Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I am no financial wizard. For many years I made money decisions with my heart and not with my head. Impulse buying led to credit card debt in college which started my journey as a fiscally irresponsible young adult. A yearning to be home with my kids when they were little led to a “let the chips fall where they may” attitude and the corresponding lack of funds that came along with that thinking. In short, we have made some goof ups in our finances around this joint.

At each stage in life I envisioned money as something that would just be there when I needed it. Until it wasn’t. And I had to grow up just a titch and use my head and not just my heart when it came to spending. We have come out the other side and learned our lesson, but financial mistakes of the past can certainly hang out in your future for a long, long, LONG time.

While I wish I had made better decisions, there are some lessons I learned along the way I wouldn’t change for the world. I guess this is why God allows hardship in life. We learn our lessons the hard way and no one would ever willingly chose the hard way.

My friends, learn from my 5 hard won lessons I have learned from being broke.

  1. Your things are not who you are. Don’t get me wrong. I still love a good trip to Target. I look forward to my Stitch Fix box. I have a whole Pinterest board I visit occasionally about redoing kitchen cabinets. Things are not the problem, but an addiction to always having new and better things can be a big problem. Your identity does not rest in how big your house is, what car you drive, what brand tag is in the back of your shirt or where you vacation. Things are not who you are. Once I freed myself of the shackles of always needing more I could spend time thinking about what was really important. No longer did I spent so much time thinking about making my house awesome instead I tend to spend more time thinking about how to make my heart awesome. It is a much harder job so the extra time here is key.
  2. Debt is the devil. (Or it’s no fun to pre-spend your money) Once you allow yourself to go down the slippery slope of debt clawing your way out is painful and takes forever and a day. For real. If you are considering debt as the way to finance your lifestyle stop right there sister. When you pre-spend the money you have not yet earned you will not be able to buy things when you need them. Because the money is already gone. Seems so obvious but took me way too long to learn.Take a page from our friend Dave Ramsey and know if you can’t pay cash for it you can’t afford it. I bucked this for a long time and it was so not worth it. For more on this seriously, make friends with Dave.
  3. It’s OK not to give your kids everything. With my first kiddo I really thought she needed it all. The Pottery Barn Kids bedroom set. Outfits that were all name brand and new. Every toy that was out there. When you are forced to make good financial decisions out of desperation, let me tell you that Pottery Barn furniture looks WAY less attractive when held up against having enough money for groceries. I quickly realized such shocking truths like, my kids liked the boxes more than the toys. And that kids have zero concept of where their clothes are coming from and might actually prefer to wear nothing but their Halloween costume for days on end. In short, I was wasting my money. AND…that first kid became a “I want that now!” beast. We had to wean her off her addiction for new things we had created by buying her something every single time we went into Target. When we made better decisions with the next ones in the brood we realized they are more excited for their birthdays and Christmas because getting things is now special. They are not deprived, they are appreciative. Who knew?
  4. Giving is Powerful. If you are scraping by and trying to dig out it is hard to be a giver. And it turns out giving is so much better than getting. For real. It is wonderful to be able to give to those who need it, turns out it is even better than a Target run full of endcap deals. Taking the focus off of things for me has helped me see the actual needs of others. Slowly but surely we are freeing up money in our budget to help out there in the world. You can’t do that if you are constantly saving up for new rugs because the colors in the old one have gone out of style. Trust me.
  5. Receiving is Powerful. Struggling with debt has meant we have had to accept help here and there. Free babysitting from family, hand me down furniture…there is no shame in leaning on others when you need to. We have also had to receive grace from our very own selves so we don’t constantly beat ourselves up over mistakes made. Receiving people has been a huge gift. I’m not waiting to save up for the perfect everything to have people in my house. Come on in people and we’ll be too busy laughing and drinking wine to even notice my family room carpet might need to be replaced. Who really cares anyway? My heart and home is ready to receive and celebrate my people.

Surviving being broke has helped me put money in its proper place. Things no longer rule my thoughts and my need for instant gratification no longer rules my pocket book. In our world it is a constant upstream battle to ignore the messages telling you you need white cabinets and a giant SUV and a vacation to Disney each and every year to be happy. Define your happy with things that are not of this world, like having an open heart, spreading kindness and gathering friends. These are things that are lasting and don’t cost you a thing, so go ahead a put that wallet away.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Going to Church with Kids is Hard but We’ll Keep Showing Up

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young daughter in church

Going to church is hard with young kids. It used to be something I looked forward to. It’s something I’ve always valued deeply and needed desperately. It’s the one place that will always be home regardless of what location or building it’s in or what people attend. Church is my sanctuary. But it’s become a battle with the kids’ resistance, my tired mind and body, and my lack of ability to actually listen to the sermon. Going to church is hard with young kids. It’s become normal for me to lie down in bed on Saturday night thinking, with dread,...

Keep Reading

I’m Praying for My Teenager in These Challenging Years

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy holding a smartphone and wearing headphones

In my mid-40s, I began to long for a baby. We didn’t get much encouragement from friends and family. My husband is a high-functioning quadriplegic, and I was considered way too old to start a family. But our marriage was stable, we were used to obstacles, we were financially prepared, emotionally experienced, and our careers were established. I began to paint my own sublime mental portrait of parenting tranquility. What could go wrong? At 48, I delivered a healthy baby boy, and he was perfect. We adored him. The baby we had longed for and prayed for, we had. And...

Keep Reading

When Motherhood Feels Like a Limitation

In: Faith, Motherhood
Ruth Chou Simons holding book

Twenty-one years ago, my husband Troy and I welcomed our first son into the world. Two years later, I gave birth to another boy. And again two years later, and again two years after that. A fifth boy joined our family another two years later, and a final son was born 11 years after we began our parenting journey. If you were counting, you’re not mistaken—that’s six sons in just over a decade. We were overjoyed and more than a little exhausted. I remember feeling frustrated with the limitations of the little years with young children when I was a...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in the Pew

In: Faith
Woman sitting in church pew

I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him. I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up...

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

Mad Martha, Mary, Mom, and Me

In: Faith, Living
Woman wrapped in a blanket standing by water

As a brand-new, born-again, un-churched Christian fresh in my new faith with zero knowledge of the Bible, I am steaming, hissing mad when I first read these words from Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Pray away My Anxiety But I Can Trust God to Hold Me through It

In: Faith, Living
Woman with flowers in field

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was scared of people, of speaking, and even of being looked at. As I got older, I worried about everything. I was aware of the physical impact that stress and worry have on our bodies and our mental health, but I couldn’t break the cycle. I declined invitations and stuck with what I knew. Then we had a child who knew no fear. The person I needed to protect and nurture was vulnerable. There was danger in everything. It got worse. He grew older and more independent. He became a...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading