You Bought a...What?!

You Bought a...What?!

One night, as we were getting into bed, Scott told me he had bought a motorcycle that day using money from our retirement account to make the purchase. Needless to say, as the long term manager of our finances, I was speechless. I didn't even know what to say. We hadn't talked about it. We hadn't budgeted it. Sure, I knew he longed for one, but that was just a dream boys have...wasn't it?

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Debt-Free, Delivered, Diva Decorating Wife

Girlfriend, it ain’t no secret. I absolutely, tee-totally LOVE beautiful things, yet decorating with beautiful, classy, stylish accessories can sometimes come with earth rattling, panic attack producing, price tags. DIVA

Just being candid, my family is in a season of BUDGET! Maybe some of you can relate. You ever had to dwell there? You might be living on a fixed income. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t very well like living in this season of cut-back spending. My fleshly, worldly side is hoping God doesn’t have us here for long! Yet, I can definitely testify that I have indeed seen God miraculously provide for our family in mind boggling, heart changing ways that have been very humbling.

Debt Free Diva Decorating

In the last few years, I have added new words to my vocabulary like thrifting, whimsy, shabby chic, restore, upcycle, vintage, distressed, and words that want to send this girl off in a hooting, hollering, shoutin’, shopping, happy In Jesus, glorious tizzy! I can still decorate our home, create a welcoming, comfortable, happy environment for our guests, showcase my God-given creativity, and stay within the budget that my husband and I have created.

Three Hints From The Wannabe Decorating Diva

Use What You Have- Sometimes the best pieces are right under your nose. I love to remove an item from one area and place it in another. Try it! Take something from a bedroom and move it to the living room, dining room, or even a bathroom. You instantly have a new look. Experiment with mix matching different patterns, colors and even finishes on furniture. Don’t be afraid of paint. I LOVE playing around with some chalkboard paint. If you can dream it, try it!

Recently I had an idea to add a new office area and “drop zone” for our keys, lunch boxes, letters that needed to be returned to school etc. I decided to take a foyer coat closet that is rarely used, and turn it into my new space. I took the closet doors off the hinges and called a dear friend to assist in painting the inside of the closet a bright, barnyard red. I then added creative flair and whimsy flavor to my space by adding upcycled pieces, colorful yard sale finds, and a cute little desk that I purchased at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. Honey child, that space has become epic!

Don’t just look for new things. - I have found some incredible pieces at garage sales, rummage sales, and even at a salvage yard. The key is the earlier you arrive the better the selection. Of course if you decide to go later you may even have a better chance at a huge discount. One of my latest hobbies is upcyling old vintage furniture or frames and giving them a new pizzazz!

Check out the local Habitat for Humanity Restore or Local Thrift Shops- I find that the merchandise at thrift shops is always changing. You can find dishes, kitchen cabinets, appliances, lamps and so much more. The proceeds at Habitat for Humanity go to building homes for the underprivileged.

So What’s Deliverance Got To Do With It?

You know, in many ways I guess you can say I am very much like one of my yard sale finds. There was a time in my life when I was so messed up, broken, insecure, and felt very much like an unwanted, discarded piece. My marriage was in shambles, my self-esteem was whipped, tarnished, and under attack. That rotten, stankin', scallywag Satan had me convinced that I was unseen, unheard, and insignificant.

Truth is, my God, my DELIVERER, my Provider, my Healer, my Redeemer, my Restorer, my Rebuilder NEVER, ever gave up on me! He saw me and how beautiful I could be. I like to imagine my Father saying,”I’ll take this one, polish her up, refine some things, mend the broken pieces, and restore her into a beautiful, useful masterpiece.”

My friend, once God gets a hold of you and transforms you on the inside, the changes will ripple out, motivating you to reach out to others, share hope, love and encourage the broken.

It’s just like thrifting. It takes a little persistence and patience, but you can sure bet your bottom dollar that you will end up with one beautiful NEW masterpiece!

 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

diva collage

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT ART OF MARRIAGE! Join us September 5-6 at Faith Fellowship in Kinston or September 19-20 at The Bridge Goldsboro! 

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Enjoy Al Mohler, Crawford & Karen Loritts, Dennis Rainey, Chris August, Andrew Peterson, Shaunti Feldhahn, Ron Deal, David Nasar, Jimmy McNeal, Kerri Pomarolli and Ron McGehee...and Intentionally Yours' Scott & Sherry Jennings at I Still Do, a one day marriage event that will strengthen your marriage and rekindle the romance!

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Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!

The Best Investment

The Best Investment

Guys, when you buy a car, you maintain it, right? Do you change the oil regularly? Filters? Rotate the tires? Of course you do. You don't purchase a car with the plan of driving it, without maintenance, until the engine blows, that would be foolish. You maintain your house, heating/cooling unit, you may even have a pest control plan and likely have homeowners insurance. You do all these things, spend all that money protecting your investments, right?

