For thirty-eight years I haven't drunk alcohol. I haven't smoked. I’ve lived a very clean life, but what I did was this. I got drunk on the economy. I got drunk on the “It's all successful. Everything is good. Everything is wonderful” attitude. It was great. I had plenty of money. I was making a $150,000 a year with my construction business. I had six rental properties. We lived in a brand new 4,200 square foot lake house. All of a sudden, the bottom fell out of everything. Through that experience, I learned a new word. It took me a few years and a heart attack to learn the word. The word is “simplicity.”
Let me tell you the story of our house that we had on the “For Sale” market for $899,000. We dropped the price to $799,000. Someone made a low ball offer of $650,000. My family said, “Hold on to it, Joe. Hold on to it.” I should have sold it. The bank finally foreclosed when my mortgage balance was $413,000. I lost a quarter of a million dollars on that one house. I lost my rental properties. I had two foreclosures. I had my truck repossessed. The shame, the pain, the humiliation of having to tell our children, “We lost this, and we lost that. We don't have money for college anymore.” It was an awful struggle of letting everything go. We moved out of that 4,200 square foot house, and for the next twenty-four months, we lived in a 240 square foot RV (Recreational Vehicle).
My wife and I have kept our lives together because we have a vision that the most important thing is that we love God, we love one another, and we're not going to bite and devour one another because our whole financial infrastructure is falling apart. Out of everything crumbling around us, our faith and trust in Jesus Christ has remained firm. I grew through the pain of the big bad “B” word, bankruptcy. Well, bankruptcy is not more powerful than the cross of Jesus Christ.