Have you ever refinanced your house?
We are doing it right now. And we are to that part where we explain discrepancies on our credit report. There aren’t many, but they bring up those drowning feelings. The times a couple years ago when we were 30 days late. I am tempted to write one word. Adelaide. Because it was a dark time in our financial past. And it all came down to one beautiful word. One beautiful daughter.
Adelaide wasn’t born with visible issues. The kind where you start life in the NICU and Ronald McDonald house and there are tubes everywhere. No, she came home with us to a normal life. We were in the dark, but adjusting to life with two kids. Still on one income. Paying off her c-section. And we were just tithing, paying our bills, and buying groceries. Then, Adelaide turned 9 months old and everything started spiraling. Tests, procedures, bloodwork, specialists, traveling, hotels, gear, and copays. And things weren’t covered and we burned through our savings so quickly. I was underwater and paying things as quickly as I could. But it wasn’t enough.
And when people would ask how we were doing, I would say, “Fine.” But we weren’t fine. Adelaide’s bills were past 6 grand before we blinked. 6,000 dollars. Plus our regular bills. I did everything I could think of. I sold things. I started making things from scratch. I cut anything we didn’t need from the budget. I stopped cutting my hair or buying pants that fit me. We went into survival mode. And then people were always suggesting going to get money or help from different charities. When you are watching your house burn down, filling out pages of paperwork for enough water to fill the thimble that is your gas tank is just depressing. So I wouldn’t do it.
Some very dear friends took up a collection for us, which helped. But then I couldn’t even look these people in the eyes. I felt guilty. Some of them were still rebuilding from the tornado. And they were helping us pay our overdue bills. They are gracious and wonderful people.
And in the middle of it all, we got a positive pregnancy test. And the shameful words and sideways glances started coming. You can barely care for Adelaide and now you’re having another one? I didn’t need to imagine these words. People actually said them.
And all of that was a couple years ago, so we are in a better place now. And we are refinancing so we can pay off our house in 14 years. And our finances are healthier now than they have ever been. We went out to eat the other night. To celebrate that I had weaned Bess. That I had nursed for 4 total years. That, for the first time in more than 6 years, I wasn’t pregnant and/or nursing and could eat whatever I wanted to eat.
And I was trying not to feel guilty that Dave was spending this money to celebrate me. Because those days of not even being able to afford a Sonic drink are still in my mind. And I was thinking of our savings and having such a hard time not thinking about all the things that could happen with Adelaide and that I should be saving every cent just in case. And then the waitress came over to deliver breadsticks. “A guy saw your daughter in the wheelchair and wanted you to have these.”
I was equal parts embarrassed and touched. I wanted to say, “We don’t just eat out all the time. We are actually pretty good with money. Now. Now that we aren’t drowning.” But how ridiculous is that? And as I complete this next step for our refinance, I long to switch from the embarrassment of that time to a season of gratitude and giving. Realizing that God got us through and He doesn’t want me to live in fear that we could end up there again…because Adelaide’s needs are always fluctuating and we are gaining wisdom everyday. And I think He was delighted that our kids enjoyed their pizza. It was a sweet family time over cheesy breadsticks from a stranger and the yummiest gluten-free diary-free pizza Bess has ever eaten. And that cheese for me? There aren’t words. I loved every bite.