The Flour is Almost Gone

Posted By on March 3, 2011

The flour is almost gone, and I’m weary of pancakes.

Single-parent families are struggling in this economy just like our married friends. We will not tell you how bad it is, but this article is intended to give the Body a glimpse of what it is like in our homes. Please do not judge. We are up against odds that are often insurmountable. If we work inside or outside the home, there is never enough time, money, or energy to do what we need to do. Frequently our bills are late or do not get paid at all. We pray for our provisions and realize we are totally dependent upon God.

Single moms can be encouraged in the following ways. If it is practical, have the single mother bring her trash to your house and put her trash out with yours on trash day. This is feasible if both families recycle. It helps the environment and the single mother’s budget. Provide free child care as you are able. Have her over for a girl’s night out. Eat fun foods, paint your nails, and watch a movie together. Invite a single-parent family over for dinner.

Help with car repairs. The longest I have gone with a broken vehicle has been ten months. On one of the many times my car needed repairs, my family and I were in route to the church we attended at that time. We walked across the street and ran into our pastor’s wife. She knew our situation and yet she smiled, waved, and drove around us in her empty station wagon on her way to church. We arrived an hour later. I will never forget it.  Gas is also rationed in our homes. Currently, my car needs a major repair, and I have parked it in the driveway. I walk everywhere, including eight miles round-trip to church each Sunday morning. In the winter that entails hikes in six or more inches of snow, icy streets, and sidewalks.

Our children might make choices that you will not understand. If the other parent tells them an activity is acceptable and the child does that activity or habit, please understand that we do not often agree. The power of a parent is very strong in a child’s life for good or less than satisfactory.  Many times the most beneficial thing to do as an observer is to pray for the situation and encourage the family as you are able. We can do without unsolicited advice.

A bag of food is helpful. One of my neighbors works at a food bank and has dropped off an occasional box if the organization has extra foodstuff. God bless her. She has no idea how tight money has been this winter. When it is this bad, I ration my portions or do not eat at all. Between my personal food rationing and being forced to walk everywhere, I have lost weight, but I would not have chosen hunger as the means to that end. Single moms feed their kids first. If there is not enough food and the children ask, the mom will reply that she is fasting or will eat later. Later might be the next day or in several days. We will go hungry and see to it our children eat nutritious meals.

If we do not attend church potlucks, frequently it is because we have no food to share. Please do not judge us for that.

We enjoy your pretty clothes, but please do not make us feel bad that ours are not as lovely. I’m grateful for a gal in North Dakota. She mails clothing that she is tired of to my friend, who in turn doles them out to her friends. She loves tans and greens. Not my colors, yet I’m appreciative. In church I pretend I’m cold and wear my long coat over my outfit so folks will not see my tired or threadbare clothing. When I apply for jobs, the hiring managers see the same outfits, and I get a similar reaction from the managers as I do the parishioners in the pew and no jobs come my way.

Employment is scarce for us in this economy. We work whatever jobs we can find, operate home businesses, stretch our budgets beyond the breaking point and yet face our utilities, and phones being turned off and the threat of losing our homes. My utilities and phone will be turned off in a few days. I’m not alone. Another momma’s utilities and water will be turned off this week too. Over at SHM I list the links to my sisters-in-the-Lord’s blogs. They tell of hunger, no water, no plumbing, and mortgages in limbo. Is there not a big-hearted plumber in Christendom who can go to one of our fellow single momma’s and fix her pipes so she does not have to use her shovel under the cover of darkness to bury waste? Think about that the next time you flush. No single mother should have to face homelessness, and yet we do. I have been homeless, and it is no picnic.

We start businesses to pay our bills with dignity and stay off of government aid. Yet those businesses go months without a single sale. Why bother to put forth the effort? Sometimes we wonder that, too. If we do not place anything in our shops, it is because we have nothing to work with or because we are discouraged with no sales.

