Join us for the first Money Conversations episode on That Makes Total Sense! This week Alexis interviews Rachel Hendrick of Mercy Creates. As Rachel and her husband Jacob were going through their debt free journey, they were hit hard when a government program didn’t pay off like they expected. So, they started to pray and reach out to their friends to pray and God answered with a giant surprise! See more of Rachel’s story and her artwork at mercycreates.com
Hi everyone, I’m Alexis Busetti and welcome to That Makes Total Sense! So before we get into the conversation with today’s guest, I just wanted to introduce this type of episode. So most of you probably know that my main gig is personal finance coaching. I just love it. I love talking to people about money. I love hearing people’s money stories and I love being able to help them find creative solutions that they can live out their values when it comes to their personal finances. So we thought, why not take this to the air? So we’re going to do some episodes that we’re calling money conversations. And this is the very first one. I am so excited about it. It is with a woman named Rachel Hendrick who has an incredible story of how she and her husband were gifted a very, very generous amount of money from an anonymous donor.
Alexis: So I will let her tell this story. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that this not only change their, of course their debt payoff timeframe and all of that, but it really changed their perspective when it comes to money, how they interact with people, um, their perspective on generosity. So I cannot wait to get into this story and let you hear what Rachel has to say. More than that, I just think in these conversations as we continue them, I hope that we can learn from each other’s stories. The more we talk about it, the more we listen to each other, the more we can actually learn about money and how it affects us in our daily lives and hopefully get us on the track to building healthier relationships with money ourselves. So here you go. Here’s our conversation with Rachel Hendrick.
Alexis: All right, welcome again everybody to That Makes total sense! I am Alexis Busetti and we’re going to talk today with Rachel Hendrick. Rachel and I met on Instagram, which I feel like would be so weird if I would have said that five years ago. It would have been totally weird for me, but Rachel and I met on Instagram when we started following each other’s stories, probably through the #debtfreecommunity I’m guessing, something like that. Yeah. And so Rachel and Rachel and I both, um, post on our Instagram and sometimes it’s personal and sometimes it’s not, but Rachel’s, the story is beautiful, but what really drew me to Rachel’s account at the very beginning was her beautiful art, which we’ll get to at the end. Um, but Rachel is here with us and I’m going to let her give us just, um, some context. So Rachel, tell us a little bit about your family. Where do you guys live? What do you do? And then we’ll dive right into your story.
Rachel: Sure. So yeah, like we were saying, uh, we met over Instagram and I was honestly thinking about that today. I was like, how, how long have I known Alexis? Where did I actually, but I know that you started posting about money and your financial coaching. And I was like, I love money, so why wouldn’t I call? So I, and my husband, his name is Jake, um, you know, I call him Jake. Jacob is his full name. So Jacob and Rachel, just like in the Bible, we joke around. I know we joke around that. Um, it’s always been destined since we first met each other that we were supposed to be married. He likes to make the joke that there’s no, Leah and I always roll my eyes. We live in, uh, Matthews, North Carolina. It’s a city outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Um, and we, we both work full time. He’s a high school math teacher. Um, he’s been working for, uh, seven years, I want to say teaching and I’m a full time graphic designer at the Billy Graham Evangelistic association.
Alexis: Can we pause there? Because I feel like that’s a big deal to me that I’m, I mean, I should say I grew up like Southern Baptist of yeah. And so to be a graphic designer for the Billy Graham, I mean that’s, that’s just incredible to me. You’re using your gifts, but you’re, but you get to use it yeah. In, in a really unique way. So I love that.
Rachel: Oh, it’s so fulfilling. And I remember, so I’ve always wanted to be a graphic designer and I knew it was like, Oh, you get to make pamphlets and billboards and, well, well, blah, blah, blah, you know? But I always really wanted something that was more fulfilling and that had purpose and that had meaning, but I couldn’t necessarily find the right, the right place to use those skills until I got to the BGA. Um, that’s what we call it for short. But like grandma evangelistic association and the first day that I was there, um, I helped with web banners after. Um, so we have these campaigns, we send out web banners and emails asking people to pray when there’s been a disaster or a natural disaster. So the California wildfires for instance, was a natural disaster that we asked a lot of people to just, you know, come together and pray for that huge disaster. Um, and that was one of the things that I first started with and I was like, Oh gosh, aye. I’m not prepared. He wouldn’t do something like this meaningful on my first day.
Alexis: Wow, that’s huge. That’s huge. You’re like, give me, give me the fulfillment, give me all of this stuff. And then you’re there and God’s like, okay.
Rachel: I know you asked for it. And I did ask for it, but I wasn’t.
Alexis: So how long have you been with them and how long have you guys been married?
