The Pie Baker

Fresh from the Oven

Financial Faith

In the wake of the recession and financial crisis that plagues the country, numerous books and articles appeared touting the wisdom of budgeting and money management. Most of those publications target the conventional family: dad, mom and 3.2 kids. However, when seeking advice for single parents on how to navigate the current financial climate, pickings are pretty slim. Single mothers face a number of challenges, but money presents the highest hurdle: how do we make more of it, spend less of it, save some of it? Where are the news-magazine features, the books and “experts” with sound, practical advice for us?

Regardless of the circumstances of single parenthood, those who fall in that category find that they must maintain the lifestyle of two incomes on just one. The rent or mortgage that was shared now becomes the sole burden of the single parent; the utility bills are juggled month to month; the name-brand groceries now are of the generic variety and when driving, everyone in the car prays there’s enough gas to make it to the next station. According to Mary Gatta, author of Not Just Getting By, a book about the financial barriers single working mothers face in bettering their financial situation, it’s possible that women can work two or more jobs and still live in poverty. As the sole supporter of child-care needs, meal provision, transport issues, bill paying and entertainment, single moms have few options in making ends meet. That’s where faith comes in.

The Bible says that “God will never leave you nor forsake you,” and keeping that truth in mind can relieve some of the stress of not having enough money. God wants parents to be joyful in the raising of their children, so asking Him to provide strength and guidance can lead to stronger bonds within the family. Philippians 4:19 says: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Placing all trust in God that He will provide can be a scary prospect, but it’s what He wants us to do. The difficulty lies on relinquishing control over your life, especially for those of us who like to be in control in all situations.

In single parenthood, there are times when important decisions must be made. Can the electric bill wait another two weeks? Should I fill the gas tank or buy hamburger meat? Buy diapers or car insurance? Whatever the election, each decision has its own set of consequences. Waiting to pay the utility bills can incur late charges that inflate the bill even more. If there’s no gas in the car, you can’t get to work to make money to pay the other bills. If you buy hamburger meat…what else do you need to buy to make a decent meal for your family? If you get caught without car insurance, it a bureaucratic mess, but having no diapers could result in a pretty big mess also. When faced with these hard decisions, it is time to turn to God. Pray for guidance in making the decision; ask God to give you the insight to know what’s best for you to do. In every instance, God will send help or lead you in a direction that you had not yet considered.

I am a single mother of a two-year-old daughter. How my little family of two came to be is irrelevant, but what I try to keep in mind at all times is that God chose for me to have this little girl. It was HIS decision that placed her in my body, my heart, my soul. I don’t question why, I only thank God for his blessing and praise his knowledge that she was what I needed most at that time in my life. Of course, I panicked. The first thing I worried about was money. How would I pay for everything that a child needs? How would I provide a stable home free of worry and fear? I prayed a lot during those first few months and God revealed his plan. He showed me a wonderful support system of friends that already existed in my life. In particular, He shone His light on an amazing older couple with no grandchildren who help us financially, occasionally feed us and provide fantastic free child care. God sent them to me and my daughter because he knew we would need them. Matthew 6:31-32 says: Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat’ or ‘What will we drink’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing’… for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. They love my daughter as if she was their own grandchild and I find great comfort in the assistance they offer.

Being a single mother is infinitely harder than being a married mother for multitude of reasons, but the financial strain is primary. Believing that God will provide for us, that He will bestow upon us blessings beyond our imagination, makes preparing a budget, clipping coupons and buying generic a demonstration of faith. We may not have everything we think we want, but He assures us that we will have everything we will ever need.

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May 1, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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