Hello from another 'income challenged' family.
Life has been very hard, and we have had all the usual remarks from people. My circle of 'friends' has dwindled to none. My associations are limited to church folks that I meet with once a week and my internet associations. No one else agrees with our beliefs and our lifestyle.
My husband works hard, harder than most men I know, but his income is very low. We make well below the poverty line for a family of four, much less a family of nine. We have been on food stamps (which we signed up for when my husband was laid off of work for eight months) and never told anyone. It is not so much that I was ashamed of it, it is just the stereotypical thoughts that are associated with it. I have been told that large families only have more children so that they can have more benefits, and every other imaginable comment. And it hurts to know that without the FS money my children would have literally gone hungry yet people were judging me because I accepted it.
I keep my children on Medicaid, as well. This is 'insurance' for me. It was the very thing that saved us when my daughter had her accident four years ago. Her care for the first three weeks was in the five figure range and her continued care beyond that was insurmountable to us. Without Medicaid, we would never have had the options to care for her as we did. But other than that, we rarely go to the doctors. I have no problem keeping this for my children, no matter what others say. No one walks in my shoes, so I try and ignore their ignorant remarks, although at times it is hard.
We know what it is like to scrimp and scrape the bottom, but I think that has brought us a much clearer picture of those in need. I have found that so many Christians (especially those we go to church with) have no idea what it is really like to hurt
for money. They find themselves 'hurting' when they can not buy this or that, or when they do not have enough money to go out to eat on. We 'hurt' when we can't pay our rent and have given up everything possible (cable, internet, cell phones, telephone, newspaper, and anything else that is not DIRE) and still can not pay for what our needs require (electric, water, trash pickup, and rent).
But I feel that God has placed us in this position to teach us. I don't believe I will ever be able to look at someone in need again and blow them off, or look at someone 'in need' of 'things' and feel concern. I have seen what 'real' needs are and will for all times be changed because of that.
I guess that is a bit more than you asked for.
: Just know that you are not alone.