Yesterday our family went in to tithing settlement, which is when we officially say if we gave a full 10% to the Lord to our local church leader. (If anyone wants to know more then ask.) We also talked about our fast offerings, which is money we give to our church to help people here locally make ends meet. (Again, if there are any questions please ask.) Our bishop thanked us for giving a generous fast offering and then something that shocked me and opened my eyes. He said that our congregation typically gives about twice what is needed so the extra goes to other congregations in the area. The Rochester area as a whole though is still needing more than what it is getting. Then he said (and this was the eye opening part to me) that we were fortunate to live in a relatively affluent ward.
Now our congregation does have a few fully fledged doctors and a few seemingly successful professionals, but the vast majority of our ward consists of families just like ours. Residents, or people just starting out in professional careers. Lots of little mouths to feed and bodies to clothe and minds to educate. Families that a trip to the grocery store brings a bit of stress because you can easily spend so much more than you have allowed. Families that do without the things they want because they just have enough to cover the needs. People who feel like I do, tight in the budget.
YES. Our family has everything, everything they need. Yes, we have a cold house so as to pay less for heating and we don't eat out and we have found countless other ways to not spend money. But even with that, Dan has a job. A steady job that we can 100% count on. Right now we can afford a few extras even. I had been silently asking myself what it would look like when we finally "made it" earlier last week. And thanks to my bishop now I know. This is what it looks like. I sat in church after talking with the bishop, listening to the choir sing and was filled with joy to rejoicing my heart full of gratitude. For now, for today we've made it.
That knowledge was my greatest Christmas gift this year.