I know this blog is supposed to be, or was supposed to be originally about us moving, but after watching the program “The Debt Saviours” on BBC 2 on Friday evening at 9pm, I feel like I want to tell my debt story briefly, just in case it may help someone to get help. Because it is out there and Christians against poverty are helpful, non judgemental, and will not try and extort you, charge you money or harm you in any way.
I can’t remember exact dates or all the ins and outs of what happened exactly but I can give the general story. I can also tell you that it all snowballed out of control and that a lot of it was my own fault. That just shows you what God is like, it was my fault and yet he got me totally out of debt.
I can also tell you, don’t make judgements that just because someone is on a decent wage that they aren’t in debt. Towards the end of my debted up period, before I got help, I was working, with a decent wage and yet I had less than no money left after making my regular payments.
Basically, I became a single parent in the summer of 1998, when my daughter was 3, which also coincided with starting my nurse training. At that time you got a bursary for doing the nurse training, which was a big incentive, but…. because it was a bursary, any help was very restricted/non existent. So that, combined with the fact that I had a big drinking habit – put me into debt. Over the years I managed to keep going, and also keep it quite hidden. But….the credit card debts were going up (I sometimes used it for food) and I got loans and then consolidated them and got another loan and then added onto my mortgage in the way of a secured loan. To cut a long story short I ended up in a right mess and every time I went to the bank, they just tried to offer me more loans and would not cancel the charges that were accumulating from constantly being over my overdraft limit, so pushing me more and more into debt. I tried to ignore it, mainly because it was such a big thing, I was afraid and I just didn’t know where to go.
I got saved (as in gave my life to Jesus) in June 2008. At this point I was a community nurse and about to start a years extra training doing the district nursing degree. During this year, I was pushed and pushed to the extremes of what I could cope with. I was working evenings, as well as days, sometimes up to 4/5 evenings a week, just to try and exist, doing all the coursework necessary, looking after my 13 year old daughter (or trying to) and also coping with some personal stuff that was rough. I can remember just before Christmas I had no money at all, I got a cheque sent to me (I can’t remember what for) and had to cash it at one of these broker places, because if I took it to the bank it would just get swallowed up. This way, I could get presents for people. Someone, who was a friend, also did us a food parcel, I cannot describe the emotions that put in me, that someone would do that for me.
I then found out the Buxton branch of our church did a debt service, it wasn’t CAP then, but at the time I went to see them they were trying out their first CAP (christians against poverty) money course and I was invited on it. I think it was one evening a week for 3 weeks, and a couple from our local branch of church, gave me a lift every week (a 50 mile round trip). I went and I can remember feeling so, so, so ashamed of myself and also quite aggressive because I was so ashamed, this was met with grace by all there. This did go off but it was a horrible feeling. The money course is great and goes through budgeting and also what struck me is that it is about controlling the money, not about the money controlling you. I then got referred to the main CAP centre because I did not have enough money each month to survive.
How it then worked was, a detailed budget was worked out of what we needed to live, not just survive and then the people at CAP negotiated for me with the debtors. I then started making one payment a month to a CAP account and they paid my debtors the agreed amounts. It was such a relief and they were so helpful.
The banks were not so helpful, one of them kept refusing to recognise my signature on the forms handing over authority to CAP and kept delaying and delaying and delaying the proceedings and also ringing and ringing and ringing me, it was very intimidating. This did stop after about 6 months and again CAP was really helpful and said just to either not answer the calls or just say please talk to CAP, not me.
It all settled and I was making regular payments, I then got some PPI back and paid some off my debts and then carried on making regular payments again, then just before I was due to marry Chris I got a really big PPI payment and managed to pay the whole lot off not long before we were married. This was a huge prayer answered as I had been praying for this as I did not want to go into married life in debt. This was 5 years ago.
For this I thank God, totally and utterly. CAP is from God and run on his principles. If you have money problems, go to them if possible. You will not regret it.