Jeremiah 9:23, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:”
I am homeless.
The homeless shelter I live in is much more upscale than most, a beautiful condo in a trendy neighborhood, but make no mistake. Without someone else paying the bill for where I lay my head at night, I would be living in my car.
Wait…scratch that. I wouldn’t be living in my car, I would be living in the car that someone is letting me use right now, because I don’t have a car.
I walk through my day in beautiful dresses and cute shoes and a trendy bag. You wouldn’t know, necessarily, that the dress you just complimented cost me $2.50 at the Salvation Army.
Wait…scratch that. Someone bought me that dress, and the $9 designer bag that goes with it. Job interviews are necessary.
So I live in an upscale community, drive a late model car and have stylish clothes – all by the grace of God. All because He has surrounded me with people who have the ability and the desire to help me. I am on my knees in thankfulness every day. How amazing and faithful He has been in my life.
I am that person who has had every hard knock. Since losing my job, my savings, my career, my health – I work 7 days a week trying to make my life better for me and my two kids. I have tried every angle, made every sacrifice and prayed every prayer. I have also smiled quietly while I listened to the comments.
I have a phone. It’s one of the few things the money I make pays for, because as a businessperson I have no hope of making things better without a phone. But if I didn’t have the place I live – if I had to pay rent like everyone else – I would be in line ahead of you, in my cute dress and answering my smartphone, while using food stamps.
I am a freeloader. Or so it would seem, as I have been stuck in my current situation for far longer than anyone deems acceptable. I must not be working. Or I must be stupid. Or I must be slacking off and taking advantage of my benefactors.
I am them.
I am her.
I don’t look it, and my smile belies it. But make no mistake – I am her.
And I hear you.
I see you.
I often wonder what you would do. What would you do if the comfortable life that you have earned by your hard work and talent, were to suddenly dissolve beneath your feet? I wonder if it turned to dust and slipped away like mine did, what you would do?
I pray it never happens. If I was not living in His shadow, I don’t know what I would do. There are few lonelier people than the poor living incognito among the affluent.
My God is big, and He is awesome, and I love Him with my whole heart. He is providing everything I need and doing it in style, but that doesn’t mean I do not look for the road I am supposed to be walking. It does not mean that I give up and accept my circumstances.
What it does mean is that through this entire journey I have learned to trust Him, love Him, walk with Him without fear.
And love His people.
I am convinced that my circumstances are less about me and more about my learning to love people unconditionally, and not judge, but help. Unless you have walked in my $2.00 shoes or relied on someone else for the very roof over your head…you will continue to imagine that my situation is due to my negligence, laziness and sense of entitlement – and that you, being a responsible human being, will NEVER be there.
I pray for you. I pray you never, never lose your security.
“As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor–this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19
But He says that you have no security at all. That the only security is in Him. I am more and more convinced that He is showing me – smart, capable, successful, hard-working me – that sometimes life just comes at you relentlessly. And strong as you are, you can’t stand against a tsunami.
Not without Him.
So I am begging you. Please don’t ever get to a place that the sand under you seems so solid that you feel you could never be knocked down. Please don’t look at the person on the ground and disparage, thinking you know the facts.
You don’t know.
You don’t know him.
You don’t know her.
And you don’t know me, apparently. Because the truth is – I AM one of them. But no one treats me badly, because I don’t look, or smell, or live like them. But every time you aim at them, your arrow hits me.
Please thank HIM for your blessings and your favor, because without His hand in your life, you would look like…
Praise God always for His provision, and His care and His Favor on our lives. Let’s stop worrying about if the guy on the ground deserves a hand up or hand out, lets please stop judging…and simply love. Please.
Epilogue: This story was written nearly 7 years ago. I now have a successful writing business and travel the country speaking to people about His love and faithfulness. I am 100% debt free. My health is better than it has ever been.
My daughter is happily married and a successful entrepreneur. My son is a junior in college on a full academic scholarship. Our lives are incredibly blessed. If you are struggling, please know He is faithful. Never give up and never stand down.
You are a warrior.