And She’s Down… No, wait… Maybe not…Holy Crap

So. I don’t know why stuff happens. I just don’t. I have just under 5 months until I graduate. I’ve knocked this out, and I’m almost there…. almost. Then I got called in to talk to my bishop on Sunday. I haven’t cried so much since…. oh yeah, TUESDAY, when my heart nearly broke into a thousand brittle pieces.

Long story short: My bishop, a good guy, caught between a rock and a hard place I can only presume, had the clearly unpleasant task of telling me the church was not going to able to continue helping me and the kids. After the waves of panic and sobbing (mine), he was super clear that I had done nothing wrong and he was so sorry, and he admired what I’ve done and and and… And I don’t know what I’m going to do…. I don’t have a clue.

Now, not only am I facing the last several months of school, writing a more than 100-page capstone, taking my last math class, applying for grad school, but I’m also looking at having to move and not having the resources to do so. If I think too much about it, I start to panic. I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I honestly have no idea.

The last two days have been a swirling vortex of panic and tears. I had a test last night that I know I bombed on- went utterly blank and copped to it and wrote that for one of my essay answers. I didn’t know what else to do. Everything hinges on my graduating, keeping my GPA up, and getting into grad school. Everything. And I can barely even think right now, let alone write a coherent paper.

All the schools I’m applying to are out of state. No matter what, this is going to be an interstate move. How am I going to drive my car, and a moving van, and take three kids? HOW? How am I going to hold onto Little House until the end of June so at least my kids have that stability- and I cannot even fathom if I have to move in the middle of my finals before I graduate. What if I implode?

When I look back at the last five years, it makes me want to curl up and sob. I’ve always kept getting back up. Every. Single. Time. In retrospect, I’m kinda proud of that. But this last one? It feels like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me, and I’m seeing stars. I want to curl up and cry. I want to close my eyes and have someone else make it all better. I want someone to say softly to me “I’ve got this one, Trace.” and allow me to Β see what it feels like to be safe. Even if just for a moment.

Yesterday, I honestly doubted my ability to do this for the first time. I felt so flattened that I had to lay on the ground for a while and remember how to breathe. Today, still raw and sucking for air, I found that tiny spark- it’s way fragile- moreso than it’s ever been- barely sputtering… but it’s there. I’m going to nurse it for a day or two, and hopefully, with a little care, the spark will turn back into the fire I need to finish this fight.

86 thoughts on “And She’s Down… No, wait… Maybe not…Holy Crap

  1. This makes me angry! what possible reason would the bishop have to cut off your aid! The church has more than enough money and you are truly in need!

  2. He said the church welfare system was not designed for long-term use, and I have been on it for a couple of years now. He said they just could not keep helping with my rent (I’ve managed to pay my utilities myself with my student loans), but if i needed food, the storehouse was still an option. The only state aid I qualify for is foodstamps, so I don’t actually need food from the storehouse, and haven’t had to use that option thus far.

    I understand. They can’t do this for everyone, and maybe that’s why they had to stop it for me. I don’t know what else to think.

    As far as help? I have no idea. But thank you.

  3. My Dad said that the hardest thing to do as a Bishop was to tell members that they could no longer receive assistance. The Stake President would decide who didn’t “need” the support anymore and then my Dad would have to tell them. Your situation is so different than those who “take advantage”. I know you will be blessed and that you will be taken care of. Maybe not in a way you could ever imagine. I’d say post a link to your Paypal account. :).

    • Paypal. that way you don’t have to give anyone your address and we can all help with 1 or 5 or 30 or 100 dollars. and you can do it. and your rental truck can tow your car. and your crazy, never-met-you-in-real-life friends can come drive a car or truck for you (i have done it twice cross country and once locally).

  4. I would happily donate a little each month if you post your paypal account info. My DH is in school again so it wouldn’t be much. That being said, he is working full time during the day (doing his MBA at night) and he received student loans to cover the school (thank goodness – it is $40K!) so we are doing fine – I would happily send what I can. I mean it, you just email or post that acct and it will be there!

  5. You definitely should be doing bishop’s storehouse all along. Do it now because sometimes every dollar counts. Do food stamps really cover everything? Bishop’s storehouse even has things like tampons and toilet paper. At least try it and see if it can help.

  6. TP, toothbrushes, aluminum foil, a broom. Do check out the storehouse. They’ve got a bunch of stuff that’s not food. And post the link. People who can’t give won’t and people who can will. Plus we’re all praying for you.

