Tag Archives: encouragement

God Bless You {Food, housing insecurity}

For the last several years, Anthony and I have struggled so hard with money, attempting to get back on the same page with finances, make ends meet, put food on the table, pay down debts…that we’ve often missed the boat and continue to struggle harder. We rarely have food security. There are entire weeks each month where we have to carefully ration food  to make sure everyone eats 3 meals a day. I cringe hearing my kids tell me they’re hungry because I don’t know if I can make our food last to the end of the month if I give them one more snack in between meals.

Most months we run out of gas money too early. We have to borrow. It’s soul crushing to ask more than once.

Every month we have to watch our bills pile up, debts increasing because we just don’t enough money to pay everyone. It grates on our nerves, threatens to break us. Yet we know – somehow we have more than enough.

I remember once walking through the grocery store helping a friend shop for her family. I hadn’t eaten a full meal in days.  I desperately wanted to grab some fruit, crackers, cheese – anything really – off the shelves, run to a secret corner somewhere and devour the food like a wild animal. I was so desperate for food. I’d been pretending to eat at home, but there wasn’t enough food to go around, so I was saving my share for my husband and kids. I count them as better than myself.

I didn’t steal food that day and I never told my friend how hungry I was. Not too long later, she surprised me with a grocery cart full of food that she’d paid for. It was a gift for my family that she’d felt compelled to give. My faithfulness was being rewarded – for lack of a better term. I’d not grown weary in doing good. The Lord provided.

We are facing similar (but not the same) issues right now. I feel tired – exhausted, really. Every day I wonder when the glass floor will shatter, so to speak, and we’ll be knocked off our feet and lose everything. I know if we remain faithful the Lord will provide. We will not ever need to lie, steal or cheat in order to provide for our family. I pray continually that the Lord will give us wisdom to use our resources wisely. Sometimes I fear we’ll never get it right. We are trying and we are praying. So much is coming at us so fast that it seems like we’ll never float – we’re always fighting not to drown.

We won’t drown. The Lord knows our needs. He will provide.

I share this to encourage anyone else facing the same or similar situation. There’s no shame in asking for help, especially when you have kids. You are going to get through this. So are we.

We’ve been selling extra items, Anthony’s taken on extra hours at work, I’ve worked briefly in the past (but had to quit to save money). We’re cutting expenses left and right and always looking for more ways to do so. Nothing sticks for long. We pray about finances a lot, never wanting to burden anyone else.  This is our problem. Except that it’s not just our problem. It’s a problem millions of people face each day in our country and so many of us pretend we’re alone in this, not wanting to burden anyone else, not wanting to share our shame. We’re afraid that people will think less of us. What does it matter if someone thinks less of us because we’re struggling? Isn’t that indicative of a larger problem within themselves, rather than with us?

We can hold our heads high and continue to look to the Lord for help. Our help does come from the Lord. He is ever present in our time of need and in our time of rejoicing. He can be trusted with all that we are going through, good and bad. Won’t you take some time to share your burdens with Him today?

Remember: Do not grow weary in doing good.  God sees you. He has not left you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will supply all your needs. Have faith and rest in Him.

God bless you, Brothers and Sisters.

Plans For Good and Not For Ruin

We have had a rough week here in the Tirado household. First, our youngest daughter tripped over a toy train at the public library on Saturday and fell directly on her elbow, breaking her left arm. Four days later, Theresa, our eldest daughter fell on her right arm while at school on the playground and broke that in two places. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow to reset the bones.

We’d planned out Theresa’s seventh birthday party a few weeks ago and sent out invitations to 30+ people, only to find out that the community park we’d planned to host it at will be closed during that time. We’re on a massive time and money constriction, so the party’s up in the air right now.

Today, I came down with something akin to the flu and it’s only gotten worse. My husband was scheduled to work tonight, but needed to call in a favor so he could stay home with me and our girls. I can’t stand or sit without the room spinning. (Which makes typing this up all the more interesting!)

The cherry on the cake is that our car won’t start because the alternator went out about an hour ago. My husband can’t get to work at all until it’s fixed. Thank God I restocked our refrigerator this morning before the car went out! We live within walking distance of our kids’ school, so that’s helpful.

Despite all of this that’s happening, I’m no longer panicking. Partly because I’m so sick there’s absolutely nothing I can do except fetch tools and tell bedtime stories, but also because I know we’ve been through worse and lived to tell about it. I know God is in control and He has plans for good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope. I know our help comes from God, not from anything else. He has this all in His hands.

So while we’re having a rough week, I want to take this time to encourage all of you. Whatever you’re going through, God is right there with you, holding you, carrying you, or walking beside you. He most certainly has not forgotten you, Brothers and Sisters.

2 girls, 2 broken arms
I prayed for their physical healing, but God saw it fit to heal their characters. Chelsea is becoming more independent and Theresa is becoming more resilient.

Taste Your Words Before You Speak Them

There is a very wise man at my Mother’s church who is constantly inspiring me to consider my surroundings and do better each day. Some of the pearls of wisdom that he’s imparted on me has saved me from making some pretty big mistakes in my life. I’ll never forget the words this man told me on my wedding day.

K.P.: “You want to know how to avoid an ugly fight in your marriage?”
Me: “How, K.P.?”
K.P. “Never go to bed angry.”
Me: “Ok.” (slight trepidation here, as that doesn’t seem to be enough to me.) “Anything else?”
K.P.: “Yes, when you get mad at your spouse, talk to him. If one of you tries to start a fight and then just shuts off, it doesn’t help. So you know what you do?”
Me: “Nope. What do I do?” (I’m an intrigued 22 year old bride now! I think he’s about to make a joke of some sort, as he’s smiling a big, cat-like grin.)
K.P.: “You look right at your spouse and you say ‘OK. Let’s you and me fight.’ and then you go at it until you’re done. But you can’t go to sleep until you’ve made up.”
Me: (open mouthed. What?)

But it’s been some of the best advice for marriage that I’ve ever received! It’s also led to some pretty sleepless nights over the course of our eight years of marriage, but Anthony and I have (mostly) stuck to that pearl of wisdom and every time we’ve stayed up to fight, we’ve resolved it within hours. Not days, hours. And we’ve had some pretty silly, knock down, drag out fights. But here we are. We’ve made it through a lot and I think that really says something, especially considering I’m an Aries and he’s a Taurus and we’re both extremely passionate and stubborn.

Something else K.P. (the wise man) has taught me is to “always taste my words before I speak them.” I just recently picked that one up, and I’m using it to my (and others’) advantage. I used to have a big, big problem with cursing. I know that I still curse from time to time, especially when passionate (or tired) about something, but it’s miles better than it used to be. I’m a work in progress and I’m happy about that.

Not too long ago, I was blessed with the privilege of being a part of my Mom’s church’s book club. We read R.C. Sproul’s the Holiness of God. I was the youngest one in that group by about 30 years. There were six people who regularly attended the group, including me. In all, there was a collective 370 years (give or take 5-10) of life experience and wisdom in the room, not including my 30 years. I remember sitting in the room, thinking “Wow. How did I get so lucky to be here?” It is a blessing to gain wisdom from your elders. Do not neglect this blessing when it comes your way.

The following wisdom from Titus, chapter 2 has surfaced to mind each time I consider the blessing of gleaning wisdom from my elders.

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:2-5 NIV

 

I’m so grateful for people in my life who have mentored and disciple me thus far. I hope someday I can return the favor and pass it on to someone else.

Do you have anyone in your life that is consistently encouraging you to do good? Leave a note about them in the comments.