One Family’s Story – the Schmidt Family

    the Schmidt family

    the Schmidt family

    The Schmidt family made a $3,000 pledge to their parish initiative, but of late, Ann Schmidt had come to believe that God wanted her to double their family’s commitment. She knew this would not sit well with the family – they had already made significant adjustments to pledge the $3,000. She gathered the family to explain her desire and to consider a plan. She asked each family member to pray for three weeks, asking God to reveal where current expenditures could be freed to increase giving. Then, on Sunday, they would discuss their ideas. As a family, they would assign a dollar amount to each suggestion and decide whether or not to pursue it. If God showed them nothing, the family would simply not pledge the additional $3,000.

    Four weeks later the Schmidts had 20 wide-ranging strategies to increase their giving. As a family of four who dined out twice a month, they were spending about $80 a month. Dining out was cut to once a month, and $40 per month went to the campaign. In the same spirit, they reevaluated their other leisure activities including going to the movies, cable, magazine subscriptions, etc. They even scrutinized some basic expenditures such as food purchases and auto usage.

    Ken, in middle school, began to take his lunch to school rather than buy it, saving $20 per month. Jessica, in high school, cut back on weekly outings with friends and dedicated another $25 per month to the effort. Individually, each family member made suggestions and offered personal sacrifices. Eventually, their ideas totaled just over $85 per month – $3,000 over the course of three years. "I never dreamed we could do it, but we are pleased God can use us to work through our Church this way," Ann Schmidt said. "We are stronger and a better family for it."

    Not surprisingly, the family’s plan was easier to suggest than to maintain. Stephen, the husband and father, said the first three months were difficult. After that, however, what had been hard became easy. "We discovered that what we thought were necessities were not necessities at all," he said. "It took us three months to discover that."

    Struggle is the nature of sacrifice. This story illustrates what one family, firmly committed to its faith, can achieve through trust in each other and dependence on God.

    Changing Lives Together is parish-based. All parishes are participating. Learn more about the initiative in your parish. Contact Your Parish…