By Cosette Snarr
It was a normal day as I sat down to go over our budget and pay some bills. It was something I did on a regular basis, but for some reason on this day the reality of how much we owed on credit cards really hit me hard. For years I’d been in the habit of charging things when there wasn’t enough in the checking account to buy. I never put anything extravagant on the card—at least not often. And I always made more than the required minimum payment. Wasn’t that enough? Evidently not. That reality hit me hard this particular day.
I ran through the numbers again and again and realized I had enough in the bank to pay the bills, but I wouldn’t have enough to pay for the necessities of the next two weeks like groceries, gas for the car and another obligation I couldn’t get out of. Maybe this wasn’t the best time to change my habit? No. I knew I couldn’t keep this up. It was only going to get worse.
Reluctantly I bowed my head and prayed, “Heavenly Father I’ve made a mess of things. I know I haven’t been the best steward over our finances and I’m seeing the results now. I really want to do better. I commit right now that I’ll never use credit cards again, but I need Thy help. We need groceries. Please help me figure out a way to keep my commitment to Thee and get the things we need.”
With those words I went on about my day. I decided it was a good time to clean out and organize my mother-in-law’s closet. She was very aged, had Alzheimer’s, and was living with us at the time. Although we had aids come in to help with her needs daily, they weren’t the best at keeping her things neat and orderly.
I slid back the closet doors to find everything just thrown in on the shelves. As I started to tidy up, I noticed a small tin box, about the size of a recipe file that I’d never seen before. I thought it was just another one of her little things filled with meaningless trinkets she’d saved over the years. Imagine my surprise when I opened it to find the box filled with silver coins. Yes! Real silver coins.
I raced into the office to count the coins and look up the price of silver for the day. To my shock, I realized there was just enough in there to take care of what we needed until the next payday. What a blessing!!! In that same instant I was reminded that it wasn’t our money, but belonged to my mother-in-law, even though at this point she had no use for it.
I was sick at the thought of sharing my new find with my husband, thinking that we’d have to share the money with all the siblings and then we wouldn’t have enough. Was it really bad to not tell anyone? Who would know? I would! In good conscience I could not just take this money without letting my husband know who in turn would tell his brother, the one in charge of all the finances for their mom.
When my husband got home I told him of our financial situation and of the silver. I also told him I thought we needed to call his brother and ask him what he’d have us do with the money.
I was shocked to hear my brother-in-law’s response. He advised my husband to spend it wisely—that was it. The coins were ours to do with as we saw fit. I took them to a coin shop the next to cash them in. I’ve never gone back on my promise to not use credit cards—at least not to carry a balance. We’ve been greatly blessed financially as I have done so.
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