Stressed… part 1

Am I the only one incredibly stressed out right now?!?  When I talk with my Christian friends, it seems that everyone is feeling the need to stock up, yet we’re having difficulty paying even the most basic of bills.  We’ve actually gotten a loan for the past two months to buy food and pay our electric bill because food and utilities have gotten so expensive.

Like many other families, we live paycheck to paycheck because we’ve never been in a position to build a good savings.  I’m certainly not proud of this, but I can honestly say that we’ve at least been debt-free several times and every time something happens to set us back again financially.  The most recent time was due to medical issues (when I had Hannah – read “Chronic Pain” on my website if you’re interested in this),.  This has been a problem again this fall.   I don’t really think our position is unique.  Like everyone else, there are many homeschool families who are being very badly hurt by this economic downturn.

I talked with my husband today and discussed putting the children in public school.  Out of 8 years of homeschooling, we’ve had the occasional discussion of this nature, but these have not taken place very often and even when they did, we knew that this wasn’t what we really wanted to do.  This time we had a serious discussion on this topic because I may have to go to work full time to help pay our bills.  I have heard the same thing from several friends / acquaintances lately.  What other choices do we have when we don’t qualify for aid because our husbands actually WORK?  (Ironically, I was told that if my husband moved out, I would qualify for all kinds of aid.  That’s really helpful to know…) 

For those of you who are saying, “Well, if they would manage their finances better…” (because I know a few will say that), I can just say that we do live on a budget, but when your food costs go up by $100 a month because of rising prices, when you’ve used your entire savings to buy gas for four months when it was over $3.00 a gallon, when your child is sick and you have to go to the doctor four times in a month, and when you have the heat down so low everyone actually WANTS to go to bed and not get back up in the morning, yet you still can’t pay the bills, the problem is not budgetary.  There is just not enough money!

So what’s the point of all this?  

My family was actually doing pretty well and for some reason this fall, we seem to be in a much worse position than we’ve been in a long time.  (It actually started when I had to make trips to Chattanooga when my granddad was sick & then died and then Christopher got sick – and still is – and Hannah got sick, then I got sick…)  Anyway, I have had more doctor bills in the past month again than I’ve had in the past year TOTAL.  Chris and I discovered a long time ago that my ministry is with homeschool families.  I cannot help but think that the Lord is allowing us to experience the financial and health problems that we’re now experiencing again because we need to use our frustration to encourage homeschool families in some way.

We are part of a group of people who are typically don’t share all of these kinds of problems because of the prejudice involved with other Christians (you brought it on yourself, you must be doing something you shouldn’t, it’s a shame to share when you’re in such difficult circumstances, etc.).  I just wanted to let other homeschool families know that there are MANY experiencing GREAT difficulty right now.  You are not alone.

Chris and I talked about it today and he said that he agreed that I am going to have to work more (yes, as in get a “real” job), but we both agreed that public school is NOT the answer.  I’m going to have to fit work in around an already-stuffed schedule.  We believe in school choice and if others want to send their children to public or private school, then they should be allowed to choose.  We believe it is OUR right to choose as well.  We are having a difficult time right now fitting it all in, but I am just going to have to work at home when Chris is at work and I can possibly work outside the home if I have to when he is at home.  Either way, we will definitely make it through this time, but we will not turn our children over to the government.  Some people have access to GREAT schools so I am not making a judgment against anyone who has their children in public schools.  All I’m saying is that for my family, we Do believe we’re making the right choice by homeschooling and we will make this work even if we had to sell our home.

If the economy doesn’t pick up soon, our friends are going to start losing their homes.  Chris and I are almost to that point and I am hearing the same from other families.  If this is your situation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!  I just want to encourage you.  I am nervous and I’m definitely “stressed” over it, but I’m not “worried.”  God does not want us to have a spirit of fear or worry.  “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” (Romans 8:15)

OK, this is getting too long, but I just felt like I should share with others that if you’re cold tonight, we’re right there with you!  I have on two sweaters and we’re bundled together under two blankets!  LOL  I guess that’s one way to bring your family closer together.  🙂

And remember that we all need to be in prayer for one another – CONSTANTLY.  I believe we should be praying for Christians all around the world.  If we are having difficult times, I know it is much worse in other places.  God also reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5 to be thankful even in this time.  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Joyfully your servant,
Sonya Haskins


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