Rachel: So Jake and I have been married. We just celebrated our seventh anniversary. Congratulations. Thank you. I know seven years going strong and then I’ve been working, I’ll be coming up on my second year working at the Billy Graham evangelistic association, so it’s still pretty fresh. But I feel like I’ve been there for like 10 years with the amount of projects that I, that come along my desk. Um, we do a lot for Franklin, for will, for sissy. Um, and then the different, I call them clients like the Billy Graham library as a client, the rapid response team, um, the celebrations, the festivals, decision magazine, um, all of those are clients of ours that we make product products and projects for. So, you know, I’ve seen a lot in my time and I’ve been able to see like how far reaching the ministry is. It’s one of the largest evangelistic nonprofits in the world and it’s, I didn’t, I just didn’t even think about that when I applied and when I got there and it was like, Oh, I really am doing something meaningful. I know. <inaudible>
Alexis: Right. Go ahead and get that to you. I love that God would give that to you because he does. I mean, I feel like this is like a whole other topic for a whole other show. So maybe I’ll cover it some time. But the idea that he gives us our gifts and we get to use them to glorify him. We get used him to serve other people and we also get to use them to put food on our plates so that you guys can do that and that you get to do that and get an exchange for that, that you get to help feed your family. And Jake too as a teacher. And I feel like that’s kind of where your story, your back story kind of starts and where we’re going to get to. So Jake has been teaching for seven years and I want you to tell us about your, your journey with, um, with money, specifically your journey with debt payoff and how that was relating to Jake’s position as a teacher.
Rachel: Sure. So, um, to go from the very, very beginning, um, Jake has always known deep, deep, deep in his heart that God wanted him to be a teacher. Um, he didn’t know if he wanted to be a math teacher. He didn’t know if he wanted him to be an English teacher, but he knew he was going to be a teacher at some point. And in the very far future, at least we think of it as the very far future. We really have no idea. Um, he wants Jake and you know, at the time his future spouse, um, to be overseas. And so Jake felt a really deep calling to be, um, a teacher helping to rebuild the education system in North Korea. Um, yeah. And so small calling. I know, I know when you say, okay God send me God’s like, okay.
So when, whenever the time comes, I mean, there’s going to be a lot of things, you know, that have to take place first, uh, before the country’s actually open. But Jake really feels called to go to North Korea to help rebuild the education system. And so he, he wanted to be a teacher from high school and you know, clearly currently he’s still a teacher. Um, but in college he, he and I met in college, um, and he had this program that he was a part of where, um, it was a teach grant program. And in the program you had to agree to teach in a title one school. Um, are you familiar with title one? Oh, I was about to say, can you tell me and our listeners who may not know what a title one school is? Sure. So title one is, um, a school for those who are considered to be at risk, uh, vulnerable, who have a low income status and are, um, just kind of at the, I don’t want to say it’s at the bottom of the level, but it’s just not, it’s just not a good situation and they have a hard time getting funding and they have low performing scores.
So in the teach grant program, Jake had to commit to five years of teaching in a title one school after college and in, um, for him to, uh, sorry, um, for him to receive of $4,000 grant that he could be using towards his education, he would have to teach at a title one school for five years after college. So he was part of the program because he thought, well, why not, you know, the seed money that’s going to go towards my education and of course I’m going to be teaching after college. That’s where I’m going here for. Um, so he was part of that program for two years, so he had $8,000 total, um, in teach grants. So, you know, in college we met after college, we got married, uh, we moved to Charlotte and he started working in a title one school. Um, and it was a really, it was hard for him. Um, and it was hard for me, like it really put a stress on our marriage for him to be at a title one school because it was just, it was just a difficult situation to not have the support from the administration support from, um, teachers surrounding you. The students don’t want to be there. The parents are either there or they’re not involved with their kids or what the administration. So just overall it was really, it was difficult enough to go to work every day and then you’re at work and it’s like, nobody really wants me to be here. What am I doing here? Right. So it’s kind of like, it sounds like that’s part of what this program was designed to help with. Right? It’s like to get some bodies in those schools who do want to be there, who are kind of on fire for teaching. They’re young, they’re coming into the system and it’s like they can tell it’s broken. And it sounds like maybe that’s part of how they’re trying to fix it is offering these grants for these young people coming in who are passionate about teaching. Yes. Help and, and, and they want to get into that system. So now when you said he did that for two years, was he gonna I don’t, I’m completely ignorant to this program, but was he, he wasn’t going to have to teach for 10 years then it was just five years and then it would be doubled because he was part of it for too, yes. For two years in college. Okay. Yes, correct. All right. <inaudible> great. I just, I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page. Yeah. Right. Right. So he, um, he was part of the teach grant program for two years, so we got $8,000 in scholarships, but he still only had to commit to the five years of teaching in a title one school post-college. Got it.
