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calendar13 September 2017

Author: Kylie Carmichael

‘I thank God CAP came along to let the light in and help us get debt free.’

‘I thank God CAP came along to let the light in and help us get debt free.’

It was dark. I remember walking about as a shadow of myself. It all started really because I didn’t know how to budget. There were so many bills gathering up and I didn’t know if what was coming in would be enough to pay what we were spending. I started borrowing from doorstep lenders and the pressure just grew and grew.

At the time I had four children, all under the age of six. My partner, Gareth, and I were skipping meals and going without to make sure the kids would have enough.

We argued about money constantly. It put such a lot of strain on our relationship. The debts sent me into depression and anxiety. I was very low, and even though I was surrounded by people, I felt alone. I didn’t talk to anyone about what was going on – I just buried my head in the sand and hoped it would go away. It wasn’t a nice place to be. I remember the sleepless nights and desperately wanting to just disappear under the covers and forget about life.

I was broken. If it wasn’t for the kids, I don’t like to think where I’d be now. I thank God that CAP came along.

I was speaking to a friend in my local church outreach centre and charity shop, and she asked if everything was alright with my finances, if I was in debt. I’d never spoken to anyone about my problems up until that point. It turned out she’d been through the same thing and had become debt free with CAP’s help.

She said they could help me too, but I was reluctant. I wasn’t a Christian at all, and every time I heard 'Christians Against Poverty' I just thought ‘How can they help me? What can they do?’

But they were the loveliest bunch of people! They came to the house and I felt so comfortable with them as they explained that loads of people go through this, but that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Suddenly it wasn’t so stressful.

They told me we wouldn’t lose our house. And there was the reassurance of having someone there if we needed anything. It was such a weight lifted off our shoulders. It eventually became clear that insolvency was the best solution for us, and CAP guided us through the process.

I didn’t think I was good enough to walk with God, but gradually I learned that nobody is better than anyone else and that God accepts everyone if they just choose to let him in. I welcomed him into my life and it’s never been the same!

Our family was invited to go away for a few days on a Discovery Break. Gareth wasn’t a Christian and he was really unsure at first, but at one of the workshops he broke down – there and then he asked God into his heart! It was honestly the happiest day of my life. Being debt free is a bonus!

Nowadays I can manage our budget, I walk about with a smile from ear to ear and my family is so much happier and more settled. I thank God CAP came along to let the light in and help us get debt free.

My advice to anyone else going through what I went through is this: talk about it. Don’t close the door and think that there’s no help out there – there is big help out there!

Kylie is a mum of four from Northern Ireland, whose struggles with mental ill-health and debt are captured in this year’s CAP Sunday film, Still. Click here to watch the full film and to find out more about hosting a CAP Sunday in your church.

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