GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

A Helping Hand


Imagine, hating the grocery store.  Hating the looks you’ll know you’ll get.  Hating the snide comments from those behind you.  The cold glares.  The change in demeanor once they see your debit card isn’t really a debit card.

“She has too many children”

“Maybe if she didn’t have that expensive purse, nice shoes, etc”

“She should just get a job”

and on it goes.

I NEVER thought I’d be on the receiving end of these comments.  Confession:  We used to use WIC – briefly – I was told by a cashier when I had a few extra dollars and bought a cross stitch magazine that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy stuff like that if I had to use WIC.

WIC is totally different than what I face now.

I purposely seek out stores that have self check out or chose a line that looks like I can get in and out quickly.

I’ve had a cashier be so friendly then when I bring out our food assistance card, commonly called Food Stamps, she then ignored me and began a conversation with a bagger, letting me know I was no longer worth her time.

I’ve seen many a meme going around about how terrible it is that we abuse the system, there should be drug testing because all food assistance people are using drugs or selling their benefits for drugs, or what have you.

I understand there are many who do use the system, who abuse it and who may use drugs and so on.  I am not that person, not all of us are.

I’ve been asked by fellow Christians, “doesn’t your church help you?” or put another way “Christians shouldn’t use food stamps, go to your church.”  Really?  I love our church – they are great, godly people but we are also small – very small and most are elderly and on fixed incomes, how is my church to provide food for 4 people, 3 of those VERY hungry children who eat a lot?  I agree churches should do as the Bible (and God) says to help the widows and fatherless.  Our church has and is supporting us but they simply can’t support us financially – I don’t see where in the Bible that the Lord said it had to be financially.

That said – and I’m going to be honest here, we get a measly $169 a month in food benefits.  4 people – $169 a month.  I get the same amount of food benefits as a single person with no children.  We spend that a WEEK.  My son alone could probably eat that much a week on his own, if I let him, and never gain a pound!  Trust me we are not rolling in the money here with what we get in food assistance.  I will not divulge what I get in survivors benefits – I will tell you our yearly income has been cut in half, maybe even more if I took the time to figure it what hubby used to bring home to what we get in benefits.

Out of our monthly survivor benefits I have to pay our utilities, clothing, shoes, curricula, needed repairs, gas for the car, vehicle repairs, and anything else that comes up and food.

The donations that were given to us are being kept safe and not being used unless I absolutely need them.  If you feel led to donate there are instructions on how to do so on the right side of my blog, and thank you if you do donate.  I know there will be months that something comes up and there is zero money left.  I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who have given generously to us – it will help in these months of trying to figure everything out.

Now to answer some of those comments I mentioned above:

1.  I have three children.  3.  That isn’t 10 or 20. 3.  I cannot have anymore children because I no longer have a husband, to infer that the reason I’m on food assistance because I have too many children is ridiculous and hurtful.  If Don was still here we’d welcome more children, but I’m not one of those women who is on food assistance because my children’s dad has walked out and abandoned us, I’m not on F.A. because I’m having more children just to get benefits.  Unfortunately, many cashiers and the people in line behind me only see a woman with three (too many) children using food stamps, which they mistakenly believe I’ve never worked.

2.   Something else people don’t consider is that maybe that purse I got for free by simply holding a Thirty-One party and I paid $0.  Maybe my nice shoes were a gift from my mom.  My clothes are nice because they were bought before hubby passed and I’m not hard on them.  Just because what is on my body doesn’t mean I’m abusing the system.  Should I and my children, because I’m on food assistance, be wearing dirty, ragged clothing?  Then there will be those who claim I can’t care for my children and should therefor not be allowed to have them anymore.  it’s a vicious cycle, one that I can’t win.

3.   I do have a job – it’s called being a homemaker.  I worked, I had several jobs ever since I could work, I’ve worked.  I’ve paid into the system everyone wants to say I haven’t.  My husband worked and paid into the system.  My job right now is to be a mom to my children and continue to educate them at home, as my husband told me was his desire should anything ever happen to him.  By the way, for those who may want to still further say something – I’m an United States Navy veteran – yep at one time I was protecting you and your ‘right’ to say these things about my children and I.

I’m writing this, not to point fingers at any one person, I’ve been there.  I’ve been the cashier looking down on that mom in my line.  I’ve been the person behind her (or him) thinking well if only they………  Just remember as you stand behind that mom or that dad – you don’t know their story.  Take your thoughts captive.

Maybe that mom, like me, has lost the love of her life and is trying to keep things as normal as possible.  Remember she isn’t getting $1,000’s a month, she’s still finding it hard to make ends meet.  Maybe she needs a smile, instead of your glare or ire, maybe she needs to know that it’s okay she’s asked for help, even if it’s from the government.  If she’s a Christian like me, she doesn’t need condemnation from the church, she needs prayer, she needs support.  Maybe if we weren’t all treated like trash, criminals, drug users then maybe we could hold our heads up in the store like the rest of the world, instead of fearing that check out lane, we’d be treated like everyone else.