We also do not like to tell you what our needs are. We have learned over the years that it is better to do without than face the censure of God’s kids. Would you tell the nicely dressed lady who drives a new SUV and sits in front of you at church that the flour is almost gone, and you are tired of being hungry? Of course you wouldn’t. Would you tell anyone at church that you walk eight miles in six inches of snow to come to Sunday services? I learned a long time ago that it is best to keep quiet because folks in the Body judge and demean. Some tell us they will pray for us as they go out to eat. It is just not worth it. Most single mothers keep quiet because of the criticism. Our trials do not go away. I wish I was the only mother who did not share her needs. I have yet to find a single mother who was not judged harshly because of the financial burden she bears with little funds to work with. It also makes no difference whether she works inside or outside the home or if her children are homeschooled or in traditional school. In my experience it has been the same for most of us.

I appreciate Gleaning the Harvest. They are doing something about the challenge single mother’s face. It is depressing to see the last two months of donations. For some of the ladies, donations for the two months have been enough to buy several gallons of gas. The gals have received a fraction of what they need and will be criticized by believers when the water is turned off. It is hard for them to pay basic bills without jobs or donations at GTH. Businesses do not stay open without continuous customers.

Over the last eighteen years, I have become a toughened single momma and know how to survive hunger, homelessness, and a host of other problems. In fact, I’ve written a book about that. Somehow the Lord will fix my leaky roof, cut the tall dead tree in my yard, and keep the utilities on. Yes, I think I have figured out a way to pay the light bill.  I’m not worried about myself. But I am anxious about my ladies over at SHM and the dear gals at GTH. They have minor children to tend to. They need our help. They are my friends and sisters-in-Christ. They have the faith that will move mountains and are trusting in the Lord as Provider.  There are single mothers everywhere, and we need to reach out to them with an encouraging word and perhaps a sack of flour.

[Editor's Note: This is a sobering and gut-wrenching post to publish. James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Do we truly take this to heart? It is easy to say, "There's so much poverty; what can I possibly do?" But all of us can do something. Start in your home church. Look around your neighborhood. Are there widows, single moms, hurting people? Then Christ commands us to reach out to them and help them. All of us can do something if we are just willing to try. It doesn't have to be a thousand dollars or a new car--just taking over a box of food or bringing a meal or helping with home repair. These are small steps that mean so much. Let's put our money where our mouth is when it comes to living the gospel. The world is watching.]

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About The Author

Mrs. Rose enjoys crafts, gardening, and photography.

Comments

13 Responses to “The Flour is Almost Gone”

  1. mnewbie1 says:

    This writer has obviously been hurt and offended on more than one occasion regarding her situation and that is truly regrettable. While I am sure there are many calloused people sitting in churches across America, I am just as sure there are many with willing hearts and means to help. Many of these women have been just as hurt when their help has been rejected with as little civility as has been shown to this woman in her need. I would suggest that making assumptions about what the other person can/will or can’t/won’t do is dangerous and divides the body. If a person has a need, she must tell it so that it may be addressed. If a person’s help has been rejected, she must still continue to offer her surplus where the Lord directs. I was shocked at the tone of this article and surprised that the editor/moderator published it. Such a generalized rebuke is rarely successful and my hope is that it was not intended as such but was meant to exhort to action.

  2. jennifer_maassen@yahoo.com says:

    Oh, this was so sad to read. One quote in particular that really made me upset was, “I learned a long time ago that it is best to keep quiet because folks in the Body judge and demean.” There is so much in the Bible that calls us to care for the poor among us. For starters, John 3:17: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Pity in this case means feeling followed up by action.
    I am sure that it doesn’t exactly help this lady to know that her fellow church members are in the wrong. That won’t get the job of feeding or clothing her family accomplished. But who is to hold these people accountable? Where are the pastor, deacons, or elders in such a church? Are those in authority so afraid of offending people that they fail to do their duty to those in need? Mrs. Rose, have you talked to the pastor about this? If so, and nothing changes, I suggest that you may need a new church where Biblical commands are taken seriously and put into practice. I’m so sorry, sweet sister.

