It's been a couple of months since I last posted. Someday, I will be more consistent (I promise!). This time of year is a bag of mixed emotions for me. Four years ago around this time of year, was the beginning of an end for me. The start of a new struggle that I never knew that I would still be dealing with.
I have heard about welfare, but not until four years ago did I know what it really was. I heard the term food stamps, but for the first time in my life I applied for them. I had actually been on medical assistance when I found I was pregnant with my first beautiful baby and we didn't have family health insurance. I had never even understood public housing until I had started applying for it. I've been in my home for almost two years now. I don't plan on being here forever, but I'm so thankful that there are programs available to help you get on your feet.
This time of year gets pretty difficult for me emotionally mainly because I still feel like I've lost so much. I feel that I'm constantly struggling to get back what was taken from me and that it's a hopeless battle. What's even more stressing is holiday travel. I have to invent money so I can spend holidays with all of my children. I also have to constantly make changes to my goals because of the constant big changes my family is dealing with.
I don't usually worry about Christmas gifts. I love being able to shop for people, but I don't sweat it if I don't have the funds. Christmas isn't about what you spend financially on others. It's about celebrating the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ. He was born to die. He died for all our little struggles in life. He died for our sins. Even if I feel like I'm fighting hopelessly or if I'm in a tight place, I can be reminded that all this stuff is temporary.
I also understand that there is always someone in a more difficult situation that than me. This year, we are receiving Christmas gifts through donations from Toy for Tots. If you don't know what it is, Toys for Tots is a charity, run by the US Marine Corps, that takes new toys to be given to less fortunate children. They usually collect the toys starting in October for the Christmas season. I am the face of one of the recipients. I have also donated in the past. Children don't understand much about financial situations. I don't think they really care about how much money the family has as long as they feel safe, secure, and loved. They do understand toys, and don't care about how much they cost.
This time of year is the biggest time that people find it in their hearts to help someone less fortunate. Don't just think about others during Christmas, but all year. My budget is pretty non-existent these days, but I have always kept in mind to set aside something so that I can share. It may not be much, but remember if millions are setting aside a little bit, think of how much there would be to give.
We like to open our hearts and dream big near the end of the year. Don't lose that. Ever. God has given to us so that we can freely give to others all the time.