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Those two words in the tagline of Erin Odom’s new book, More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated jumped out at me.
They pretty much describe my feeling about money. As I shared in this post, my freelance business started out of necessity because we were broke.
I rarely talk about our financial struggles, and I’m sure many people who know us in real life don’t realize how lean some of the past few years have been.
You see, there is a definite negative connotation about being poor.
It’s sort of a taboo topic.
Especially since I have a large family. And come from a well educated family with professional jobs.
I feel like an embarrassment at times, and definitely don’t feel comfortable sharing our financial woes. In fact, I try to hide it whenever possible. Or shy away from any conversation involving money.
Frustrated. Definitely frustrated.
As I dove into Erin’s book, I felt a strange feeling of understanding. She put into words something I was aware of, but hadn’t ever really expressed.
Our society looks down on people who don’t have money. They automatically assume the poor are:
- Taking advantage of the system
There is a stigma to being poor. And it’s unfortunate. It brings a humongous sense of shame to those struggling. It’s isolating.
But, it goes deeper than that. There’s a stigma about being on any form of government assistance. Especially if you’re a Christian.
Because there’s this incorrect name it and claim it theology going around. Surely, if you have enough genuine faith, you should have all the money you need to take care of your family without help.
And if you can’t, you sure better stop having kids because even though God says children are a blessing, they are a definite burden to everyone around you.
Getting to the Root
Erin doesn’t stop at defining the stigma. She went deeper. One line in chapter eleven really spoke to me, “The longer we stayed on WIC and Medicaid, the more I came to realize that my feelings of shame were fueled by pride.”
How many problems are caused by pride? Too many to tackle right now!
And pride can rear it’s ugly head in so many ways. In making you think that people are looking down at you when in reality they’re not. Making you judge other people who are struggling. Or making you believe that if you were good enough, you could do it all by yourself.
But, we can’t.
None of us can.
Whether you are rich or poor, or somewhere in between, everything you have comes from the Lord.
And that is the point Erin drives home in her book.
God cares about us, and is meeting our needs.
Sometimes his blessings come from a “just because” gift from family members or friends. Or a kind woman giving us an unexpected financial gift to put towards our debt reduction so we can get closer to moving forward with our plans to serve as missionaries at Missionary Acres.
God can even use government assistance programs to help people for some seasons.
His blessings are abundant, various, and should never be overlooked.
This book helped me be more aware of these blessings. And when you’re focusing on your blessings, the frustrations seem more manageable.
More Than Just Making It
In her book, Erin also shares practical ideas for increasing your income and decreasing your expenses. You’ll find encouragement to make it through your current financial struggles without getting bitter.
I enjoyed reading the increasing income section, as our financial struggle is mostly an income problem and not a spending problem. And freelance writing has been a huge blessing in this area.
Through the blessing of my business, we’ve finally been able to make some traction on our final debt.
It’s allowed us to have a little more wiggle room in the budget. We were even able to replace the old couch our little guy with Pica had been eating. And every time we sit on the new couch, we’re so thankful for how the Lord made it happen. We no longer have to hide the eaten cushions under blankets!
I am definitely thankful for the opportunity to earn money, while working at home with my kids. Going back to teaching was an option, but I’m thankful the Lord brought another way, one that allows me to continue homeschooling and staying home.
Note: If you are struggling, and wondering if you can work at home with kids around, I can help! As a homeschooling mom of eight, I have some tricks and tips for balancing it all. I recently published 26 posts in an A-Z Guide to Working at Home with Kids. Start here .
Are You Financially Frustrated?
If you’re also financially frustrated and in need of hope, I highly recommend Erin’s book. You will find inspiration and encouragement. And learn that you are not alone, even though poverty feels very isolating.
You can the book now at Amazon(<= aff. link).
Not struggling financially? Think about those in your life and see if there’s someone you could bless with this book.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.