Why Are We moving?

25Jan08

I’ve always had my ideas of bankruptcy. I have seen it as an opportunity for people to over spend, be frivolous with their money and then to say sorry and have it all wiped clean only to do it again. Over the last 2 months I have met many wonderful people that have had to deal with this and to my surprise, they did not fit the mold I had placed them in. These were normal, hard working, intelligent people. How could this happen to them?

This week, under my leadership as a husband and father, I had to file for bankruptcy. I have made choices in the past that have placed me here. I have always been a spur of the moment person and it was carried over into our finances. I blame no one but myself.

3 years ago my wife and I bought a little farm house on a couple of acres. Four of us live here including our 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son. The house is 1050 sq feet. At the time it was what we could afford. We have absolutely loved it. This little place has brought us closer as a family in so many ways. I wouldn’t trade this time or experience for anything. On Wednesday we will be moving out due to the bankruptcy.

Our hope in buying our house was to begin a new path to being debt free. We worked with a wonderful agent and the plan was to walk through a process of bettering our credit scores and refinancing debt to lower interest rates. This back fired. Much of our debt was credit card, but also medical and emergency expenses. As it continued to add up, we realized very quickly that in our ignorance, minimum payments were not enough and hopes of future monies never came. We even walked down the road of zero interest transfers and they backfired as well. Our house payment caused our credit scores to take a dive. The credit card companies did not like this and although we had never missed a payment on anything, ever, they raised all our interess rates from 0% to the smallest one being 29%. Minimum payments went from $15 to $150 per card. The house payment is adjustable and took a toll on us as well. Then the housing market crashed and a home sale has been out of the question.

Why am I writing all this. I have nothing to offer in money management wisdom. The past 3 years have been a disaster and I have learned a ton, but I am only beginning the journey. I believe that I have couple of things that I can say I’ve learned through this.

#1 Money cannot be the reason for anything. If money is a goal, it will be lost. If money is spent it does not come back. Our Lead Pastor Tom, spoke an amazing message this last weekend on the Stewardship of Money(very timely). He reminded us to look at a dollar bill and take notice of the eagle on it. And to never forget that money has wings. Money can control emotions, intent and action.  The love of money IS the root of all evil.

#2 It is ok to make mistakes. This whole process has been very humbling. But as I loose more and more control of my money and life to God, He has been so faithful to remind me of how merciful He is. I don’t deserve to be out of debt, I own it. But through His mercy, I am still loved by Him. I have to be willing to move on. But…

#3 I need to live like I deserve it. We have gone through a restructuring process and have been given a second chance at being stewards of what we have. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I have been given the chance to have it. I need to now live with the intent to prove that I can handle it. It is not ok to turn my back and run from this. I have to face it head on everyday in a disciplined, integrity filled walk.

#4 Possessions are the same thing as money. I can live in peace with what I have or live in turmoil thinking about what I don’t have. We feel real good when our wallet is full. Likewise we feel real good when we have a nice car in the driveway or a big house. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves. But they are no different on the responsibility and stewardship scale. “Whether I have much or have little”, I have to Praise my God. We were intent on keeping our house through this process. Somewhere along the lines, God opened our eyes to the fact that we were controlling His plans for us. The minute we loosed our grasp on the house, this process, His plan has  unfolded.

Most of you know that I am a Pastor and some will think, how can a Pastor do this or allow this. I admit that my accountability needs to be high and the entire staff I work with knows every detail and has been a part of this walk of mine from the beginning. They will be my accountability. But, I am a person same as anyone. My mistakes are no less evident or possible. I can fail as much or more than the next guy. I have a lot to learn, but I am thankful that my friends, family and my God are willing to be patient and accountable with me.

I want to thank many of you we know personally that have been praying and counseling us through this. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and we truly appreciate you! I would hope that what I am going through can at least be an encouragement for others dealing with similar issues.

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70 Responses to “Why Are We moving?”

  1. Thank you for your complete transparency. This was no doubt a hard decision!!

    I’ve been on a mission to rid our family of the burden of debt myself. The majority is our mortgage and school loans, but I haven’t been aggressively taking care of getting that out of our lives. I’ve been reading blogs and books on this subject daily for the last few weeks.

    My prayers are with you and your family as you continue your journey. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

  2. Mudpuppy, thank you for praying. That means a lot to us!

  3. Thank you mudpuppy. I appreciate the prayers as well. And I hope that many can receive that same attention as they walk through something like this.

