Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unemployment

Not too long ago a friend asked about unemployment and if it was enough for our family to live on.

The short answer is, "Um, no."

The long answer is this:
We receive an unemployment check each week. After we make our weekly mortgage payment, we are left with $70 a week to live on. 

That $70 needs to cover:
Health insurance
Electric bill
Gas bill
Water bill
Garbage bill
My car payment (Ryan's car is paid for)
Cell phones
Comcast bill (Internet, tv and home phone)
Food
Gas
Any non-food items - toiletries, paper products
Clothes
Diapers

In July we signed up for a government-sponsored program called WIC (Women, Infant and Children). This program is income based and we qualified to receive help. WIC provides vouchers for bread, milk, cheese, peanut butter, formula, baby food, juice, and a few fruit and veggies. However, even with this assistance we still spend at least $50 a week on groceries.

That leaves $20 a week for gas.

Then we're outta money.

So, no. Unemployment is not enough to live on.

My husband has taught financial classes at church for a number of years and we worked hard to get out of debt when we were first married. Thankfully, we had a few months worth of savings to live on when he lost his job.

That was four months ago.

We are out of savings.

We've drawn from a few different resources to have money to live on so we'll be OK for a couple more months. Even though unemployment doesn't pay for everything, we are very thankful that we receive an unemployment check each week. 

We have several family members on both sides who are self-employed and when their income slows down, or even disappears, there is no unemployment to sign up for.

I'm not writing this to get tips on saving money or living frugally or reducing debt.

I'm just writing to inform. To share. To be authentic.

I'm writing so that if you hear about someone you know losing their job - or not having steady work if they are self-employed - it's a big deal. Every time I look at the newspaper, I see articles about people losing their homes and/or acquiring massive amounts of debt.

Here's what I'm really trying to say:
God calls us to be wise stewards of our money, friends. If you have an income - regardless of whether it's a high income or a steady income - please do not neglect two things: tithing and saving. You will only be blessed and benefit from these habits. God calls us to give back to Him from what He has blessed us with. God calls us to be good stewards by saving a portion of our income.

God has a lot to say about money. There are more verses about money in the Bible than any other topic. How we spend, how we save, how we give...how we live.

Being unemployed is scary. Some days it's terrifying. Even as a Jesus-follower, when you don't know how the bills will get paid, it's a difficult place to be.

But He will provide, of that we are sure. Unemployment check or not, He will meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Amen.

5 comments:

kim said...

amen.

Niki said...

Amen.
I will definately be praying for you and I hope you won't mind me asking a few of those in my inner circle to also pray for you and your family?
I only know too well, what it is your going through right now. About 6 weeks ago I was there. Though I don't have a family as I'm currently single (but patiently waiting...okay not patiently waiting but I'm waiting :) ),I did have other expenses. I'm a student and having to put myself through university, I'm paying for accommodation, bills, food and general maintentance.
I wasn't receiving any financial help from the government but I did manage to get a part-time job as a cleaner. However it was for minimum wage and that wasn't enough to even pay my rent. I was in huge rent arrears and facing eviction. If I was evicted where was I going to live? I was in this mess because of my family (long story which I really don't see the point of going into) and (extended) family and friends...well, where were they when I needed them? No where! Its what the Bible says in Psalm 118:8 "it is better to take refuge in God than to trust in men... instead look to the hills from whence comes your help. All of your help comes from the LORD." Psalm 121, Isaiah 2:22.
I spent months applying for various job vancanies, some rejected my applications, some didn't even bother responding. What was going on? Didn't God see that I was in desperate need of a job? He said He would be my provider, He would be my helper yet two months turned into four, four into six, six into eight...
My faith was wearing thin. I couldn't even pray, I mean what was the point, was God even listening to me anyway, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.
I needed to fight my lack of faith and prayerlessness. There was doubt and worry but I used the Word of God to fight against the doubt, bitterness and mistrust- remember what Hebrews 4:12 says?
I also opened up to a few people about what I going through, how I was feeling. Through them God showed me His love and grace. These people joined me in prayer, encouraged me and even went as far as raising funds to assist me.
6 weeks ago I applied for a job and was called for an interview. A couple of days later the job was mine.
My landord and I have agreed on monthly payments and he will no longer go ahead with court proceedings. Infact to tell you the kind of God we serve is like... to put it simply if it were to be another landlord I wou;d've been on the streets a long time ago but its God who works in the heart of men. By the end of this year I should be debt free, hopefully!
God provides. He does ALL things in His time. There is no way God will allow you to sink Stacey. It has never happened to anyone who has put their trust in Him before and it won't happen now. Why would He start with you? Like me, He wants to show you His love and His grace. He wants to show you that He alone is your provider, He is the one you should put your hope and trut in, not in men or status or a job- 1 Timothy 6:17-18. I remember one time that I was praying crying out that I was tired of reading about God being my provider and fed up of hearing that He was from other people. I wanted, infact I needed to know for myself....He showed me. He wants to remind you of His greatness incase you have forgotton His greatness in your life- I read the testimony about you and Ryan becoming parents.
There are lessons God wants to teach you. God ultimate goal is to make us holy and He uses situations to do so. Lastly He will allow you and your husband to go through this waiting period because your today is someone else's tomorrow and like me, when your trial is over, He wants you to use the same encouragement He has given you to give to someone else.

I apologise for any typo's as I'm typing this in a rush but please please, I know its hard but know that your life is in God's hands. He cannot fail.

((hugs))

Niki said...

I want to also share a friends testimony, which you can read here:
http://www.lightherlamp.com/2010/09/things-to-do-while-waiting-for-your.html#links

She too, knows too well what it is your going through, not so long ago she too was right where you are.
In addition to her list of need-to-knows whilst you wait, I'll like to add a couple I jotted down whilst listening to an online sermon by John Macarther

Things To Cultivate in the midst of trial:

-A joyous attitude
- An understanding mind which translates to a knowing mind.

What do you need to know? That God is at work in your life.

- A submissive will.




I'll try to find the sermon and post the link to you.

Amazing Life said...

O Dear, it is so hard.

When I lost my job at the end of June it was terrible to be reminded what others are facing everyday. I happened to work for a church so they are exempt from having to pay for unemployment benenfits and never told their new hires that so I only found out when I applied. This was about 3 months after finding out I was pregnant and my husband's insurance policy did not cover maternity care because I was the only woman of child bearing age on the plan. So we also applied for a medicaid program for pregnant women and also got qualified for WIC! It is such a blessing. All of it. We still struggle and and trying to figure out how to use our savings in the best way so that when the baby comes we still have the things we need. Praying for your family!!! God does provide, we are both proof of that!

JellyBelly said...

Thanks for the wake up call. Although my husband and I are both gainfully employed, I am constantly worried about money. Our electricity bill was $250 more than usual and I almost lost my mind, but I know that there will be another pay cheque in two weeks.

I hope and pray that Ryan finds something soon. I cannot imagine the stress that you have to deal with.

Hugs!