Monday, July 10, 2017

Bold Prayers for the Impossible...

360 sometimes days, and then some...

How much of a difference God can make in one year. A year ago, I found myself struggling, trying to find the ways that I could to make payments to my student loans. I was basically restricting myself, and learning discipline with my finances. 

Last year, I found myself filling out paperwork (once again), to enroll in a new payment plan for my student loans. In 2014, my financial woes started and it was overwhelming, so nerve wrecking that I ended up developing high anxiety, depression and insomnia. Having to scrape  together $800-$700 a month to pay student loans was insane. Daily my constant battle was do I pay a bill or the student loans? Will I have enough for gas or even food?

I'm very thankful for all those ladies that stepped up in my bible studies and opened their homes. Many times, I was invited to their homes for fellowship, and it was always with a warm meal. Thank you to many of God's angels who I met at the church and through fellowship. Without your kindness and open door, there would have been times where I would have probably starved, or not made it to events as they would pick me up and allow me to carpool with them. At times it was embarrassing for me to arrive to a potluck without food, I would arrive with a small pack of cookies, or small bag of mints, however, they never judged me, and I was and continue to be thankful for their acceptance. 

The deepest valley in my financial life...

Many times I wanted to give up, and move back with family. Then there were times where I knew that I needed to restrict myself even more than before. Eventually, I received a notice for my loans stating that they were going to skyrocket back to $900 a month, with the interest rate where there accumulating amount of $17.00 a day. This was the end of my rope. I felt hopeless, lost, and feeling overwhelmed. I was not sure what to do, so I started to pray and asked for prayer from many people. All of this happened on a Monday, and on that same night I went to the prayer ministry in support of another friend for prayer of her relative. But deep down inside, I felt that I would like some prayer as well. Sure enough, my friend came over and prayed over me, she could sense my troubles, and I began to weep like a child. 
As a mustard seed, that is how big my faith was at the time. While God had performed many transformations and miracles, I had some doubt. But deep down I knew that God would not forget about my troubles. During the Monday night prayer, my friend came to pray over me. I felt serenity and peace, as if things had been solved. The following day, I knew I had to take action, part of this was asking God for help, the other part was me being proactive to ensure that I got the necessary resources to move forward.

On Tuesday during my lunch hour, I decided to do some research and start making some calls. Immediately, I was assisted, I explained my situation, and I was told that I could be helped, there was hope and we could bring down my loans to under $200 a month. Additionally, I qualified for student loan forgiveness.

Tears flooded my eyes, my prayers  were answered, and were being unfolded right before my ears and eventually my eyes. I filled out paperwork and paid legal fees to ensure that my loans would come down to reasonable amounts. In the long run, I was to make monthly payments, a certain amount per month for the next 15-20 years and then, the rest will be forgiven.

Bold moves, bold attitude... getting real

All of this happened in January 2017, fast forward to May 2017, and God's plans really unfolded. While I knew that my loans would kick back into payment, part of me felt that this was not the end of it. As times and politics change so do policies. I knew it would be a matter of time, before the loans went back up, or even worse, that I would have to pay $110,000! Yes that was my greatest debt, seeing how a loan of $70,000 went up by $40,000 because of variable interests and poor research.

I was afraid, afraid of not being worthy of God's mercy and glory. But I came to realize that when I went to pursue my degree, I did it out of spite and arrogance. I wanted to be better than others, show how much more I can do, and show that I can get degrees in higher education. My pursuit was not to improve or to grow, it was to be prideful and vengeful. Once I realized this, I knew I had to get real, I needed to humble myself. In my prayers, I told God to help me and that if necessary I was willing to lose my MBA, I did not obtain it to grow, I obtained it out of wrath and envy. I humbled myself and literally, got real, I was young and stupid. I could have gotten this degree through another school, or simply build my experience. But my lack of maturity and lack of self-esteem played a role in my pursuit of higher education. Higher Education does not equal that I am worth more, my worth does not come from my degrees, it comes from God. 

Proactively moving...

Sure enough, within that week, after pondering and praying (and getting on my knees), in the news there was an article about a school being sued, students joining on the lawsuit and loans being dismissed. It was the school I had attended! Part of me was skeptical and my gut feeling said, look into it, and I did. 

Matthew 7:7" Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you" 

I made the call, and of course, was transferred a couple of times. It's part of the process. I talked to someone, who then started looking into my case. Then a scheduled phone interview. Which left me a bit nervous. An e-mailed questionnaire, which left me drained. After almost two hours, I am told that I qualified for student loan dismissal. My prayers were being answered, and God is so good! I got to keep my MBA, and I get a refund for the amount that I paid on the graduate loans for the last two years. 

I look back now at the journey, and it was well worth it. I have learn that while that was one of my prides, to pursuit and obtain my degree, that's all it was, arrogant, ignorant, selfish pride. I felt God telling me that I need his word more than my degree, his word will give me life, hope, faith and a positive outcome. His word is to be lived and in action, my degree to this day collects dust, his word is actively involved in my everyday life. At times I stumble but I catch myself before falling deeper, and his word is full of grace. 

That night, I was able to go to bed, not worry about how I will pay my loans. God became more real in my life. I now share this with the world because I can't make it happen, but GOD CAN. I can't move the mountain of troubles, but GOD CAN.  It's time to be bold and it's time to get real. It's time to believe that impossible can happen, because GOD CAN make it happen. 

And this has been my Aha moment... 

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