Um, so, you know, he’s teaching, teaching, teaching, teaching, and he sends in his paperwork, he sends in everything that he needs to, uh, to the organization that offered the teach grants. And they, you know, they give their stamp of approval every single year saying, yes, we recognize that you’re working in a school, a title one school, um, these grants will not be converted into loans. That was the major thing that I forgot to explain that. Sorry. If you did not fulfill that commitment, the grants would then be converted into loans with compounded interest. Wow. Yeah.
Alexis: So they’re serious. You’re going to do, they’re not kidding. So commitment and yeah.
Rachel: You know, it was, it’s a serious commitment cause it’s, it was $8,000 for us and we were like, of course, well we can’t pay that.
We can’t have that. Yes. You have to go and teach. You must teach some way. Exactly. So he’s been doing this, you know, has to do this for five years and he’s still at the same school for four years. This is now at year four of our marriage. You’re four of his teaching commitment. And teaching career. It’s 2016 so really not that long ago. You know, it’s really like in my mind, it sometimes feels like it was 10 years ago, but it’s only been like three years. So 2016, four years into his commitment. Four years of us being married, he only has one year left. Excuse me. He only has one more year to go to fulfill his commitment and then he can start looking at other schools if he wants to or he can stay at the school. But he’s at least fulfilled that obligation of being at a title one school for five years. Right. I’m at the end of his fourth year. He has sent in his paperwork. Uh, but we receive a letter from the organization saying that they did not receive the paperwork.
Oh no. Yeah, a lot of twist. And so we were like, ah, I’d know. We’ve definitely sent it in. Um, there’s definitely a copy of it and the principal assigned it. The principal remembers signing it. I’ve been fulfilling my commitment. I’ve been showing up every single day to work. Like, what do you mean you can’t find this paper? Right. Um, so he’s contacting them, getting as much information as he can on the phone. Um, here I am helpless in the whole situation. It’s not, you know, it’s not really my world. It’s not my right, you haven’t been teaching and going to work and, right. Yeah. And it’s not like I can call them on my time cause I have, I have no idea what they’re talking about, the whole language of it all and the specifics and stuff. Um, so they say that they have not received the paper.
We try and appeal it and we tell them no. Like can we send you another copy? Please let us send you another copy. Your four or five please. And they say no. Um, so everything was converted from grants into loans with compounded interest at year four year? Yes. Yes. Wow. Right. We were, I mean even now as I’m thinking about it, my eyes are just kind of like watering a little bit cause it just, it just takes me back because I remember, um, him sitting on the couch in our apartment. We had a two bedroom apartment at the time. Um, you know, we still had a lot of debt. We had a lot of other loans on top of this one. Um, so for more context, we, when we got married, we had about hundred and 1,000 and $20,000 in debt. Wow. Yeah.
Alexis: Oh wow. That’s not recommended. Disclaimer Rachel and Alexis – neither one of us recommend that. I mean we both had, ours was about 80,000, so yeah. So disclaimer, do as we say now let’s get back. Yeah. But that is the, no, it’s important for the context. It’s important for the context because I think some people are probably thinking, Oh, 8,000 bucks. Even if you have a compounding interest, whatever you use or you figure it out. But this is like this, this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I mean this, adding this onto what you already have and you’re going, I’m a teacher, like teachers are not known for making these like killer salaries. Right.
Rachel: He wasn’t pulling in like a six-k salary every <inaudible>
Alexis: you’re trying to pull this off, you know, what were you doing at the time for a little bit?
Rachel: Right. So I was a graphic designer, um, and we’re really transparent about numbers. Um, I was making like $32,000 a year, right. I mean, nor a normal good salary. Right. But with both of our salaries combined, um, with all the debt that we had and we had been slowly paying down the debt, um, as we were married, but we still at the time, by year four, we went from 120 to about 65.
Alexis: Wow. You guys were killing it.
Rachel: Yeah. We were trying.
Alexis: Even thinking about that going from 65 and then you see yourself about, you know, potentially just bounce back up. It’s like, Whoa. Yeah, yeah. What happened? That’s so discouraging. I can’t even imagine. I know why your eyes are a little teary. Thank you. You know, we put ourselves in inside that emotion or going, no, that can’t be, we’ve worked so hard. We’ve done all of the things, right. Yeah. So they said, no, sorry to get us back on track. They said, Oh, you can’t send it back in for your four and five. So what happened?
Rachel: So we just, you know, we tried to appeal it. We tried to get legal counsel, we tried to do everything that we possibly could with the resources that we had to be able to like just do something about this. Um, but we soon realized that we just couldn’t, we couldn’t, you know, we couldn’t get any more, we couldn’t find any more jobs. We couldn’t raise our income any more than we already had. We couldn’t trick, he couldn’t transfer schools. You know what if, what if something by some miracle happened where they did find that paperwork again?
Alexis: You want to be there for your fine just in case. Yeah, I hear ya. Yeah.
