Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

My ponderings this week have been about... fear, dread, apprehension, that churning feeling that comes in the tummy when one looks at the future and wonders... how?

The enormous rise in the price of gasoline and food is beginning to have huge affects on this family. We were already tight so a few months ago those "extras" we enjoyed had to go... Starbucks, breakfast out, magazines off the news stand, an occasional full price CD, grocery store flowers (not on clearance), etc.

Then those little luxuries... frugal luxuries... started to disappear from the list... cream for our coffee (I did buy it as a surprise for my husband's birthday "cuppa"), good coffee, Diet Sierra Mist, small cartons of flavored yogurt, name brands of Florida orange juice (my husband cannot drink OJ made with oranges grown outside the USA... per doctor's orders), any kind of meat at the grocery store which is not on sale, those rare out of season fruits and veggies, etc.

However, this month... "How will we make it through the remainder of the month? How will we buy gas for both of the cars since I will be working and must use the old car. What will I do to get away for a break on the two twelve hour days, even though I'm taking my lunch. What, how, when, why..." That helpless feeling returns...

An e-mail received, our request for financial aid is denied. How will Christopher take summer classes, much less the next full school year? It appears to be an error on their part but still... something else to call about and see what happened. Can it be fixed in time?

Will we get a check from the government? We think so but it looks like Christopher may fall through the cracks... we may not get the $300 for him because we are on Disability... not allowed on his since we take him as a deduction.

Discussions about where money must be spent... priorities... difference on those priorities. (Which always happens between men and women!) Talking it out... praying about it... seeking God's provision as well as His Will.

Those on fixed incomes are the canaries in the mine... what we felt first is now making its' way through the middle class. We watch the news and the situation looks bleak... food shortages, rising food prices, gas prices to continue to $4.00 a gallon or more, the cost of the basics of life going up far beyond what we expected. Where did this come from?

Then we stop fretting and worrying and remember the past... altars built in our memory of impossible situations from which He brought us through... miracles of provision in the midst of personal lack... food in our personal famine.

Then a birthday check received from his daughter... birthday lunch "out", a haircut which he badly needed, an oil change for the car... peace of mind for his birthday. Later... essentials... how will we purchase essentials? We never expected... never planned... to be completely broke so early. We are not used to these prices for basics. Pray... Believe... Peace... a late birthday card from California... a $100.00 dollar bill... thank you, Aunt A... thank you, God.

We will be more careful next month. Thankfully, we can do a little more "stocking up" with the money I make at the bookstore... which is how it is usually used.

We need not fear...

He created us to live at such a time as this. He knew all along where He wanted us, what year we would be born, what time and season in which we would be His eyes... His ears... His hands... do His work on the planet. He provides. He always does. Honest...

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.
Acts 17:26 NIV

26And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes)...
Acts 17:26 Amplified Bible

15 comments:

em said...

I know only too well what you are talking about - so far I've managed to keep my nose above the surface. You are in my thoughts and prayers!
Margaretha

Lyn said...

Dear Brenda,
We've been feeling the pinch greatly too. It's been a real test of our faith - unexpected home repair this week when there's not enough to cover it in savings. As hard as we try, we're struggling to keep up and keep afloat. Our favorite saying of late when we realize we need something is "just put it on the list". And we try to laugh and not think about it. It's becoming harder though not to have to constantly think about finances.

One thing that frustrates my spirit is when there are those who think "just make more money". It's not always possible, especially when there's illness involved and you can barely take care of the everyday stuff while making sure you are being the best steward of what you already have. I do wish some would be more understanding.

Usually I am very strong and faithful. It's just been a difficult week, and I hope it's okay to share.

My heart understands how you feel and I surely wish I could be your neighbor. We could have a nice cup of tea. I'd share and give to you anything I could to help.

I thank you though for REALLY being honest and sharing your life. It's refreshing to read someone sharing their challenges. Although I don't wish for you to struggle at all, it does help to know we are not alone. God bless.

Lyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyn said...

Brenda,
I wrote about your post today on my blog. I deleted the former comment as it didn't come out. Thank you for the encouragement.

Here's the link (paste together please):
http://spendingsimply.blogspot.com
/2008/04/sunday-spiritual-encouragement.html

freetobeme said...

