5:30am I nervously logged in to the computer. Little children sawing logs in the room adjacent. My husband curled around the warm spot I just left in our bed.
First the bank account. A sigh of relief. It had arrived. A fat check from the IRS.
Second the student loan account. My breath is caught. It was still waiting. The loan pay-off amount.
And with a click of a button a chapter of our life closed: the final $2,000+ payment to our student loan was sent and received, and this morning, finally processed. Done.
WE ARE DEBT FREE.
And all that the student loan account said was, “Thank you for your payment. Here’s your confirmation code.”
Um what… did you miss the part where I JUST PAID OFF THE FULL AMOUNT??
No balloons, no whistles. No blinking congratulations sign. Not even a message along the lines of, “Hey, thanks for being so faithful, and even though we’re gonna miss those years upon years of interest you’re skipping out on, we ARE grateful you didn’t default!”
Nothing. Just me and the dawning light of just-another-Thursday day.
Just me and the memories of the last 3 years worth of challenges and struggles as we specifically tried to get out of debt. Things that my bank account can’t reflect. Things that a computer accountant can’t quantify.
But if it must be condensed into data, then here are the numbers: 37 months. 2 moves. 3 job changes. 1 new business. 3 new children- two tucked under blankets in my home, one tucked in the Father’s arms in heaven. An original debt of about $15,500. An additional $12,000 in medical expenses, nearly half of which was paid in the last 12 months alone. A yearly income that averages out to $30,000 annually for each of the last 3 years.
The chapter closes. My heart hinges open, a little more free. Not because we don’t have a payment to make anymore, but because we’ve been taken on this journey and it’s been so raw at times. There have been moments where it seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve seen many well laid plans, hopes, and desires derailed and rerouted.
And yet here we are. Arrived. At least at this checkpoint, because the journey certainly isn’t over. We’ve only just stepped out on the way. In some ways, the real work has only just begun: given this great freedom, how then should we live? How then continue as good stewards of this gracious gift?
But these little resting points along the way- they are the breath of fresh air to keep us going on the hard work of learning to live open and free.
And for now, thank the Lord, that includes being DEBT FREE!!!