"Brendi...." began my Dad a CPA, when I entered High School in 1964, "you and I both know you're not College material even if I can afford to send you 3 girls and more importantly your 3 brothers when the time comes.... it's best for you to learn Secretarial Skills so you can take care of yourself until you marry. When you get married your Husband will take care of you, so you can stay home like your Mom and take care of your Husband and your Home and raise your Children together."



These were the words which came to mind when my first Husband could not find, to quote his mother 'a decent job'.  He along with other Soldiers who were leaving Military Service at the end of the Vietnam War in the 70's were flooding the Employment Market. 


It had been our desire that I be a stay at home Mom and Wife but his Mother was putting pressure on us for the opposite to take place.



His Mother never wanting to be ignored, and not afraid to show her disappointment screamed at us more than once words such as these, "I did not send my only child to College so you could become a Debit Collector, you need to find a Career worthy of you." and "You need to hold out for a decent job. You were an Officer in the Marine Corps and should be looking for a Career not just a Job." "You need to get a real Job, I don't care how long it takes, you hear me? "You need to make her go find the menial job, while you look for a Career. No son of mine........"



As one with a desire to be a decent Wife and Mother, I took it upon myself to find several part time jobs working from Home after my Husband quit his menial job so he could find a Professional one. The thought to take up my initial line of work, as a Professional Secretary never entered my mind, because I wanted to Parent our Children during the day.  The reality of seeking out someone one else to raise them was something my conscience could not allow. When the Eviction Notices began to come in, fear was added to my feeling like a failure. So even though I hated leaving my Husband, Baby and Toddler, I took a job away from Home in the evening as well, because he refused to do so. Inwardly I carried a lot of anxiety and the emotional pain of shame which ultimately began to overwhelm me when my first Husband turned to drinking and blaming me for our problems.  His mother added fuel to his fire by agreeing with him on one hand and berating him on another. Their words added insult to injury adding to the weight of the sense of responsibility I was carrying alone.


Years later I was able to look back with compassion, as I remembered being very exhausted and depressed during that season of my life. By the time my breaking point arrived, I was in the habit of drawing the drapes once the children went down for their naps so I could sit in the darkness and wrap myself up in my own arms while I rocked my body to and fro to soothe myself as I cried.  Finally I got to the place where I knew I could no longer live like this, if not for my sake, then for the sake of our Children. Even though I knew Jesus as my Savior, I had never been taught I could reach out to God as my Father for guidance or help ... but in desperation, I finally did ... it seemed like the right thing to do.

Praying and asking for my Heavenly Father's help gave me strength and a sense of direction and hope. On the heels of praying I heard about Government Subsidized Housing and a Government Program designed to help single Moms with Children under the age of 6, stay at home and raise their own Children with Public Assistance. Remembering how I was raised to be a stay at home Mom, my conscience led me in this direction. I was now of a mind that our children needed the security of my mothering influence at their stage of development more than things, so I decided to apply for this Program to see what might happen. 



I was amazed as to how the doors quickly opened up for me to move into Section 8 Housing once I sensed this was the wisest choice for now. I was told there was a 2 year waiting list, but the Rental Manager called me, (after I prayed for Father's will) informing me she had decided to put me on top of her list. 


At this point I fought back the shame and finally told my parents what was taking place. My Dad was furious when he discovered my Husband was not willing to take any job he could find to support his family. He didn't care what his mother expected of us and felt strongly that a man was created to take care of his family however he can, while his partner supports him.  Dan agreed it was wise that I leave and offered to pay the Deposit and help in any way he could.

When I felt I had no other choice, I received the nerve to call my Husbands Mother and blurted out something like this, "I know you think your
only child needs to hold out for a Career, but when I walked in the door around 2:30 AM from working at Pizza Hut and found your son passed out drunk, our son and daughter crying, she still in the same diaper she was in when I left at 4:45 pm, laying on drenched sheets, her clothes and blanket soaked all of the way through, I made some tough decisions you may not like. I've found your son a job as a Photographer in a Studio. In order for him to take it he needs new glasses, as he broke his in a drunken stupor and we can't afford to replace them. If you want to help him find him better employment, that's up to you. I just got us caught up on paying off our 3rd Eviction Notice... our Landlord has been working with me and she has agreed to let us out of our Rental Agreement without penalty. I am leaving our Vehicle with your son, so he can go to work. I have found Subsidized Housing within walking distance of everything we need. Your son can visit our children, but he can't come with us, because I am going on Public Assistance so I can raise our babies, rather than have someone else do it. I think being raised with a full time Mother is more important than things at their age! Your son has given up on looking for a career, in an effort to please you and meet your expectations. He spends his days and nights drinking now. We tried to work things out, but he says his Therapy Group says he drinks to much because of me and you say you agree with him. As his Mom perhaps it's better that you be the one to try to get his thinking right, so he can support his family someday. He refuses to listen to me.  So... my mind is made up ... I won't allow our children to live like this any longer! If you don't take your son in, he has no place to go."



