About eight years ago, our family hit a tough spot financially. I was weeks from delivering our third child when my husband came to me with the numbers; there was simply no more stretching an already stretched budget. We ended up on food stamps and Medicaid.
At first, my faith didn’t waver.
But then things went from bad to worse. As the weeks turned into months and the months to years, I found our financial woes hitting me in a place I’d never expected: motherhood.
To be a ‘good’ mother, culture tells us, you must feed your child organic, locally sourced food. To be a ‘good’ mother, it whispers, you must book a professional photo shoot for each new stage (as well buy new matching outfits.) To be a ‘good’ mother, we hear, you must have the perfectly accessorized nursery. And then as they grow older, to be a ‘good’ mother you must be able to pay for dance, music, and art lessons.
What I remember most about our lean years was the sense of helplessness and guilt I felt While my story may be a bit of an outlier, the desire to care for our children is a universal one.
‘Which of you,’ Jesus asks in Matthew, ‘if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?’ The heart of every loving parent is to provide good things for our children. So when we’re financially unable to give them ‘bread’, it can strike us to our very core.
As a Father himself, God knows and understands the weight of your mother heart. He knows how desperately you long to give your children good gifts and how much you despair when you can’t.
In the midst of our financial struggles, in the midst of my feelings of helplessness, God was feeding us and carrying my children in his arms. But more than caring for my children, God was also caring for me.
As I led them, he was gently leading me. And part of what he was gently leading me to was the understanding that he never intended for me to care for my children alone.
While I don’t know what the future holds, I do know this: The Lord is my Shepherd and so I shall not want. And because the Lord is my Shepherd, my children won’t want either. He will feed his flock. He will carry the lambs in his arms.
He will gently lead those that are with young.