Feb
07
2011

Poverty: What’s So Bad About It? (Part 2)

Joshua

There is hope in this message. We attempt to use our experience with poverty to empower those who share the experience. But boy, did it set off a hornet’s nest last week!

Here’s basically what we said in Part 1

  • Poor may not be peachy, but it isn’t something to whine about either.
  • Limited finances (aka “poverty”) may be prods by God to other opportunities.
  • Some believe poverty is a curse. Think again. Good things can come from poverty.

Many got what we were saying. Glum financial circumstances have hit most people at some time in their life, especially today. And we so identify! While these times may not be enjoyable, few can confess that they were absolutely debilitating. Who’s to say that God can’t reach into the glummest of circumstances and pull people through? We prefer to give hope, not doom.

But a number of people insisted on doom. Read through the 100+ posts, some posts with an attitude like, “How dare you say poverty isn’t bad. It is very, very bad!” And they rattled off the worst of scenarios (famine, starvation, abuse, drug addiction, homelessness, etc.) as if to say, “Seeeee how bad it can get?”

Such hopelessness. Do people really believe money is that much of a determiner of their fate? Apparently so. Does poverty define a person (or wealth, for that matter)? It doesn’t for us. And we don’t believe it should be for anyone!

Here’s our message, plain and simple: Poverty is not a curse. In fact, God can use the most impoverished circumstances. History is filled with rags-to-riches names who overcame adversity, beat the odds, and refused to let poverty chart their destiny. Examples like Chris Gardner, John Boehner, and Andrew Carnegie come to mind.

No doubt, history is also filled with the nameless, those who clung to the flawed excuse that poverty limits their purpose. They were defeated before they gave themselves a chance. Defeated in heart, surrendering to the false doom that poverty had something to do with their reality.

We refuse to look any poor person in the eye and say, “Your situation is hopeless. You’re miserable. No hope for you.” Insisting that poverty is inherently bad does just this. It’s not so bad, and our message should be one that encourages those who desire a better life.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Ninabi

    There are different levels of poverty, just as there is a difference between spanking a child (inspiration not to do a particular behavior again) and abusively beating a little person, battering their body and soul.

    Just as people have chronic physical illness, there are some who have chronic economic ills. For some, they don’t let their financial illness get in the way of a rich, full life. But there are people in this country who suffer a great deal because of poverty.

    What of a grandmother who works part time, skipping medications to pay the utilities in a run down apartment where she is raising her grandchildren, two of whom have developmental delays? She can have spiritual hope but she’s not getting out of her situation any time soon, with no education and the cost of childcare limiting her work hours.

    My sister, in the midwest, adopts a family every year at the holidays- St. Louis has “100 Neediest Cases” and she sees people like this. They are often working, they are good people, but they are people have to choose between medications and heat, with beds being coats on the floor because they lost everything to flooded pipes earlier in the year. With aching teeth and no money to get them fixed- they are living in the kind of poverty that shortens life and makes it painful. That’s the kind of poverty that is abusive.

    I’m not disagreeing with you that many people in this country aren’t good stewards of their paychecks. I know people who make 150K who are up to their eyeballs in debt and begging for still more money in the form of loans from relatives. Frugal living is something we don’t value much in this country and we should. I would say yours is certainly not a hopeless situation- you have a wonderful family, good health and the intelligence to create a life full of possibilities.

  • Tgates

    I agree with you guys. I think that people trust money WAY more than they do God to meet their needs. The Bible says that even the lillies of the fields are clothed and they don’t worry. It says that God cares about the sparrows and we are worth more than them! People get “needs” and “wants” confused, and so when they don’t get everything they WANT, they start complaining. People so easily let their dire situations get the best of them; they fall into it, get government help, and in my opinion a lot of them don’t want to get out.

  • Erin

    I love your blog!! I have to say, by the worlds standards, we are poor. We lost our house earlier this year, money is always tight, we are a family of 7 so far, with an income of just under 50K. But we are blessed in so many ways, and our life is full of the richness that matters. God has given us a wonderful place to live, 5 amazing children, and “enough”. It’s wonderful!

    • Anonymous

      You’re a living testimony, Erin. Thanks for posting!

  • Sarah

    This probably isn’t the place for this, but I can’t figure out how to send a private email. I was just wondering if your CD Cheaper by the Baker’s dozen is still available?

  • godspromise

    Have you considered renaming your post more properly?

    “Living low-income is not a curse.” And, poverty and low-income are two different things. Throwing them all in the pot as one is unfair.