    We tried to use credit to rid ourselves of credit. At the time the whole process seemed to make sense, but in hindsight, just reading that statement shows how foolish it can be.

  4. Wow – talk about honest!

    Will definitely be praying for you guys through this transition.

  5. Probably not going to help at this point, but I am a HUGE proponent of the snowball debt reduction plan.

    We just started at the beginning of this year to do that, and we paid off a $670 school loan without using our salaries, and all the while adding money into a savings account each week.

    I’m still flabbergasted at how we did that. It’s like when you make it a goal or mission to work toward it just makes it easier. We even put the number on a chalk board right by our front door, so it was on our minds constantly.

    The number is a little higher now though…. 🙂 ugh.

  6. Like Mudpuppy said, thank you for your honesty. This post will minister to all, whether they are in the same situation, headed down that road, or have been spared it so far.

    We will be praying for you during this trying and humbling test. Please continue to follow God and find contentment in only Him!

  7. oh wow…. guys.
    thanks for being so honest & open.

    love you both!

  8. Thanks gang.

    Mudpuppy, There are some amazing opportunities to be debt free. actually Fred over on his blog has talked about many of the things he went through to accomplish this. My hope is that people will act right away. If you have debt, you need to have a plan to erase it when you start it, not when it gets to the point that you can’t handle it.

    Some debt is inevitable. it is almost customary to have a house payment and a car payment. it is too expensive to pay cash for either, but there are options and guidelines to doing this.

    And no matter what anyone says, stick to the percentage guidelines for how much certain payments should be based on your income. Do not let a mortgage company allow for a larger payment, that killed us. And always plan for emergencies.

  9. 9 Sean

    Hi Brent and Tam,
    Brent thanks for posting that, echoing mudpuppy, your transparency is inspiring. I am sure even the decision to post that was difficult and I appreciate the fact that your personal walk comes through in you feeling that you needed to do that. My prayers will be with you as you guys go through this time. Please feel free to email me if I can be of any help or pray better or anything (kind of ridiculous me offering to help when I live on the opposite coast and you guys don’t really know me, haha).

  10. Tam & inWorship

    I admire your honesty in sharing this with the blogging community. I had no idea things were so bad for you.

    I can sympathize have my own money problems being the sole breadwinner for a family of 6 in the Northeast is T-O-U-G-H to the extreme.

    I’ll keep both of you and your family in my thoughts.

    I truly wish the western world would do more to live up to the morals that Christ taught. Why is it that good hard working people have to struggle so hard to provide for their families while others have more than they will EVER need. I am not suggesting communism but something must change.

    I wish you the best.
    R.

  11. Sean, the friendships we have made in the blogging world have been amazing…yours included.

    A lot of my intent on writing this is both to show that as well as to allow all of you blogging friends to be a part of the accountability process. we are open and honest here and it allows us the opportunity to quesion and discuss.

    I love that and wouldn’t expect it any other way.

    Robert, I hear your cry for upright living. I think it is something that we all, religious or not, are willing to pursue. All we can do is account for ourselves and our friends and change things one step at a time. I know now, because of where I am and have been, how to better encourage someone to loose their grip on money and possessions. This will always be a part of me and I now owe it to others to share.

  12. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Jason.

  13. Jason, I appreciate the comments.

    Based on your website, I am hoping that you are honest in your intent on coming here to hang out and become a part of the community. Cause you are welcome of your not spamming 🙂

  14. Hey Brent…

    I so appreciate your transparency as a Pastor. That, in itself, will be a powerful ministry. I walked this road a little over a decade ago and I can tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is no circumstance that God cannot use!

  15. Thanks Jim. And I really appreciate your perspective over at Mandy’s blog right now. Funny were talking about honesty there too 🙂

  16. 16 Sean

    And why is Third Day depressing?! Just one of my favorite bands!

  17. Kind of a joke. Someone else had made the comment and I was just responding. Honestly I am indifferent. I’ve enjoyed some of their stuff.

  18. 18 Elaine

    Wow, Guys. I’m so sorry to hear about this difficult time but like others admire your courage and your honesty. You definalty have many thoughts and prayers coming from my way and please let me know if there is anything else I can do. I know from experience along this same line that it does get better and it is a HUGE learning experience. Things will only get better from here. You have many brothers and sisters in Christ that care.