Again, because I know someone will forget what I’ve said – I know there are exceptions, I’m not blind, I know there are those on assistance that are abusing the system and yes there should be ways to weed those out but again, not everyone on assistance is like that or desires to be like that.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Book Crash Review: Bible Study for Busy Mamas Thirty Days in 1 Corinthians 13 by Pam Forster


About the Book:

1 Corinthians 13 is a full-blown description of love – not a sentimental or romantic feel-good love, but a practical, where-the-rubber-meets-the road, perfect love – the kind of love only Jesus has fully accomplished.

This study won’t just tell you to try harder at loving. As you spend time studying God’s Word, you’ll encounter love personified — the perfect love Jesus embodies — and knowing His love for you will motivate you to love others like He does.

Busy Mamas studies take a simple but deep approach to Bible study, divided into bite-size portions that will leave you encouraged and excited as you discover that you do have time for meaningful Bible study.

By giving you short study assignments, five to ten minutes per day for thirty days, this book will help you make time to thoroughly study 1 Corinthians 13 and learn about true, Christ-like love.

View sample pages and find ways to purchase at Doorposts.

 

My Opinion:

I had the chance to review this Bible study by Pam Forster based upon I Corinthians 13 AKA the Love Chapter, because it tells us what love is – patient, kind, and what love is not – boastful, envious.  It’s geared to be a 30 day study, just like the other one I reviewed here.  While most studies that are supposed to be for ‘busy mamas’ usually turn out to not be for busy moms – this one is different, it doesn’t have to be done at a set time, the study assignments are relatively short between 5 to 15 minutes if I had to give a time of course this depends on how deep you get into it.  If you have a lot of time one can easily delve more deeply into the study but if you don’t even just doing the the basic assignment will give you enough study information to go on – just getting into God’s Word is what matters.

My ESV journal Bible – the first entries I made. Hearts around the words love and charity and other colorings/decorations. Very relaxing.

The only supplies you’ll need are your Bible (you can use any translation you like), although you’ll want to have either online access for Blue Letter Bible, or have an exhaustive concordance and various other translations of Bibles for the word studies.  I like the online way as I don’t have a lot of table space but Pam also recognizes not everyone will have online access or even like it so she does tell you how to do the study without the online portions.  Also needed are some colored pencils, high lighters (if you’d like to make in your Bible otherwise you can do it on your paper), something to write with and paper.  This study is really just a guide, you can use it as you need to in your life without feeling like you’re doing something wrong, like me I’m not doing it every single day but more like every other or every two because I’m soaking up the information from the other days.

Another feature that this one has is a complimentary children’s study – they’ll be studying the same chapter you are, I Corinthians 13, but doing it with you (as a family, just you and the children, or you can omit it entirely) with their own assignments.  It is great for both the little children and older ones and ideas are given for both so no one needs to feel left out or behind.  I have not personally included my children in this one but since I enjoy it so much I will more than likely go back and try to do just the children’s part with them after I finish the study.  It’s a great way to include the children and get them growing in God’s Word and since everyone does the same chapter you’ll all be on the same chapter, no need for each child to have their own guides or for a teacher’s guide.  This is a fantastic Bible Study for busy mamas!

 

 

 (c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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I have HOPE


I have hope.

I didn’t think that I would be able to ever say or think that again back in December of 2014.

I knew then and I know now that God is there – He is for me and with me BUT in the midst of grief, caring for my children, planning a funeral – one doesn’t recognize that all the time – all you can personally feel, see, touch, taste is the grief.

Overwhelming grief.

I’ve lost before – all my Grandparents are gone.  I lost class mates in high school.  I’m no stranger to loss but I’ve never lost a spouse and that is a loss so different from losing a friend, a Grandparent – it rips a hole in your heart, your mind, your soul that feels like it will never mend.

Going to bed alone at night.

Reaching for a hand that isn’t there.

Wanting to make a phone call to a person who can’t answer.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we are told (not including the whole text here):

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no where near acceptance but I’m finding it a little bit easier to find hope in the everyday.

I don’t dread going out into public like I did the first two months.

I can tell people easier, not without tears, but I’m not hysterical like I was in January had someone asked.

There is still a time to weep and we just did that on Sunday in church as a young lady sang a song about earthly and Heavenly dads.

There will be no dad to protect my girls from boys.  Their husbands will never know the man they are measured against.

So we are still weeping.

We are laughing – when we remember Don’s laugh or one of his many sayings:

“It builds character”

We can remember him with laughter and I find myself laughing at life.  Watching my son at a karate tournament, where even though he didn’t place, he was MUCH improved from the last one – Don would be happy.

Lately, I’ve been taking solace in journaling and Bible journaling – drawing, writing, painting, and stamping in my Bible gives me a relaxing way to get into God’s Word and soak it up.  Many verses have been speaking to me and one day I’ll have a keepsake my children and grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren can treasure and see the legacy I’ve left for them.