  3. Blessed2BeMom says:

    Right on target! I seldom say anything to anyone for some of the same reasons.We live in a small town (less than 300, mostly elderly) I have five children at home. I have no credit card debt. My vehicle is paid for but the tags are expired and the insurance ran out. Extended family is gone. My home is paid for but the property taxes are overdue. I have been down to that partial sack of white flour, several times. People have given food to us that was several years out of date. Once we were given a sack of shoes. Not one matching pair in the whole big black sack. More to dispose of…. we did laugh at that one.
    There are times when we have used the old phonebook pages as… um… er…. like in the old days. We are VERY creative in our cooking…using what we have. We sometimes have extra and give. We tithe. We pray. God provides. Most people I hear who say that they are *broke* usually are a bit tight but still have 2 cell phones, cable, eat out, and are able to toss five dollars out for a purchase without too much thought.
    I am NOT complaining. We are together! Blessings DO happen… frequently. We pick up odd jobs within walking distance. We volunteer. I have a home based business but no sample or catalogues just now… and when someone tells me that they cannot afford something just now… I believe them…. but do they really know what *tight* is? My couch has no pocket change in it. My bank account is free and has 32 cents in it at present.
    I have the use of a friend’s phone. For a long while we had no phone. I am so very blessed…REALLY! We are a very, very thankful family. We look for ways to give and do not really want to be pitied.
    Haiti is in need and there is lots of fanfare for helping those folks. …May I humbly suggest that your church family has some serious needs. …and if you can help anonymously, it takes the sting out of it. I got an email last month thanking me for my payment to the electric company. It was not me. I have no idea who did it. Last winter some hunters gave us venison…and one couple that we had never met gave us a message through a neighbor… Would we like a freezer? I was thinking… well if it doesn’t have too much rust and it works…OK. To my utter surprise, the neighbor told me to get dressed to go to town because the people said that I should select ANY new freezer that I want, at the appliance store!!!!! A brand new, energy efficient freezer is now ours. God is good! We trust in Him :)
    Awesome God! Those folks shall reap a blessing!
    Thanks for sharing this article.

  4. Mrs. C says:

    Thank you for sharing such specific ways that we (who are not single, and who know NOTHING of your daily struggles), can help. I’m rather shy and it takes real effort on my part to reach out to some one I don’t know well. But when I do, I am almost always enriched with a new friendship. Thank you for this gentle prod.

    What I take away from this article, personally, is the need to step out of my comfort zone and actually BEFRIEND the single moms in my “circle of influence”…..not be smug and satisfied with an, “Oh, dahlin”–let me HELP you!!”…..but rather, come alongside, encourage, reach out the hand of friendship and hospitality in a genuine way. Be Real. Get to know my Sister in Christ, love her–warts and all. (Afterall, isn’t that how I want to be treated?)

    I would love to hear more from struggling single moms. Might this forum provide the anonymity needed to allow them to share their hearts? I realize that not every reader might want to hear the difficult details—there are those in every crowd—But there are many compassionate, yet naive/ignorant (that would describe me!) souls who might just be blessed by these stories and by being given concrete ideas of ways to help.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Bless you dear♥

    As another single mama, I am walking along the same path. Mnewbie1, I’m sorry that you were taken aback by the tone of this article, but honestly, I am glad that Mrs. Rose had the courage to share her thoughts and experiences. Most of us single mothers don’t have the guts to say how bad things can really get at times. It’s not pride that restrains us, but rather weariness, or perhaps a longing to shield our children from the harsh reality that is our lives. When I was comfortably married, I was sympathetic to single moms. I had compassion for them and I thought I had some sense of what their daily lives and challenges were like. Once I became a single mom myself, I realized how utterly clueless I had been, lol. Please, mnewbie1, don’t be offended by this article, but rather understand how painfully difficult it was for the author to share these details of her life. If you have concerns, pray for compassionately for us single mamas. We need your prayers, for God is our only hope♥

  6. ladysilver76 says:

    I think that for some the image of a single mother is a bit skewed. They self righteously assume some sin on the womans part put her in the situation she is in so she “deserves the fruit of her sin”. They forget to look at her the way God does through Jesus colored glasses.
    Because none of us deserve anything we have and we don’t get half of what we deserve.

