The Various Forms of God’s Grace

black-background-black-top-closed-eyes-2486412.jpg

The Various Forms of God’s Grace

By Derika Crowley

I accumulated over $20,000 in credit card debt (yes, you read that correctly).

For a long time, I lied to myself and my family about having it all together. I’m not surely exactly where desire to be perfect and put together came from, but for a long time I just wanted to feel like I was “enough” and (although it certain wasn’t the best way) credit was my means to have all the things I want – and frankly, thought I deserved – to feel enough. 

A part of Twenty Somethin’ & Black is highlighting our journey to getting our lives together, so I will finally admit that in the midst of me thinking I was handling business by paying the minimum balances every month, I was oblivious to the reality that not to do not have it…I was making my situation worse. I was lying to myself and my family about financial situation and self-esteem. 

Last month, I suppose you can say that God gave me a premonition that all my lies were about to catch up with me. I was working at my part-time (the only I took to help pay off my debt) and a woman was talking to me about how her daughter loved to shopped and was racking up debt. She was talking for about 10 minutes, just venting to me and as I was listening, I couldn’t help but think of myself. Towards the end of her story, she mentioned that her daughter had two options: 1. Marry a rich man to take of it for her or 2. Humble herself and ask her mother for help. I uncomfortably laughed and then ask her if she would be mad having to pay someone off her daughter. “Hell yeah,” she said. “But you know what…there’s nothing wrong with asking for help – especially, asking people who care about you.” 

I kid you not, the next day I went to renew my car registration and realized, “oh my gosh…I’m broke”. Yeah, after bills and rent, that little $70 car registration fee left me with $150 to live with for two weeks. Crazy. When this realization hit me, I broke down. I cried, I pray and about five minutes in I realized I had to humble myself and call my mother.

Long story short, my parents helped me out and agreed to pay off my debt. Because I know everyone isn’t fortunate with this situation, I don’t want to highlight that part too much, but more so focus on how God will show you grace in various forms. My parents are my walking examples of God’s grace. Yes, they were disappointed and had to point out my mistakes to me, but at the end of the day, they helped me. 

Maybe it’s our culture or millennial mindset, but a lot of times when we ask for God’s help, we don’t want the discomfort that comes with it because it forces us to look ourselves in the mirror. In this case, I thought I was handling my debt, but I was drowning in financial slavery. I wasn’t addressing the fact that I still relied on outside validation so much that I got myself into a hole of debt so deep it would take my entire life to pay off. It was easier to omit my situation and distort it into something prettier, instead of looking at it for what it was – a mess. 

Even when we don’t want to, God forces us mature and grow (i.e. “the pruning process”). When we make the decision to follow Him, it’s a never-ending process of making us look at ourselves as a means to make us better people. In this case, it was hard to come clean to my parents about my debt, but I did it. And because lying got so ingrained in me, unintentionally I omitted necessary information in the beginning (in an attempt to save face), but even when I fell back in old habits, my parents (God’s grace) got the truth out of me. Again, the aftermath was a hard pill to swallow; but, at the end of the day, the debt I’ve been praying to be cleared was cleared. Yes, I may have lost my parent’s trust and yes, may be disappointed in my actions for a long time, but they still love me. No matter how bad you mess up, God still loves you. You just be honest with yourself and work at it.

So, next steps for me are to work on gaining my parents trust back and doing better. I need to figure out the root of my spending and self-esteem, truly working to “get it together” (walking the walk, not talking the talk). I’m grateful for my parents beyond just helping me out with my financial mistakes, they showed me the beauty of God’s grace. Use this as an example that God will make a way for you even when you don’t think you deserve, but it’s up to you to make the most of his miracle once He does.