Hi Friends –
Meet “Jessica”. Her story is similar to many of ours “surviving” today in this tough economy – losing jobs, falling behind with bills, gaining insurmountable debt and almost losing our homes. Although our stories are different, I, myself, have experienced losing jobs, accumulating bad debt and falling behind with bills. Maybe you have, too. Jessica’s story is an inspiration to those of us with similar dilemmas, and an eye opener that may possibly save a few others from going through this experience. Jessica’s story is a real testimony of how “faith” has kept her afloat.
Here’s hoping that you can join us for Part I of Jessica’s story, “How Could This Happen to Me?” We will post Part II of Jessica’s story the following week on Monday, March 9, 2015.
My story is one of falling behind financially. It’s not fun, but I can truly say, through it all, we have learned from our experience.
I have always been one to use credit cards, ever since I got my first card when I was maybe 20 years old. When I got married, I did not have a lot of debt; just a few credit cards with low balances and maybe a car payment. We bought things that most middle class families buy.
Fast forward years later; we didn’t think a time would come when we could not afford to make the payments, as we were always responsible about paying our bills. With the credit cards, we never had quite enough to pay off the balances, so we would make a little more than the minimum payment each month. That is what got us into trouble. We were living off of credit instead of living off the money we made. We were always paying interest to someone, which I now know was our biggest mistake. We were using plastic instead of using our brains. Instead of saving up for something we wanted, we bought it on credit. We were giving the credit card companies our hard earned money. You are not getting it on sale or getting a good deal if you end up paying interest on it. I wish I would have thought that way many years ago.
We both had good jobs, but we were not saving. We were not thinking realistically. We did not think of what would happen if one of us were to lose our job, but that is what happened. My husband was working for a small company where he was a manager, and they decided to cut back on the staff due to the economy. He was let go. He was devastated and took it very personally. I tried to make him feel better by saying everything would be okay; he would find another job. I told him it could happen to anyone. It had nothing to do with him personally. The company just could not afford to pay all their employees and had to reduce their staff.
Fortunately, within a short time, he found another job and everything was back to normal, at least for a few years. Then it happened again. Unfortunately, because of the type of business he is in, he has been let go more than once in the last 15 years. The last time he lost his job, it took him over a year to find work. That was really a tough time in our lives, and I was getting very frustrated. I was working full time, working overtime, and I even got a second job for a while to make ends meet. It was killing me.
For a while, I was working 7 days a week, so I was rarely home. When I was home, I was tired and concerned about the future. Looking back, I just did what I thought was best at the time. I prayed, I cried, and I tried to get emotional support from friends and family. We never borrowed any money from anyone because I just felt like if we couldn’t make enough money to live on, then we needed to change the way we were living. I would have moved if it came to that, not that I wanted to, but I would have done whatever needed to be done. I was feeling depressed at times and didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t feel like anyone could understand what I was going through, not even my husband.
At one point, we were behind on our mortgage two months, and I called the mortgage company thinking we could get on some kind of payment plan. They said we would have to pay the full balance that was past due. It sounded crazy to me at the time because I thought they would want to help us to get caught up and back on track with some type of payment recovery plan. They told us if we didn’t send the entire amount due for the two months plus late fees, they could foreclose on our home. I realized they were serious when I gathered enough to send them half of what we owed … and they sent the check back.
At that point, we just stopped paying them and paid more on our other bills. I thought, well, if we are going to lose our home, I’m going to make sure our other bills are all paid and we are not past due on them. Then one night, someone came to the door. We were served with papers to appear in court. We were told we would have to appear in court, or we could lose our home. He said if we didn’t respond in writing and go to court, we could come home one night and there would be a sign on our door telling us we needed to move out. What a terrible reality! So we decided we would stay in our house as long as we could and save up the money to move to a new place. I started to contact lawyers to see if they could help us with this dilemma. We had always paid our mortgage payments on time up until then, and the mortgage companies always said if you are having problems making payment to just call them and let them know. Unfortunately, that did not work for us.
I can tell you Jessica’s story it isn’t necessarily a “Cinderella story” with a fairy tale ending, but it does have a positive outcome.
Please join us for Part II next Monday, March 9, 2015 of “How Could This Happen To Me? – Miracle Mondays”…. Until then.