“How are you going to put shoes on their feet?” my father asked when we announced that baby number three was on the way. My mother sighed and said, “What about college?”
Discouragement on every side…just by having a precious little baby.
That was twenty years ago. We went on to be blessed with five more babies, making it a grand total of eight. During that time we were either missionaries (supported by the gifts of others), self-employed, or without a job. I stayed home full time with the children, sometimes writing magazine articles or trading meals for violin lessons or my freshly ground wheat for a friends organic chickens (I got the better end of the deal on that exchange). The only thing predictable about our income was that it always changed:).
We went through some very lean years and I learned a lot about trusting and waiting on the God of the Bible who calls Himself Jehovah Jireh My Provider. He has never failed.
We did not rely on any government help except for a short time when we were urged to get on W.I.C. (Woman Infant Child Program) when we had our first baby. It was that experience on W.I.C. that opened our eyes to how those programs work. We “qualified” for W.I.C. by being “low income” yet when we saw a news story about what income level was considered “low” or “poverty” we realized that the guidelines were quite high. We didn’t like the government defining what “poor” was and then using those same statistics to urge for an increase in taxes to support those programs. We also realized that our own sinful tendency was to tell ourselves that because we qualified for programs such as W.I.C. we were “needy.” We certainly didn’t need anymore encouragement to feel sorry for ourselves so we opted out of government “help” and I went back and read stories from the Great Depression and how hard life was for some folks back then. It helped me keep our “poverty” in perspective.
I will say that I am a big believer in grassroots programs like Gleaners an organization that contacts local farmers to pick up the leftovers from their harvest and distributes them among members as well as the elderly and shut-ins. Most Gleaners organizations require members to volunteer a certain number of hours a month. Our experience has been that it is a minimal amount of hours (maybe 2-10 hours a month). In these types of programs everyone benefits and low income able-bodied people can work to help meet their own needs.
I’ve stayed at home with our eight children for 26 years now and God has always provided.
I was never able to afford to stay home with my babies but I made the commitment believing that they needed to be with their mama. It was humbling to go through hard times and not have all the “things” that every good mother feels like she should provide for her children…yet we had the best “thing” of all…we had each other. I learned the discipline of giving thanks in all circumstances and I matured. It was good for me.
I had to sacrifice and be much more creative as I learned to substitute ingredients, creatively decorate and celebrate special days with little money and pray for ideas and help from the Lord when I felt I had nothing left to work with. My biggest obstacle was my own self-pity.
It was humbling to receive from my brothers and sisters in Christ when I wanted to be the one in a position to give but our faith grew from seeing God prompt His people to meet our unspoken needs.
My husband’s income has steadily increased as he has developed a strong work ethic and advanced in his career (if you hear in the news that seven American engineers were instrumental in purifying the contaminated water in one of the Japanese nuclear power plants you’re hearing about my genius of a man:).
Of course, there will always be financial ups and downs for our government as well as our family but God commands us to do what is “good” regardless (read all of Timothy).
There is a reason why God exhorts us over and over in His word saying, “Do not fear…I am with you.” The last time I checked there were enough “do not fear” verses to read one each day for every day of the year.
Do not fear dear sisters in Christ. We can trust the Lord Jesus with our future. We can pray for the Lord’s provision for our precious families and then we can roll up our sleeves and work diligently to accomplish much with what He has provided whether it is lavish or not.
Lady Lydia has written the kind of post that I return to again and again to be reminded of the importance of what I do in the home. Be encouraged today!