When my husband first left, I had three young toddlers, ages two and one (twins). I found a job as a clerk-typist making $12,000 a year. Each month I would turn in my tithing check for $100 and the bishop would give me two checks in return – one for the rent, the other for the more than $600 daycare bill for the boys. Everything else was my responsibility. I had only been a member of the church for 6 years, and this support has cinched my testimony of tithing ever since. Eventually I was able to work up to a position where I could meet all my family’s need myself, but it was never with much breathing room. Always living on the edge of financial disaster made me very uncertain of my real worth. The biggest challenge was that the twins were not able to take on full-time jobs when they graduated from school, and I never saw them as real resources in providing for the family, although as adults their financial needs had increased. For years I’ve watched my finances with the real fear that a single crisis would push us over the edge.
When we had the opportunity this year to take one of the self-reliance programs, I knew it was something that we should do, but I didn’t have any real faith that it could make a difference in our family’s circumstances. So my niece (who lives with us now) the younger of the twins, and I joined a self-reliance group for the 12-week program. It started out with information and counsel that I already felt familiar with, so I sat back expecting to easily cruise through.
And then we came to budgeting. Although the program stressed the necessity of budgeting to gain control of family expenses, I found I completely lacked any faith in my ability to create and manage a budget. There had been numerous attempts over the years but all had fizzled out. The self-reliance program provided the information, structure, and support I needed to commit to tackling a budget again. This time, with the support of a caring facilitator, genuinely concerned group members, and a commitment to seek the Lord as we proceeded, we, as a family, have come into a new place where the boys are genuinely interested in how the family’s finances are progressing, and have stepped up to the challenge of assisting financially in ways I had never thought possible. In the two or three months since participating in this program I have gained real confidence in the family’s ability to provide for itself – not just me carrying it. The budget gets maintained almost daily by one of the twins, and we’ve set goals and action plans in place to do things that have always felt out of reach.
As usual, the Lord’s challenge to “prove me now herewith” Malachi 3:10 has proven that he blesses each of us as we try His challenges. Each member of my family has gained personal blessings unique to their needs from taking advantage of this program. I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider if there may be areas in your life where the truly personal help of the Lord could bring blessings to you and your family.
More information on Self Reliance, including local resources, can be found here:
rva.mavsr.org; Please sign in using firstname.lastname@example.org with the password RVAStake47
If you or someone you know has a uplifting story or thought to share, please contact us at jenhaines@LDSPublicAffairs.org
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
In the Richmond area there are 29 congregations of Latter-day Saints. We strive to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and spread His light in our community.
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