  7. You don’t have to post a link actually. People can just send money to your email address through paypal. And your blog email address should work just fine without giving out a bunch of personal info.

  8. Dear Tracy – I’m sure I’m among oodles of people who will come out of the woodwork to help you with moving logistics. Don’t worry quite that far ahead yet. Worry only a month at a time right now. Get through this month before you worry about the next. And since I have both your address and your paypal account, I’ll be talking to Renn about what we can do.

  9. You all have got me crying now, and utterly paralyzed at how to respond or what to think. I didn’t write this out other than in my continuing drive to document this journey honestly and for my posterity… I am without adequate words to respond to the love you all are showing me, and I honestly do not know what to say.

    • Tracy, having been a recipient of somewhat similar offers of help (though nothing of this magnitude), this is my advice: accept it gracefully and thank God for such loving and generous friends.

      There is nothing to say except “thank you” and “I accept your kind and generous offer” – and that is *woefully* inadequate. The only way to repay such random acts of kindness is to someday turn around and offer to help another in whatever ways you can – and that doesn’t have to be monetary help, either in the giving or receiving.

      The one thing I have learned is that there cannot be a giver without a receiver. As awesome as it feels to be the giver, there is *nothing* wrong with being the receiver at times. ❀

  10. my son is objecting to using paypal as it takes a chunk and is generally unethical. any other ideas? can’t remember what all information western union wants, but i think their fee is lower.

  11. Tracy,
    In CA we have something called Calworks, made for people in your situation. It covers all kinds of things, including car repairs. The school probably has a program that is similar, I’d go check. It’s particularly geared toward parents trying to finish school. And the state for sure has a subsidized rent program.

  12. PayPal will not take anything if you send it as a gift. But I think an email address would be needed, not the commission link on the page.

    I went to Haiti last year and had dozens of people send me money to buy stuff for the Haitians. Not a penny was taken by PP.

  13. Yeah, paypal won’t take anything if you use a bank account or paypal account. It will take 2.9% + .30 if you use a credit card. This is only true for US payments, so for international readers, I’m not sure.

    Also, the “contact Tracy” link has an email. ( Not sure she wants me pointing it out, but it’s there. (Tracy, you can delete or edit this comment if you want.)

    Tracy, I’m so sorry. The timing on this is terrible. But of course, I’m trying to think when a good time would be…..I know the church welfare isn’t set up for long term use, but I also know you had an end date in sight for them, I mean, once you graduated, you would be out of state and in a completely different situation. It’s not like you were going to be on their support indefinitely.

    The whole thing is awful.

  14. I’m so sorry …could you talk to the stake president and explain your situation in detail, including everything financial, and you only need help for a few months? I would include transcripts from this blog to document your needs. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  15. I’m more than willing to chip in what I can. Reading good writing is one of life’s joys, and you should be compensated for it.

    Let me see if I can figure out this paypal thing.

  16. I was a little nervous, but paypal was very easy. Took 2 minutes to set up the account. I went with a credit card, so there was a small fee, but I didn’t want to link it to my bank account, which would have been free.

    I must admit, I was annoyed to hear about the church cutting you off, but if they hadn’t, I’d’ve missed out.

  17. I’m a daughter of a single mom. Sometimes we all need a little help. Paypal money coming your way. Love and prayers, too. Even though we’ve never met, I read about your life every day and gain strength from your story.

  18. Oh dear Tracy. i’m so sorry to hear this. The Lord must have a great plan for you as you continue with your adversities.

    Please let me know your PayPal info and I would love to help each month.

    Curl up and cry for a bit – you deserve that time. But know you will survive. You have friends and family that love you and will help. And you have the Lord on your side.

    Use the Bishop’s storehouse. I have been in your situation before when my first husband left. It’s awful. But the Bishop’s storehouse saved me and I was so grateful for it! The money I saved on food I put towards other things. I have faith this too shall pass and you will be ok! Hugs to you dear Tracy ❀

  19. Having been in situations where we needed longer-term church assistance, my input is not to hold grudges because the assistance couldn’t continue. Knowing what you’ve written of your bishop, I would be willing to bet he cried copious tears before and after you were in his office…

    You know we are relocating soon. Ray has experience in driving moving trucks, it will be fresh in his memory, and we will be close enough to actually offer physical assistance this time! We’ll talk as it gets closer.