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Breaking Free From Financial Bondage

Seven dollars and eighty two cents…the checking account balance was at an all time low. Even more frustrating was the fact that neither of us were scheduled to be paid until the following week. College loans, the overhead of starting a new home, wedding expenses, credit card debt and my desire to spoil myself with pretty things that were way beyond my means had all contributed to the mounting debt.

debt revised

There were no gourmet meals, unless you count the Swanson’s Pot Pies, or Mr. P’s frozen pizza. Yet, my husband had a plan and he was strong-willed and determined to get us out of debt.  That first year of marriage was a financial struggle. It was all we could do to keep our heads afloat.  I had taken the vow, “for richer or for poorer,” but when it had come time to put my words into action, I just didn’t know if I wanted to live that way! This was a far cry from fitting into my fairy tale vision of marriage.

Before our marriage, while I had been living the single life out on my own, I did not see the value of good credit scores. When a bill came due, my attitude was to thank God it is always followed by a grace period!  I knew just how to write a check on Wednesday for my purchase of a new sweater or a piece of jewelry, and pray that it would not hit my bank account until pay day. I was a genius at living on the financial edge. Yet every rash shopping excursion was followed by the fear and anxiety of how I would pay it all back.

Don’t you just love God’s sense of humor? How He knows exactly what and who you need in your life? Of all things, He allows me to end up falling in love with an accountant??  Seriously God, You want me to marry a man who instead of pie, is more interested in pie charts? That first year left us frightened, resentful towards one another and at times it became an exhausting trial on our marriage. There were occasions when my husband would work extra hard to save so that we could apply more to our debt load. Yet I selfishly chose the attitude, I work, I earn my own money... while secretly acquiring more debt behind his back.

That debt only led to more hidden sin. There would be days that I would rush home from work just so I could hide the mail from my husband or statements which most always contained a secret purchase of some kind. The mounting debt only led to depression, isolation and a looming sense of failure.

I realized the only way out was to be submissive to the plan that my husband had put into place. That plan was a tool we used then and now and it has kept us on the road to financial stability. I recently read a stunning statistic that two thirds of people live from paycheck to paycheck! Because of our self centered attitudes, poor financial decisions and circumstances that happen beyond our control GOD’s people are finding themselves more and more in financial bondage!

Are you ready as a Christian Couple to be set free?

#1 Pray!  EVERYTHING in your life should begin with prayer...together.

#2 Pray Even Harder. We recognized that this was one area in our marriage that Satan wanted to attack us in. You need to seek God for wisdom. Pray for God to provide the means and show you the way to get out of debt. As we prayed, God began to reveal to me the sin in spending what I did not have, and in coveting what others had.

#3 Tithe. Even when it seemed to be a hardship we knew that our giving was recognizing the fact that our money was not ours to begin with. Tithing a way of saying, GOD we are trusting you! Without a doubt God always seemed to bless that 90 percent we had left a whole lot more.

#4 Commit. Determine your plan together and commit to stick to it. You have to communicate!  I won't lie, there were arguments (we prefer to call this intense fellowship). There can be no secrets between you. That means no more his and her accounts; your marriage is a joint venture, a partnership. You have to learn to live within your means.

#5 Set Goals. What do you want as a family 6 months from now, a year, and two years? For us those goals included building an emergency fund and tackling the debt. We began to prioritize our pay down plan. What does that look like for your family?

#6 Don't Charge It! That's right, cut up the credit cards. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it! Do you control your credit cards or do they control you?

#7 Get Help. If necessary, seek the help of a Christian mentor or counselor who will be able to help you as a couple by reviewing your finances and offering guidance on how to manage your finances, create a budget and develop a plan for eliminating the debt.

#8 Reward Yourself. Yep, it’s kind of like a diet plan. When you lose that first five pounds you reward yourself with a treat. As soon as we paid off our smallest debt we rewarded ourselves with something small that we both had wanted for our home.

Can I share with you a little irony to our 8 steps? The number “eight” in the Bible means a new beginning!

Honey child, I wish I could candy coat this for you and say it was easy. Truth is there is no magical debt free formula. What it takes is guts, determination, perseverance, the Almighty Hand of God and the will to succeed.

I am praying that God’s hand will be upon you and your family as you begin BOLD, COURAGEOUS steps to forever eliminate your debt.  You don’t have to be rich to live financially free.

P.S. As you journey in this challenge, be sure to stop along the way and celebrate.  Look back and recognize your progress and HIS goodness.

Great getaways to get to change your life, marriage and family, whether your marriage is thriving or barely surviving:

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Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 (pending) organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!