A talk by Naomi Astyk
September 20, 2015
I am on the Stewardship Committee which is working on how to raise enough money through pledges to sustain St. John’s church in the coming year. Money is almost always an uncomfortable topic because most of us were taught that money isn’t something that should be discussed in polite company.
We each have an amount of money to run our lives and some kind of a plan to make it work for us financially. Some of us have enough money and some of us are just making it financially or maybe don’t have quite enough. And some of us maybe have more than we need.
We also all have beliefs about money and giving, saving and spending, and the way we look at our needs and wants. But there is another thing that affects the way we see and think about money and that has to do with what part money played in our childhood. Did you grow up in a home where there was lots of money? Did you grow up poor? Did your parents fight about money or did you never hear a word from your parents about money? The way we were raised plays a part in how we deal with money now.
In my family growing up there was only my mother, my younger brother and me; I spent most of life as a child on welfare or as it was called then-ADC, aid to dependent children. You don’t get much on ADC and even though my mother struggled hard to make the money work, often by the end of the month there was no money and often not much food.
My mother would cry when the money ran out and I would try to make her feel better, but I spent most of my childhood in fear of both not having enough money and not having enough food.
These are the facts of my childhood. As an adult, these “facts” often get in my way. I have always wanted to have my money in my hand or under my pillow. Even though I live comfortably now, the fear of not having enough lives in my cells. I was the last person in my work to have direct deposit of my paycheck because I always wanted to be able to hold on to it for awhile. Pledging time always made me a little sick to my stomach because I wanted to be able to give and I wanted to hold on tight to what I have. Sometimes I have to sit and remind myself once again that I am not that very poor and scared little girl anymore.
I have been very blessed in being able to spend the last 36 years of my life with Susie-she is a woman who gives generously of her time, talents and money. Even though I still struggle with the fear of not having enough which is pretty irrational now, I share my life with someone with an open and generous heart, who models a different kind of sharing and giving to me.
So I have a little assignment for you-think about what it was like growing up in your family with regards to money. This is a learning assignment and there is no judgment allowed–just a little time spent learning more about you. Then take some time to pray for both yourself and St. John’s. Trust that God will help you to know what you can give to St John’s and what you need to keep for yourself.
Blessings on you all!