    In the meantime, follow Em’s advice: “Don’t worry quite that far ahead yet. Worry only a month at a time right now. Get through this month before you worry about the next.”

    My mantra: Endure well enough for now. Now can be one day, one hour, one minute, one breath at a time, my dear. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

  20. I’m sobbing. I’ve been trying for an hour to make a paypal button and I don’t know how. Does anyone know how to do this? My paypal account is attached to I don’t know what to do beyond that, and I’m honestly totally overwhelmed at your responses. I don’t know what to say, except that I cannot stop crying. Thank you.

  21. Sorry to comment again, but I keep thinking about this post. For some reason the phrase “fresh courage take” keeps running through my mind, Tracy.

    “Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
    But with joy wend your way.
    Though hard to you this journey may appear,
    Grace shall be as your day. …

    … Why should we think to earn a great reward
    If we now shun the fight?
    Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
    Our God will never us forsake; …


    You’re not down and out yet, my friend. Dig deep, take fresh courage, trust God, and continue to be a survivor!

  22. I can chip in, too–and I don’t know you from Adam/Eve. πŸ˜‰ But I know you’re a (virtual) Mo-sister and that’s all I need to know.

  23. ok, don’t worry about a link. we can go directly to paypal and send it to you at your email. i am sounding dense here, just repeating to myself to make sure i understand.

  24. Tracy, I am so, so sorry to hear that you had such a terrible day this week and I will happily pitch in what I can.

    Thank you so much for posting this. There isn’t much I can do, my situation is so similar to yours (I’m just two years behind you) but I will do what I can.

    If only there was a way for me to hug you from so far away. I admire you and wish you well on your journey. Your posts have comforted me so much, even those ones when times have been rough, and I am grateful that I can offer something in return for having put into words so many of my own feelings. Bless you.

    Thank you. Thank you for posting this.

  25. Just sent you the extra that I had right now. Will send more later. Hang in there! God is good! He loves you and has put people in your life (real and virtual) that love and care for you. Remember 5 loaves, 2 fishes, 5000 hungry people fed. He is a god of miracles and He will take care of you and the Little House and the move and whatever else the universe throws at you. Praying for you!

  26. Brighter days are in store for you. God Bless you and your family. I enjoy your writing so much. Sent something your way.

  27. Love, good vibes and what I can do coming your way. You are a good woman, Tracy. You deserve a break. I love to see that there are so many others who know the same. What goes around comes around for the good ones as well as the not so good…Hang in there. Keep writing.

  28. I’ve lurked, reading your blog for years, taking great courage from the candor, strength and humor with which you’ve shared your life. As the mother of a twentysomething Aspie, there is also that parent-of-a-child-on-the-spectrum connection I feel when I read your words. This is the one time I felt I shouldn’t lurk any longer. I sent you a little something to your paypal. One ASD mom to another ASD mom–we need to stick together. God bless.

  29. I keep coming back to read the comments because the whole thread is so lovely and uplifting, such a fine example of how the world and its people can shine.

    I will talk to Mr. and see what we can do. Hugs and love.

  30. You’ve got all the lurkers out on this one :). Don’t doubt yourself. You are super woman. We appreciate all you do for us. Thanks for the inspiration, honesty and joy. It is a pleasure to help you in the small way we all can. Thanks for letting us know what you are going through.

  31. I’m a longtime lurker too. I used to be in Scott B’s ward, for what it’s worth, and I’ve always loved reading what you write both here and at BCC. I’m sending what I can. God bless you and your family.

  32. I’m glad to be able to help out a little bit. There have been days when your writing has been just what I needed to hear!

  33. Don’t know you, Tracy. Never read your blog before today but I’ve seen the name Tracy M around. Just created a new Paypal account. I was raised by a single mom who got up at 4 every morning to go to one of her two store cleaning jobs before her real job which started at 7 am. No education beyond HS. May you be blessed!

  34. Oh, Tracy, reading this (two days late) is making me wish I lived down the street from you so I could take your kids for the afternoon and make you some dinner (which wouldn’t taste nearly as good as what you would make, of course, but you’d be kind about that πŸ˜‰ ) and let you have a long nap and some study time and give you any old GRE study materials I still have and just do whatever I could to help. Wish I knew what to say from such a distance that would even be remotely helpful. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  35. Tracy, I just saw Tresa’s message to the fMh FB group. Count me in with the dozens of folks who are part of your growing safety net.

    And if your move brings you to Utah, you and the kids are welcome to stay at our house until you find a more permanent place to settle.