I looked forward to your Sunday Tea and even though it was a bit on the serious side it was still good to get together to share and encourage one another. What would we do without the Lord to lean on? He knows our needs even before we tell Him!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

"Let not your heart be troubled." I was thinking of writing this to you when I was at lunch with my son and I realized that, actually, this is the advice I need right now, to keep from being overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done and my feelings of not being equal to the task....But God does provide. My husband was very aware of this. He grew up in communist Hungary until he was eleven years old. His family had been landowners so they were very persecuted. He was the youngest of ten. His mother was a widow and her husband died after being in a communist prison. He told me many stories of their family having no food, or very little, and a neighbor, often poor themselves (in fact, always poor themselves) showing up with gifts of food for them. And Paul always pointed out that it was not in these people's interests to be seen doing anything for them since they had belonged to the evil landowner class. And to make matters worse, they were very religious, an unforgiveable sin in the eyes of the communists. For someone who grew up (until he was eleven years old) in such a dire world, he had an amazing faith in the goodness of people. When I think of all they endured, and what other people are experiencing, I think my own problems are nothing, as is indeed the truth. I want to let not my heart be troubled and just keep putting one foot in front of the other following Grace.

I wish you the peace that passes all understanding and joy in your heart for the week ahead, Brenda...And thank you for your words and sharing.

nancyr said...

Your post reminded me of the time when I was a single (divorced) mother of three, and worried about how I was going to have enough money to pay the bills. Somehow,just like you related, unexpected money would arrived in the mail, like "pennies from Heaven". It never failed!

You will be fine, because you know how to stretch a dollar, and you have stockpiled food to get your family through the lean times.

Bax said...

I have read several posts today alone the same theme. While we are definitely in troubling (putting it mildly) times, Faith is the one thing we know is a constant and that no one can take from us. The price won't go up and there will never be a shortage. My husband travels for a living and the cost of fuel is weighing heavily on his shoulders. We've started letting go of some of our simple pleasures also. Take care.

Jan

lalala said...

Brenda,

Thank you for this post. I too am going through a period of financial difficulty. I have a young family, and there are times when I worry about how to put food on the table, much less how to pay the bills, or which bills to pay since we can't afford to pay all of them. Reading this helps me to see that none of us are alone in the valleys we find ourselves walking in. Though we feel alone, there are so many others with us, that are there to support us. And through it all, GOD is good. He is holding our hands, leading the way through the darkness, and through Him we will reach the ultimate goal.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I wanted to thank you for the music, too. Word of God Speak is very special to me, and You Raise me Up is too..........Thanks, Brenda!

Carrot Top said...

I love the Scripture you quoted. Its such a comfort to know that God has our lives in the palm of His hand! We need that anchor in the storms of life!

Your blog is such an encouragement! (Sometimes I catch hubby reading it too!)

Firefly Nights said...

I'm sorry things have gotten so tight at your house. You seem to manage very well with what you have, but I hope you'll still be able to stretch your budget for a few fun things every now and then.

Daughter of the King said...

Brenda,
Times are so rough for so many right now, even those with money are starting to feel the pinch and even to get that panic in their voice. I don't have the answers but I can pray. I don't work as I can't with fibromyalgia. I see these posts as you being REAL....
and knowing who you believe in but still be human.
Praying,
Deby

the feathered nest said...

I totally understand. I think it's a rare person that hasn't had to make some sort of adjustment these days with rising prices everywhere. I know I'm having to shop in a way that I haven't shopped since my husband and I were newlyweds barely making it on two low salaries!

I know you know how to make the most of what you have and I thank you for being so open and honest.

Manuela

Becky said...

Hello...This is my first visit to your blog, via a link from Copper's Wife to your "Recession Ponderings" series.

I think you're one of the first bloggers I've read who knows what it's like to live on a small disability income. We live on my husband's small disability check, as I have a health condition which makes it impossible for me to hold a regular job at this time.

I earn income from home in little, various ways, but with the way everything is going up, what I add to our income doesn't amount to much.

Though I've been a Christian for a long time, I find myself worrying and fearing the future a lot lately, which I know is a sin, but one that is very hard NOT to fall into.

I look forward to visiting again to see what you have to say. When everyone around us seems to be "making money", it's nice to know we aren't alone in the struggle to live on little.