March 9th was Don’s birthday.  He would have been 45.  On the 13th we marked the 3 month mark of his passing.

We put flowers and released balloons at the cemetery.  We laughed.  We laughed that he would have been upset that I spent good money, even if it was only $6.99 for crazy daises.  We laughed that he would complain I spent too much money on his casket.  We cried that he was gone.

We also agreed that on this birthday he didn’t have to go to work, he was not in ANY pain, he wasn’t stressed about bills.  We cried that he isn’t here, I know he’s with the Lord but he isn’t here and so we come back to the point where I’m not at acceptance.  Even three months later I’m still waiting for him to come through the door, although not as much as I was in December.

The sound of his laughter is fading.  The sound of his voice is fading.  The feel of his soft skin and beautiful hands is fading.  The only smell of him is what is left in his cologne bottle.  My son even told me the other day, I can’t remember what dad sounded like.

This post isn’t about tears though – it’s about hope and while I feel guilty for laughing, for living, I also know Don would not want me wallowing in sorrow.  He was never one to let the world get him down, oh he may have gotten sad, or mad but he wouldn’t stay down.  He would want me to have hope.

The sun has been out quite a bit lately and that helps.  It tells me spring is here, even if it’s still cold,

The Son gives me hope for where I’ll be when I pass – while the Bible tells us there will not be husband and wife, mother or father in Heaven, I think we’ll know each other and I’ll get to see Don in his glorified body.  I’d like to think he’ll be there waiting for me with our baby we lost, standing next to my Grandparents and Great Grandparents, welcoming me home and the Lord most of all and I pray to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”.

So I have hope – yes there are still days of tears and pain but there is also the days of laughter and joy.  Even as I finalized the order for our cemetery marker I felt a bit of hope – it wasn’t too fancy but honors who we are/were – husband and wife, son and daughter, and the parents of three wonderful, if sometimes trying, children.  It symbolizes our faith and will show the legacy we’ve left.

Hope, because sometimes that is all we have to hold to.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: How Many Time Do I Have To Tell You? by Rachael Carman


About the Book:

How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? (Apologia Educational Ministries, September 2014)

You’ve probably said these things to your kids, but have you listened to what you’re saying?

“I remember the day you were born.”

“Turn down the music!”

“This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.”

“Hold my hand.”

Your heavenly Father wants to tell you many of these same things. Rachael Carman knows how noisy it can be when you’re raising children—she has seven! But this lovely devotional book will help you to hear God’s still, small voice amid the chaos of carpools, cut fingers, and carpet crawlers. You’ll learn how to recognize God’s instructions for you, even as you seek to follow His example as a parent.

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon.

 

About the Author:

Rachael Carman is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart’s desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael also leads Real Refreshment Retreats, weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with meaningful worship and speakers plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.

 

You can find Rachael online at her website, Twitter and on Facebook.

 

My Opinion:

I must not have read the book description very well because I truly thought I was getting a book that would help me with all the sayings that I say each day and somehow improve my parenting.  I got something much better than a parenting book, I got a book that helped me with my walk with the Lord by using the sayings that I often say to my children, the Lord can use those same things to get our attention.  It’s amazing to me how the Lord has been speaking to me through His Word as I journal it and through books I’ve been reading lately.  Some of the chapters had me about ready to cry, like “Let’s Go For A Walk”:

“When he says, “Let’s go for a walk,” taking Him up on His offer is an act of trust on my part.

It’s saying yes to Him and His wisdom.  It’s choosing His perfect peace in the middle of the storm. 

It’s putting my relationship with Him first and not substituting a cheap imitation.” page 151-152

My life has had drastic changes in the last few months and I’ve noticed that God wants to take a walk with me, whether that walk consists of me actually getting out of bed when I don’t want to and walking down the stairs to get a coffee and spend some time in His Word or a real walk in nature – I can feel Him around me as I walk with Him.  This wasn’t the only chapter that spoke to me though, there were many, many others and I know it will take re-reading this book to really get all out of it that I can.  At the end of each chapter are “a moment of introspection” which asks a few couples that pertain to being a parent and also to our walk with the Lord, a great way to put into thought and action about what you’ve just read.

Rachael shares not only Scripture but also her stories, some are funny, some are painful and some are just real life and how God uses those things to speak to us.  Using sayings that are so cliche for parents to their children, Rachael speaks to the heart of every mom who has yelled, “turn down the music”, “take out the trash”, or “I’m the parent and that’s why”, and more.  It’s quick to read, whether you just commit to one chapter a day and it’s introspection questions or just sit and read it all the way through and then re-read it, I can say the Lord will and can speak to you through these stories that come from Mrs. Carman’s heart, from one mom to another this book will give you a bit of quiet to just listen for the Holy Spirit.

If you’d like to read what others thought about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

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