I’ll be honest: I often avoid talking about poverty on here because I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty. Some of us are moms and feel like it is a struggle to just make it through a day of screaming children and poopy diapers and someone talking to us about poverty is just not something we can handle right now.
I know. That was me.
poverty + guilt
With a toddler and an infant, I was reading the words of women on trips with Compassion, experiencing life amongst the poorest of poor, complete with heartbreaking pictures and stories that made me weep.
I shut my computer halfway through reading many times because I was overwhelmed with guilt that I wasn’t doing anything to help. I was a new stay-at-home mom and The Hubby had just started medical school – we had zero money to donate to anyone or anything.
The word poverty made me sad, but it also made me guilty. I know God never makes us feel guilty – guilt is a tool of the enemy to make us feel inadequate and paralyzed. I turned those feelings of guilt over to God.
a new view of poverty
A few years after turning that guilt over to God, He made a way for us to sponsor a child.
The letters we received from Samson were so full of joy, it was hard to feel sad for him at all. The simple things he shared with us – his favorite chore of getting water from the well, the Bible verses he loved, the sweet drawings – showed that poverty had not stolen his childhood. He actually found more joy in life than we do living in excess.
Physical poverty is devastating in that it leads to starvation and disease, but sponsoring a child opened my eyes to the spiritual poverty we suffer from here in the United States. We want for nothing, so we have no need to rely on God. We find fulfillment in stuff while our souls are malnourished.
poverty + our children
We have been sponsoring Samson for three years now. Some months the money to sponsor him is just barely there, but God has always come through. He has made this sponsorship as much about changing me as He has about helping rescue a child in poverty.
I didn’t foresee the impact helping a child in another country would have on my own children. Poverty is not usually on the radar of a five-year-old, but I have personally witnessed the change in my oldest boy as he learns about those who live with so little. And it all started with learning about the living condition of our Compassion child Tanzania.
Knowledge led to compassion. Compassion led to action. Action led to him, at only six years old, raising money himself to help children living in poverty.
Opening the eyes of our family to poverty has brought more hope than anything.
If you’re trying to avoid any stories of poverty because you feel like you just can’t do anything, I beg you to give your desire to help over to the Lord. He will honor that desire of your heart and make a way for you to help.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4
Would you consider facing poverty head on right now and taking a look at all of the children in need of sponsorship? Your life will be changed as much as the life of that child.
Great encouragement, Erin. It’s hard to face it sometimes–it is overwhelming. But in being willing to look, to face it and not turn away, God Equips us to serve in whatever small way we can. It’s such a gift to be a part of our Compassion kids lives.