“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
— Matthew 5:3
Embracing the poverty—what does that mean? Does it only refer to money, like our finances? Or is this a principle or idea that transcends every area of our lives—embracing rather than running from lack?
In His Beatitudes Jesus said that those who lacked, like the poor, are those who are blessed—do you and I honestly believe that? We say we do, but very few of us come to that place of choosing to embrace this principle, so because it’s more acceptable, we choose, instead, to embrace the mindset of this world.
Let’s face it, it’s difficult for us to watch the “wicked” increase and prosper while at the same time we (who do all we can to serve and love the Lord as His bride in our hearts and actions)— sit in need and lack. This is when we have to decide if what we do is based and has its foundation on doing what’s right for the sake of right, or doing what is right for the sake of gain.
Recently my children have also been struggling silently with this entire concept. Their father left our family in pursuit of sin—adultery once again. And since then they have had a front row seat watching their father continuing to “seemingly” prosper while we are currently struggling in very deep and dangerous lack. With tears, just the other day, my teenage daughter asked why it seems that God is blessing her dad for doing what was wrong, and at the same time punishing us for doing what was right.
It often does seem like we are being punished, not just to we who are living through it, but to those who are watching our lives. Is God punishing us? I remember vividly living through these feelings several years ago. It was I who was in tears, lying on top of my bed holding my little six-year-old son (who’s now an adult) and he was crying, which is why I began to cry. Very much like Erin shares in one of her books, while I was doing everything I could to do what was right, for the sake of my children, I had just heard that his daddy, my husband, had taken the other woman on a trip to meet his family. Even worse, I also heard that his family had embraced his new relationship and the first OW (other woman) into their family. My six-year-old, however, didn’t know why his daddy was visiting family (or who he had taken with him), all he knew was that he had taken a trip and left him behind. Poor dear.
It is so vivid in my mind how much of a catalyst this trip was to what changed everything (though I didn’t know it at the time). It was the beginning of the end for this ungodly relationship and for my marriage to be restored (which also meant my son’s daddy moving back home). Nevertheless, this event caused everything in my life to begin racing downhill. I don’t remember all of the details, but one-by-one my world began crashing down around me. I do remember my husband coming to visit me one day. We were separated (he’d left and was living with the first other woman), and he stood there telling me quite clearly that if this is the way God rewarded good people (referring to what was happening in my life), then why do what was right?
After he walked out of my darkened room, it was then I had to make a choice, and my choice was to embrace the poverty and lack for the sake of doing what was right. No matter what, I had to do what was right, what He said, and He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In the end, I was blessed and because of me choosing a path that was difficult (even crazy), and a life that those closest to me mocked, He blessed me and my children. We came through everything with a testimony that has helped encourage more people than I could count.
Questions not Easy to Answer
It was just last night that I once again found myself sitting with my other daughter who was facing the same questions as her brother had asked, “Why are we doing what is right when it seems as if it does no good, and that the opposite, doing what is wrong, achieves the real rewards?” Time and again she had opened her heart to her father, while he hurt and rejected her. Birthdays are always a time of vulnerability, and she had just been horribly hurt. In addition, she had been through quite a lot besides things with her father.
Right then I had to make my choice, once again, to choose to embrace the poverty, even if it was only for the sake of doing what was right for the sake of doing right, because there was no way I wanted to envy wickedness. I chose, again, to embrace poverty—pulling it close to my heart. How was I going to answer my children’s questions?
In doing what was right, by pulling the poverty close to my heart rather than rejecting it (as any mother may feel like doing), immediately my eyes saw everything in a totally new light! Even though my ex-husband (my daughters’ father) seems to “have it all”—financial security that our family now lacked, we had much, much, much more than money could ever buy. First, I told her, “I have you! I have your love, and the joy of being here with you, to comfort you. And it’s just not you who I have, or you having me. We have … [and I began to name each of her siblings].” Instantly, almost on cue, we heard the other children in the other room who were still at the dinner table, laughing and talking. It was then that we both realized, at that moment, that we were the ones who were rich—because we each had Him—as a loving Father and a new faithful Husband!
Even if we lost our home, lost our entire income, lost our reputation, and every other physical security, it would never compare to what we had, and had gained, by embracing God’s choice for us— going through our situation of facing poverty. By facing the poverty, then choosing to embrace it, we found ourselves rich! We had discovered that the real wealth is not in what we thought we needed, but what is really important.
Dear one, if you are in a similar situation: you are looking intently at the poverty or lack that is before you with fear and trepidation—I understand. Right now, you may see that there is no way out if you move forward, and turning back looks so tempting. But let me encourage you to embrace your poverty no matter how terrifying it may seem. For as soon as you do, you will find, as I did, that the darkness it not at all terrifying like you once feared. As soon as you choose to embrace it, rather than run from it, I promise a small light will appear. And His light will be a beam allowing you to immediately see the truth clearly.
Don’t run from poverty and lack—I promise that you don’t want to miss what is up ahead by turning back now!
