Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Letter to Sandi

Sandi's note to Candy:

I am depressed, but I am saved also. My trouble is my DH is saved but does not do what i s required from a husband. For 10 years he has been talking about doing everything for the lord, but his actions do not correlate with his words. The man is supposed to be the leader AND provider of his family. Yet, his job situation does not provide adequately for my family of six. The bills barely get paid, and my growing children are often hungry. We can't afford doctor or dental visits so I have to try to diagnose the children myself and make homemade cures if they are afflicted with something. I pray to be relieved of financial stress...to have the ability to feed,cloth,buy shoes,and take care of them medically without feeling I am "splurging" to cover their basic needs. Ten years is a LONG time to wait for my husband to provide this. He is talented in many areas and could get a steady job that would ease our money issues, but I am beginning to wonder if he is just too selfish. So, while sit and I pray for deliverance from my husband's apathetic interpretations of his christian duties I am making a sparse lunch for my 4 children as he is eating out at Taco Bell. Depressed? YES!
Sandi




Dear Sandi -

I am so sorry that you are struggling right now and I can hear your frustration in your note. It is so difficult when circumstances seem so difficult and we are at the end of our ropes to figure out how to get out of the hole we're in. But there is one thing I want to let you know that may be of help to you. You cannot change your husband. Whether he's the most amazing man or the poorest of wretches, there is nothing YOU can do to make him a better husband, father or man of God. Not one Scripture tells us to do anything to make another person better - all we can do is deal with ourselves and our own hearts in the matter. So here's my advice to you:

1) Pray. There are a number of issues to pray for that I see in your note. One is that God would speak to your own heart and help you to find joy in all of your circumstances. Read Philippians 4:11-13 which reads "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. " Remember that Paul had gone though some extreme life circumstances yet still chose to be content. It's a hard thing when we are pressed on all sides but when you find your joy in the Lord through whatever may come, I think you will find that your responses to the hardship will be very different. In addition, you are teaching your children the same lesson because they learn from example before they can ever learn from words.

Secondly pray for your husband. I do not know your husband and all I can get from your note is one side. I do not know the struggles he has or his heart in this matter but that's OK. God does. Pray for him for wisdom, for clarity, for a heart that is given over completely to the Lord. Pray that he would have other men in his life to feed into him who can sharpen him in his walk with the Lord. I know nothing of being a man or being the head of a home but I can safely say that it must be a very difficult position to be in. Not all men are wise in their leading but there's nothing we can do to change that - other than beseech their Creator. He can do great things when we step out of the way and allow Him free access to our husbands.

Lastly, pray for your circumstances. Pray that God would allow you to be able to provide for your family with the resources you have. Pray that God would bless your work as a wife and would multiply your food and your resources like He mulitiplied the oil of the widow to be able to feed your family and to keep them healthy.

2) Spend time in the Word. Make sure that YOU are seeking the Lord in all that you do and that you are seeking His voice each day. My recommendation to you would be to read Philippians for the entire month of October - it's an amazing book of Scripture that deals with much of what you're going through. Meditate on God's Word. Memorize portions of Scripture so that you can hide it in your heart and play those words over and over again rather than the words in your head saying "If only...."

3) Take your focus off of your husband and your circumstances and keep them on the Lord. Don't look at others thinking "Well they have ..." or comparing yourself to others. I know it's hard but when you do this, you are looking at worldly measures and not the absolute measures of God. Prosperity and success are not in this world - nor is our comfort.

4) Practical stuff:

a) Sit down and figure out the budget with your DH if he's willing. See what you absolutely have to spend and stay within the budget. Of course this is depending on your husband and if he chooses not to do this, you need to abide by that. But understand your finances and work within them.

b) Learn skills to save money on your groceries, clothing and medical. I'm sure you're already doing this but step it up a notch if you need to. I don't know if you've got $20 to spend on groceries a week or $200 but learn how to save as best you can. Yeah, you might have very little and maybe not even enough to spend on food for your family. I know women who literally haven't had a penny to spend on food. Look to help from your church and other local churches in the area and, if necessary, look to something like foodstamps for a time. I'm not one to be big on government hand-outs but they're there for a reason and we've paid into them. If you absolutely have nothing on your table for your family, then look into it. Just a warning though. If you do get the government involved, they will make you get a job outside the home and that may not be what you or your husband wants you to do. So the foodstamps is an absolute last resort, IMO.
For clothing, befriend people and ask them for hand-me-downs. "Oh I love what Johnny wears - he always looks so nice. If you ever have any clothes that he's outgrown, I'd be more than happy to give them a new home." is not a terrible thing to do (I've done it myself). If you can afford it, shop cheap. If you can't afford anything, you'll need to do your best to find very inexpensive or free clothing. Garage sales and the Salvation Army are good places to find inexpensive clothes. I've also heard of many women being happy to ship a box of clothes to someone they know online when the request comes in on a board or though a blog. Sometimes we need to get creative.
Look into possible state insurance. I know New York State has something called Child Health Plus and it's an insurance through the state that provides insurance to the uninsured. It is VERY cost effective and covers not only medical but vision and dental. It's very generous in it's guidelines so that it's free to many people and even when there IS a portion that you have to pay, it's VERY little (like $5-50 a month) with a per-family cap. See if your state has anything like that.

I do pray for you, dear sister Sandi. You are at a place of pain right now but part of that pain is your own heart view of your circumstances. Seek the Lord - call on Him while He is near. Do not let your heart be troubled. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. He is faithful and will supply all your needs - your true needs in this life. If you do happen to read this, I would really love for you to get a hold of me. I'd love to be able to speak to you and pray for you knowing a bit more of who you are. But if not, God knows you and can still answer my prayers. We serve an awesome God.

Love, your sister in Christ,
Ann

5 comments:

Ginger said...

Sandi, if you get to read this, I am praying for you as well! Ann great loving advice

Molly said...

Ann,

We might not agree on some things, but I have been reading about this through your blog and I have to say that your standing up for this woman crying out for help is wonderful.

I, personally, stopped reading Candy's blog over a year ago because of some of the things she had posted, so I only know of this situation from your blog.

This woman needs kind, direct words, not ones blaming her for all the problems going on.

Your post was wonderful.

Molly

Grace said...

That's a lovely post, Ann!

GrammyGoo said...

Ann,

Godly and practical counsel. I pray this woman see's your response to her. Your post was obviously written with the love of Christ and sensitivty to the Holy Spirit.

Kaira said...

Ann,
this is sweet reply to Sandi. I remember when Sandi asked that question. I try to stay away from Candy's blog but I remembered that one. I hope she saw that sweet and encouraging letter from you.