GIVEAWAY: More Than Just Making It

Gwen Smith Blog, Giveaways 91 Comments

HAPPY FRIDAY! Today we have ERIN ODOM as our guest. She’s the author of More Than Just Making It and I’ve known her for years. She’s a precious young mama, and I just know you are going to love her heart and her wisdom!

 

During a season of financial hardship several years ago, I struggled with letting others know we were barely making it. We were afraid, ashamed, embarrassed.

Each spring, the women’s ministry at our church planned a retreat. I wanted so badly to attend. I longed to form friendships with the other women, but there was no way we could scrounge up a couple hundred dollars to cover the cost. Then, one Sunday the pastor announced that there were a select number of scholarships available for women who couldn’t afford the fee.

I was filled with hope and excitement at the possibility of attending the retreat, but my emotions took a nosedive when he told us how to apply for one of the scholarship: you had to visit the ministry table and write your name on a sign-up sheet. As much as I wanted to attend the event, I couldn’t bear the shame of writing my name on that paper for all to see.

What if one of the ladies with whom I desired friendship saw my name written there? Or worse—what if someone saw me at the table, signing up? Would these ladies take pity on me and offer friendship based solely on that pity? That would be even worse than the embarrassment of not being able to afford the retreat.

My husband knew of my hesitation, but he still encouraged me to request a scholarship. After the service, I stood at a distance from the table and waited for a moment when no one was around so I could quickly slide over and jot down my name. The moment never came. When we left church that day, I had resolved not to attend the retreat. Later, at my husband’s continued prompting, I emailed the women’s ministry director, told her we were living on a low income and could use a scholarship. She was delighted to bless me with it.

The retreat turned out to be a gift from the Lord that I almost missed because of my pride. Later, I received scholarships to attend two more retreats at that church. At the second one, I was shocked to learn that one of my roommates, a single mom of teenagers, was also enjoying the event as a gift from the congregation. When she confided her struggles to me and our other roommate, I felt a wave of relief wash over me, and I was able to share freely about my own challenges.

“I thought we were the only ones,” I confessed.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “You never know who around you is struggling.”

It’s humbling to admit when we are in need, but it can also bring us closer to God and help us recognize and praise His provision in our lives. In fact, God’s Word encourages us to ask for help when we need it. Psalm 121:1–2 says, “I lift my eyes up to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” In one of my favorite Scriptures, the apostle Paul tells the church at Philippi, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). In Galatians 6:2, Paul admonishes believers in Christ to “carry each other’s burdens.” Later, in verse 10, he writes, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” In Romans 12:13, Paul encourages the church to “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

The book of Acts shows believers sharing their possessions with each other to the point that no one is in need. These early Christians operated under the belief that their belongings weren’t theirs, but God’s. In Chapter 4, verses 32 through 35, Luke writes:

“No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

When God’s people help others, they’re demonstrating His love and kindness. When we receive provision from other people, we’re able to witness God’s generosity in our lives and praise Him. Both giver and recipient can worship God together, knowing the only one who deserves glory is God himself, who gives everything to everyone as He determines (Proverbs 16:9).

TAKEN FROM: MORE THAN JUST MAKING IT. COPYRIGHT © 2017 BY ERIN ODOM. PUBLISHED BY ZONDERVAN, GRAND RAPIDS, MI. USED BY PERMISSION.

Congratulations to our giveaway winners: Susan Reyes and Shannon Marie Sheldon!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT to win by CLICKING HERE.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Monday, September 25th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US readers only.}

 

Erin Odom is the founder of The Humbled Homemaker, a blog dedicated to grace-filled living designed to equip and encourage mothers in the trenches. Erin and her husband, Will, live in the South where they raise their four children.

Erin’s new book, More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated, is part memoir, part practical how-to that reads like a novel. This isn’t like any personal finance book you will ever read. You will walk with Erin through some of the most painful times in her life—and through God’s work in her life, you will see His hand in yours as well. For more practical tips on how Erin saw God provide food for her family, sign up for her free 5-day eCourse — Eating Well on a Budget.

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Comments 91

  1. I feel for you. I have been through it myself. There is a good book called Miraculous provision in our daily lives by Olivia Jane Hope. You can get it on Amazon.. For kindle it’s very cheap. Just trying to help. God bless.

  2. I would love to win a copy of this book. It was so inspiring and comforting to read the excerpt from your book.

    I have been struggling financially for several years and finally had to declare bankruptcy. It seems like although I read Scripture daily and read devotional books of Jesus I feel like a failure. The water in my house is coming out at a trickle and I don’t have the money to pay a plumber and the water company said they don’t handle water pressure problems and the city I live in only checks water at the street if there is a sewer problem. I have already borrowed money from my family and don’t want to ask them for any more. I wish there were scholarships for senior citizens in need. I want to be a person who can give, as I did in the past and tithe once again. I pray that God provides the help that I need now as he is my helper according to Psalm 121:1-2 as mentioned in your book.

