I wanted more of a fresh start for the New Year, but as usually happens in life, some of the old junk from the old year is already snipping at me. I did everything I could think of to leave it behind.
On Winter Solstice, Lexi, Laina, and I wrote down all of the negative things from 2012, shared them, and then burned the paper, clearing out the old, making room for the new. Then, we wrote down all of the positive things from 2012 and shared them with each other. We were happy to note more positive than negative, and it was surprising that much of the negative had turned into a positive.
I made New Year’s Resolutions…in a way. What I did was to set long term goals for the end of 2013 and create a list of seven simple actions I want to take every day this year that will lead towards those goals. So far this year, I’ve completed all of those actions every day. :)
I’ve also prayed for help, and I applied for around 100 full-time jobs during 2012 (and have already applied for one this year!) and took all of the classes and sub work I could get. Yes, most of the old junk that is snapping at me has to do with wanting a full-time job with decent pay and benefits , with financial issues, stability, and all of the worry and anxiety those things bring.
In 2012, many people helped us, and I really appreciate that. God came through for us, and I have to keep believing that He will and trusting.
At the same time, it’s so frustrating to always be the one who needs help and to not have the stability that I want for my life and my girls.
It’s great that I get a winter break with my kids. I love it. Though I spend a vast majority of it doing prep work for the next semester, there is still time for the holidays, including Lexi’s birthday, and hanging with family and friends. What’s not so cool about it is that I don’t receive a paycheck the first three weeks of January. That is scary and so difficult.
Right now, I have enough money to fill my gas tank. After that, I do not know what I will do. I don’t know how I will buy groceries for my children or how I will pay my bills.
Last January, my ex helped by paying some past-due child support, so we made it through. This January, he says he’ll pay regular child support “when he can,” which means that I may not even be able to pay rent on time this month. It is so stressful and frustrating to not pay bills on time, to not have money for groceries.
On top of that, I am already several thousand dollars behind because of having less classes last year (I won’t even mention my student loans). And, I am worried about having so many older items. My car needs work, my laptop is hanging on by a thread, and our phones sometimes choose not to work. I want to get ahead, not continue struggling to make ends meet, so it’s time to make changes.
I’ve already cut out going to the movies; last semester, we only went to the theater during a holiday break as a treat. We rarely eat out anymore. I’ve turned down hanging out with friends anytime it cost money, even gas money. I’m learning to say “No” more often and prioritize. Now maybe I will have to cancel cable, but I cannot cut internet as I work online. Perhaps we should move into a cheaper condo with less bedrooms, though I love living here and love that I feel my girls are safe in this area and love that we each have our own room, our own space. For now I only have to find a way to make it through the next three weeks, but I don’t know what will happen as prices continue to increase much faster than our incomes. I know some relatives and friends who have moved back in with their parents and others are still searching for jobs and for answers.
Possibly I will have to go to a food bank to get groceries, but I do not want to. I feel like such a failure if I have to take that step. It’s the tug of war between how I think society/others will view me, how I see myself, and how God perceives me. The push and pull between the reality of the bank statement versus visualizing something better for the future. The juxtaposition between the current economy and my education/resume/experience. The contrast between the opportunities/experiences I want my children to have versus the reality of being a single mom.
I remember my sister telling me about volunteering at a soup kitchen during her graduate work and the revelations that brought her. A few years before that, her husband had an aneurism, several brain surgeries, and although he survived, he was hospitalized for a long time and on medication. She realized that, if she hadn’t had family and friends to support her through that experience, she could easily have been on the other side of the serving table at the soup kitchen. There but by the grace of God go I.
All of my devotions this week have been about trusting God, relying on Him, and I am trying to do so. Focus on Him and what I do have. Focus on the choices I can make. For instance, I have enough money, gas, and food for today. I have enough for this weekend. The three of us are healthy and have a nice place to live. In fact, right this moment, I have an abundant, blessed life, and all is well.