively paying off debt sucks, it sucks royally. Do you know what it’s like to watch everyone you know buy new EVERYTHING while you’re driving a car with no air and clipping coupons for groceries and putting three car seats in a gallant? While the economy was booming, we were scrimping, when we didn’t really HAVE TO. We had the money, we just wanted it to go to something else. We gave ourselves rewards, don’t get me wrong. Every debt paid off was celebrated, within reason.

I was hesitant to even say anything, people are so weird about money. But I couldn’t not. I had to say something because doing the right thing has finally paid off! FINALLY! Five stinking, painful years later, it’s paid off! And THAT is worth shouting.

I feel so free, so light, weightless, so overwhelmingly grateful. This Christmas is going to be good, I’m already scheming on what I can now get people. We’ll be able to take a vacation next summer, IN CASH. I’ll actually be able to buy a plane ticket to Korea to see my sister!

God is so good sometimes I can barely stand it, and not only in the way us westerners view his blessings and provision. But he is good in the wisdom he provides to guide our behaviors. The lifestyle we had to adopt to pay it off has brought us the blessing of simplicity, and the reward of paying it off has brought us a generous new freedom.

His ways really are better, and I not only know, but now I feel it as well. I can only pray that lesson permeates my whole life.

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