It has been sleepless nights from a paycheck being gone before dawn the same day it hits.
It has been angry tears on payday because the garnishments took so much we couldn’t afford more than beans and rice for the week.
It has been filling our gas tanks with the last dollar from our bank accounts and praying that’s enough to make it to work all week.
It has been a cold sweat of dread when we check the mailbox because we just know there are bills in it we can not pay.
It has been a Thanksgiving dinner that does not taste as good because an overdrawn bank account showed up uninvited.
It has been making cheap meals that are awful but eating them anyway because pizza nights are treats.
It has been holiday seasons with a painted on a smile outside while the guilt of not gifting the entire family eats us up on the inside.
It has been misjudgments from people thinking we are antisocial or do not care enough to come to their events when the truth is we had to dig quarters out of the bottom of my purse just to buy milk for our kids.
It has been moments of panic with every knock at the door for fear it is yet another notice from a lawyer suing us for money we simply do not have.
This is what living in debt has looked like for us through the years. This Thanksgiving, as we enter into our last year in debt, we are thankful for our story. We are thankful for the struggles. We are thankful for the strength we have found in God and each other to say “Enough!” and take the steps needed to change our family’s future forever for the better. We are thankful for the scars we have earned from the battle to get out from under a mountain of debt that at one point seemed impossible to climb. We are thankful for the lessons we learned along the way. The ones that brought our marriage from the brink of divorce to a place of love, respect, and peace. The lessons that taught us that filling our arms with our boys and our hours with family time was worth far more than any possession we could buy at any retailer.
The road to get away from rock bottom has been a long hard one, but tonight as we gather together for family prayer we are nothing short of thankful.