Rachel: So we just came to a point of accepting like, okay, Oh, we just have to take it. It’s now close to 10 a dollars with the compounded interest. Yeah. Compound interest is not a joke. He tells his students every single year. He’s a math teacher, so he knows all the numbers. And he gets it and we’ve gone through it, right. Not mess with compounded and not if not, if you’re on the wrong end of it. Right. Right. And it is not, it is not child’s play. That’s not, Oh yeah. So we, you know, we just had to add it to our, our debt snowball. Um, you know, our whole like debt bucket. We had the 65, then we had the $10,000 to add to it. And before everything had really happened before the whole paperwork situation, we would sit down and say, okay, we can really tackle this in the next two to three years and then we can, um, start saving for a down payment for our house.
Then we can, cause we were living in an apartment. Um, we wanted to move and then we wanted to start thinking about having a family and, you know, just getting our lives moving forward into a different season because we were four years of being married, still young. And you know, we still felt like we had the rest of our lives, but we wanted to take care of the debt first. Um, before we really started any of that. So yeah, we have now $75,000, but with the extra 10, um, added into the whole thing and it was absolutely devastating because there went the whole conversation that we had had of getting a mortgage. Right. And buying a house and starting a family and taking a vacation. Right. That’s a huge setback. Yeah. I mean, it’s a huge setback financially, but even if, and you know, you can try and say, Oh, well it’s, it’ll, it’ll add this many months or it’ll add this much time.
But the emotional setback. All right. Wow. We weren’t expecting that. Like, we knew we were on our way down when it came to debt, not on our way up. And this wasn’t your choosing. It’s not like you’re going out and grabbed a credit card and we’re like, yeah, let’s go for a joy ride. Like, no, like this was completely out of your control. Completely out of your control. So what happened next? So we, at the church that we were attending, um, you know, we had kept everybody in the loop with what had been happened. From what had been happening from the beginning, from receiving the initial letter to any part of the appeal process that we were going through to any sort of researching legal counsel. We’d really been asking for prayer for wisdom and um, you know, just any type of direction on how to move forward with it because, you know, we hadn’t experienced anything like, and none of our peers had experienced anything like this.
Our parents hadn’t experienced anything like this. So we were the, uh, I don’t know a better word, but we were the trailblazers in figuring out how to go through the situation of having extra debt laid on top of you that you weren’t expecting, that you were unjustly given. Absolutely. Yeah. So everybody had been praying for us and then we just told them, you know, we just, we’re accepting it. We have this extra debt payment now that we have to pay for and we’re just going to keep moving forward. So, um, I’m at work and it’s during the summertime, so Jake is off for his break and he’s at a car shop because when it rains, it pours. And we, you know, we have a car in the shop on top of this whole situation and um, you know, he’s dealing with the dealership and trying to get things fixed and trying to figure out what’s going on.
And he gets a phone call from a pastor at our church who asked him if he could stop by cause he has something to give him. And Jake’s like, no, I’m sorry I can’t, my car’s in the shop. Can I come by later this week? And he said, sure, that’s totally fine. Um, when you can just let me know. So a few days later, um, Jake goes to the church and they meet and the pastor tells him, you know, there are people who have heard about your situation and um, they love you and you just go to a really generous church. And he handed Jake an envelope and Jake said, thank you, I appreciate it. And he took it to his car. Um, he opens it up and it’s a check for $12,000.
I mean, just stop there. There are people who are, who are like, I hope you’re not driving right now, you know, because it’s like 12,000, right?
Rachel: Yeah. Yeah.
Alexis: As in like a comma and three zeroes. $12,000? He didn’t open it in the pastor’s office?
Rachel: No, no, he didn’t.
Alexis: Opens it in his car….What did he do?
Rachel: He gave me a phone call. <inaudible>.
Alexis: I’m wigging, you know, I’m like, I can’t believe it. So good. Okay. Phone call, sound like?
Rachel: Oh, okay. So I’m at work, you know, and Jay calls me in the middle of the day, um, at this, at the current job that I was at, there weren’t any like work phones, so I didn’t have a direct line. So he’s calling my cell phone. So I’m like, what’s happening? Cause like, why are you calling me during my work hours on my cell phone? Like, something must be happening. Right. So he’s like, you know, I just, uh, left the church. Um, I was just talking to the pastor and I can’t believe it. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on, but we have a check for $12,000. I can’t, and I mean I excused myself from the broom because I mean, cause it’s not, you know, it’s not polite to just all of a sudden start talking and be like, what, what,
Alexis: What is happening?