  7. Mary Jo says:

    This is a troubling article, but a good reminder to look for ways in which we can bear the burdens of others. Christ said, “they will know that you are my disciples if ye have love one for another.” I know that we do not attend church to “get our needs met,” but seriously! If a church is so obtuse that it cannot see a single mother struggling 8 miles through the snow, then there is something really wrong with that church!

    On the other hand, sometimes needs aren’t that obvious and you need to seek help. I’m not a single mother, but with little ones in the house, there are days when I am so overwhelmed with life that I wonder where all the older women are that are supposed to be teaching us younger women? (Titus 2) But the truth is, I attend a VERY loving church that is FULL of people willing to help, if I wasn’t too proud to admit my needs.

    And yet, I don’t believe any of us should become whiny and clingy either– dumping all our burdens on the elders, deacons, church members, or anyone else who will listen!

    So, there must be a balance. What is it?

    Jesus said, “Walk in love.” We have to get to know each other and spend time together, so we can discover the needs and burdens of others, without them feeling like beggars. The only way we can truly bear their burdens is if we’re walking next to them. Not just dropping of groceries or slipping money in their purse (not that it’s wrong to do that) but getting to know them and walking together in love.

    I can only imagine how painful it was to write this post. I could feel the author’s hot tears, even as I read the words. And I prayed for you, sister. But I also prayed the Lord would open my eyes to the needs and burdens of those around me. Sometimes I can be just as obtuse…

  8. Mary Jo says:

    Something else to consider:

    In an age of government welfare and public education, many churches do not understand that it is their job to provide for the needy in their midst. They think, “Well, if she was totally destitute, she’d get some help from WIC, Healthy Start, Food Stamps, etc… And she would definitely put those kids in public school instead of trying to homeschool them.”

    They just don’t understand.

  9. Kathryn says:

    As a single mom this article brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for having the courage to speak out.

    I, too, have learned not to let people know just how bad things are for us. Its very disheartening to share with someone at church that there is no food at home to feed my children, only to be told, “I’ll pray for you.” I’ve have frequently run into this even with ministers.

    My oldest daughter has serious food allergies to corn, wheat, soy and peanuts. When I let people know about her allergies and that we need food I’m usually told ” this is what we have to give. The allergies are your problem to worry about.” So I give the children the breads and the pastas, etc., and pray that we don’t have to use the epi pen.

    For over a year now I have had to roll down the driver’s side window and reach out to open my door. (We live in a very rainy climate.) The tires are bald and the service engine soon light is on. I am disabled and frequently am barely able to walk far enough to get out to my car, so having a running vehicle is very important for us.

    3/4 of the time I’m barely able to even drive. Because of this we are not able to attend church very often. I just wish someone from church would call or come by for a visit. It gets very lonely sometimes.

    We have been homeless and we have been hungry. No one in my family can stand pancakes or Rice-a-Roni types foods. For a long time we lived on the knock-off brands of Rice-a-Roni because we could get them for 2 for a dollar and pancakes.

    Through all this God has been very good to us. We have a roof over our heads and the rent is income-based. Right now there is food in the fridge. For all this we are very thankful.

  10. ormomofmany says:

    Thank you so much for having the courage to write this!! I can relate to this in so many ways- although a married woman we have severely struggled financially a good portion of our married life. Even in a quick post like this you feel like you have to give your whole autobiography in order to clear yourself of “fault”. It has really made me think and struggle with what it means when we say “God will provide”- something that is often said very glibly at times. It has made DH and I look at the whole of Christian history and evaluate my troubles with those that Christians have faced in other times, and what God’s provision meant for them. We were recently talking to a woman who left an abusive husband about this very thing- people don’t get what broke really means, and how you can’t just “go get a job at McDonald’s” to solve your problems.

    I am very glad to see LAF publishing this, especially after so many articles that act like government assistance to the poor is evil or always socialism. The reason it is there is precisely because of issues like this one. Most people on government assistance work or are actively looking for work; most would really rather not- but feel it is necessary. Remember Malachi 3:5 “And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts.”

