Thursday, July 7, 2011

God is Bigger than Our Credit Score


So, after my last post on despair and denial of the Lord, I figured I would address another elephant in the room amongst Christians.

I often wonder why we don't share about certain topics because who better to understand our fragility, brokenness, sin, failures, and hard times than another sister in the Lord, after all, they are no different than we are plus we worship the same God.

I once had excellent credit.
Of course we want to be discreet as God-fearing women and we don't want to be complainers but somewhere in the middle of all of that is a place where we should be able to share our struggles, but that's another post.

So here comes the elephant.

In America, the all-powerful credit score has a way of defining us even as Christians.  If we have great credit we have a tendency to think we have arrived at a place of financial success, freedom, or more importantly, stability.  If we have poor credit, then we have the tendency to feel like we will never again be able to purchase something of value, we will have a hard time 'getting ahead in life' and our overall financial outlook can seem depressing until our score is raised.  In a snapshot, our FICO number tells the lender who we are, thus, it does define us to a certain extent.

I have lived a life where I have had both types of credit.  Once, my credit was excellent.  In fact, I used to receive catalogs in the mail for fur coats!  I am not sure how I got on that mailing list because I don't even wear fur coats, not because I have an issue with wearing fur, but because that is just not my style.  Yet, all the while I am receiving these high-end catalogs because of my credit score, I am still shopping at the Dollar Tree.

Then our financial stability came crashing down.  Now, I am all for saving money but you can only save so much. The financial experts say you should have 6 months worth of your expenses in savings in case you lose your job or some other disaster comes your way.  This is a very shrewd principle and one that we followed as best we could.  As believers, God has entrusted us with His resources.  We are managing all that He has given us, so to be good stewards was something that we desired to be.  But sometimes life does not go according to our plans.  “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”  Isaiah 45:7

But what happens when you have already lived off all of your savings and there is no new income for you to start building your wealth again?  When you are literally living day to day as you seek to provide the basic needs for your family, how do you build your savings again?  Where do you go from here when your score starts to plummet?  What do we cling to?

Having our credit going from excellent to poor was a fearful time for us.  We put a lot of our worth and weight into our credit score.  We were so uptight about not being able to pay our bills and we wondered what was going to happen to us.

My heart sank when I saw the notice.
In the midst of all that worry, shortly we received the dreaded notice that was posted on our door....the one that said our property was going to sale on the courthouse steps on April 4th, 2010.  My dream home, the house that we deemed as 'the land of milk and honey' was no longer going to be our home.  My heart sank when I saw the paper.  I knew it was just a matter of time when we would need to move but it was still hard to experience the reality of our situation.

Now we needed to find a place to rent, but who in their right mind was going to rent to us?  We had bad credit!  Our property was going to be foreclosed upon in a matter of weeks and my husband was self-employed so it wasn't like he could show proof of employment along with pay stubs.  We were high-risk renters.  

I fretted and worried again.  “Fear not for I am with you be not afraid.”  Isaiah 41:10
  • Lord, how are we going to find a home?  
  • Logically, who would rent to us based on our financial situation?  
  • Lord, we only have so much money saved up.  
  • How are we going to afford the additional deposit required because of our poor credit?
  • Do you know what our credit score is Lord?
"I am bigger than your credit score," He said to me.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 47:10

As I look back at this time, it is sad for me to see how I doubted God.  Over and over in my life He has shown me His hand.  Through the months leading up to this time, He literally led me to a doctor where healing and restoration was taking place in my body after so many years of chronic illnesses, (you can read more about that here at, Lord, Why on Earth Would You Allow This? (The Refiner's Fire Part 2)).  He also pulled me out of the pit of despair and denial as He set me back on His path, (and you can read that story here at, Before the Rooster Crows Part 1 and 2.)  Yet, through all of this, I still doubted Him.  I forgot about His faithfulness because I looked at my circumstances.

As I write this I realize I needed to reverse my thinking and it should go something like this: 

I need to look at His faithfulness while He looks at my circumstances.

It’s His nature to care for His sheep because it’s part of His job for being God.

God is in the business of doing miracles, in fact, miracle making is a part of who He is.  It defines Him.   

If God had a job description it would read something like this: 
-Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Making Miracles
-Responsible for doing miracles all day, everyday.  No time off and no vacations.

So, back to my story.  Once again, the Miracle Maker showed up on the scene and within one week of looking for a place to rent, we became renters.  How does that happen?  It happens because of God.

My husband told the Landlord our entire financial story and the Landlord still rented his home to us.  He said, “There’s just something about you guys.”  He further reduced the monthly rent, gave us an extra 2 weeks free and we paid a ridiculously low deposit.  Who does that?  The Miracle Maker had His hand in all of this.

No matter where you live or how much money you make (or don’t make) and regardless of your credit score, none of that defines you.  Christ wants your heart and your complete devotion to Him, and Him alone.  He wants you to rely solely on Him- not your credit score, not your bank account, and not your job.  

God wants to get all the glory all the time.

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass."  Psalm 37:3-5
 

I am bigger than your credit score.  ~God

Look to His faithfulness,

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jolene - that was a blessing, miss you!
Shawna (:

kim said...

I'm so glad to hear this post. I have felt so "less than" because of our financial status. I believed the enemy's lies that if I was a Christian I would be blessed financiuallu etc. We have had our home sold on the steps of the courthouse and it was HARD! I had to move my familty of 6 (2 hard teenagers) and all our pets and moved in with my parents. It was so hard. But God provided later. It got easier for a time but we r back to struggling. Go figure. I need ur prayers too. All who see this, jump on the prayer wagon. Be blessed, kim

Jolene Engle said...

@kim
Hi Kim,
Yes, the enemy would like us to feel less than, but he is wrong. God is always faithful to His children, just look at Job! Our journey did not end at the rental home...our situation got much worse and we are still in it, so I totally understand. I will post more of our story along with God's hand soon. Be encouraged, God is on the throne so what could go wrong?
Stay faithful to Him,
Jolene

Heather said...

More parallels! We recently had to move from a fabulous home (rented to us cheaply from some dear Christian friends) very quickly. Both DH and I have bankruptcies in our history and we're a single income family. We, too, were worried. We were getting down to the wire as the house in which we were living had been sold. We found an old house being rented and at first the landlord was reluctant to rent to us due to our history - we were honest about it, we didn't wait until he did the credit search. But God is good, and the landlord decided to give us a chance. We've paid the rent on time or early since. God knew to put our families together and it's been a great situation for all of us.

Jolene Engle said...

@Heather Hi Heather,
Glad to hear that you can see God's hand in your difficult situation! He is always faithful.
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
Jolene

Jolene Engle said...

@Anonymous Hi Shawna, I am so glad you were blessed by this post! Okay, help me out here...which Shawna are you sweetie!?<3 So sorry!!
Jolene