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Overwhelming Debt… See How They Overcame It

Cheryl Wilcox


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“We were hitting a sweet spot in our careers,” says James Reddrick as he recalls of his and his wife, Melanie’s, work life.

“I felt really good in terms of, you know, what we’re able to accomplish as a couple,” says Melanie. 

Architects James and Melanie married in 2007 and spent the next 10 years paying off their combined student loan debt of $60,000 while growing their family, building financial freedom, and tithing obediently.

“We continued to tithe and give, we also continued to pour into our children. My spending habits didn't change right away,” admits Melanie.

“We were spending beyond our means. We’re buying stuff we don’t need. Shopping in Amazon, it's easy to click a button and you never see the bill,” shares James. 

And then James and Melanie’s daughter, Emily, began experiencing medical problems.

James thinks back to a very trying time in his family’s life, “When Emily was sick, she would spend days in ICU.”

“She had MRIs, she had CAT scans,” explains Melanie.

“She had some migraines, and also some high anxiety,” says James.

“There was a moment where the nurse looked at me and said, you know, 'She's really sick.'" says Melanie.

In 2013, as their medical bills continued to stack up, James and Melanie’s family home and personal vehicles all fell into disrepair.

“It was very frustrating, because it seemed to be one thing after another,” says Melanie.

“I was relying on a credit card to kind of keep the boat afloat,” says James.

With the medical attention she needed, Emily was getting healthier. However, the medical bills, home repairs, overspending, and the credit card interest were more than the family could manage.

James recalls, “The bills are piling up. There were some serious medical bills, probably $10-to-$12,000. $18,000 of credit card debt. And at one point, we were paying $200 a month in interest, just interest; it felt like a weight. You can – you can't get out of that type of cycle. I know He didn't make – He didn't put me in that position, but I called God up and I said, 'How are we going to get out of this?'” 

Despite the temptation to use their tithe to pay off their debt faster, James and Melanie remained obedient.

“Tithing was our, just continual every two weeks statement, we trust You, God,” shares Melanie.

Then in 2020, a recruiter called Melanie with a job offer that included a 20,000-dollar salary increase.

“I was saying, 'God, you know, my current job is so secure, it's so stable.' You know, what should I do? And He said very clearly in my spirit, 'There is no such thing as job security outside of me.' And I decided, 'Okay, I'm gonna make the jump.' A couple of months later I started hearing rumblings from my old job. They decided to eliminate a lot of administrative positions, including the position that I had,” Melanie.

James and Melanie were able to keep their jobs during the pandemic. Because of Melanie’s new job and salary increase, they paid off all their debt in three months. They’ve also made changes to their spending habits.

“When we paid off Emily's medical bill and the credit card bills, I was like, "Yes! Thank You, Father,” says James excitedly.

“If you are faithful over a few things, He'll make you ruler over many things,” says Melanie.

“He is true to His Word. He will honor His Word,” says James.

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About The Author


Cheryl Wilcox is a 700 Club Producer.