  36. You are loved DEEPLY, friend. Yes, we are the Church (even those outside it, in this case), and you will be taken care of.

    Love you!

  37. Tracy, sending you much love. If you move to Indiana, there are a few fmh peep here that would be more than happy to help with the transition.

  38. Sent some now. More next month. My family’s prayers and love offered up, too.

    “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

  39. I am so grateful for the chance to help you. I’m a long time reader, and I’m so happy to help you because you’ve given so much to me through your writing. God Bless!

  40. Pingback: Support Tracy! | Faith-Promoting Rumor

  41. Tracy, I’m so sorry. I’ve mostly been a lurker, but i love reading your stories (and heaven bless you for your recipes). Sending things your way – I hope you’ll keep us posted if you need more later.

  42. Another lurker delurking…if your move takes you across the country via i80, I live just off the freeway in Des Moines and you can stop here for rest/food/clean bathrooms/whatever. In the meantime, I have loved you for years since you started over at MMW. Hugs and prayers.

  43. Heard about this on FMH – I can’t send much, but what I can, I will – paying forward the generosity others have shown me in hard times. God bless, Tracy – in everything.

  44. I just wanted to write and let you know that I think I understand what you’re feeling. I’m going through a horrible divorce too that will leave me caring for my 3 kids at least half the time while trying to finish school.

    I know how it feels to have nothing left to give, and to be beaten emotionally to death. The best way I know how to describe it is like having the emotional equivalent of Lou Gherig’s disease!

  45. Sending some money on a regular basis is not a problem, Tracy. Figuring out how the heck to SEND it IS! I KNEW I should have kept up with all this technology! Sigh.
    I’ll manage it. Luckily for me, praying is still accepted the old-fashioned way. It IS, isn’t it?!! Bellabell

  46. You are so loved and my heart is warmed by the outpouring of love and generosity. Your situation, while stressful for you, is also an opportunity for us to reach out a helping hand to offer a service for one in need. I’m wondering if you’ve already taken the GRE. I have a new manual from the fall I picked up but no longer need and would be happy to pass it along to you if you’re still prepping. Just let me know. *hugs*

  47. Just read about you on FMH then I read your blog. My heart cries with yours, No doubt your bishop is a good man, just doing his “duty.” I have no sisters, and I have five daughters, ( and four sons) one left at home. I was a single mom going to school with three kids for a short time, then I married a kind and respectful nomo who has changed my life for the better. I wish the best for you and admire and support your hard work to finish your eduation. Knowledge is POWER and you are making the best choice possible. I applaud you and will keep you in my prayers. Meanwhile, please contact me at my email address so i can send you some money. Count me in, I’mm with you for the long haul little sister…

  48. I am just in shock reading this post and am feeling so many emotions that I don’t know where to start with my response.
    I became a single mother of 3 children at the age of 25 (kids age 2,4,7). I had no education, no job, no money and no family support. I went to my bishop to ask for help with the deposit of $400 on a rental apartment. He told me that I needed to seek other options first. I told him that if I had any other options, I wouldn’t have came to him. I had been a faithful tithing paying member my entire life. I had never asked the church for a dime, and was asking for one time help. He never helped.
    I got a credit card to pay for my deposit and rent and found a job, leaving my precious babies in daycare while I went back to school paid for by student loans and a small scholarship. I got state assistance in the form of daycare assistance, food stamps and insurance for my kids.
    I didn’t have time to blog or have fun. We all suffered. I didn’t end up taking a single penny from the church, all the while continuing to pay my tithing. I am bitter to this day about that bishop’s response, so I am writing through jaded lenses.
    The fact that you have been depending on the church for so long is just so disturbing for me. I don’t doubt you need help, but the impression I get from your post is that you feel the church support is a right that you should keep receiving until you get your life in order.
    Get a job like the rest of us struggling. I have been unable to get my masters degree because I have to work to pay my bills and student loans. Sorry if I don’t whip out my wallet like all the other good Christians at your bleeding heart story.
    Good luck and I hope you are able to graduate.

    • AMEN. You’ve said exactly what I thought. Whilst in your situation I think you should have had assistance, I do respect that you worked and unlike the author of this blog, did not rely for YEARS on hand outs.

