To say that we’ve been through a tough season is an understatement. We’ve had so much change, upheaval, growth, pain and yes, some very sweet joy (our boys) in the past 5 years. I hope that we’re getting ready to transition to a season of more prosperity and peace soon (yes, even with a baby due any day now). I’ve been exhausted, we’ve both been working ourselves as hard as possible and when I saw an opportunity to join a launch team for a book called More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated (by Erin Odom; published by Zondervan), I knew it was a book I had to read. I was hoping to find some encouragement and refreshment. And I did find those things, as well as some good practical tips. But, my biggest takeaways from the book are that I am not the only person who has felt terrible asking for/accepting help and that while the church sometimes succeeds in providing aid, it fails frequently at meaningful assistance and not judging those in need.
Erin Odom, a terrific blogger that you can follow over at her site The Humbled Homemaker, will break your heart with her accounts of dealing with poverty, from the shame she felt accepting government aid to the frustration of how hard day to day living can be. Lest you think More Than Just Making It is all gloom and sadness let me assure you, it’s not. Erin bravely shares how God taught her to appreciate small things and be filled with wonder from things like persimmons and Subway sandwiches. If we look around we do find little kisses from Jesus that remind us God really is in control and cares for us too. I’ve felt them too, from the form a Papa John’s gift card when I lost my grandfather a few months ago, to the dear friend who packed me an impromptu bag of toiletries when we had to tear down to TN on New Year’s Eve to see my ailing grandmother.
I think this book would be very beneficial for every woman to read, whether you are in a season of little or a season of plenty. In addition to the encouragement and food for your heart, the book also contains some great practical tips for economizing. From food and clothing savings to setting up budgets, More Than Just Making It can help you jump start your fighting back financial strategy.
If you are currently in a season of financial fruits, this book can be helpful too. How? Because of the testimony and critical (but, very measured and fair) evaluation of the church and her aid programs, people who are able to give financial blessings will find ways to do so. It’s so important that as a body, we Christians- the Church- step up as we never have before. We are surrounded by people: both our close neighbors and our neighbors around the world who are in need. Men, women, and children of all colors and ages are in desperate need for food, clothes, shelter and health care. It’s our job to serve the least of these just as our Lord charged us to do. It’s so easy to get caught in the church machine of activities: putting your hands up for worship and assuming that people who are lacking goods have done something wrong. More Than Just Making It sheds light on the fact that we are not called to judge who needs help. Erin shares examples of people who showed compassion through giving of both their time and their treasure. We have both benefited from church’s generosity and been stung by very unkind words and actions regarding to aid. I’m not naming names, but I will say, that there are people who have given with such generosity that I can still weep with gratitude and people who make my cheeks sting with humiliation at night when I can’t sleep. Guys, please, I beg you- be the kind of people who give freely and want to build people up- leave the extra or sharp words out. Just help people. If you feel called to counsel or advise, make sure you submit those ideas and words to prayer first.
More Than Just Making It is truly a book that would be beneficial for all women (and frankly men too) to read. Whether you are reading to learn about how to start a side hustle or figuring out what practical ministry you feel called to help with (diapers, food, health care, etc.) it’s wealth of information and a book that should be shared in both the Christian community and the world.
If you pre-order the book through Erin’s book site, you’ll also get all sorts of fun bonus gifts worth over $200! These gifts include things ranging from trials at meal planning and budget services to coupons to lovely printables for your home.
Kari Liked: I loved that Erin was brave enough to share about the difficulties of poverty. I also truly appreciate that she showcased all the ways that the church routinely fails in aiding the poor. More Than Just Making It should be required small group, MOPS, ladies groups, Sunday School reading!
Kari Didn’t Like: I don’t like the reality that so many churches, Christians- however you want to classify them are so stingy and or judgmental about aid. We’re the hands and feet of Jesus, guys. Get over it. And move away from bounce houses, fancy coffee and electronics. We need to make sure everyone is getting food, shelter, clothing and health care first.
(I was provided with a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)