Thursday, April 10, 2008


There's a scent in the air and I don't particularly like it.

I was relating my shopping day stories to DaHubby yesterday. Wednesday is payday AND my multiple-grocery-store, hunting-for-deals shopping trips. I spent four hours (amid Viking interruptions) doing bills and prepping for grocery shopping. Then, the Vikings and I spent three hours visiting Aldis, Meijers, Rogers, and Hardings for our $60 worth of weekly supplies.

And, for the first time, I noticed something that is really squeezing my heart.

Aldis was packed which never happens around here around that time of day midweek. There were obviously a lot of "newbies" which you can spot a mile away if you're a regular. But, many of those folks not only looked lost but they looked panicked as well. And, there were people arguing in the aisles over things: what to buy, what cost more, "we don't have the money for that", etc. Aldis buys in bulk and I got the last bunch of bananas. The last bunch!

Meijers was the same way. Ours is having a superb meat sale with several cuts at $1/lb. And, while the initial aisles were relatively empty, the ones by the back wall where the meat department is were jammed full of carts with mostly women pushing their way through to grab the last chicken parts, BBQ ribs, or bone-in ham. There were THREE meat department folks attempting to keep up, unloading carts from the back but people were taking stuff off faster than they could get it in the displays.

Rogers is our "high end" mom and pop grocery store. They went from a tiny 6 short aisles a few years ago to a mammoth new store. Their prices are notoriously higher but, when their good stuff is on sale, I take advantage. The place was nearly empty! At lunchtime for Pete's sake!

The county in which I live is really taking a beating lately. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in Michigan which has climbed 5% in the last year. Our local community college has had multiple millages voted down. Businesses (mostly manufacturing-related) close weekly.

Nearby, there is one city in such dire financial straits that they are laying off city workers in waves as well as teachers from their school district. Unfortunately, that district can't really afford to do that since that school district is ranked 576 our of 647 districts in Michigan.

We've had a previously unheard of number of bank robberies in the last few years...three close to our former and current homes. Weekly, there are 1 or 2 new newspaper stories about someone who is a treasurer or involved in a business's finances and is being arraigned for embezzlement. The drug court notes column (yea, our little local paper publishes all the convictions and such - can you imagine?) is just getting longer and longer and longer.

All this "big city" crime...meanwhile, if you took the combined total of this county's Twin Cities' population, it would still be 2% of Detroit's or one-fifth the size of my hometown.

This all puts DaHubby's cut in work hours in perspective. We have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, vehicles to drive, technology to keep us connected but that sense of panic that is starting to rise around me as the kids and I go through our day is hard from which to escape and/or insulate.

Our immediate response is to lower our heads, work hard, make money stretch farther, focus on our family, stay home, spend less money. But, what happened to looking up?

(NKJV) Psalms 121:1-2: I will lift up my eyes to the hills -- From whence comes my help? My help [comes] from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

Even in this relatively little struggle of ours, we are going to have to remember to look look up to the Lord and to look up into the eyes of those around us. We should have a peace about things and have God's Presence so wrapped around us that people will seek us out. Struggling, working, striving does not need to be "miserable" work. ALL is for the glory of God. Just as we would struggle, work, and strive for something we dream of, why couldn't we do the same to show how God's provision supplies our needs?


Debbie said...

I've had thoughts about this very thing for awhile now. America has been so prosperous (Christians) that we have not depended on Him to supply our needs. We thought we have been doing it on our own. I think He wants us to do as you have stated "Look up."

I can also "sense" this panic of which you speak. End times is what comes to mind.

I praise God for His goodness towards my family and I.

GiBee said...

Wow... Wow, wow, wow.

What a powerful post. The one scripture that kept going over my head as I read and re-read this post was:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

I can't help but wonder how people that don't know this kind of peace find relief for their feelings of desperation??

On a whole other note... $60 for food for ONE WEEK? I'm exhausted just thinking about that three hour trip, girlfriend!!! I'm impressed!

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Great post my dear! Truly our help is from the Lord!!

I do have a question for you though... I wanted to know if you could post/email me about how you did without sugar on your Daniel fast? I need help!!

Have a blessed weekend!