Shadow Of Victory

Thursday, 5 November 2009

November 5th ONE IN EVERY NINE

Its fireworks season and my gorgeous man is off for days and nights on end with the fireworks so I have lots of free time...for "free" read .....bored !!...Mike our eldest son is here too as he also does this and I believe that Cat and Nick are also doing a display this coming it becomes a real family affair...but NO..I have no plans to suit up in the red boiler suits and lug giant shells around for hours. It did come in very handy when the kids were little because we used to get free invites to all the best displays.

Last night I was involved in CAP WEDNESDAY....CAP is a national charity..."Christians Against Poverty " and one of the centres is based in our church...This is an organisation devoted to helping people get out of debt.(see for more details.) This evening was to highlight the work of CAP and to hopefully get new volunteers to come on board. I have been helping the team in the role of "blessings " This is an amazing role and I absolutely love doing it...we have a sum of money made available every month to simply bless I get to spend money that's not my own and give out lovely pressies in the form of vouchers or flowers or choccies...what fun it is .

AJ ..who is the centre manager gave out some statistics which really resonated with me...he states that "one in every nine households" has serious debt can google debt statistics and get some other quite frightening numbers about house repossessions and bankruptcy. AJ also quotes from the bible about how we should not neglect the poor and we saw a dvd about people who had worked with CAP and were now on their way to being debt free and also heard from someone in our own community who is working with CAP to get debt free.

As most of you who read my blog may know Chris and I are on our own journey to getting debt free and roll on August 2011...but the evening made me think .!!

CAP talks a lot about the "poor" and often the media gives out this stereotype of only "poor" people get into a mess.... I then think about the "one in nine " statistic that is quoted and if this is true then count the number in your street or road and think that behind every 9th door someone may be struggling or look around the church on a Sunday morning and count off every 9th person or family.....or check out the preschool mums or the cubs and brownie families you may know...every 9th family could already be in trouble.

I have had an 18mth involvement with a national debt forum and been involved in a couple of get togethers and shared stories of how we got into our messes with people in similar situations as us and I can honestly say that none of us would have been perceived as "poor"...Lets face it when you ask what is your perception of "poor" think of lower income...rented houses...not being able to eat regularly...children being cold ....hungry and ill clad.....and altho this is true that people who are unfortunate enough because of their life circumstances are actually "poor"...we also need to wake up to a whole new category of people who are in debt.!

You see...Chris and I have always owned our own home ..had good jobs ...driven two cars...had three children who never knew what it was to be hungry..cold or ill clad and from the outside looking in you would never have called us poor or thought we were in debt.As you cast your eyes over your friends or folk in your life..would you know if they were in debt..would you be able to spot the one in nine??? We...and I say this as the "royal collective we" must be open to those who we would least suspect of being in financial trouble being "safe" enough to admit it.For us..we had been in our IVA for almost 2 years before we told anyone. You may be able to spot a "poor person" but can you see past the exterior of those who still seem okay. I think I would be correct in saying that 17mths ago as we began to open up and tell people there was a fair amount of shock and surprise and in fact last night as I shared a little bit about our own situation with the group I could see puzzlement and surprise on several faces of those who know me.

At the end of the meeting I spoke to a lovely woman who had made her own journey with CAP and got debt free...losing her home in the process and she shared with me she had got back into debt again through no fault of her own and had experienced immense shame and embarrassment and didn't want to admit it to anyone . I could identify with her so much it felt like she was "talking my talk"....We hide behind our coping masks for fear that others may judge us and that is not only a debt feeling it is many things we struggle with..some of which I have talked about in previous blogs.

On the national forum there are daily posts from people who talk about their shame and their deep fear of people finding out about their situation..some who are in marriages where the partner doesn't even know about the debt..some who have lost everything..marriages wrecked...lost jobs....some who would never tell their friends or their families...and there is a community of people who function online and become virtual friends giving each other acceptance and support. For myself I used the support of the forum for almost a year ...sharing my deepest feelings with people I only knew from the Internet and occasional meetings. Many of these people never tell anyone and travel the road to debt freedom totally isolated and alone. However Simon ..our pastor began to create and encourage open-ness and a culture of vulnerability we felt able to begin to share with others our situation....and altho I still log on and occasionally post on the debt forum I have been able to get support and a level of acceptance from friends and family. I am eternally grateful to the experts on the forum and the friends I made who helped me to see that there was life beyond debt.

To be very honest....I still feel as if people wonder how on earth we ever got into this situation...and to be honest I wonder about that myself too. I spent a year blogging about it on the national forum and have actually downloaded it and maybe one day I will share some of it may think I have been open and vulnerable here...but you would need to read some of that years entries to really understand what it is like to be in debt....there is something amazingly secure about sharing with people who you will probably never "do life with "..but more than that it was the feeling that the ones who were able to access and read that blog were people who were in similar situations and could identify with me and certainly never would judge me.

One thing that also is becoming more and more prevalent is the actual amount of personal debt...with the advent of interest free credit cards and consolidation loans...gone are the days when it was few hundred pound on an fact some people I know have overdrafts and think nothing of it....some people I know have credit cards and don't always pay the balance of every month ...some people I know have cars on a bank loan and don't worry about it....Most of these people wouldn't even think of themselves as being "in debt"...lets face many actually add up the 8,000 car loan to the 2000.00 overdraft to the 5,000 credit limit...someone once said

"if you can service your loans etc you aren't in debt"...

Ha Ha Ha....We serviced our various loans for years until one day we realised we were paying more in interest every month than we were in balances...was it only then we were "in debt"....NO..we were in debt for years... and years..and years ..servicing and servicing the dratted things.!!

I am so sorry to go on and on about this...but I believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in our community both in the church and outside in our local community and I can see that CAP and the work in our church centre will explode in the coming year as more and more people wake up to the realisation that their debt is debt.!! My challenge to us all...myself included is .....who are the "poor"...and is it only our preconceived stereotype we are looking to help..and is this label of "poor" acting as a barrier for folk like Chris and I to ask for help....or to admit to needing help... We actually set up our IVA before CAP was set up in our church but I have often asked myself if we would have approached the CAP centre if it had been open...Hhmmmnnnn...not sure .

If I have 20 plus people who subscribe to this blog then statistically speaking there could be 2 of you in debt.!!...If this is so..can I encourage you to share with me...or with someone you know and trust...God is in the business of setting people every aspect of their lives ....and finances are only one area we can be in chains and never know true freedom....I long for the day when we are debt free...I can see it in the not too distant future...I can feel it in my bones...I know deep down in the depths of my being that debt has shackled me in such subtle and hidden ways that I cant explain and that being debt free will bring a new dimension to my spirit and as such I long for it with all my heart.

1 comment:

Sandra in Bonnie Scotland said...

Hi my friend, catching up on your last couple of blogs after being away in Pitlochry....glad you had chill out time at the wedding, and yep you do need to do more chilled things, not just what's, re this blog; is thsi going to be the last year Chris does the fireworks? (Cos I recall last year he said that was it ha ha!)...but this 1-in-9 statistic is an eye-opener...but I'm sure you - and me, and a lot more folks you know too I'm sure - will manage to aspire to the debt free position in the future...cos we trust He's made that plan for us. Grrrrrr from me too being back to work, but yep we need to be conscious about not letting it control feelings...take care, chat soon. Love S x