Let me start by saying I am blessed! For most of my life, I have had everything I needed and a lot of what I wanted. However, there have been seasons when I was homeless, unemployed and critically ill. Even in those times, I was aware that God’s grace was ever present in my life. Those seasons were also opportunities to review, renew, adjust and reposition my perspective. My commitment to serve began to increase. In doing so, I learned to look behind the words that judge and images that redirect. And I found hope.
Consider the story that follows.
What if you and your husband are living a comfortable life? You have two children, two cars, and a dog. You have each known hardships, yet you have never lived in extreme poverty. What if suddenly your world changes and you have to live below the poverty line? Among other things, you will have to eat and drink on a budget of $1.50 each per day.
An extreme fear of the unknown becomes your reality. Can you survive five days on a grocery budget of $15? What if your normal weekly grocery budget is $130 including an allowance for Pizza Night Friday. How will you endure watching your children eat their normal diet as you and your husband live on rice, beans, noodles and other inexpensive foods? You think, this can’t turn out good.
The percentage of Americans in poverty fell from 15 percent in 2012, the biggest such decline since the year 2000. We are talking about approximately 14.5 percent of all Americans. The annual income threshold for being counted as living in poverty was $11,490 last year for a person and $23,550 for a family of four.
But that reality gets all confused when society sees a child who laughs with school friends about his video game score he played last night on his flat screen TV. Then he pulls out his cell phone to receive a call.
What society doesn’t see is his two-bedroom subsidized apartment where he lives with his four siblings and his mother. He is the oldest and responsible for child care, meal preparation, and daily homework assistance. His mother is underemployed and works sixteen hours a day to feed and clothe the family. The flat screen TV in the apartment is the only entertainment available to the entire family. The children are not allowed out of the house after school because of the gang activity in the neighborhood. The boy has a cell phone because it is the only way his mother can check and make sure the family is safe. The good news is that the boy is not only responsible, he is smart. He has a full four-year college scholarship. He has hope. And by association so does his family.
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.htmlUntil next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.