Friday, April 29

Laying Open my Heart: One of Many Struggles

They say that "ignorance is bliss".  Now I don't know who "they" are, but I feel like I do understand that sentiment, especially when I learn something new that I want to pursue but there are a million roadblocks in my way.  In general this is how I feel about eating well.  I don't mean dieting or eating low-fat, but really nourishing my family with good foods that aren't processed or contaminated.  This issue may not apply to a lot of people because you either don't care, don't believe it, or don't have a problem implementing it.  But this weighs on my mind weekly if not daily.  I want to feed my family the best possible food I can.  I want my boys to be healthy and strong and smart.  Heck, I want to be healthy and strong and smart.  But sometimes my goals and plans don't line up with where I am in life right now.  I'm definitely not healthy or strong...I can agree with some that I'm kinda smart (but I'm no genius by any means).  Being a parent has really changed my feelings about nutrition. We know more now than we did when I was growing up and my kids generation will know even's just the way we, as humans, are...we crave to know more, to dig deeper, and to understand.

For me, I really feel that eating a whole foods diet is healthy (I think few would compete with that statement).  I believe that eating organic is important in most aspects, that making your own things like bread is important (because of limiting chemicals and preservatives), and I think raw milk is great!  Unfortunately, I'm not a millionaire--I know you're shocked, but it's true.  I don't have unlimited funds available to buy meat straight from my local farmer or raw milk up the road...and even if I did, well do you know how expensive that can be?  And therein lies my dilemma...the one I struggle with.  Knowing what is most important RIGHT NOW, in the place God has me NOW, and knowing what it is that God has charged me with.  

That probably sounds weird, let me try to explain.  I feel passionately about feeding my family the best food possible, but what I don't feel passionately about is going broke doing it.  It would make me a poor steward of my families resources to ignore the balance in our bank account and spend all of our money on better food.  You might think I'm being extreme about how much it would cost or underestimating the importance of good food on our nutrition, but the honest lay-it-all-out-there-for-the-world-to-see truth is that our budget for food every month is slightly less than it would be on food stamps...I have a grand total of $320 to spend on food, toiletries, household products, dog food, and all 4 members of our family.  It's tough, it's a stretch, and that number actually includes a generous increase that I finagled when we decided Carter needed to eat gluten free (not a cheap option)--before two weeks ago our monthly budget was only $220. Its frustrating!

This amount of money can only be stretched so far.  We don't always do a good job of sticking to our budget, but we definitely feel it elsewhere if we don't.  And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has called me--as a stay-at-home wife and mother--to do everything possible to keep us on track.  It is my responsibility to ensure that we have enough food in the house to feed us all as well as finding unique ways to make up for any shortfalls.  If I don't do this, then I am not only disappointing my family, but I know I am disappointing my Heavenly Father.  This is what he has called me's not always fun, it's very often frustrating, and I don't know how I make it sometimes.  Coveting others grocery budgets is something I have to keep in check quite often.

I don't talk to many about how much I spend on groceries and I do my best to make sure that we still get to use a good portion of that for ministry opportunities (inviting people over to our house to share a meal, taking someone food when they're sick, eating out occasionally in fellowship with our church family, etc.).  Ministry is very important to us and I joke that my spiritual gift is cooking :).  God has demanded us to be open to these opportunities to fellowship with others--believers and unbelievers alike.  It is important to us and a calling from God.  So that brings another aspect of my struggle to light.

How do I justify spending my small budget on others?
God has asked me to.  Can I really say no?  I guess I could, I could say to myself and others that we just don't have the money or it's more important to feed my family, but then I would be saying to God that he doesn't provide for us adequately and that is absolutely un-biblical!  God tells us in the Bible that He always provides for our needs.  If I say that I can't do something because of my own folly or poor stewardship that is one thing, but to claim that I "can't" because I don't have enough?  That is claiming that God is not who He said He was.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

So that is where I stand, or usually kneel.  Dealing with my own frustrations and sinful thoughts, relying on God to reveal a better path for me.  I am so thankful for his grace and compassion.  I am also thankful for a wonderfully understanding and hard-working husband.  But this is my struggle...not the only one, but one that is prominent and I frequently have to return to God for strength in going on.  I can't let myself become mired down by what I *think* I should be doing, but to find strength that God can help me through it.

I hope that all who reading this will understand that it has been difficult to reveal this personal aspect of my life and will take that to heart before commenting.  I know that I am doing the Lord's work and I would be more than happy to have a more intimate conversation about this with you so feel free to email or (if you have my number) to call :)
I hope that in sharing these intimate struggles and thought, I can encourage other women--especially Christians--to step up and be willing to be more transparent with one another.  I don't think anyone has it ALL together and I certainly don't think we're meant to seem we do.  While it's important for us to seek joy and understanding in our situations, this doesn't always have be done in private or alone.  Please reach out to those around you and if someone comes to YOU with something weighing on their heart...please try and be Christ-like in your response.  God Bless!

1 comment:

Anjanette said...

As you know, this topic takes up a lot of my thought/prayer time as well. There have been seasons when balancing all of the responsibilities God has blessed me with has felt burdensome - especially when I've had to research and struggle to make the best decision with my limited wisdom and a massive amount of information to process. The beautiful thing about learning and growing is that at various points we get to look back and realize that progress has snuck up on us! Sanctification is slow. And yes, I think that this too is part of His sanctifying work in us. He cares deeply about every aspect of the life he's given us. *hug*