The Whole Truth

It's time.  (This is long, I apologize in advance.)

I've felt like it was time before - last summer, Thanksgiving, and other times.  But I always had a reason excuse as to why it wasn't the right time.

I still have a list of excuses...
*What will she, and she, and she, and she (whose blog is private) who I know IRL think?
*And what about all of you, who are just as dear to me, think?
*My family might read here (I don't think they do, but what if?).
*Everything I've written will be critiqued and criticized.
*And what about you and you and you - do you think me a fake for not speaking up before now?
And the list goes on and on...

I'm shaking as I type.

But I feel like God is asking me to do this, to be completely honest.  To truly honor Him for the work He has done in me.  To let the glory be His.

To just say it won't be enough, so please bear with me.  To just write it, and be done with it, won't be enough for me.  Someone once told me my need to explain myself was endearing.  I pray that is somewhat true here.

I worry that my family (that I don't think reads here) really does and will decide this is the post they should comment on or bring up.  I worry about the hurt and embarrassment that will cause {me}, because of all they have read before now, but chosen not to comment on.  I know my MIL reads, and she already knows.  It was the moment I knew what 'nonjudgemental' really felt and looked like.  I am forever grateful.

I worry that I won't be able to look you in the eye the next time I see you.  That you will judge me.  Pity me.  Laugh at me.

But I feel this is something I must do.  It is something God is asking me to do.  That until I do, the lesson will continue to be taught.  Over and over again.

I'm ashamed.  But I take responsibility.

I'm hurt.  But I am healing.

I'm fighting the urge to give every detail and justify every action.  I know that's not what's important here.  What's important here is what I learned.  How my life has changed.  That where there was apathy and ignorance is now 'ignorance on fire'.

But my insecurity is telling me that if I can just explain it enough, give enough 'whys' it won't be so bad.

Only I know better.  It is what it is.  It's not rocket science.  And unless you've walked my walk, it cannot truly be understood.

About a year ago, I swallowed my pride, admitted defeat, walked into an attorney's office and filed for bankruptcy.

It was, without a doubt, the hardest, most humbling experience of my life.

And I am forever changed.  I've seen the power of prayer first hand.  I've seen the grace of God touch my marriage in a way I didn't even know was possible.  I've been blessed with a husband who dried our tears and held me tightly when I didn't know what to do with myself.

I have heard (read?) that bankruptcy and the loss of a child are the two hardest things a marriage can endure.  I can say that there is nothing easy about bankruptcy and that it is by the Grace of God that our marriage only got stronger and wasn't torn apart by this.  We created the situation together and we walked through the best solution we could discern together.

And that is the whole truth.

I've used the pronoun 'I' throughout this, but this was very much something The Man and I did together.  It wasn't easy, but we are stronger for it.  This is just my perspective, as this is my blog. I did ask him to read and give his permission for sharing this very personal detail of our lives.  His only question was "what was your motivation for writing this?"  My answer is this: if I help one person who might be in the situation we were in to feel that they are not alone, it was worth it.  I know how I felt when I found that person (you know who you are) and it was invaluable.  I also feel that we will not begin to have financial peace until I am completely honest here.  That the reason I was brought to my knees in such a way truly was for God's glory, and that they only way to give him the true glory is to share the whole truth.


  1. As someone who has struggled with debt for a long time myself and has never admitted it out loud, I know the internal pain/stress that debt can cause. Know you have helped in making me feel not alone. It eased my stress reading your words. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This took a lot of strength, and I can't imagine the pain of it all, but I am certain you will help many people by being candid and letting the truth be known. To God be the glory!!

  3. Debt is a heavy, heavy burden. Every situation has its own solution. :) I'm happy to hear that you and The Man worked through to find what would work for you. It's a nasty word, that B word, but one that has crossed many, many marriages' lips. Money and debt are but numbers....if you are able to learn from it to better live and serve....I think that's wonderful. Keep finding what helps the two of you become a better "two of you". Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Financial stress is a heavy burden. When The Man (I mean mine, not yours!) and I were first married, we struggled with every penny. And it. was. hard. You will learn from your experiences. This is a painful lesson learned, but sometimes that's the best way, I guess.

    I am so proud of the two of you for becoming stronger through this. Your marriage is a beautiful thing. Debt is ugly, but if your marriage was strengthened by going through this, then perhaps that is the silver lining...

    Thank you for sharing this! I know it was hard. I hope you feel the burden loosed from your shoulders.

  5. Wow, you are a brave person. I'm proud of you for posting this, I can imagine it was not easy. Financial stress is horrible, isn't it? The constant worry and nagging feeling of do I or don't I spend money on---, is there enough for...