  19. Elaine, thank you. This means a lot coming from someone who is willing to let me lead them in ministry.

    I hope people can hear what you have said as well. This is not the end, this is the beginning. Things do and will get better.

  20. 20 Sean

    Okay, apology accepted! 🙂

  21. 🙂 Thanks

  22. 22 Ed

    Brent, I am so sorry to hear what you have been going through. I am very happy to see you are gaining control of the situation.

    #1 Money cannot be the reason for anything.
    #4 Possessions are the same thing as money.

    We need a roof over our heads, food on the table and the hope we will make the future a better place for our families. Everything else is just window dressing.

    #2 It is ok to make mistakes.

    The financially richest man in the world is just one step from poverty like the rest of us.

    It is only important that we learn from the mistakes we all make. I should be the smartest man in the world. 🙂

    #3 I need to live like I deserve it. I need to now live with the intent to prove that I can handle it. It is not ok to turn my back and run from this. I have to face it head on everyday in a disciplined, integrity filled walk.

    I admire your humbleness and the integrity you show in taking accountability for what happened.

    It is good that life is not easy. How else can we gain the humility we need to work harder at it.

    “I want to thank many of you we know personally that have been praying and counseling us through this.”

    I thank you for teaching me more about the world and for the all many laughs we have shared.

    Sharing my time with you and your family is the best part of my day.

  23. Love you guys! Sorry to hear about all of that, but good to know it happens to the best of us. 😉 If that makes sense.

    We got ourselves into some debt this last year, impulse purchases (furniture, trailer, electronics) and I am kicking our arses now. Fortunately our refund will pay off most of it, not all, but a good chunk. I told Jake I will NEVER buy on credit again just b/c there is a good deal (i.e. 1 year no pymts kind of deal). It just sucks. We could be pocketing our refund but it’s already spent.

    Good luck to you guys. I know it’s hard. 😉

  24. Sorry to hijack here but….

    ED NEEDS A BLOG! Seriously, I would read it. 😀

    😉

  25. 25 Ed

    “Sharing my time with you and your family is the best part of my day.”

    I should add that I am not counting the time I spend toolin down the highway with a couple of hot babes from the seniors center. 🙂

  26. Thanks Brandy. It makes sense 🙂

    Ed, you are an amazing guy and we have been blessed to meet you through the blog world. Besides it’s great to know someone that has such a charismatic impact on a senior’s center 🙂

  27. 27 Deborah

    The Lord allows us to go through different growth spurts at different times. I’m glad He’s allowed this right now….to me it means He has big things ahead! Love you guys, and have the utmost respect for you both as well. You’re in our prayers…

  28. Thanks Deb, One of the greatest things about being debt free (which through this process we will be in 3 years for us) is knowing that nothing financial is holding me back from God saying “do” or “go”.

  29. B &TAM!
    Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ !! Isn’t that wonderful news..unlimited do-overs. Brush it off and start again…I love this about our Jesus. e have been through this too, and are coming out of it 7years. I must admit I have learned and seen so much of God and HIS hand. HE truly works things together for those who love HIM. HE just does things so different from us, but better. Love you two, and will keep praying TOO!

  30. what happened to the “w” in we?? mmmm no condemnation right? 😉

  31. I know what a tough decision that had to be. The majority of my life I have been financially flaming out of control. 8 years ago we went through a similar situation and it was a major blow to the ol’ male ego. Fortunately i’m no longer in control of my destiny and God continues to provide.

  32. 32 Cheryl

    Brent & Tam,
    Thanks for your honesty. I know declaring bankruptcy came with much prayer. None of us are immune to finding ourselves in the same situation so you won’t get any condemnation here! We are still paying for Greg’s heart surgery, which was 3 years ago and he had insurance! God is good and like you said, it means a fresh start!

  33. Darla, Scott and Cheryl, you all are wonderful friends. I thank God for all of you.

  34. My prayers are going up for the four of you. I was very close to your position in the 90s. Thanks for your openness — this post just broke my heart.

  35. Ric, we are well and we are in a great place. Thank you for your prayers.

  36. Brent, what I love about our church and about all you pastors is that you all have struggled and admit your shortcomings. Having grown up in a church where are the pastors seemed “perfect”, and never appeared to struggle with anything, it is a breath of fresh air to know that I am not alone when I struggle as a Christian.
    I know that this is a stressful time, but I am confident that the Lord is going to use this to bless many, and to grow you into something you couldn’t have imagined.
    I will be praying for you and Tam!

