My last post was about my experience as a food stamps Mom. I just want to clarify that not everyone has been cruel. I’ve been blessed in so many ways. I’ve been blessed by so many people. There are people who have been so kind to my family. Their kindness has made my heart sing.
It’s true our family doesn’t have much but I didn’t write my previous article to complain about that. I wrote it to get people to think, to differentiate between takers and those who are truly in need, and to help them see what it feels like on this side of the fence.
As for me, I’m blessed. There are things we want and need, that can’t be denied. But what we lack in material things, God has more than made up for it by letting us come to know Him as our Provider. I go into the kitchen some days and the cupboard is so bare and I wonder how on earth I’m going to feed my hungry family. Then out of the blue, God puts it on someone’s heart to give us a few dollars and we’re able to buy the ingredients for a meal. This kind of thing has happened again and again and again. There’ve been times that we’ve not been able to meet the rent and were threatened by eviction. Other times the utilities were going to be cut off . Each and every time someone would come through for us. Without our asking for help, God sends it. For every person who has been unkind to us, there have been just as many (or more) who have blessed us with prayers, with cash, with food, with kindness.
Since so many are on food stamps, our allotment has gone down by half. It is now even harder than ever to make them stretch. The amount we get barely feeds us for one week. The rest of the month we depend on God to provide. Sometimes He sends us to the store with just a few dollars in our pockets and directs us to a fantastic sale. Sometimes someone blesses us with something. Other times I’ve discovered something in the freezer that I had no idea was there (that one always amazes me; it’s like finding money in a wallet you knew was bare).
Poverty hurts. Poverty is overwhelming and depressing at times. But poverty is also a blessing. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure it’s a blessing I would have asked for (but then so many of my blessings have come hidden as burdens and pain). When we can’t do, God does. When we can’t provide, God provides. I heard a preacher get up once and talk about the Lord’s prayer, about trusting God for our daily provision and he admitted that he had no idea how to do that because he’d never had to. He went on to say that he imagined that most in the room that day had no idea about it, either. But I did. I still do.
Because my father was an abusive drunk, he never even tried to take care of my mother and me. We spent five years running from him, being found, going back, only to run again. When we settled down in my mother’s hometown of Tallassee, AL, we didn’t have anything. I was sick all of the time, so sick the doctors were sure I was going to die in childhood. My mother had tremendous health problems of her own. We never had much of anything but God took care of us. My husband and I have never had much (mostly because instead of material blessings, we chose to have the blessing of children). These last nearly nine years, we’ve had almost nothing. Our furniture is old and falling apart. Our van is on its last legs. Our dryer usually doesn’t work. We’re always in need of something, be it food, clothing or household items. But you know what? I’m blessed. We’re blessed.
I’m blessed beyond measure. I’m blessed by my Lord Who loves us and takes care of us. I’m blessed to go through extreme poverty because it has made my heart far more tender than it once was. It has helped me to see how others struggle, to care about their problems. I’m blessed by my family; I love them so much. It hurts to see my children do without things they really need. At the same time I’m amazed by my youngest children’s resilience. They’ve grown up in poverty yet they are happy. They can do so much with so little. They make my heart sing, too.
So, yes, I’m blessed with less, abundantly blessed even. I’d like more and hopefully some day we’ll have more but I’ll never want the kind of things I once wanted. They just don’t mean that much. God is important. People are important. My family is important. Things? Not so much unless they are things that can be used to improve one’s life in some way or are used to help others. To have something just to have it is way over rated. I’m also blessed with less because God has used our poverty to bring glory to Himself and to show me the kindness that His people can sometimes bestow on those who really need it.
God bless you all.
Soli Deo gloria!