    This experience is a testament to you and Cliff, if you can get through this, you can get through anything in life.

    Thanks for sharing! By the way, you're so eloquent!

  6. You had me worried as I read the blog. What is it? All these things were going through my head and then you said bankrupt and I was relieved. I know to you that you might thing of it as an embarrassment, but there are TONS and TONS...AND TONS of people that file bankrupt each day. Your co-workers, your neighbors, maybe even some family members. Just because they don't tell you or you don't know doesn't mean they don't. Bankruptcy is one of the most common legal actions...your attorney will confirm that.m Especially in this economy.

    You're looking at this the totally wrong way. You need to look as this as a fresh start, a clean slate if you will.

  7. You know my situation, we talk about it a lot. You are blessed to have such an awesome Man to help you through it. Money issues aren't easy to talk about or deal with. You have nothing to be embarssed about. You got in and couldn't out. You took a proactive step and started to rebuild your life. You are NOT racking up debt now, you learned the hard way and you grew. You and the Man know tough times and you are stronger than ever, that's pretty awesome in and of itself. That is what is important. I struggle everyday with money stuff. Don't hang your head, don't worry about being judged - you knew you had to get out, you did and you are rebuilding your life! :) HUGS

  8. REbecca - I can imagine how hard it was to share this. Debt and money problems are things many of us share. I have a family member who has gone through it. It is difficult but when you come out of it learning what you've learned and sharing with others, good can come from it. Our family has debt problems we are dealing with ourselves. If we'd kept going down the path we were on before starting Dave Ramsey's plan, we might have gone where you have been. Thank you for sharing.

  9. It was very brave of you to share. Thank you for being so honest. The love you and your husband share must have been strengthened so much by this experience. I'll pray for your financial peace. :)

  10. I really admire your courage for writing this. My husband and I are struggling with huge debt right now and it is a constant burden, especially since we are bring a child into this world. It is scary as hell. I'm happy that this experience has brought you and your husband closer! Praying for you!

  11. I watched my parents sink into debt after hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills piled up and couldn't be paid. They were embarrassed about the fact that they had to file for bankruptcy since they had heard that only deadbeats did something like that. When it finally got to the critical point, they swallowed their pride and did what they had to do. Filing for bankruptcy was the best decision they ever made. Yes, their credit was shot, but they started sleeping easier at night without fear of fifty million bill collectors calling every day.

    It takes courage to say out loud, "I filed for bankruptcy." I know many people still think that bankruptcy has this massive stigma attached to it, but sometimes it can't be helped. In my parent's case, it was the hospital bills that created the problem (which their lawyer said was like the #1 cause for most people filing for bankruptcy). You did what you needed to do to help yourself and your husband. There is no shame in that.

    God bless. :)

  12. I can't imagine how hard that must've been for y'all. I agree with Jess: You did what you had to do, and there is no shame in that.

  13. I will be lifting you up to the Lord to give you the peace, comfort and joy that only an intimate relationship with Him can bring. I would like to invite you to come over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings too you. Lloyd

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. I know how hard it can be to tell your secrets. The longer we hold these things in, the longer the enemy uses them to make us feel guilty, shamed, alone, and hopeless. You are not alone. The most responsible thing you can do is stop trying to do everything in your own strength and just ask for help. I am 29 and single and am struggling with debt and just recently had to ask my parents for help so that I wouldn't continue to drown in interest rates and as well as continue to make bad money decisions. It was like the moment I was honest, was the moment that God's grace rushing in and filled me with hope. It was a humbling experience, but I see now that God just wanted me to stop being ashamed, ask for help, and trust that through this experience, I would grow and He would Shine! Blessings and prayers to you and your family. God has already gone ahead of you and taken care of it. Here's to new beginnings!




  15. What do I think? I think you're super brave to step up and say you have to declare it. I think you're super brave for declaring it here. I think you're super brave for fighting for your marriage and making it stronger through it. I think you're super brave for shoving yourself down and making God big. I think you're super brave, friend. :) I'm glad you shared.

  16. I agree with everyone that you are brave and generous to share your experience! Financial problems just stink. I would say "and that is all," but that would contradict your point about learning about prayer and working through things with your husband!

  17. i meant to reply to this last week but i did want to come back to say that your honesty is an amazing trait. not that you owe us anything, but that you had the courage to file and start afresh with cliff. i was amazed when i thought of your story of how you both came to NFP and with this additional knowledge i truly feel that it was no less than the work of the holy spirit, a miracle that He was working in your lives. i can't imagine the conversion you have both had over these last years and again (not that you need it) but you have my utmost respect and admiration for being such willing participants in that journey. praying some extra prayers for you tonight.