19 June 2018

Poverty in the United States

I had the pleasure of watching Queen of Katwe on Netflix recently.  It was an excellent movie.  It also made me think about poverty around the world.

In Queen of Katwe, you get a glimpse of life in a Ugandan ghetto.  I can't believe that residents have to pay rent for some of the so-called homes they lived in.  One room, dirt floors, and no proper windows and doors.  Not to mention the hot temperatures of Africa.

Poverty in the US looks a lot different than poverty in other countries.  Our poor can still get a free education, might have cars (or at least access to transportation), and can still have access to clean water and fresh food.  We have programs that will help people to get back on their feet and special housing assistance to cut down on homelessness.  I can't say that we don't have people in this country who live in unsanitary conditions.  I can't even say that we don't have people who are without food and clean water.  I am saying that poverty just isn't the same here.

Another thing that I have noticed was that women the movie who had extra money were more likely to have their hair done (be it braids, straightened, wigs, etc) and those who did not have the money typically wore their natural hair very short.  While a woman's hair in the US does not necessarily indicate wealth or social status, any and all styles may be achieved even if you have a small income.  Hair products are readily available for a variety of budgets and some products are considered personal necessities.

Nice clothing is another item that can be achieved here with little money.  Thrift shops, consignment stores, Freecycle, or clearance racks at big box stores offer so many options.  I personally rarely buy clothing from big box stores.  Most of my wardrobe was handed down or purchased from thrift stores.  For some who struggle to even shop in a thrift store, there are charities available that help to provide clothing.  There is no excuse for not having clothes here, while in other parts of the world some families go without clothing or even shoes.

I have to say that we really should consider the blessing it is to be in the United States.  We have access to so much.  It is even to the point where even the poor here can give to charity to help others around the world.  When your children grow out of their shoes and clothing, they can be donated.  Toys can be donated. If it's time to get a new pair of glasses and you still have the old frame, they can be donated. Certain household items may not go around the world, but they can also make an impact in the life of someone here in the States.  Bibles can also be purchased very cheap and shared (even dollar stores have Bibles for purchase).

There really is an abundance of resources here.  While I do not believe that everyone is meant to have the same things (not the same amount of money or lifestyle or opportunities), I do believe that we should all be content where we are (a future post will expand on this) and be willing to give regardless of financial status.

08 May 2016

The Mother Of Days

I have a certain discontent feeling about the Mother's Day. I don't believe I'm the only one. I'm sure women who have miscarried or who are unable to bear children or those who have lost their children through nightmarish means understand (to varying degrees) this feeling.

I don't get to raise my children. I don't get to hug them daily or tell them good morning daily. I get to watch them grow from afar as if they never belonged to me, but I still get the privilege to partake somewhat in their beautiful little amazing lives.

Even if things were different, Mother's Day wouldn't be a time for me to gloat in my fertility. No. I would still not get so excited about it as I'm more thankful for the blessings my children are to me, rather than my so-called right to be a mother. I do love to remind my mom that I'm glad she gave birth to me, though!

To the "Happy Mother's Day!" I respond with a "thank you," but I say in my heart "for what?" I gave birth. Yeah. But the real happiness comes from seeing what God has in store for my babies in the future.

I don't have the joy and pains of fully raising my kiddos, but I can't forget God's grace for their lives.

To those mothers who cannot bear or have lost their babies, I mourn with you and I pray for you. I also pray for mothers who have theirs. Some of us have been raised without a mother. We all need prayer. We also need to be reminded that all things happen according to God's perfect plan. Even the hurt and wrongdoings of others help to grow us.

I'm truly thankful that God is my all. He truly knows how I feel. Only He can turn my sorrow into praise. I hope that He will do the same for you.

25 November 2015

Do Dump Trucks Come in New???

I know a lot of things about dump trucks. You never want to be behind one, as they are ever so slow to get up to speed. They have like 60 gears and a switch for even more shifting action.  They haul a whole lot of stuff.  They're often found hanging around construction sites.  They're always very dirty and usually pretty dinged up.

Something that I've realized is that...I don't think I've ever seen a brand spanking new dump truck!  Do they even exist? Or maybe when you go to pick one out, you sign the paperwork and receive your key...BAM! it ages about 15 years as you pull out of the lot?!  I'm sure there is a "brand spanking new" dump truck salesman reading this and contemplating ways to hush me up, now that I think I may have figured out the secret.

Life is a lot like this, though.  How often do I sit back and realize that I missed something along the way and I can't figure out how I got here.  What happened?  Should I have seen this coming?  I've been doing a lot of contemplating lately.  We're in a tough spot right now.  I would love to have a dump truck right now that could just haul away the junk in our lives (and by "junk" I mean all the things that are making me sad right now) to a far, far away place.  Someplace where it will be blown up or buried (maybe blown up then buried?), never to be seen again.  Replaced with something new and useful. Something that I can feel better about.

I know that my heart is an idol factory, just like everyone else's (ya feel me, or nah? Actually, we could discuss that one later....).  I want to be able to rest in something tangible.  I like knowing that bills will be paid because we have enough money to pay them.  I don't like not knowing if rent next month will even get paid.  I like knowing that our jobs are secure and we can count on them.  I don't like wondering "how long will this last?".

I know what I should be doing...and I feel like it should be easy.  How can I put my trust in God, when I could be homeless, jobless, foodless, clothless, etc-less?  What does it mean to "be still"?

God brings each of us to this point (of course "this point" is different for each of us) in order to bring us closer to Him.  When we are at the point where we can no longer do for ourselves, we should be looking to Him.  Of course, that doesn't always happen (not for everyone and not usually right away)...we start working harder, take on 15 more jobs, go to other people or things for comfort and reassurance, but ultimately when you're broken, that's when you're supposed to remember that God is the one who has everything under control.  Not you.  Not ever you.

Proverbs 19:21 - [There are] many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

I don't know if I could be righteous like Job was in his sufferings (and I think he suffered way more in his life than I probably will), but I'm so thankful to be reminded that I don't have to be down in the dumps (ba dump cha!) because my God is God and He's all-powerful.  My mountains are just dinky little situations to Him. They are but a few grains of sand in His universe-sized dump truck (did I take the analogy too far?).

I must though, I can't wait to see where all this is going!  Whoo-wee!  I'm looking forward to eternity.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.