  37. That’s a great place to be in B, cause then you know it’s ALL Him and walk in the confidence of the King. Can’t wait to see what He’ll do next!

  38. Thanks Kristen, let’s just all decide that we won’t let ourselves go back to wherever we’ve been before. Let’s all hold each other accountable through this.

    Deb, Me too!

  39. Brent asked me this morning if he could/should post this. He showed me what he had written first. Although the thought of putting this out here for all to see was quite embarrassing, I never once thought that any of you would ridicule us. I love our community here.

    Now that it’s out there, we do welcome your wisdom, advice and accountability.

    With each comment I’ve read I am more and more overwhelmed with gratitude for the relationships that have been made here.

    B and I always want to be honest and real with you. Even when it doesn’t look so perfect. It will be real.

    Thank you for letting us be us. Blogging has been a safe place to land. I’m just so glad to walk through life with you all!

  40. 40 lazrus2

    “I have made choices in the past that have placed me here. I have always been a spur of the moment person and it was carried over into our finances. I blame no one but myself.”
    I copied a significant line from a devotional I read today before I got to your post. I think it applies well to what you’ve shared here:
    “Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin.” -Charles Spurgeon
    Your taking the ‘high road’ to confess is commendable.

    But as you also noted, confession is just the beginning:
    “…let’s just all decide that we won’t let ourselves go back to wherever we’ve been before. Let’s all hold each other accountable through this.”
    I will, and will be (all I’ve honestly ever desired) to direct you to the Lord who alone can empower that ‘turn around’.

    Lately, I’ve taken solace in ‘chapter 11’ too (of John =) in that Lazrus was only in the grave four days before the Lord raised him up for His glory. Perhaps that can apply to you as well ? He may delay His deliverance, but He already knows the ending, and His timing is always perfect.
    D-

  41. Thanks you lazrus2, I appreciate the accountability, encouragement and wisdom in this journey. I also see much hope in John 11. You are right that all discipline and guidance will be God directed and strengthened in this process. Thank you.

  42. My “picture” of you and your family just went through a reality check. The past few days since “meeting” have resulted in Tam being on my prayer list, kinda as a daughter. Now I have a “son-in-law” and “grandkids” to pray for as well. Had no idea.

  43. HI Brent (and Tammy), Thank you for sharing this completely transparent, humbling post. In all our pain through life, I have been reminded over and over recently by the Lord that it’s not eternal. This is temporary; our pains are temporary, our financial trouble will disappear…someday. I can’t imagine the anxiety these last few years have caused you both, but your testimony will only be more rich because of what the Lord is working out in you. Financial pains and shortcomings can feel like everything is unraveling, I’m sure, and God reminds you that he’s holding you even tighter through these times. Our own choices can result in the most pain, and the most growth. Thank you for your honesty!

  44. wow man…tough decisions…you guys are in my prayers always

  45. Indian Lake Papa – It has been amazing in this short of time to see in you such a caring and gentle spirit. I so appreciate your participation on my wife’s blog and I am honored by your comments.

    Kelly – We have a loving church and a loving group of leaders at TRF. Thank you for being a part of that. i am in 100% agreement with the focus being on the eternal and not the temporal. Sometimes we get that backward and it is always good to be reminded.

    Joel – Thank you for your prayers.

  46. Brent & Tam, I mentioned your dilemma during SS class this morning, the need for hope when life goes the wrong direction. I teach the class of 50 to 60 adults. Then in worship we sang the chorus “Through it All”, I broke down and wept, praying for you. Remember, through it all we can learn to trust in Jesus!

  47. I can’t help but be impressed with your candor as well as your obvious trust in God. Not to mention your clear perspective on what really matters in life. It gives me particular hope, as I have no illusions to the fact that my family walks a very fine financial line and that it would not take much to have the bottom drop out of our comfortable world. Thanks.

  48. Indian lake Papa – You are one of the most merciful and genuine people I have ever met(blog world or not). I look forward to the day whether here or “there” when we will meet! God bless you.

    Christian – “our comfortable world” Thanks for saying this. I know what you mean by it and I understand the life that you desire to live. I am there as well. Many things will be changing about who I was and who I am. They have to, otherwise I have learned nothing through this. My perspective will only be as good as I allow my eyes to be focused on God. Thanks for the kind words and wonderful wisdom.

