I am not “HOME” yet, haven’t been “HOME” in over a year. The whole ugly tale would take longer to tell than you want to read, but the roofs over our heads have not been ours so it has never been home nor was ever intended to be. But I hoped that we’d be further along in recovery by now income wise so that I could rent moderate place for us. But we’re not, time is short and I have no definitive answers.
I must beg your indulgence to be incredibly forthright and say some things that I generally avoid saying or even thinking on because I want to be gracious and grateful for the help that we HAVE received. Because I am — I truly am. So I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am thinking anyone “OWES” us anything or that I am judging the quality of their Christian fruit by what they are able or not able to do to help us tangibly. No one owes us anything. I am working “like a crazy girl,” as a friend of mine likes to say, trying to get us to a point of self-sufficiency but as yet, it is not enough, as I said. I am not sitting back and expecting an entitlement. That is SO NOT ME!! So please keep that in mind in interpreting what I am about to say!
I have talked to many godly counselors about our situation over the last year. Some know the entire ugly story, more or less and some only parts. I have taken renter’s education, completed 50 PDUs in six months to get my long expired teaching license back (only to have the processing take so long that it was too late to get hired on as a teacher this year at a decent salary…which was the plan.)
I have applied for so many jobs at all levels of professionality and pay and took the one part-time one that was offered, only to find out that after they take out the benefits deductions, I am making substantially LESS take home than I was as a substitute. But my contract runs through June and I need to keep my word as a matter of integrity before God. I got a scholarship for a journalism class and got certified so I can earn some extra money on the side with my writing (which I would really LOVE to have as my full-time, only job!) but by the time I get home from the day job and do my “mom stuff”, I am tired and my brain has trouble focusing on writing anything, much as I love to write.
Then I found out that there was some financial funny business going on at the online paper for whom I was working. Honesty, integrity and the well-being of my kids and I demanded that I distance myself from the publication and the higher ups as soon as possible. God is providing other opportunities but I am weary of all the drama and upheaval in my life.
I have paid off some back debt and am working on the rest, courtesy of my plan after taking Financial Peace University at a local church. I have my budget in place but $700ish per month will only stretch so far. I have prayed, been in the Word almost every morning, I have cried and begged for God’s intervention and I’ve gotten bits and pieces of movement here and there but nothing clear and tangible on another place to go.
Most people are well-meaning and they do care about the kids and I in some form or other, but I get advice in two forms when I tell someone the bare honest truth of our situation, neither particularly helpful. First, I get a lot of wide-eyed, slack jawed, deer in the headlights looks, “I have no idea what to tell you but I’ll pray for you” type of responses. Most people also make some effort to be empathetic and kind but really have no advice.
Second, those that do usually end up telling me about government/community programs that I’ve already applied for and checked on ad infinitum with no progress or results. No faith that that is going to be the answer. I honestly don’t think there is a “program” out there that anyone can tell me about that I haven’t already looked into and found they aren’t accepting new applications at this time or the waiting list is a mile long because the need is exponentially greater than the supply of housing. Barring a government solution, the only other advice is “go home.”
Let me state very clearly and listen carefully, READ MY LIPS!: THIS IS HOME!!!! I could take many pages documenting all the reasons why the “family solution” (which is 5 hours away from my job and only source of income at the moment) is not a workable or feasible solution. You’ll have to take my word for it…it just ISN’T!
So now is where I get really straightforward about how these reactions make me feel, my human reaction regardless of what I know as a Christian. I am still human and I have feelings though like I said–I generally keep this part to myself.
First, to those who listen, offer empathy and prayer — OK, prayer is good and I DO appreciate the prayers and I will take all the compassion and kindness we can get. It does help us emotionally in the midst of a very rough period of one trial after another. We need prayers! We surely do and for most people that really is probably all they can do. As far as I know, I don’t know anyone with the financial resources to bail us out, even if that is what I was looking for….which it isn’t.
HOWEVER, I have been in church most of my life. I know the drill, the talk and the mismatched walk that plays out among those that call themselves Christians all too well. I am speaking of the church at large here, not pinpointing my or any church or anyone in the church, in particular.
It’s just that I know the reality of people who talk a good game but forget about you as soon as you are out of sight — intentionally or unintentionally is not my call to make, but it is what it is. People have their own lives and problems and it isn’t their job to solve mine — unless God tells them to do something of course but that isn’t my job to tell them what God wants them to do either. I would never tell anyone anything so selfish as “God told me to tell you to help me in such and such a way. Fork it over.” I cannot even fathom being that arrogant and presumptuous.
If God wants them to do something, HE can tell them and if they offer, I will say thank you and accept graciously. I am not too proud to accept help when I need it, but I do not want to guilt anyone into thinking they owe it to me either! Nonetheless, I do know that for everyone who says “I will pray for you” and means it and follows up, checks back with me on how it’s going, etc., there are 10 others who just use that as a Christianese shield to avoid getting personally involved. It sounds like the thing you are “supposed” to say and gets them out of an awkward situation where they don’t feel like they know what to do because they aren’t comfortable looking a person with real needs in the eye and feeling like they should do something. “I’ll pray for you.” can easily be an avoidance tactic.