    For those who want to give but are afraid to humiliate or embarrass the person, or are just too shy yourself, a way to go about it could be to go to your pastor and ask if there is a family who could use help, or tell him that you have X to give, donate, whatever, and does he know of a family who could use it? You could also work on starting a poor box at your church or something where people could donate anonymously and it could be administered by either a board or the pastor. I saw one church that had a giveaway/swap board, where people listed their numbers and what they had to get rid of instead of just dropping them off at the Goodwill. Just some ideas.

  11. Mrs. Zwieg says:

    I was a single mother for seven years and every word of this article rings true. The church used and abused, family chose to misunderstand and we did not have a friend (the real definition of a friend) in the world for most of those seven years. I did not understand true Biblical Womanhood and have cried and repented over the years lost with my children due to working sometimes two jobs and willfully allowing everyone else to raise my children. There were many tears of lonliness and humiliation and despair, and thankfully, God Almighty heard this womans cries.

    I am now in a position for God to continue to heal my heart and heal the hearts of my children from the damage done. Although we are not rich, we do know how to be a blessing to others after our seven years of living in a nightmare. Hopefully we can help to influence others to be true to God’s Word and literally care for the widows and orphans.

    Remember…it was the single women who were last at the cross and the single women who were first at the tomb, it was a single woman that annointed His feet with expensive oil and single sisters that opened their home for Him to teach His disciples. Yeshua, the Prince of Peace holds a special place in His heart for women-single women.

    Thank you LAF for sharing this article, thank you Mrs. Rose for sharing the pain and making it real for others to understand and thank you Lord for allowing the Body of Christ to see a real and true need that they-we can all fill…to learn to really and truly be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  12. Abbysmom says:

    Dear L. Rose,

    I apologize for not responding to your post earlier, but I have been involved in finishing up quizzes, final projects, and final exams until yesterday (I’m a second-career adult student). But I have prayed for you and your family every day since I read your post and will continue to do. And I don’t think your post came across as whiny or angry — just open and honest about your needs and other people’s reactions to them.

    I don’t think anyone can truly identify with your situation until she has been there, but think anyone can understand where you are coming from to some degree or one another if they have ears to hear and eyes to see. I agree with some of MomofMany’s suggestions about a poor box or a swap board. In my parish, we collect a monthly offering for the Parish Discretionary Fund, which the rector or the church Treasurer can help church members (and others) with financial needs as funds permit. Does your church have something like that?

    We also have one woman whose ministry is to match available drivers to people who need drivers. Perhaps you could bring this up, but not in your own context, but more the context about elderly people who need rides to doctors, dentists, grocery shopping, etc.

    Also, I know this is much easier said than done, you don’t have to be ashamed or have to justify your situation to anyone. It’s none of their business!

    This may be contrary to your beliefs, but I truly encourage to sign up for food stamps, Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, home heating subsidy, or whatever benefits you might be eligible for. Maybe you could look at it like this — either you, the father of your children, or both of you have been taxpayers some time during your adult lives. If not either of you, your parents or siblings almost certainly have. Those taxes have helped others in need. Now it’s time to take advantage of these programs when you need them.

    Depending on where you live, Freecycle.org, is a great way to request items that you need and items you can give to someone else. The service is free, but if you find someone who has what you need, you need to meet to obtain the item. If there is a public place (grocery store parking lot, park, school grounds, church) that works best, but that might be difficult if you don’t have transportation and these places are within walking distance. Most cities of any size (~75,000+) have their own site, but they draw users from a wider area.

    Also, don’t forget the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or St. Vincent de Paul as places where you could get nice looking clothes, including ones suitable for interviewing, for a low price.

    If anything I said here sounds condescending, please forgive me. I will continue to pray for you and your family and that your church will become more sensitive to your needs and the other single parents in their midst.

    God bless and keep you,

    Sue

  13. Blessed2BeMom says:

    Re: govt aid… the less people that use it… the more we have to give to others and greater accountability in knowing who is truly in need.

    Also, on one situation I know of… the woman talked to the social service folks..she had been in a very abusive marriage… She was told that if she went on aid… then they would track him down to get repayment…. which would, of course anger him…. He had previously threatened to come back and kill them…She did not think a bit of pottage work the price…. AND as Pres. Ronald Reagan (and God) said… it is not the job of the govt. to take care of folks… It is the job of the church!

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