    • To Sammi: Hopefully, you’ll pray to forgive the Bishop his response and find some healing. Heavenly Father loves us more than we can comprehend and sometimes that requires allowing life to be messy and unpretty. However, through the Atonement, Jesus Christ can in time heal all wounds and cause us to forget our worries that have plagued us for so long. Hopefully, you’ll eventually be able to look back on these experiences and see how Heavenly Father has caused you to flourish and grow under such difficult circumstances. Its entirely possible, you’ll look back and eventually feel gratitude for these things. I know I’ve suffered a great deal through out my life and I’ve become grateful for these sufferings because they have allowed the Atonement to work and purify me. I now look back with gratitude for the growth and as well for having survived because of my faith in Jesus Christ and the Atonement. Sometimes in the midst of our suffering, all we can do is hold onto our testimony of the Savior, while He figuratively burns the dross out of our lives.


  49. Alrighty then.

    Best of luck Tracy. We can’t send much, but one grad school mom to another (and I’ve only got as many kids as I’ve got husbands, so luckily that math works out…), someday this WILL be all over.

  50. Sammi, a simple word of advice:

    Get to know someone, even a little bit, before you judge them. Your comment simply is incorrect on so many levels about so many details, for no other reason than that you are judging someone about whom you know nothing.

    I know your own wounds are deep, and I understand that this probably re-opened them and caused great pain, but, again, it’s not a good idea to chastise anyone without knowing them at all.

    I know you don’t expect defense, Tracy, over something this misguided and wrong, but I think it’s important to say, nonetheless.

  51. I feel that Christianity/Religion/Humanity requires us to take care of one another. All too often, we fail miserably at this. This gives us all the more reason to celebrate those times when we manage to act with kindness. And while love and kindness is something we should offer to everyone for no better reason than that they are our brothers and sisters, Tracy has been such a blessing to so many that helping her doesn’t feel like charity, but like a chance to repay her for her wisdom, kindness and generosity.

    (I’m coming out of lurkerdom to say thank you, and good luck, Tracy.)

  52. Tracy, I have been a RS president for over five years. The Bishop’s storehouse is more than food. They also have some new clothing (mostly underwear, but sometimes coats and other things), bedding, and non-food items. We also have a Deseret Industries Store close by so that our people could get orders filled out for other clothes, beds, and other things.

  53. Thank you Maurine. Our storehouse doesn’t have those things- I’ve worked there on and off for years cooking lunch. We have no DI in this area, but we are doing okay nevertheless. Thank you for your input- if we lived maybe in a more urban area that would be something I could take advantage of.

  54. Okay, maybe I’ll make some enemies with this statement. But if you can’t afford the bills, why do you want to get a graduate degree and out of state? At least you’ve got a bachelors. Sounds to me like you want your bread buttered both sides. I suggest you get a job. I think your bishop was right to take you off church welfare. The fact that you’ve been on it for YEARS makes me not want to pay tithing.

    • Koa you just need to go away and stop judging someone elses situation! This is one of the most un Christlike things I have ever read! Tracy, I’m sorry you have this person talking to you like this.

      • It’s not un-Christlike at all. It’s honest. Should hard working people pay for others to have the luxury of a masters degree?

    • Oh for heaven’s sakes, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Stop paying tithing if you like, but fast offerings is what funds assistance. You can say whatever you like, but just because you feel something is honest doesn’t mean you should/ say it. It’s unkind, even if you feel it’s honest. Do you know her? Do you know her life? If not, shut up.

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  56. koa – if you don’t like what you read here, feel free to stop reading. It’s fairly apparent your mind is already made up about this matter/blog post. What I don’t understand is your obvious need to make others feel bad while climbing up on your high horse. To paraphrase someone you may listen to, I ‘won’t judge you because you sin differently than me.’ Through Christ we all received and continue to receive grace. As we act Christ-like, we are all able to offer small slices of Christ’s grace to others, and they to us. How wonderful is that?

  57. For the record: no one was (or is) paying for my grad school. The scholarship was to finish my undergrad. The record of how and why I was receiving assistance from my wonderful ward is documented well in my writing, and if anyone cares to read it instead of making uncharitable judgements based on little actual information (let alone kindness) I welcome a civil discourse via email.

    Also, I do have a job now.

    I do not understand why some people feel not only comfortable, but righteous, measuring out their love in mere teaspoons and only after sufficient imagined penance and suffering have been met.

    I’m closing comments. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have loved me and mine so very well, and provided a stellar example for me of how to live my life and how to give back to others, which I am finally in the position to begin.

    Join me in contributing to the fMh scholarship for the next single Mormon mama.

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