  49. Some might challenge that “merciful & genuine” statement! Last Sunday I had a lady in Sunday school mix a brownie mix with horse manure. Class got real quiet – No one seemed eager to put their finger in the mix to taste. :o) I tried to convince them the mix was still okay – no takers. And yet we are eager to worship God and we don’t have the guts or courage to shut off the TV, mute it, or walk out of movie when the filth & trash enters our mind. Thats okay to put in our bodies. :o( By the way tonight after church we had a “fellowship” with food. I brought brownies. The brownies were quite a topic of discussion! None left though.

    I am already “planning and scheming” on how to meet! :o) I have never been to Oregon. However, in September 2009 I will be as close as I have ever been, Spokane, WA. Who knows.

  50. Indian Lake Papa, it would be cool to figure that out in 2009. Maybe…

    And just plan on leaving your brownies at home when you come 🙂

  51. Aw, shucks, the brownies would probably be as good as the turds!

  52. Hahahahaha!!!!

    If anyone doesn’t know what we are talking about, check out the comments here…

    http://tinyurl.com/2nj4u5

  53. Sheesh! What is it with you people and your potty talk?

  54. Wait, I thought we were talking about food 🙂

  55. Now that’s disgusting!

  56. Now guys, calm down! You think thats bad, Tam should make “Kitty Litter cake” (google it). Made with tootsie rolls and served with a litter scoop – new scoop!

  57. Oh my, we even talked about those “Kitty Litter Cake” things last night at worship team practice. that’s funny!

  58. You’ve crossed over the line. When a knock comes to your respective doors tomorrow don’t say I didn’t warn you. The GESTAPO (Genteel, Enlightened and Sophisticated Talk Adherence Police) have a way of becoming aware of this type of destabilizing ‘talk’ you so enjoy.

  59. OK, how long did it take you to come up with the GESTAPO thing. I’m impressed 🙂

  60. That kind of sarcastic attitude will only get you into more hot water young man. There is nothing funny about the men in black trench coats. You’ll see…oh yes, you’ll see soon enough…he..he-he….he.

  61. I love the movie Men In Black…but that was more of a suit thing. oh well, at least I will have an interesting day tomorrow 🙂

  62. Thinking about you guys Brent. Hang in there.
    My words of advice:
    What you BELIEVE determines DECISIONS which results in OUTCOME.
    I am sure you have gone over this with your wise council but I am just gonna say it – until you change what you believe about money, then decisions will follow and then results will be the same. Prayin…

  63. Thanks Brad. I 100% agree with you. There is always a battle of will and self that only God can overcome. I place hope in His renewing of minds. God has taken us down a road the last 3 years that has changed a ton of who we are when it comes to money and possession. I am so grateful for this. I was actually talking to our lead Pastor about it this AM. It has affected everything about my life, including how our church would spend monies to support the ministries I lead. I am excited to start this new journey and see how God will show up through our faithfulness. Thanks you for your prayers!

  64. Hey man, everythings been said. We’re praying for you.

    We went through some pretty tough times, athough we never filed Bankruptcy because, while our debt seemed huge for us, we were so poor even our debt was laughable to the banks…

    Anyway, there is Light…

  65. Dude, I didn’t read a single response to this, but here’s a couple of my thoughts.

    1. If anyone, and I mean anyone, gives you grief for this…let me know and I’ll murder them.

    2. This is huge for you to do and not hide it. I’m so impressed with your level of authenticity. It takes guts and I’m glad I get to lead a christian lifestyle alongside other believers like you.

  66. Neil – You can back me up ANYTIME!

    Thanks so much for the amazing words of encouragement.

  67. Hey guys, sorry I’ve been out of touch. We will be praying for you guys. I’m in awe of your transparency and vulnerability. I know that we have never met but I must say that I have been so touched by “getting to know you” over this medium. Thank you for sharing, although I am sure that it has been hard. Thanks for being real. We will hold you guys up in prayer.

  68. I’d like to take a “bloggers privilege” and suggest we all meet in God’s presence at 6pm your time zone and have a special prayer for Brent, Tam and family. Lets do it today and Wednesday.

  69. Thanks for the words and the prayers Kathy. I agree that it has been an awesome journey here in the blog world. We’ve really enjoyed the friendships we have made!

    Indian Lake papa, you are welcome to hijack this blog and pray for anyone you’d like at anytime. Thank you!


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