  3. What a beautiful and touching story. I would love to read the book. It’s something I know would be such a blessing to me in this season I’m in right now. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. What a great reminder to both not be embarrassed when you’re in need and also to help out when you have more than enough. God is great and if we all just lived Our Lives according to the word and helped each other and forgave each other and was kind and compassionate to each other no matter what we would live in Utopia but I guess that’s how Heaven is going to be one day right?

  5. THAbk tou Gwen for such an inspiring and heartfelt message. For me it hit home because I was a single mom for many years with one daughter to raise. My child support came like snow in Texas (never) and I had a household to support on my own. Although ines were difficult I was embarrassed to let people know that I was short every month in my rent. I barely had enough money to buy groceries at times. I never lost my faith and I prayed daily that God would provide what I needed and He would. I was always on time with my rent and we always had enough to eat. God always gave me enough. What an awesome God we serve!

  6. I have been struggling after the recent passing of my husband and having to deal with only one income now. I do know that Our Lord is always there for me and I’m always asking Him to help me during my times of struggle and . This testimony truly spoke to me and gave me hope for my future. – Sue Reyes

  7. What a sweet testimony. One of my pastors at my former church reminded us often: Be kind because everyone has a story. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of the book.

  8. I TOO STRUGGLE DAILY I AM DISABLED AND TOTALLY ALONE I GET MY ENCORAGEMENT FROM BOOKS, AND GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD AND OTHER CHOICE MATERIAL AND ENJOY MAKING FRIENDS THROUGH BOOKS I READ, MOST OF THE TIME A BOOK IS MY ONLY FRIEND I WOULD REALLY DESIRE TO READ THIS ONE BUT CAN’T PURCHASE I LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL.

  9. Thank you. We have been there with my husband’s medical bills and loss of job.
    When our church friends found out they rallied to our side and we were so blessed with love and help.

  10. Thanks for the reminder. We are so prideful.
    In fact sometimes I think we think we are really struggling but need to remember we still have it bettter than the majority of people around the world!

    I am interested in reading this though. We had a fire destroy my husband s business and we have seen Gods faithfulness to us in amazing ways 😊

    1. Amen…I write in the book about how “poverty” and begin “poor” in the USA is so subjective when we look at true poverty in developing nations! We were “rich” even when we were “poor” via USA standards. I am so sorry to hear about the fire, but I love your resilient attitude!

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your struggle. I hope you win it–or you can request one from your library and read it for free. I want as many people to be able to read it as possible. Most libraries will get them in if you ask for it! I hope you will be encouraged today!

  11. I would love to have this book. My husband and I have been through some pretty, bad financial situations, since we have been married. We are slowly coming out of one now, the only way we can ever get through these times in our life, is by clinging to God. God is the reason why we are get through anything.

  12. Thank you for sharing this excerpt, as it really touched close to home!! Often we think we are alone, that we are the only ones struggling and that can bring a feeling of shame. Then when you realize your not alone, it can bring you a sense of relief….NOT that you take joy in the fact people are suffering too, but that you are NOT alone. I would LOVE to have a chance to read this book!!! P.S. WE ARE NEVER ALONE ANYWAY AS OUR GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US

  13. Thank you for this post. I learned this lesson a while ago but it’s always a nice reminder that we are never alone in whatever situation we find ourselves in, good or bad.

  14. Thanks for giving us a opportunity to win this book looks really good.thanks for the encouragement the blog was great.shared on Facebook and Twitter.

  15. I needed this today. Well actually yesterday when I had another melt down. I struggle with asking for prayer for myself I don’t know if I fell guilty because every one seems to need them more than more or what. August 3rd I lost my daughter and sometimes my grief takes over and I can’t focus or even want to leave my house. I have just recently started asking for prayer.So in saying that I thank you for the post…

  16. Erin’s message is perfect for what my family is going through! I recently lost my job so we are struggling to get by on my husbands check. It’s tough with 3 kids in the house. God has not ever failed us so I know we can make it! Would love to read the book.

  17. Thank you for sharing this today – I have been in that financial desert, torn between what I felt God was calling me to do and voices around me saying, “Don’t let anyone know we are struggling! If you were better with finances, you wouldn’t need help!” Thank God, times are improving and He is breaking down my need for approval from anyone but Him. Your book will be a blessing to all who open its pages!

  18. I love that most of your email posts to me hit right at the right time and with the right message. I received a promotion yesterday on top of the other promotion and raise I received this year. God is Good when you remain steadfast and faithful. I already started tithing more this year and plan to continue as God instructs in the Bible…..

    Thanks for reminding me that all resources come from above and that we are to entertain and support those in need at all times. Amen

  19. I Would Love to be able to read this book. Thank You for sharing your struggles with us, and letting us know we are not alone. God Bless you .

