This is the second installment of our reality series about Megan Dancisak, 27, and her 17-month-old son Ethan. She has the pleasure of raising him, and the hardship of doing so as a single mom. Read the first chapter of Dancisak’s story to find out how she chose life for her son when she had no idea how she could afford to raise him.
Megan Dancisak spent her Labor Day stressed about finances. The 27-year-old single mom had exactly one week left to renew her car’s registration, but it wouldn’t pass a smog check because of a broken converter she didn’t have the money to fix. Her rent was due, but she couldn’t pay it until her paycheck came in at the end of the week, resulting in a $150 fine. She was down to her last $10, and didn’t know how she’d buy diapers for her 17-month-old son, Ethan, gas for her car, or groceries for the week. To top it off, the new phone her company gave her broke, and she wouldn’t get a new one for a few days.
She explained her situation to her apartment managers hoping they would drop the fee, but they didn’t seem sympathetic. Discouraged, she returned to her apartment, got down on her knees and prayed, “If anyone can control this situation, You can.” Later as she left Ethan with her roommate to go to woman’s group, the manager called her over. He had talked to the supervisor and they agreed to waive the fee. In shock, she cried out, “No way, praise the Lord, Jesus just answered my prayer!” At the mention of God, the manager said he was also a Christian and led worship at his church.
“I was so humbled because here I was judging and being feisty, but the Lord was moving in their hearts,” she said.
To get used to getting around Los Angeles without a car once the registration deadline hit, Dancisak decided to take the bus to her group meeting. Without the distraction of her phone, she found time to read Better, a book on Ecclesiastes by her pastor, Tim Chaddick. On her way home, she read a chapter on money and how greed comes not from the amount of money a person has, but his or her response to it.
“I broke down,” Dancisak said. “I never realized I was greedy, never thought I had to repent. I would think, ‘Of course I need stuff to live, I need to expect these things will be provided because I need to provide for my son.’”
Sitting on the bus, she repented for the sense of entitlement that often led to bitterness toward God when she didn’t feel she was getting the money or the husband she thought she deserved. Even as her financial problems continued to hang over her, Dancisak felt humbled for all God had given her that she didn’t deserve.
On Wednesday, members of her women’s group pulled together money for rent and to pay for her cash advances. Two women decided to help Dancisak out with her finances, meeting with her regularly to keep her accountable for her budgeting. As she tracks all that she spends, she constantly has to check her motives.
Then on Monday, the day of her car registration deadline, Dansicak took the bus to work still unsure what would happen to her car. A friend from church called to say he would pick up her car, pay for the repairs, and take care of the registration. By the time she got off work, her car was cleared to drive legally on California’s roads.
Later that night at women’s group, the 35 women presented her with another envelope of money to cover her bills.
Dancisak was blown away: “I just felt like the Lord is doing powerful things, He truly does provide. When He doesn’t provide right away, it’s because my heart would not be challenged or grow if He did, I wouldn’t have come to this revelation unless I was broken and at a point where I felt like ‘What else can God take from me?’”
With a bit of the donated money she also helped another: She gave $20 of gas to a stranded young family she met while waiting for the bus. Dancisak also bought a Bible for her neighbor, whose 3-month-old baby recently died. Befriending her neighbor brought a perspective shift: “All these things I think I’m entitled to—time, my son’s health, happiness—every breath of air is precious, it’s provision I don’t deserve.”
She wants to pass these lessons on to her son so he doesn’t feel entitled or see God as a cosmic vending machine: “Life is not handed to you, you have to work hard, you have to be patient and long-suffering.”
Even with her financial woes salved, Dancisak has a crop of new worries and concerns around the corner. Her roommate, who had been babysitting Ethan while his mom works part-time at T-Mobile, just got a job, and Dancisak doesn’t have the money to pay someone to watch Ethan. For now, she’ll have to find church friends to watch him without pay on a day-by-day basis.
“I’d definitely be lying if I said I knew who He’ll provide,” Dancisak said. “Has God always come through? Absolutely. But it’s also been stressful when I have no consistent daycare.”