Giving Thanks Bye Bye Plastic

I don’t even remember what my first credit card was, or what I bought with it, or why I thought it having one was such a good idea.

 

It wasn’t just that I was spending money that I didn’t have. It was that I was trying to live the lifestyle of an executive, as an intern. I was at the lunches, wearing my cute new outfits. I was getting Starbucks and adding the extra shots. I was buying presents for people.

 

I was trying to gain the acceptance of everyone around me while the only One who has ever truly loved me and accepted me watched as I put another shackle on my ankle. I was an idiot.

 

I have nothing to show for the over $30,000 of credit card debt that I had racked up between the ages of 18 & 23. Nothing.

 

I was living in Ohio and part of the community at sevenoseven the night I laid my debt on the altar, literally.

 

Pastor Dan Burgoyne was preaching on radical amputation . Remember the whole “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” business? Yeah, that was Jesus (Matthew 5:29-). And He was serious.

 

Pastor Dan challenged us something was sin in your life, and you know sin separates you from God, Jesus commands us to radically amputate that sin.

 

There he was, calling all of us twenty-somethings out on our junk. He challenged the hormone driven men to burn their porn, our lust, our flirtations, our overeating, drinking, sleeping, spending,  gossip magazines. If we are the body and bride of Christ, why are we so entangled in our self pleasure and sin? And what does that say about the redemptive message that God is our all in all that we preach to the “unbelievers”.  And I knew.

 

My credit cards had me in chains. I could not run hard after God while in bondage to sin.

 

So there we were. A community broken over our sin. I knew what I had to do. I cut up my credit cards to pieces. I returned to my seat to continue in worship of my Creator, and Provider.

 

I remember Ryan Wilkins leading worship that night. I remember it as though it was just yesterday. Through the tears we sang….

You are the only one I need

I bow all of me at Your feet

I worship You alone

You have given me more than I could ever have wanted

And I want to give You my heart and my soul

You alone are Father And You alone are good

You are alone are Savior And You alone are God

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

 

With my credit cards on the altar I made a commitment to not rely on the false security credit offered. So I closed all my accounts and made an aggressive contract to pay all the debt back, with a negotiated lower interest rate, in just over 5 years. I had to trust that this was true obedience and that He who started the good work would be faithful to complete it.

 

God proved Himself faithful.

 

The last several years have been rough. It has been total dependence on Christ and His provision. I have had to ask for help from my parents. I have freaked out in prayer about my money and bills. And God led   people to randomly, and anonymously bless me with cash, or gift cards, or checks through the church in the mail. Friends have noticed me being on fumes and filling up my car. There were seasons of not being able to find a job, and He was faithful.

 

In September I made my last payment to my creditors.

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace………….

I’m alive, I’m alive I’m alive, I’m alive…………

One thought on “Giving Thanks Bye Bye Plastic

  1. Natalie says:

    Julie- I love this. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard that song, even sang it myself “Youare the only one I need I bow all of me at your feet…”

    After reading this post, the thought of singing it, puts a lump in my throat. The words have meaning. Thanks for this! :)

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