Since then I have been privileged to watch thousands of people use simple principles to turn their lives around, to get out of debt and go on to live reasonably and within their means. I’ve seen divorces diverted, marriages restored and families preserved.

If all of this sounds too easy, understand this is the condensed version of my life. Nothing happened overnight. In fact, it took 13 years to reverse 12 years of financial damage and to pay back the more than $100,000 in unsecured debt we’d amassed including everything we borrowed to get into that “business.” But we did. We paid back every single dime of interest, penalties and principal.

Did developing financial harmony in our marriage promote a new kind of intimacy we’d never known before, or did the intimacy promote the harmony? Whichever way it happened, I am thankful it did. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but we did start talking about money and those kinds of issues that reside deep inside in that place we rarely allow anyone to enter. It was many, many years before I understood the relationship my childhood dreams had on my adulthood behaviors. But figuring that out and then choosing to confront the beliefs as false and unworthy to shape the way I live my life was a real turning point for me.

In the past the changes I made in my behavior were strictly external. They were put on to impress others or to get Harold off my back. But now I began to change from the inside out. It was only as God changed my heart and my desires that I experienced lasting and meaningful change.

One of the most gratifying aspects of what I do is to have readers tell me I’ve changed the direction of their lives. If that has been so for even one person, I am blessed because I know my passion has found purpose. In that, I have found unspeakable fulfillment.

The scars of financial recklessness and irresponsibility will be with us always. There’s not a day that goes by that I am not in some way reminded of the wasted years, the lost opportunities. We will never be able to make up what we didn’t save for retirement during the years that would have counted the most. We will always wonder what might have been. But one step at a time, we continue to make progress. And every day I offer my thanks for how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned.

I know that who I am today is the sum total of all I’ve been in the past, all the things I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had. Every day I acknowledge how easily I could go back to my old ways that my dignity and self-worth do not come from possessions and my value is not in the color and quantity of my credit cards.

When I prayed for God’s forgiveness for the horrible mess I’d created and asked for help to rebuild my life, I never dreamed he would do all of that and so much more. I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined. And with that blessing comes a responsibility to share with others what I’ve learned.

About The Author

Mary Hunt, award winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist, sought-after motivational speaker, and Woman You Should Know, has created a global platform that is making strides to help men and women battle the epidemic impact of consumer debt.

Debt Proof Living SiteMary is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a highly regarded organization consisting of an interactive website, a monthly newsletter, a daily syndicated column and hundreds of thousands of loyal followers. Now in its twentieth year, DPL is dedicated to its mission to provide hope, help and realistic solutions for individuals who are committed to financially responsible and debt-free living.

As a speaker, Mary travels extensively addressing conferences, corporations, colleges, universities and churches at home and abroad. A frequent guest on radio and television, she has appeared on dozens of television shows including “Dr. Phil,” “Good Morning America,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Dateline.”

Mary lives with her husband in Orange County, California.

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