We were only 23 years old the first time our financial world came crumbling down…..
I can remember the day like it was yesterday. I was in the back yard with the kids when I got the call. Jay was in the hospital. What now? He had been in a bad accident only a week earlier. He seemed to have walked away from it unscathed. Or so we thought.
I loaded the kids in the car and made the hour drive. The entire time I was driving I was praying. “God, I pray for Jay’s safety everyday. You know how much I worry about him. How could you let something happen to him? Please Lord, help us through this.”
When I entered his room he was laying in the hospital bed unable to move. Ropes shot out from his back in all directions. They had him in traction to stabilize his back. He had been loading his truck. As he moved a box his back was suddenly in pain; he could no longer move. He had blown his L4 and L5 disks. His prognosis wasn’t good. It would be a long time before he recovered and even then the doctors warned that his back would never be the same.
Bringing him home nine days later proved to be another wake-up call. I had to have help getting him home. As Jay’s dad helped him out of the car and into our home, fear washed over me. He walked as if he was a ninety year old man. “What are we going to do? He is the bread winner. What job can I ever get that would pay as much as his? How are we going to pay the bills? And how am I going to take care of him, the kids, the house and work enough hours to pay the bills?”
This job had been an answer to prayer. Months earlier he had lost his previous job and was out of work for 2 months. The job paid $5 less per hour but we were glad to have it. We were already hurting financially from the first job loss, but we were beginning to recover. Just starting to get on our feet again. Now this!
This event would set us on a course that would completely change our lives. In the next year we would loose everything we owned one piece at a time. A year later, after loosing even our home, we packed up the few remaining things we had left, and moved away from everything and everyone we knew and loved in order to find a new life.
As in all things, God provided for our daily needs and in the end He used these turbulent times to bring us closer to him and to strengthen us for the future. However, looking back I often think about what we could have done differently to be better prepared for the rough road ahead.
What one thing would I change?
I would change the choices we made in our finances.
I wish I could go back and talk to young Jay and Christa. I would tell them about what was just up the road. I would tell them how important it was to build a strong emergency fund. To have enough in savings to live on for at least 6 months. I would tell not to buy on credit but to save up for what they want. Hind sight is always 20/20.
Last week I started a financial class by Dave Ramsey. Financial Peace University. I wish we would have taken this class when we were first married. I am so excited about this class that I want to tell everyone I know. Especially you young couples just starting out. If we would have followed these steps in our early years, everything would have been different. I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have struggled; but maybe we would have had enough to survive on until we could get back on our feet.
I recommend that EVERYONE reading this, take this class! It is nationwide and there is probably a class near you. There are three new classes starting up in our area this month. With a small investment of money and time you could change the course of you financial future.
In the next months as we attend the Financial Peace University, we will be encouraging you to take charge of your finances. Join us in changing our financial future!