Also, precious one. If you have lost your family and everyone who you loved and who once loved you, please be sure you read the first two books in this series: Finding the Abundant Life and Living the Abundant Life. When you have His love, and His presence, I can assure you that your life will never feel empty and you’ll never ever feel alone ever again.
My Eighth of Many Financial Testimonies
“Fit for a Queen”
Let me tell you that once you get a hold of the power of giving, you just get so excited to see where your next opportunity lies! The sweetest opportunity to give out of my lack, thus far, occurred on my daughter’s 15th birthday—her heavenly Father chose to bless her socks off!!
Honestly I am not sure how it all came about, but it has been the desires of my heart since moving into our new home (before my husband left) to replace each of our old bunk beds, each with queen size beds. My reason is that they are large enough for a married couple to sleep on, and are also good for sleepovers. A king size is too large for most rooms, and the queen size sheets and comforters seem to be the size that I frequently find on sale.
So in moving the rooms around when my son left, my daughter was getting her own room for the first time in her life, and I just knew that her Father was about to bless her tremendously. I had watched how she handled and blessed her cousin who lived with us for a year: always giving, apologizing for everything that went wrong and taking the full blame or responsibility even though she was younger and normally nothing was her fault. My daughter said she wanted to because she said, “I have been a Christian much longer Mom.” [My niece had asked about many things when she lived with us, and as a result accepted the Lord—the first in her family to become a Believer!]
My daughter has not only given to her cousin, but she has looked for opportunities to bless others, it seems like thousands of times over the past two years. Prior to focusing on her cousin, she had been concentrating on giving to her older sister, since her older sister had been going through a very tough time with what happened with her dad. So, just like with her cousin, even though she was younger, when anything happened with her older sister, she took and continues to take full responsibility when something negative happens, which is undoubtedly due to her heart and passion for the Lord. Time and again I told her that she couldn’t give like that without her Father blessing her double (and with a good attitude ten times over), each time I saw she was again giving to others.
God chose her birthday to bless her—He showed up right in the midst of another trial, which is so like a loving Father would!
The day her dad was coming to get her to take her away from home for a two-week visit with him and the woman he was living with (something that she was really struggling with, but had surrendered to the Lord), she and I went out looking for a bed for her. We seemed to go everywhere, but nothing was falling into place. After many stops, I sat there in the car and told her that I didn’t want to force a blessing, and when it is from the Lord things just fall into place and He blesses us beyond words. Bless her heart, she agreed and said she could wait. That’s when the blessing immediately began to materialize!
While driving home I turned onto a side street to avoid traffic, and spotted a warehouse furniture store. I found out later that the owners and manager are close friends of my son’s fiancé’s parents. When the manager asked if he could help, I told him exactly what I wanted to pay for a pillow-top mattress and box spring—and he sold it to me for the price I quoted! Let me tell you that that the price I said I wanted to pay and what I paid for it was ridiculous! I couldn’t believe that I said what I said. But, immediately, I knew my Husband was about to do something wonderfully loving!!
Next, I asked if he had a headboard and he pointed to two. My daughter was drawn to the darker one, and then the man suddenly said he remembered something, and led us to a backroom, pointing to the headboard of her dreams!! She said it was exactly what she had always wanted! When I asked the price, he gave it to me for nothing!!
The next day after we celebrated her birthday and we even splurged and had lunch out, we all headed back to our home, but a few of us had a couple of errands to run. I had no idea where I was going, or why, but the Lord led me to a store where He first reminded me that I promised to pick up something for my son (isn’t HE just so good??). While there, while talking on my cell phone, I found myself standing in front of the most gorgeous comforter set!! It had decorative pillows similar to what we had looked at the day before.
My son and his fiancé (who are both known for their good taste and impeccable style) just “happened to be” in the same store, so to be sure that these were, in fact, “in style” I headed toward where they said they were. As soon as I turned the corner, my son’s fiancé was in awe at how gorgeous the comforter set was while my daughter could hear her say how gorgeous it was (since she was on the phone with me). My daughter said she just asked her dad if he would buy a comforter for her, and he said, yes, but adding it was way more than he gave for birthdays. So seeing the opportunity, I said whatever he didn’t pay, I would. When her dad heard that, he said he would pay it all!! Oh, the joy of being married to my Husband whose resources are endless!!
**Remember, whenever there is injustice, God promises double. Divorce is an injustice to the children, so I always tell my children to anticipate double rather than worry about the apparent destruction.
During the two weeks that my younger children were visiting their dad, the older children painted my daughter’s bedroom room, and her bathroom! After her bedroom was dry, my sons moved the new furniture in. Then the Lord orchestrated new curtains, sheets, comforter, pillows, and even a new dresser through the gifts of other family members along with added money from her savings account for babysitting. In about eight hours, this precious girl who has been through so so much, and who did it with such a tender heart, is going to walk into a new bedroom that you would see on a television designer show. It’s honestly beyond anything that I have ever seen in a magazine—and it is all for her!
Her Father wants her to remember each night when she goes to bed and each morning when she wakes up, just how much He loves her, protects her, and cherishes her—in her new room—now, fit for a queen.