The Housing I found in Reston VA was an Apt, if I remember correctly my share was $225.00 a month. It was a new Government Planned Community and rents were determined by our income. We had air conditioning, dishwashers, basic cable, pool privileges, on site play grounds, our nearest neighbor was the Elementary School.  Being able to provide my children with this sense of security made my heart sing with joy... such helped to soothe the grief I felt, as I knew my decisions were going to be hard on them.


Once I started this new beginning... with a budget of $400.00 a month, plus medical care for the Children and Food Stamps, I knew I needed to become ingenious and take advantage of practical resources I was discovering were available to those who have a low income in a Wealthy County ... for our Children's well being and my own sense of self worth as a Mom.  


Almost immediately I heard about the Fairfax VA County Home Extension Service, which had literature on Frugal Shopping and Cooking and Living on a Budget. While reading, I was inspired to teach myself how to make all our food from scratch to include baby food and decided to apply the Frugal Techniques that had come across my path.



As our Children grew I took advantage of our Apt Community Center which did fun things, like Kiddy Parades and Costume Contests at Halloween, Easter Egg Hunts and the like. My Children's Costumes were Homemade and I found great pleasure in further developing my creative side. I also took advantage of Community Scholarships for our children like Free Swimming Lessons, Art Lessons and Ballet Lessons, which were made available for Families with a low income. Thank You Father for Generous Hearts...


It was during this new beginning, that I eventually turned my life completely over to Father God for His will to come into being and learned to hear His voice and follow His leadings and apply His daily guidance as a child born of His Spirit. Almost immediately Father revealed HimSelf to me as our Supernatural Provider and Healer and proved HimSelf as He answered prayers .... healing me spirit, soul and bodily.... teaching me and training me in the way HE knew was best as He set me free from a victim mentality, debilitating shame and more ... replacing it with a deep sense of joy, even in the midst of life's storms. 



When friends in our small Community would mention their need, I'd pray for them... to my delight someone would offer me just what was needed and I'd pass it along, praising Father for HIS faithfulness. Being in similar circumstances, as friends and neighbors we took turns baby sitting for one another... giving us Mom's the opportunity to have some times of refreshing. We shared meals and passed along toys and clothing and ultimately spiritual insights, as we matured and became like an extended family, enabling what we had to work with, to stretch further than it would have otherwise.


In order to live within our means, sometimes I washed our clothes in the tub and hung them around the Apt to dry. Back then when one bought food with Food Stamps, we would get change ... I would save it up to buy toilet paper and the like, as funds were very tight. I walked back and forth to the store with a pull cart while a friend watched our Children and I did the same for her. As our children grew I worked hard to make their lives better and to move us to a better environment.  I understand what it is to struggle with oppression and am pleased those days are behind us, but know I am a better person because of them in many ways and do not regret them.  Ultimately the hardships of life have been a blessing in that they enable me to appreciate the joys of life more fully. Father has used them to make me aware of  who I am Being ... my Attitudes in the midst of Trials and Opportunities is equally as important as what I am doing to get through them. His Spirit has made me more conscious of my daily choices and habits as I have matured Spiritually; making me more aware of not only how my choices affect me, but others.


Please know, I have shared the details above, with the hopes it will encourage those who find themselves in a place in life that they never expected to be... to reach out to God our Loving Father for His Wisdom, Provision, Guidance, Restorative Power and more  if they have not done so already ... and to open a window into the life of one who was on Public Assistance for a Season; to show how beneficial it can be in times of crisis and need ... until such a one is strong enough to move on and upward. 


As it is In Heaven may it be So on Earth
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3 comments:

On 1:47 PM , Sweeties Swag said...

Hey Bren,

I just started a new site called Sweeties Swags. I am posting ALL kinds of free samples, free food offers, and anything in the rhealm of FREE for people to take advantage of. You might want to take a look and if you find things you want people to know about just repost them here and link back to my site. Thanks,

Wendy

 
On 2:56 PM , Bren said...

Kewl Wendy... will try to figure that out! Sounds fabulous!

 
On 3:56 PM , bren said...

I like your site sis... thanks for telling me about it and do post a link to it in the Link Section you created for us here. Will link back to you from this post as well: http://www.sweetiesswag.com/