Just hours before my house caught on fire, the Lord told my pastor to change his message from Jude to one on Psalms 18:30, which basically says that the Lord's way is perfect, and he protects those that trust in him.
While I was in church listening to this message, my house was on fire, unbeknownst to me. The smoke detector woke up my dh, who saved my computer and the pictures contained inside (my hero), and put out the fire with the help of my neighbor who brought along a water hose after he used up our fire extinguisher on it.
When I got home and discovered that our house had been on fire, I was shocked. I still find it a little hard to believe. Isn't that one of those things that happens to other people? After finding out the real important information, that my husband was okay (and yes, the pictures), in a way you just have to let it sink in and figure out what to do next.
It looks like we've figured out what to do next, and I'm pretty happy about it. We're going to move to a new house, whether or not our house ends up being totalled or repaired, and we'll sell whatever house/land remains.
Our insurance company should give us the full amount that we are insured for for the contents of our house. The area that caught fire was the most expensive part of our house, with our computers, (musical) keyboard, a TON of software, etc. in that area. We also have to toss all of the baby's plastic toys because they could be toxic to him, all our plastic dishes, utensils, and kitchen tools, and there was smoke damage to everything in our house... some of it we will be able to clean, some of it is not cleanable. Anyway, we did a partial inventory of what was lost, and it easily adds up to our insured amount.
We put together a budget for what we plan on doing with this money, and we decided to turn our lemons into lemonade. As a fan of Dave Ramsey, sometimes I hear people call up and say "We're debt free! We sold all of our stuff on eBay, did this, did that, etc.". Well, we're not selling our stuff on eBay, but we have decided to NOT replace all of our stuff. We will replace some of our things, and use the rest of the money to pay off our car, pay off my student loan, and start an emergency fund.
We will have no debt payments, and our expenses will be lower because we will be living in family housing at dh's school. His job is right by our house, so we will save on gas because he can walk to class and is within minutes of work. The housing includes high-speed internet and cable television, so that will save us $100 a month as well. Since the house will be smaller than the one we were living in, we should have lower electricity bills as well. We're going to put together a budget, and for the first time in years, we will actually have a little money left over after paying for necessary expenses. So we should be able to slowly replace some of the other things that we lost over time, even if we don't buy them right away. And we won't be paying interest to the banks any more!
I don't recommend having a house fire to get out of debt, but at least in this case, we will be able to take a bad situation and use it for good.