Financially Down and Out? Find Hope and Redemption!


I think God has a great sense of humor.

Take Paul for instance. This guy goes around, persecuting Christians and then one day the Lord knocks some sense into him, and suddenly he’s on the streets handing out tracts and telling everyone about Jesus!

Then there is Peter. When the heat was on, he denies even knowing Jesus (even after saying he wouldn’t!). And then after all that, Jesus still decides to use him as a leader to build His church.

And, let’s not forget Moses. Here’s a guy who’s not a very good speaker and God asks him to lead His people out of Egypt!

Am I missing something here? Wouldn’t you go for the most zealous of followers to write your bible? Wouldn’t you pick the most courageous of men to help start your movement? And, wouldn’t you pick the most eloquent of speakers to lead a people?

I would, but then again I don’t think like God.

There is great beauty in these unlikely of stories. It revolves around what God does best: redemption.

The stories show us that despite our failings or shortcomings, God can use it for good.

My redemption

If you were to tell me eight years ago that I would someday help create and write a personal finance website, I would have laughed. Hysterically.

Eight years ago, I was about $40k in debt and unemployed. Half of my debt was in credit cards alone. I had no budget, let alone any clue as to how to create one. If you were to ask me who Dave Ramsey was, I would have replied with something like, “is he a race car driver?”

In the summer of 2003, I finally woke up and assessed my situation. It wasn’t pretty. After hitting the bottom, it took five years of concentrated effort to pay most of my debts off.

During that time, I developed a budget, tracked all my expenses and income monthly and developed an emergency fund. I was on my way.

Allow me to exhort you

My goal is to bring you some sort of encouragement or hope. Especially if my story sounds familiar or if you are currently worse off than I was.

  • Try and honestly assess your current situation. This is probably the hardest part in getting your financial house in order. For many years, I was in denial about my debt and always excused it. It wasn’t until I made an honest assessment about my finances that real change started taking place.
  • Don’t lose hope. Once you’ve become enlightened to your financial condition, shock may set in, and you could become depressed with an overall sense of defeat. While this is probably normal, try to set a goal for yourself. “In two years, I want to be debt-free.” “In four years, I want my car paid off.” And, so on. Don’t lose sight of your goal and let it be your motivation.
  • Find a debt-buddy or financial friend. This helped me a lot. I found another chap who was also in debt and we began meeting together to talk about our goals and our progress. It also served as a great encouraging force for both of us.
  • Don’t begrudge your failings. If you let them, your failings can teach you a lot. Be open to the instruction and know that one day they can provide an open door for helping others. There is always hope in your situation and redemption can be just around the corner.

How has God redeemed your financial situation? Let us know in the comments!

This guest post is part of the CPF Writer Auditions. In March of 2010, Aaron and his friends, Charlie and Mark started to “help folks keep a few more bucks in their pockets”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years, he dug himself out and lives to tell about it.

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  1. Carol J. Alexander

    Great hook, Aaron! You’re right. Most financial pits come from not having any goals or plans for which to work toward. Even something small gets you on your way.

  2. Jeff Kirkwold

    Super thoughts. I have always been a fan of the Dave Ramsey process. Your thoughts and comments are right on the ‘money’ as well.

  3. Judy Hansen

    Well written article, Aaron. Congratulations on being debt free!

  4. Dave Osborn

    Great insights, Aaron, and congrats on successfully getting out of debt. Seems to me that the encouragements that you offer would be helpful for overcoming any life struggle.

  5. Amanda

    Great reminder to not only put your faith in God but to get yourself involved too. I’ve been struggling a lot with this lately and have left it ALL in God’s hands and just sitting back waiting for him to work his magic. Thank you for reminding me to get in there and start making a plan for myself.

  6. libby

    great article, full of encouragement.

  7. Chris

    Thanks for the reminders that God can change and use anyone for the better! It is definitely encouragement for those who struggle financially or in any matter.

  8. Dave Aune

    Very inspiring story Aaron. Your courage to go public with this challenging area of your life and how you overcame can be a wonderful inspiration to others. You certainly are clear that it takes work and patience, but the outcome is freedom.

  9. Alison

    Hey Bob, I hope you pick Aaron, well written, easy to read on the computer screen, great faith filled encouragement!

  10. Georgiana

    That sounds very similar to our story. We blindly made choices to live well over our means, my husband was laid off and our rental property investments were suffering in a horrible way. The bottom was ugly and painful and a lot of negative things can stem from that.
    But when we finally realized we could not be blind anymore, we decided we would stop getting into more debt. We put our house on the market and from there we moved back into a house we had kept as a rental. My husband sold his truck and went without a vehicle for a while. We made hard decisions but I have to say, it was one of the most content times of our lives.
    In 2007 alone, God worked amazing miracles. $38,000 debt was cancelled and $34,000 was paid off. We paid $6,500 cash for my husband a truck at the end of that year and we were left with $9,000 left of credit card debt to pay.
    We just sold that truck for $5,000 due to my husband getting a paid for company truck.
    To be honest, our getting out of debt has been a lot of determination, but there were supernatural blessings all along the road and still are. He is our ultimate provider! No job, no investment, no equity, He is who we look to for our provision and He has been good and so faithful!! But our part is still important, we are striving to do it His way!

  11. Aaron

    Thanks everyone for your comments and time.

  12. We always ask God why we are experiencing problems and we can not even think that it is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ when He did save us. We must learn to look at things in the positive side, not on the negative side.

  13. Samirian @MoneyWisdoms

    Thanks for the encouragement! God does take the foolish things to confound the wise.

  14. Video Sermon

    Thanks for the advice, .50 cent note book and a .25 cent pencil can be a great start to a new way to budget our income.

  15. Sheila

    Very informative article. Gives me the courage to continue to pay down debt.