  20. I’m always amazed at God’s timing. This post comes at the end of a long, tough summer with one thing after another and one added expense after another. I need the reminders that God’s got this.

    (will be sharing on Twitter at @tammiegitt)

  21. Erin, girl! You are talking right!
    This was so on time, this Dave Ramsey plan we are on makes things seem a little discouraging at times but God always sends a ram in the bush.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Paul admonishes believers in Christ to “carry each other’s burdens.” (easier said than done).

  22. Thank you for sharing Gwen this story. I am currently leading a Women’s Retreat in October to the Girlfriends in God event in Sandy Cove. One person that signed up for the event, later shared with me she would not be able to go because of her and her husbands finances. They both work in our school system, are looking at adopting a child and she just so happens to be the churches accompanist in which she gives of her time freely. I told her …. oh my goodness I forgot to tell you …. the cost of your weekend is taken care of …. she said “who?” And I said oh my don’t you know? She said no. I said “GOD”. We she was beside herself and so ever grateful for this blessing. I am always looking for ways to be Christ’s hands and feet and yes sometimes even His wallet. Your sister in Christ.

  23. Shame is an ugly tyrant. The only way to release it’s dark hold is to bring it into the light. The enemy wants us to feel shame about all things, especially financial matters. We can be free when we seek the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength!

  24. Wow!! What great testimonies of our glorious, faithful God!!! I have been in this place many many times! When my husband and I first got married we were really broke; we could barely afford to buy food. We were to embarrassed to go our pastor. So one morning my husband said we were going to double our tithing! The pastor came to us after the service and gave us a $250 check. He knew we were hurting and still giving so the church gave us a blessing. Then just this pass year my husband and I were having a lot of health issues and I just got layed off from my job. We had been praying for a solution for the Lord to show us how to take care of our temple where He resides. And what do you think He did? He showed us. The “lifestyle change” was very expensive, mind you we only had one small income coming in. We needed to eat grass fed meats with no antibiotics. We had been sharing meals with my parents up til this time. Well … we thought, if the Lord is saying this is the way no matter what the cost we will trust. And we did, and we started the lifestyle change and let me tell you sisters … my husband works for a City Mission where they have a food drive and guess what the donations were and are for food? GRASSFED MEAT WITH NO ANTIBIOTICS!!! Yup!!! There’s one more … when we first got married our pastor told us we needed to go to this Bible Conference in NJ. I was the one working and my husband was not. So the cost for the conference PLUS the hotel and traveling expenses and food. We kept praying. We made the reservations with no money down (first miracle). Our pastor kept reminding us, “did you make reservations? You guys really need to be there.” He has no clue we have NO money. So a lady came to us in church the week before we are to go and asked if we wanted to ride with her and her husband (second miracle) so we could share the driving cost. Ok we thought what about food we can’t eat out there for 3 days. Well the morning we were to leave we went to church and a couple brought bags and bags of food to share with the church. That was our food for the trip AND left overs … the fish and the loaves (third miracle) and there’s more sisters!!! We still hadn’t payed for the hotel and conference. When my husband called the hotel he asked if he could pay when we got there. “The hotel”, which was really the pastor of the conference (we didn’t know) said we usually don’t do that but yes we will fourth miracle). Well when we got there the first day we needed to pay … uuuum we still didn’t have the money. So my husband went up to the registration table to ask the lady if we could post date the check! “Honey please don’t do that”, I said. To myself, “that is going to be sooo embarrassing!!” So he went and the lady (the Pastors wife … which we didn’t know that) said that’s fine (fifth miracle). Well she must have talked to her husband (the hotel reservation guy lol lol) could you imagine ladies?! Her husband came up to us that night and asked if being here was a hardship for us and we both looked at each other with tears in our eyes and said, “yes”. He ripped up the checked and said it was taken care of!!! WOW and there really is more but I’ve already taken up so much space!!! GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL encourage one another, love one another and trust in HIM!!! ❤️

  25. I love that you have been able to attend retreats thanks to the generosity of the presenters. We have done that before and we have helped others to be able to go by paying their way. It’s such a blessing!

  26. We have been through a season where we didn’t let anyone know of our struggles to pay mounting medical bills. When we finally opened ourselves up to some friends & family we were blessed beyond belief by their generosity. On the other side of that, we’ve also been able to help out other people in the same situation we’ve been in.

  27. God’s Promises are true! Luke 12:31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. “God is able to accomplish, provide, help, save, keep, subdue… He is able to do what you can’t. He already has a plan. God’s not bewildered. Go to Him.” Max Lucado I would love to read Erin Odom’s new book “More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated”.

