Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I stood at the checkout line while the cashier scanned my rewards card and said the balance aloud: $72.45

I looked up at the screen, straining my eyes because that couldn’t be right. I had bought all the WIC products I knew were approved. There was no way it only took $10 off the total. It should be almost zero because I stuck to the WIC foods only, except for a half gallon of ice cream.

But then I looked at the date and realized with a sickening feeling that I was one day early. We had just returned from vacation and had no food in the refrigerator. My 3-year-old reminded me in her cute voice, “Mama, we have no milk.” I smiled, telling her we would get some. My WIC benefits for the next month didn’t start until tomorrow and because I was out of town and had only glanced at the date, I hadn’t noticed.

The cashier watched me look at my cart full of $72.45 worth of food and groan with regret and shame. I held my head in my hands and tried to think about what in the world I was going to do. I had seconds to make a decision. Should I return it all? Just start over at another store? Should I keep the essentialsmilk and breadand return the rest? Should I buy it all? Would my husband understand?

RELATED: I Don’t Know How We’ll Make Ends Meet but I Trust God Will Provide

Money has always been tight in our little family. We started our marriage in seminary, which cost us a third of my income while he studied full-time for four years. We ate $3 frozen pizza every Friday and rarely went out to eat. I remember grumbling through those years, wondering when we would be able to afford a hot, fresh, melty-cheesy pizza from our favorite pizza place.

As the years passed, we had seasons of no TV in the house and seasons of ramen noodles for dinner. We adopted our girls in 2020 and 2021 and soon realized that without WIC and Medicaid, it would be hard to keep up. Every month I kept track of my WIC benefits, carefully choosing the products at the store, and prayed grateful prayers for the healthy food to feed my family. Without it, I know my husband and I would struggle more financially. He has a good job, but between a mortgage, utilities, setting aside savings, and weekly food budgets, we don’t always break even each month. And every month we have to dip into savings makes us nervous.

I trust God to provide for us, and He always does. On our vacation, we were keeping track of expenses to try and not overspend. My dad is always so generous with meals and that helped keep our tab low. At the end of the trip, my husband totaled everything, and he was on the dollar with what we set out to spend. We were both relieved.

So when the cashier read my total, I was in shock. My pride was insulted because I felt stupid for letting something like this slip my mind. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do. I hated the thought of buying four jugs of apple juice. I only bought it because it was covered by WIC. But I also didn’t want to hold up this cashier or the people in line.

RELATED: We’re Raising a Family Below the Poverty Line and It’s Hard

Just as I was running through my options, nervously looking at the full cart, a woman I had never met came up beside me and asked if I needed help. She wore glasses and had shoulder-length hair that was dyed brown and dark blonde to hide the gray. I was confused, what did she mean?

“I thought I received my WIC benefits, but it turns out, they don’t start until tomorrow. I read the date wrong and was one day off.”

“Times are hard,” she said. “Let me help you.” Then she reached in front of me and slid her card into the machine. I was stunned. The cashier handed me my receipt, telling me I had been touched by an angel. Tears gathered behind my eyes, daring to fall. I thanked the woman. Twice.

She disappeared behind me as I hurriedly put the bags away and said goodbye to the cashier. On the way to the car, I started crying happy tears while pushing my girls in the cart.

She saved me from an embarrassing moment with the most graceful and humble display of generosity. She didn’t need anything, she just stepped in when a mama blundered and helped her pick up the pieces.My girls sat sweetly on the way home, too young to realize what had just happened. All they knew was Mama got milk. And we thank God for that.

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

Kim Patton

Kim Patton is an adoptive and foster mama living in South Carolina with her husband Kevin and two daughters; Eden and Shiloh. She writes for Waiting in Hope Infertility ministry and Shaunti Feldhahn, and has been the host of the Book Therapy podcast since 2022. Her second book, "Nothing Wasted: Struggling Well through Difficult Seasons" encourages readers to recognize personal growth amidst hard times. In her free time, she is usually reading a memoir in the sunshine, taking her girls to the playground or playing tennis with her husband at the YMCA.

How to Help Your Financially Struggling Friend (Without Making Things Weird)

In: Living, Mental Health, Relationships
Bowl of soup and crackers

A few months ago I wrote about why I cringe when someone’s financial pain goes viral. We love seeing someone in need get their needs met, but it often means we’re witnessing that “needy” person at their lowest, most painful, most vulnerable moment. We see their gratitude, but we forget it may come at the price of their dignity and humanity as their financial inadequacies are exposed. So now that we’re aware of what we DON’T want to do, let’s personalize it– how CAN you help someone who is struggling financially without complicating your relationship with that person? How can...

Keep Reading

This is Middle-Class Motherhood

In: Living, Motherhood
This is Middle Class Motherhood www.herviewfromhome.com

In no way am I trying to make wealthy people feel guilt. Whether you were born into it or you’ve scraped your way from the bottom earning every decimal point in your account, there you are. And here I am. In the throes of motherhood and in my 30s, having changed careers twice and having to juggle and battle and decide whether or not it was worth taking on another job just to afford child care. I’m not trying to go on fancy vacations. I’m just trying to be able to change the oil in my car when the light...

Keep Reading

If Other Kids Call You ‘Poor’

In: Journal, Kids, Motherhood
If Other Kids Call You 'Poor' www.herviewfromhome.com

My sweet kids, I know there have been times you have felt poor. There are vacations we can’t go on, the hand-me-down wardrobes, the times we didn’t send you to a friend’s birthday party because we couldn’t afford to buy a gift. Little expenses that have seemed to be no big deal to other families have been enough to discourage us from participating in the activities you’d love to do or joining in on events other people are doing. When money is tight, every decision feels more weighty. But while there are times you have felt poor, we have never...

Keep Reading