You know, start freaking out there. And so one of my fatal flaws is that I hear things and I don’t really hear things. So he says, we have babe, we have a check for $12,000 it’s going to totally cover the loan. And I’m so happy and excited. I can’t believe like how God has provided for us in this way. In my mind, I heard, babe, somebody gave us $1,200 we’ll go like the rest of it just doesn’t even compute. And in my head, I go back to my desk and I’m thinking, Lord God in heaven, thank you so much for providing for the $1,200 that’s just so amazing.
Alexis: Hundred right?
Rachel: Yeah. 1200.
Alexis: Your math teacher has be like, Honey, there’s an extra place value with a zero.
Rachel: But I’m just so in shock because right. I mean who would have like $1,200 laying around to give somebody.
Alexis: Especially when you’re, especially when you’re in debt up to your eyeballs.
Alexis: The idea to think that 1200 as you mistakenly thought to have someone write a check for $1,200 yeah. When, when did your mind, when did he correct you? When did your mind wrap around…?
Rachel: In the car that day? Cause he picked him since one of the cars was in the shop.
Alexis: Right? Where’s the <inaudible> that’s right. You still have a car in the shop….
Rachel: cause when it rains it pours. So I’m in the passenger seat and I’m like and he’s driving. He just picked me up and I said, babe, I just, I can’t believe it. Like how incredible. That’s so amazing. I’m just so thankful that somebody gave us $1,200 like that’s so great. Like I’m thrilled.
Rachel: So excited. And he just looks at me and he’s like, Rachel, Rachel, it was 12,000 I just sat there with my mouth open. Like, excuse me. Like it wasn’t whole conversation. All over $1,000. Who, how does that right? You did.
Alexis: You said when you keep saying man, it’s raining. It’s pouring. I’m going to, I’m going to tell everyone. Before Rachel and I got online, I was telling her before we started recording in, in Houston, it was like, uh, my kindergartener isn’t in school yet, and so we were sitting having lunch and there was nothing, there was nothing. A few clouds rolled in and then it started torrential downpour. It was just this amazing amount of rain all at once, and my four year old, or my five year old now, he says to me, “Mom, I think I probably know why it’s raining.” And I said, “Okay, son, why is it raining?” And he said, “Well, because God probably planted something.” And I just thought when you, Rachel, when you’re talking about when it rains, it pours. And we always use that because yeah, it feels that way. We just got all this debt. Now we have even more debt now. The car’s in the shop. When it rains, it pours. But then it’s like, yeah, when it rains it pours and sometimes it’s raining. And God’s favor planted something in you and rain down a check for 12,000 right. I know you’re sitting in the car with Jake, it’s after work. And then like you have to replay the whole conversation.
Like what do you guys do? I mean you’re, you’re, you’re on this debt free journey, you’re doing your baby steps, you’re trying to get things going, baby steps by the way, it’s just like, you know, this kind of a Dave Ramsay made it famous of like how to get your financial life in order and the second of the baby steps is paying off all of your dad that that’s not right. And at the time you guys didn’t have a mortgage, so you’re working hard to pay all of this off. But, but I feel like it’s rare that people in that situation are handed that money. Yeah. Cause we weren’t at that, at that stuff. I mean we’re, we’re couponing and Uber driving at that step. We’re not being handed a check thousand dollars windfalls, don’t <inaudible> I mean, you know, sometimes you hear of that, but come on, I know you guys do.
Rachel: I mean we just kind of like, I mean I just sat there cause I had to replay the conversation in my head again for me and we, Jake deposited the check and he called the loan company, um, and said I want to pay off all of the loans. Yes. Every single one of like the from the teach grant, like this wasn’t going to cover all of our loans and we could not pay for all the loans but this was going to cover the teach grant situation turned into the loans with the compounded interest. Right. So we then got our two years back, like our, our life back. We say that again. I feel like you got what back with that and you got our life back. We got your life back. You got two years back. Yes. I cause someone didn’t do math teacher. Yeah.
Relating, you know, it’s going to take an extra two years on the trajectory that we’re going with our finances, with our salary. It’s going to be an extra two for us to be able to pay off everything as intense as we were going. And then we can start thinking about saving for a mortgage, right? Then we can start thinking about starting a family or taking a vacation or, you know, just being human being, being alive again. Right when he paid it all off, it was, we got those two years of our life back. Mazing what was so incredible and amazing. Again, I feel it in my eyes, like I just want to start crying because I remember how it was such a dark, um, oppressive cloud that was in our marriage to be able to have that debt on our shoulders, to have something that we couldn’t control and, um, that we weren’t going after and getting, like you mentioned before, we weren’t going out.
We didn’t like plan a trip to Italy and just, you know, go on a cruise and then hike the mountains and stuff and now we have $10,000 in debt. We, it was just given to us and we, we had to take it right. And so to have that forced on us, um, again, here, four out of five in his commitment, we were so close to finishing. And then also your four of our marriage, right? Like we’re still trying to figure out how we interact with each other as a married couple and how you, you yourself are as a human being in a married couple and finances and job and family relationships. Like it was so stressful to have that extra debt and that burden. And when he made that phone call to pay it all off, it was like, it was one of the best feelings ever. The next day at work. I was so happy, you know, smiling, laughing and my boss was like, you’re in a good mood.
And I’m like, did you guys start telling people what had happened? Um, so a lot of people had, um, we told our close friends in our close family, everything that happened. Um, this happened in the middle of the week. So we waited until that Sunday to tell our Sunday school class and her colony group and everything. But as soon as it happened, as soon as we are able to get everything deposited and paid off, we told everybody, wow. You know, they were all in that journey with us together from the beginning, from the very, very beginning of when Jake first accepted that teaching position at the end.
Alexis: But what an incredible testimony to them because I, you know, sometimes it’s like I’m not, I’m not going to dare put this on you guys, but I feel like even sometimes for me, I feel like maybe it’s human nature. We, it’s easy to relate a bad, it’s easy to relate a complaint or their prayer requests, but even sometimes, maybe when the, when the answered prayer isn’t quite that dramatic, we forget to come back and <inaudible> the look at what God did. You know, it’s like the story with the 10 lepers. It’s like how many came back and said thank you. You know, and to be able to share that with the people who were, who were walking that with you, like that’s an amazing testimony to them of God’s faithfulness and his goodness and his provision in your life. And to be able to see that in real life front, you know, front seat to what he was doing. That’s amazing.
Rachel: Right? There was not a dry eye.
Alexis: Oh, I’m sure. That’s incredible. That’s a crush. Yeah. Oh, go ahead.
Rachel: Oh, I was just gonna say so once everything, once all of that happened, we paid off that debt, then we really, really got intense with paying off the rest of the debt. Because I, in my head, I thought there is no way that this amazing gift that was given to us is going to go in vain. We’re not going to piddle around and like pay off the debt when we can or make minimum payments. Like, no, we, we went through financial peace university. We really got on that budget.
Alexis: Save you an emotional boost to like just really plow through what was left of your debt. Yeah. Because you know, I don’t know if you felt that way, but there would, I, I, I have, I imagine that part of you would have, I felt some sense of responsibility to this generous stranger, you know, to teach them of course, to the Lord and of course to each other, but almost to this generous stranger. I dunno if that was accurate, just to be like, you know, we want to do, we want to do well, you know, for the person or the people who blessed us with that. Like we want to continue continue in that. I mean, did that, was that part of it at all and you kind of, you’re, you’re thinking that you’re to move forward.
Rachel: Definitely. I thought in my head, like they gave us this amazing gift. Like that’s not just a hundred dollars. You know, it’s not just a $20 bill that you don’t feel like you feel $12,000 when you give it to somebody. Yes. Yes. No way that we cannot honor them.
Alexis: Right. That’s a good word. Yeah. To honor them. Yeah.
Rachel: We just can’t because they trusted us with it and they don’t know who they are. We still don’t know. And they want it to be anonymous. And we respected that decision and we did. We wrote them a thank you card. Um, I painted them a piece and gave it to the pastor that gave us that envelope so he could be the one to give it to. Amazing. Whomever gave it to us. Um, and yeah, they’re still so it’s still anonymous. They probably, I mean I think they still follow us and you know, our story, I really don’t know. Um, but we just, we both wanted to make sure that we did right by them. Yes. They weren’t disappointed and not our decisions and you know, so we really felt, um, I dunno if obligated would be the right word, but we really felt like we just, we just had to get it.
We had to pull it together, pull our phone, finances together. We had to get rid of the rest of this debt. We had to be in a place where we want it to be like them because we realized, Oh, this is bad. We were given an incredible gift by somebody else. We want to do the same thing. We want to be able to do in that type of financial position where we could support another young married couple who have a hard time or a friend who is going through like a surgery. Maybe you’re somebody who’s going through an adoption process. Any type of like situation that we hear about where money is, you know, money is that tool to be able to get them to that goal. We wanted to then become the person who could give them a gift that makes it a game changer.
Alexis: That’s amazing. I love that. I mean it is kind of that pay it forward thing but it’s also like a recognition of this isn’t some hight dream. You know like these people are real, they’re not like celebrities or they’re not somebody who is just like this far out there. You almost hear of them never rich person kind of in quotes. This is just like an everyday person who goes to our church and they have, you know, God has blessed them and they have been disciplined and put themselves in a position as well where they can do that, where they can and you know that they got as much joy out of giving that as you get out of receiving it, which is just so beautiful. So how long did it take you guys once you really, that motivated you? I mean, to be fair, you guys were, you guys were crushing it before. Like I said, I’m, you guys were doing the right stuff, but I know this gave you like an extra boost of adrenaline. So to wrap that part of your journey up, how long was it that you guys, uh, how long much longer did it take before you guys were down to zero debt?
