Debt is not a good thing. I am ecstatic to be paying our student loans off. But I am also grateful we had them.
Through them God showed me that even a good thing, like living debt-free, can become an idol. It wasn’t a fun lesson.
When Joshua and I got married, law school was not on our radar. Health complications barred our original plans and the idea of law school surfaced.
God opened doors, we moved across the country and Joshua started law school.
Shortly before we moved I stumbled across Crystal’s (from Money Saving Mom) original blog. She and her husband had made it through law school without student loans. Their story was so inspirational and I wanted to follow their example.
A non-traditional college course allowed us to earn bachelor’s degrees without student loans. We moved into a very small, cheap apartment. We shared a car. We ate simply. Surely we could graduate law school debt-free too.
As we neared the end of his first year though, nothing seemed to be going right. Savings were running low. I tried numerous avenues, but couldn’t find work I could do from home. I was pregnant with our second child and (highly) emotional.
Josh had worked incredibly hard in school, made excellent grades and was involved in student activities. He applied for summer work and I was confident he would be hired immediately.
As the weeks dragged on, I got more and more worried and emotional. I prayed and I pleaded and I cried.
After all, wasn’t getting work a good thing? It wasn’t like we were asking for a Mercedes or anything. The economy was bad, but was I really asking for too much? We just wanted work so we could avoid debt.
God said “no.”
I was devastated.*
In case you didn’t notice, I was the one who was having a hard time here. Josh worked and prayed, but didn’t worry and certainly didn’t cry. Over and over he told me, “Honey, God knows what is best for our family.”
God does know what is best. He knows what we need.
Why I [now] am grateful for student loans
Debt-free living had become my idol. Pride motivated my zeal. I didn’t want loans in our story. I wanted to be able to write a “how to do law school without loans” guide.
God in His wisdom said “no.”
“The borrower is servant to the lender” Proverbs says. But God can use debt to showcase His glory (like in the story of the widow’s oil) or to purify us.
By focusing so hard on avoiding student loans, I let the pursuit of debt-free living choke out the Word. God used those loans to show me that even good things can become idols. As thrilled as I am to be paying off our loans, I am grateful that loans were part of our story.
No matter where we are on the financial journey, whether we haven’t touch debt with a ten-foot pole, are buried in debt, or are just trying to live faithfully with little, God writes the details of our story for a reason.
No two stories are the same. That is part of the wonder of life in His world. He is the Master Storyteller!
[* Want the happy ending? Later that first summer, God did provide work for me to do from home. Joshua was funded to volunteer in an area he felt passionate about. Though we still had student loans when Joshua graduated, we are sending in the final payment this month!]