No Money, No Nuggets. By Rae D.
I’m in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s rummaging through my car for change so I can buy my hungry kids chicken nuggets off the dollar menu. All I need is two dollars; I don’t find it.
You know that feeling in your throat when you are trying not to cry? Taking a deep breath and giving a smile, I turn to the back seat and lie, “Sorry boys, McDonald’s looks closed today.” We drove home hungry from my midwife 30-week appointment. I had no loose change, no money on my debit card plus a maxed-out credit card which meant no nuggets for us that day. Enough is enough.
New Mom on the Block, Again.
The beach, support, friends, and the salty air are long gone in North Carolina. Now we are in Ohio, unloading our moving truck at eight months pregnant with our third son. What a great fulfilled life I had just left back in NC, and the overwhelming feeling of being lonely hit the second I pulled into our new driveway. Our two-year-old and seven-year-old boys were running free with the dog in the back, leaves starting to turn fall colors. This is our new home, yet again. My husband is in the military, so this isn’t a new image to me. For the first time in my seven years of being a mother I had just become a stay-at-home mom, leaving behind a job I loved for the past 4 years in NC. No employment, no friends, no support, just me and my kids. I can do this alone, right? Wrong!
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you; I will uphold you with My right hand of righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
I needed help and knew I would find it through Christ. I grew up Catholic with Sunday school, communion, confirmation, all of it. Over the years I strayed away from the big Catholic church and felt more at home in a non-denominational setting. I feel the presence of Jesus more so through worship, music so loud you feel the vibrations, goose bumps on your arms kind of vibe. I found that kind of place, joined a mom’s group and my kids made friends. I was making a new routine. Why did I still feel so alone?
“My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.” Psalm 102:11
That verse is exactly how I felt. Alone and my pantry was still empty, relying on WIC for the essentials. We don’t qualify for food stamps, so now what?
No Money, No Nuggets.
I knew I needed to reach out for help after this day. Im in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s rummaging through my car for change so I can buy my hungry kids chicken nuggets off the dollar menu. All I need is two dollars; I don't find it. The hurt I feel over something so basic and routine, not being able to get my children chicken nuggets is heartbreaking. Two dollars I didn't have. I feel like I failed not being able to provide. That guilt has me Google local pantries and soup kitchens for the first time in my life that night.
God Came Through.
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you should eat or drink, nor about your body, what shall you put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25
Anxious, boy was I. I made my first appointment at The Christian Help Center in hope to simply just get food. Not only did they fill my pantry with a weeks’ worth of food and diapers for my toddler and some gas money to fill my tank, but they also filled my spirit. It was such a relief to know support was near by strangers who cared about me. I cried the whole way home; I no longer felt alone. I went occasionally to get items and talk with Jim or other staff when I needed. I learned about the other amazing events the CHC does for the community. At the Grace Ready Fest they provided my then third grader a new backpack with all the supplies that he needed, which was one less thing to worry about. Come November at the Grace Turkey Blessing my family got a free turkey and all the fixings, too! The biggest help for our family was the Grace Christmas Blessing. I had recently given birth to our third son and I was still unemployed. This event was able to bless us with gifts for all three of our children through the amazing work of God, his servants, and donations from the community. He came through.
"Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 106:1
I’ll forever be grateful for the courage God gave me to finally ask for help and making that first phone call to The Christian Help Center, to finally have a prayer answered when I didn’t think anyone cared. Fast forward a few years to my life now and it feels so fulfilled again at my current position serving the Christian Help Center. I truly feel it is my calling that God put here. To be on the other end of the phone now knowing how the other person feels when they call is truly humbling.
Moms, You're not alone.