Rachel: Like a year.
Alexis: Wow. Is that real life?
Rachel: Yeah. No, we, so every loan situation paying off receiving that gift happened in 2016 and we became debt free in the fall of 2017.
Alexis: That’s incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Rachel: Yeah, no, I was selling things left and right. I mean, I was, wow. I have that very narrow mind where we have a goal, we’re going to make that goal happen. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing, what I have to sell, what job I’m going to be picking up in the next like two or three days or three months. Like we’re going to meet that goal. So I was selling things. Um, Jake founds, he was trying to pick up a few part time jobs. I at the place that I was working at currently, I asked for a raise. I got it. You know, I was just like, we’re doing this. I’m not, I’m, I was so because I, I kept listening to the Dave Ramsey show and I would listen to it as I was working out and it would always get to that hour where they have the debt free screams and the will telling their
Alexis: Talking about tearing up. I mean, when we were going through our journey and even afterwards and when I started coaching, I started listening to it again because I’m like, I want to remember that feeling. Right. It’s so emotional, right? Like to just have, cause you said you got your life back and to, to remember that experience of freedom or to look forward to that experience of freedom.
Rachel: Right. It’s amazing. Yeah. And so, um, so I guess it’s going really personal because you now know that when I hear things, I don’t really hear that. I also talk to myself. And so while I was at the gym, I would, you know, just have that whole conversation with Dave of guy. What was the moment four months ago that you decided that you were going to write on the treadmill? Making my story up and right. You know, it was just that was really empowering and fueling for me to be able to keep moving forward, to pay off the debt, to stay focused. And yet in 2017 we became debt free. We started saving for a mortgage and um, we purchased a house the next year.
Yeah. And it’s incredible because like we learned in financial peace university, you know, we really love that illustration where you have that it’s the hand illustration. Um, people often think, well, let me hold on tight to my money. Let me hold on tight to my resources because this is what I have and I don’t know that I can quite give it up because I need it for myself right now. Or you can have an open hand to be able to give those resources to give that time, that energy, that money away. And when your hand is open, it also allows for God to be able to put blessings into it.
Alexis: Amen. Amen. I love that illustration as well. I love that illustration. When I led a financial peace university class earlier this year, I was going back through the videos cause it had been awhile and that last lesson on generosity and stewardship, I told a good friend of mine, I said I need to watch this once a year, maybe once every six months just to remind myself of things like that of that illustration having the open hand because if you have a fist, yeah you get to hang on to everything you have. But if you guys had had a fist, I mean God’s probably not going to try and just smash a check for $12,000 <inaudible> to drop it in. If you have your hand, if you have your hands open. I mean that wasn’t anything you guys did. No, right. The Lord, you know and so you guys have witnessed it firsthand.
Alexis: Thanks to your sharing, your straight, your, your close friends and family and your church group that to witness it first thing and then thank you to being on the show because now everyone listening here can, can be a witness to, to this type of testimony and say this is real. I mean before we were recording, what did you say? You were saying something like this, this really happens is something like this isn’t, this is free yet. Like you see this type of thing happening in movies and you see it in books and you like see on your 30 minute sitcom or whatever. Like everything wraps up at the end of 20 minutes and you’re like, Oh yeah, script writers. Wait, I never think that it’s going to happen to you. And of course I need growing up. Um, I never thought that, you know, we would be in that situation and I never thought I would experience God and such a direct and visible and tangible way.
Rachel: And it’s just incredible because, you know, we’re still, it’s still just Jake and Rachel Hendrick and Matthews and Carolina. Like, who are we really? Nobody really knows except like Instagram circle and followers and our church friends and stuff, but that God just provides for everybody and not just for celebrities or for these please and stuff, but he provides for the everyday person. Yes, we’re willing and open. Yes, he sees you exactly where you are and he and, and, and it’s like when Jesus talks about in the gospels that he sees the Sparrow and he provides for the flowers. Of course he’s going to provide for us because we’re so much more valuable to him than all of those things. So thank you for sharing all of that with us. I’m I love and I just want to highlight again how that, those moments, that moment that checked for you changed then just change that one small part of your world.