I realize that it isn’t always but reality is, the possibility is always there. Not my place to point fingers and decide who really means it and who doesn’t. But I see, I know that not everyone, even good, well-meaning people are exactly what they seem or what they want others to believe about them.
Not judging any person’s sincerity in particular — just making a general observation about Christians at large. I think most people are sincere or believe they are, but as a society, we’ve gotten so accustomed to “the government” being the “solution” to social problems that people are really uncomfortable when they feel like they are being expected to get personally involved.
I can’t say for any individual what God is actually calling them to do but it seems to me that at least for some, there would be something they COULD do if they unwrapped their head and heart from the cultural prejudice that says “It’s somebody else’s problem. Not my responsibility.” and the stereotypes surrounding those who need welfare help and actually obeyed God’s lead in doing what He calls them to do to help the person in front of them — be that me or anyone else who does not fit the stereotype.
As to the second response telling me to “go home.” Quite frankly, that feels like a pretty blunt attempt at saying “go away” where I don’t have to look at you and feel guilty for not helping. Well, I am not trying to guilt anyone into helping, so if anyone is feeling guilty, maybe it’s because they are trying to avoid what God is asking them to do. In which case, the solution is for them to listen and obey instead of trying to put me out of sight, out of mind.
Going to the family stomping grounds would NOT solve the underlying problems and would exacerbate many. My support group is HERE, not there. Whenever I have considered moving back over the years, I get this immediate check in my spirit backed up by scriptures about standing firm where God has planted me, moving in and possessing the land where He has sent me, moving forward where He has called me to be and not retreating to Egypt, and so on. When I am there for a visit, He is literally shouting in my ear that this is NOT the home He has in mind for us.
He promised me when we moved here in 2000 after moving every 2-3 years since I was 10 that this would be the place I could set down roots, stay, raise my children and grow old. I am holding onto that promise, holding Him to His word to me for He never fails and as my pastor says, “where He leads, He provides.” I truly believe He led me here and I have to have faith that He will provide a way to stay here, even if it is right up to the last minute. To those who say it is the only answer — all I can say is, “No, God has REPEATEDLY told me that He has something better in mind so I have to hold on and trust Him even when I can’t see the way.”
No matter what anyone says or thinks, this is not just me holding onto what I want and trying to make God conform to my wishes. I have surrendered the whole thing to Him and if He said go, I would bite the bullet and do it. But all I hear is STAY. It also is not just me being stubborn and unteachable, unwilling to receive counsel. Whenever I have retreated to what looks like the “easy, obvious, so-called ONLY way,” it has never turned out very well “oddly enough.” Because I didn’t wait for God’s best answer but compromised and took a shortcut that seemed more secure but led to more insecurity and heartache. I don’t want to run after Ai when I can have Jericho. I am so done with taking those security shortcuts. I want God’s best answer — not my manmade shortcut compromise or short-term solutions!
I have every confidence sans a clue what the form of the future will look like — which gets very wearisome when people keep asking “So what are you going to do?” Only thing I can do — TRUST GOD that He has it handled even when I can’t see the way. “OK, but what are you going to do?” SIGH — as soon as God gives me a road map, I’ll clue you in but when I’ve done all I can, all I can do is leave it up to Him. “But what are you going to do?”
At which point I just want to scream….what part of TRUST GOD do you NOT understand? I don’t have any answers other than that!! Much as I am a person of action who would like a clear set of instructions from beginning to end that I can act on and get busy doing my part….and I am working to exhaustion doing whatever I can, not waiting for anything to fall out of the sky, I can’t force help to come before He is ready.
I would like the “sure thing” as much as the next person. But when I’ve done all I can, God is already there is so it has to be enough! I mean I serve a God who CAN make manna fall from the sky, water come from a rock and win a battle with a marching band performance, not to mention He invented the first GPS out of fire and a cloud! Who KNOWS in what form He will send our deliverance?? So far be it from me to box Him in and tell Him “I’ve got it all figured out. It has to be such and such a way.” Right….like that has ever worked out very well!!
So I have decided to shut up and stop trying to convince people that I actually do know what God has said to me and instructed me to do because I don’t know the final answer so it sounds foolish to other people who are not living inside my situation and hearing God’s instructions. But God knows what He has said and He knows my heart is for Him in spite of my imperfect obedience, and that HAS to be enough. Because if it wasn’t, we’d really be in trouble!!!!” Sure I’d like the “sure thing” as much as the next person, but I want the “GOD Thing” more!! So from now on, I’m just letting His actions on my behalf do the talking and bring about vindication that my faith is not misplaced. So that’s my plan — I want the GOD Thing more than security! Yep, that’s the plan and I’m sticking with it. If anyone takes issue with it, talk to my “Agent” in charge — His Name is Yahweh!
Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.
I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12