It probably is where you are too, well, in the UK anyway, I’ve seen some pictures. Even of some snow in Scotland! It’s just very frosty here.
It’s funny where I have random thoughts, or, not so random. I’ve just been outside, putting the bins out, getting wood out of the wood store and cutting kindling and as I was cutting the kindling I remembered a time in my life when I didn’t have any fuel for the fire. In fact, at that particular time, I can remember actually going out to try and find random bits of wood lying around and actually looking around my house to see what I could burn. We lived in a terraced house in a town and it didn’t have central heating, but we did have a fire. But at that point, I didn’t have any spare money to actually spend on fuel for the fire, never mind trees to chop down to use.
From memory, I think we ended up using oil filled radiators, albeit minimally, and having a massive electric bill after winter ended, which made the financial situation a lot worse. It was also pretty normal to wear hats and extra clothes in bed and we had a halogen heater each in the bedroom. (This was before I met Chris.)
I’d just become a Christian when I was in this state and on the surface was quite a decent earner compared to some, and I was working two jobs, but we were in a lot of debt. And it all got sorted over the next few years, mainly thanks to being put in touch with Christians against Poverty. It also took some hard decisions and rethinking about how to use money. It really is a different life now. But I’m so aware that there are still a lot of people in a bad way, some, that are keeping it a secret.
It still knocks me for six when I remember what it was like, just how skint we actually were and that it was largely down to my decisions. I felt so ashamed, but then when I got referred for Christians against poverty to take me on and help, they took on the job of speaking to the creditors and arranging payment plans. They took it away from me, which was amazing, because a certain bank kept ringing and ringing and it was very stressful and upsetting and CAP just said, stop answering, they know we have taken over, there is no need for them to contact you. It was like being set free. Also, they never, ever, treated me like ‘this is your fault’, there was absolutely no blame, just gentle honesty and help. It was amazing. There was also a money course that was excellent (you had to do it at the time if you wanted referring), I still use the principles today and I would never take out any credit now unless it was unavoidable.
So, yeah, memory lane right there. And here we are now, with our own wood supply and home, growing some of our own food. God really does change lives. If you are struggling, please see if you can get help. It depends where you are as to what help you can access, but in the UK, I can definitely recommend Christians against Poverty – https://capuk.org/get-help. In Ireland, it seems a little more complicated, there is the St Vincent de Paul society but I’ve seen quite a few comments that people have contacted them and haven’t had much success, but still try https://www.svp.ie/. There are also quite a few local things that have been started by people who care about people in poverty, but seems very variable around the country unfortunately. But there are still people there who care, please don’t keep it to yourself if you can’t afford food or fuel. There are people who have even taken their own lives over it, please don’t do that, you are far too precious to do that.
Now, I’m going to end there. Thank you God that you are in the business of restoring people and loving people, through your people. Amen!