  28. This article touched my heart in several ways, but really opened my eyes again to those around me who may be struggling. Thank you God, for this sweet young mother who put her Faith in You to answer her needs.❤️

  29. This book is something that I definitely need. This is exactly how we have been living. I hide and don’t talk about it to anyone. It is an embarrassing situation and you feel so alone. It is nice to hear that other people are in the same situations and have the same feelings. It is a big stress and a huge worry for our family and we pray to God for guidance. Thank you for your story.

  30. God is so faithful to provide our needs. What a great reminder to not get in the way of God’s provision and that we are not alone in our struggles. This was very encouraging this morning & I would love to read this book.

  31. I have had that shame feeling, but God showed me how when I allow people to bless me…..it also blesses them!! Thank you always for your uplifting message!!

  32. I have been in similar situations when pride won out. Fortunately, I have also been in situations where God blessed me and enabled me to go on a mission trip from the blessings he dropped in my lap. I’d love to have this book to share with my sister. She lives on a meager income, after an injury last year. She needs encouragement to see God’s blessings through life with Him.

  33. Oh how this resonates with me. There was a time when my husband and I were barely getting by and I felt that same kind of embarrassment. I didn’t want anyone to know how tight our budget was. We finally got to a point that we had no choice but to ask our Church for help. In making that call we quickly learned that we were surrounded by people who loved us without conditions. We learned it’s okay to ask for help when we need it. Since that time, we have been able to be the ones on the giving end and have also learned how much of a blessing it is to be able to help others in need. God didn’t intend us to walk alone. We truly are better together!

  34. Erin’s message resounds within my soul. My husband and I experienced financial hardship to the degree where we almost lost our business and our home. But God’s grace and mercy far outweigh any circumstances we face.

  35. I have been on both sides of the scholarship for events. I have been in need and received help to attend events, and I’ve been able to help others attend. My husband is pastor of a small church in an area with a lot of needs. I think our ladies would enjoy this book as well as myself.

  36. I think that each of us are barely making it some area of our lives. Living on a pastor’s salary and being your mother’s primary caregiver and still having time to manage finances can be a tad difficult. We give our portion back to the Lord weekly and He has never failed to provide our needs. We have eaten a many ramen noodles and beans & taters. Would love to have this book!

  37. I’ve known what it means to be on a shoestring budget & eat oatmeal twice a day. Still I had a budget & ate.

    It is a matter of seeing what you have for which to rejoice vs what you lack & want or think you need.

    The Lord teaches contentment often through hardship, but not always. Abiding in joy & humility when wealthy is more difficult than when in want.

    1. This book looks like the very one I need to read!! I have slept back into debt after God got up out!!!I feel so bad not trusting God and thinking I could do it on my own!! My God is always faithful !!! Thanks

  38. OH YES THIS IS WHAT I NEED TO REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT WE ALL GO THROUGH THIS NOT HAVING ENOUGH TO PAY OUR BILLS BY MAKING A FEW MISTAKES IN TRYING TO HELP SOMEONE ALSO. I TRIED TO HELP OTHERS AT TIMES THEN I RIGHT NOW AM SUFFERING FINANCIALLY BY NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY MY BILLS. SO NOW I NEED HELP FROM GOD AS HE IS MY PROVIDER SO I SEEK TO BE ABLE TO GET BACK UP SO I CAN HELP AGAIN, INSTEAD OF NEEDING , I WOULD LIKE TO HELP OTHERS BUT RIGHT NOW I CAN NOT SEE I AM TRYING TO TITHE BUT THE MONEY IS GONE BEFORE I EVER GET IT RIGHT NOW. SO I AM ASKING GOD TO PLEASE PROVIDE SO I CAN GET ALL MY BILLS PAID AND TO START TO TITHE AS I WANT TO THANK YOU I FEEL THE BOOK WOULD HELP ME

  39. I went through a rough time when my husband passed away suddenly. We were in debt with a lot of credit cards due to medical bills for our daughter. It was hard to accept the help that I received but I was told not to take away there blessing of helping me.

  40. My husband recently moved out and, for only reasons he understands, is filing for divorce. We have four children and I’m a teacher (not a huge moneymaker) so I’m struggling seriously with finances as he is not giving me what he should. I would love this book to help encourage and direct me in getting back on my feet.

  41. I went through many struggles as so have most people. Provision is one of those things I am learning to ask for. I am currently single but very blessed as God is working through me and around me. Loved this devotional very encouraging.

  42. We are struggling to live on one income. I had gotten laid off and have had difficulty finding a job at 54 years of age. There have been times where we’ve had a choice to pay bills or buy food. We are ever grateful to our Lord, who provides, sustains, and protects us. This sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for this giveaway, as we could use the encouragement.

  43. This was so encouraging. So many times it is hard to admit a need. How will others know and be able to help if we never let on we need help?

  44. I really needed this message you posted. Thank you God! I have been looking at the situations instead of fixing my eyes on God for what we need. Thank you!

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