Thursday, October 21, 2010

{ A Weight Lifted }

God's mercy is overwhelming. His grace, more than sufficient.

On October 30, 2006, I started my job with about $65,000 in student loans--the cost of a bachelor's degree in diagnostic ultrasound, which is only offered at eight universities in the country. Though I'm extremely grateful that one of those universities was only a bus ride away from my home, private universities are exorbitantly expensive. My minimum loan payments were over $600 per month!

My lofty goal: Pay off all my loans in three years. Or maybe it was five. I can't remember if I said three or five, but it was a ridiculously short period of time. I knew it was a crazy idea and I'd be hard-pressed to pull it off, but I hate hate HATE debt and could not tolerate the thought of dragging these loans around with me for decades.

As of today, October 21, 2010, all of my student loans have been paid in full!


It has taken almost exactly four years to do so. In the midst of that, Mike and I have paid for a wedding and honeymoon debt-free {we did put some on credit, but paid it all within two months of the wedding} and purchased a condo. Now our only debt is the mortgage. Can you believe it?!!

I have dreamed of this day for so long--since I was in college, before taking out the loans! I find myself feeling that I'm peering forward, over an imaginary finish line. What's on the other side? What's this I hear of, a life where your entire bank account isn't regularly emptied and sent to The Student Loan Corporation? What's next? At the same time that I'm curious about what "normal" will be like on the other side of this imaginary line, I'm also hesitant and afraid. This is what I've known for so long; I'm so accustomed looking ahead and dreaming of that bright tomorrow when I'll be debt-free. It didn't look like this. Then I'll be all put-together. I'll have a great hairstyle and no pimples and a plan. Today is not what I envisioned in all those stored-up years of dreaming about "when I pay off my student loans..." I'm I'm also realizing that it's difficult to actually think beyond this point. I didn't realize it till I started this paragraph, but it's really, really hard for me to think beyond the looming, invisible burden of my debt. I used to think that I thought/dreamed a lot about the future, but I'm not so sure anymore. In reality, I think any true dreaming about post-debt-life was quashed by the sheer overwhelmingness of the amount of money I owed. I wanted to dream...but paying off the debt was the dream!

I'm not writing this to be boastful or to brag. It's to acknowledge the tremendous gifts God has given me: an amazing education that cost more than I could afford, and a great job that enabled me to pay the debt off really quickly. I don't think I ever really thought I would get here. As I write this, I'm becoming aware that I have a lot to process. Silly me--I thought this was just about money, not my heart or motives or desires or anything deep like that! :-)

What will the future hold? What is around the next bend?


  1. That is AMAZING! I Am excited for you guys and the new turn of road you have embarked on. I am sure you will think of another goal to set your mind to now with that goal completed.
    I think living as debt free as possible is great, and you are getting there! YAY!
    Loves to you sweet girl!

  2. Good, good job! I admire a speaker who often says the number one reason he sees people not obey God's call in their life is because of debt. I am so impressed at your dedication and choices!!!

  3. Congrats Nikki, that's an amazing accomplishment! We are closing in our 4 year grad-versary and are still working on this...Mine are paid off but Jeff's...another story. Really proud of your financial freedom. God is good!

  4. I am still in college so it's going to be a while for me and my husband.

    Congrats to you--it must be an amazing feeling!