Alexis: It motivated you, it gives you something to look back on. I mean I earlier in the podcast, I think it’s episode two, I share how God gave me a car and it was 20 almost 20 years ago now is about 17 years ago. But I still keep going back to that because it was so foundational for me and I think about the children of Israel when they were coming out and God told them places stone here as a Memorial and when your kids ask you why is that stone there? And when they asked you, then you’ll tell them this is what God did, you know, and this to me, I don’t want to put words in your mouth that this to me is one of those stone moments for you. Just like my car was a stone moment for me. So it’s like not just the people around you, but when you guys have kids and when you have other people who are coming along that are a little bit further behind you in the process, you know, it doesn’t mean God’s going to work out everything for them exactly how he did it for you. He’s doing it unique for your situation, but it gives, it gives you a boost in your faith and it gives them a boost in their face to say God can do anything. Right. He can do anything. Look what he did here at this stone in that moment in 2016. You know what he did. So thank you for sharing that. Again. I do. We talked a lot about your past, but I want to talk about what you’re currently doing because I want everyone to see the art that you’re creating and some of the projects that you’ve been working on lately. I just took another peak at your Psalms project. So as we wrap up, can you just tell everybody a little bit about your, your baby project that you’re working on now? People can view it and how people can get in touch with you and follow you on Instagram, um, and, and how they can get in touch with you real life, Rachel Hendricks.
Rachel: Sure. So right now, um, my company, my business is called mercy creates because, uh, from his mercy, it’s now created opportunities for us to be able to live in freedom, to um, create hope to create all these other, you know, great things that we just don’t realize that we needed or we knew that we could have had had we not experienced his mercy. And so it’s all based off of my watercolor art and the Psalms project, which I’m so, I’m so happy it’s done. Here’s a big thing. And I didn’t realize how big of a thing it was until I really started, I guess another personal thing, I just kind of jump into projects and then I’m like, Oh, this is a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be. They have some beautiful,
Alexis: I’m glad you stuck it out and finished it because it’s really beautiful.
Rachel: Thank you. It’s one. So the idea of the project is that I’m taking one line from each chapter of the book of Psalms and I’m illustrating it on a watercolor piece of art. Um, because our lives are just, they’re so fluid, there’s, you know, ups and downs and nothing is really ever structured like we think it’s going to be. And that’s just what happens in watercolor. You think the paints going to go here and it actually goes there and it makes this color instead in every piece. There’s also gold leafing or copper leafing applied. And that’s to help remind us that God is still present in our lives. He’s still there. You know, he might be in the corner, he might be on the side, he might be in the middle of the piece, but he’s still there. Um, in our lives working through us.
So I finished all 150 pieces and I’m turning it into a book. It’s an art journaling books. So each piece gets its own page and on the opposite side of it will be the verse and the reference that inspired that piece. And there’s lots of space for people to journal their own thoughts, their notes, they can doodle. And then on some pages I also have the reasoning why I chose that verse and why it’s special to me. So I’m self publishing it and it’s a big, it’s another big project where I thought, Oh, I’m so excited to do this.
Alexis: Oh, what it is. It is beautiful. Everybody just go check it out. So at on Instagram you’re at mercy creates is that, and then tell us how, where, where we can reach you everywhere else.
Rachel: So on Facebook it’s @mercycreates, um, Instagram, @mercy_creates. Um, and then I’m on Etsy as etsy.com/shop/mercy creates shop. And I also have a website, mercycreates.com. So there’s lots of channels, lots of ways for people in their social media preferences and accounts. But if you search Rachel Hendrick, mercy creates through Google, you’ll find you’ll find me somehow somewhere.
Alexis: Awesome. And then we’ll put the links up and we’ll put, we’ll put all of this when we have this episode. We’ll put all of those things out there for everybody so that they can get in touch with you and um, and follow your work and the beautiful things that you do. And I love that too because it shows, um, I think sometimes when we are in the midst of something, like we’re working really hard on like, you know, getting out of debt or trying to get to the next step in our financial freedom or our financial journey. Um, sometimes it feels very, like you say, kind of like, it feels kind of narrow. Like, okay, this is the thing, but I feel like, um, this can be your story and your art can be a reminder of the fact that we’re whole people, you know, and that, that the money part is just one portion of it and the, and it’s not just all about money.
It’s like when we can work hard and clean up our messes and, and ask God to give us the discipline and the blessings to be able to do that, then we really are, like you said, we get our life back. We get released to do things that he has really, really called us to do. And you do that without the restraints and without the anxiety and without the worry of how the having all of those other things on your back. And so I love that you’re creating this because I feel like we can see it in your art. We can see that freedom of expression in your art and the things that you’re doing now. And it’s like you don’t have these other things holding you back and you have this testimony of God wanting to push you forward and give you those, you know, give you those opportunities to spread your wings and do what he’s called you to do. Right. Thank you. I love it. All right, thanks Rachel. We’ll talk soon. Awesome. Thank you so much. Bye bye.
All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation. And listen, if this sounded really interesting to you and you have a money conversation that you want to have on air, if you have a money story that you want to share or if you have some questions that you think, Oh my goodness, I’ve been struggling with this and probably there are other people out there who are to then email me, get in contact with me, you can reach me firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about getting you online so we can share your story with everyone too. So again, this is Alexis Busetti with That Makes Total Sense! Reminding all of us, myself included that we can do well for ourselves. So that we can do good for others. Thanks.