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More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated Paperback – September 5, 2017
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About the Author
Erin Odom is the founder of The Humbled Homemaker, a blog dedicated to grace-filled living and designed to equip and encourage mothers in the trenches. Her Southern charm and wealth of inspirational, practical content has drawn an audience of millions over the years. Erin and her husband, Will, live in the South, where they raise their four children. Follow Erin at thehumbledhomemaker.com.
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Erin, her husband and her children were a young middle class family. They were college graduates who were hoping to become missionaries when job loss forced them to move. Ultimately they had a house foreclosed upon and they declared bankruptcy. During their long season of low income, they received public assistance through WIC and Medicaid, something which they had looked down upon in their former lives. Erin “started looking at and crediting each and every incident—from the government WIC check to the box of persimmons—as God’s provision for our family. Like manna in the wilderness, the Lord provided again and again and again. As time passed, I saw it more clearly than ever, and looking back, I realize He provided all along”.
In addition to the inspirational aspects of the book, Erin includes many practical suggestions for saving money. Readers of this blog will appreciate the chapters on eating well on a budget and meal planning. Erin’s oldest child was diagnosed with gluten-sensitivity at the age of three while they were in the middle of this season of low-income. Many gluten-free food items are significantly more expensive than their wheat-based counterparts, so Erin was understandably apprehensive. She had a friend who purchased gluten-free food to help her daughter, which Erin rightly saw as another provision from God.
One of the chapters in the book discusses how Christians and the church often relate to government assistance. She noticed that people who received assistance such as food stamps, Medicaid or WIC were often looked down upon. Erin herself was ashamed and hoped that none of her friends would see her in the grocery store using her WIC checks or going to their Medicaid checkups. But Erin recognized that her “feelings of shame were fueled by pride”. The book does an excellent job of making this relatable and giving the reader the opportunity to also examine their own beliefs and assumptions. I have been examining my own beliefs for the past six months as I volunteer on a weekly basis at Lifechoices Pregnancy Care Center. Almost all of our clients are low-income parents or parents-to-be and are on one or more of these government programs. Erin and her family did not fit the stereotype of those on public assistance, but she encourages the reader “and those of us in the church especially, ...to never put anyone in a box, to never stereotype, to never make assumptions.” Christians, instead, are to see the potential in each person and give them the benefit of the doubt, according to Erin. This is what I pray that I am increasingly learning to do, through resources such as this book as well as my work at Lifechoices.
Other chapters in the book give practical advice on budgeting and on creating additional income for the family. Erin describes the difficult process of going through bankruptcy in another chapter. More Than Just Making It would be a particularly useful for any person who is currently going through a financial crisis. This is a huge percentage of Americans, as recent surveys have shown that almost half of adults are living paycheck to paycheck and would have trouble coming up with $400 to meet an emergency.
Even beyond those with financial problems, Erin’s book could be helpful for people dealing with any unexpected hardship. As some readers know, I am currently dealing with a personal health issues in my heart. Because I have had healthy eating, exercising and lifestyle practices for so many years, this was quite unexpected. More Thank Just Making It has helped remind me of the many ways God has been providing for me, even through this health challenge.
The subtitle of the book is “Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated”. I encourage you to read this book to help give your heart the hope it needs, whatever challenges you are facing.
In this book, Erin tells her family's story of being on public aid. She offers tips for budgeting, cutting spending, and meal planning with examples of how she has applied those tips in her own life. That is where I found the most value in this book. I recommend taking notes as you read and picking out the things you can apply to your own life.
I love how Erin included a list of her own budget categories to give readers an idea of things they may not think to include in a budget. She also identifies what expenses her family has decided are wants and which ones are needs.
Erin's insecurities about her family's financial situation show through strongly in this book. She talks about what it was like for her to apply for Medicaid, WIC, and food stamps, and the shame she felt, all very candidly. Through her story, she encourages us all to cast no judgment on others and to make no assumptions because we don't know what situations others are facing.
As she says, "We walked there so God could use us here."
In More Than Just Making It, Erin shares her heart and her experiences with a transparency and vulnerability that let you know you are not alone, and she reminds us that we can trust in God’s provision and His plan in every situation. Her book offers encouragement and inspiration as well as a plethora of simple, actionable strategies and habits for saving money and provides readers with a stocked arsenal of resources to help you go from financial stress to financial success.
This is definitely a book that I am highly recommending to all my family and friends.
Note: I was privileged to receive an advance copy of the book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest opinion. My positive review is based solely upon on how much I enjoyed this book.