    We have always been low-income. Moreso now that my dh hrs have been cut. I do not find it a curse but, a time for God to use me and my circumstances for his good and, as a testimony of his faithfulness. God can allow you to be brought to your knees to see if you will really listen to him. Or…, some circumstances that have brought you to poverty are just life and, this wicked world that we have had to live side by side in. God will still use them for his good.

    And yes, we are on our knees listening and following his voice and searching his word. I type this very sleepy because of seeking him early this morning. My sister’s in the Lord were up at 5:30 praying together for our life situations. And will be, for now on.

    Consider what blessings that God will and can do for you BECAUSE of your circumstances. Ask yourself instead, “How serious have I taken this to God in prayer?” Have you fasted? Have you prayed without ceasing? Have you ask the Lord to bless you and guide you in the choices that he wants you to make? Do you go to GOD and ask him what is his will for your life?

    I don’t know all the answers but, I know the one who has them! JESUS does. “For silver and gold have I NONE but, such as I have, give I thee. In the name of JESUS…..” You fill in the rest.

    • Anonymous

      We did think about accepting a redefinition of “poverty,” but we opted to keep the term. It is the term our government and society labels us with, not the other way around. Those living in “poverty” are put into a box, and we’re attempting to break out of it. Sure, breaking out monetarily is welcomed, but, more importantly, attitudinally.

      • Toni

        Most people would not define your family as living in “poverty”. Maybe some would describe your family as likely “poor” with so many in the immediate family. Most people of average intelligence can discern the difference between true poverty and qualifying for government assistance because of the current FEDERAL poverty guideline that does not factor in location (which I’m sure you know GREATLY affects the cost of living) or a families ability to be economical. If all it takes to thrive on your income is frugality and creativity, you are not poverty-stricken in the least.

        I can see that obviously I’m not the first to say all of this (and probably won’t be the last). You’re sticking with claiming “poverty” and that is certainly your right (and probably legally correct) but it’s disingenuous and I’m glad that many of your readers appear to be smart enough to see that.

        • Anonymous

          Accepting the label of “poverty” from society and government is not disingenuous. Redefining this label to fit our preconceived notion of poverty (or the way we think people should think of it) would be, well, disingenuous.

          Feel free to disagree with what “poverty” is, but you don’t disagree with the Jeubs. You disagree with the United States government, entitlement offices, redistribution politics, and most of Western policy making of the past 50 years.

          Just saying…

          • Toni

            No, I disagree with YOU. The government has to set a guideline to determine who can or cannot qualify for aid. It may not always be correct in determining whether a family is unable to supply all of their needs (poverty) because there are so many factors that the government cannot include in their calculations of the poverty line.

            As far as I know the government isn’t implying that living below the poverty line but still making enough to care for your family with a little ingenuity and a strict budget is the same as living below the poverty line but making so little that you have to CHOOSE between food, shelter or clothing for your children because you cannot afford to provide for all of their needs short of stealing those necessities.

            Just saying…

            But let’s agree to disagree because that is probably all we could agree on in reference to this topic.

            • happymom

              How many people in America are truly in the “poverty” level anyway as defined by you. As the government defines it, there are LOTS of people at the poverty level. However, those people still have homes, clothes, and food. And, a lot of them still have cell phones, internet, television, and many other extras. The government helps PLENTY of people in that type of situation. It’s the ones that TRULY do not have basic necessities of life that are falling through the cracks.

              • Toni

                Yes. Yet, somehow the question posed in this post is “Poverty: What’s so bad about it?” *Sigh*…short answer: A lot. :/

                I’ve got a good alternative, “Poverty (when you fall a bit under the governments monetary calculation of the term and live in an area with a relatively low cost of living): What’s so bad about it?”

              • Anonymous

                That title is way too complicated. Besides, we are far below “a bit” into
                the poverty line.

                Really, Toni, we’re not trying to pull a fast one here. We’re honestly
                talking to the millions of Americans who are labeled within the poverty
                line. Their condition is not something to be ashamed of, and it often isn’t
                as hopeless as some people (ehem) want them to think.

                Here’s a challenge for you: List what is bad about poverty. Don’t just say
                “short answer: A lot.” You’ll be hard-pressed to make a list that those
                within poverty can’t overcome, or a list that isn’t likewise shared by the
                wealthy.

              • Toni

                “List what is bad about poverty. Don’t just say
                “short answer: A lot.”

                1. Not being able to afford ALL of your families basic needs at the same time. For instance, having to ask yourself “Do we use our resources to keep from being homeless or to feed our children?” Believe it or not, food pantries/charities/churches are not always able to fulfill the needs of the community. When times get tough people donate less and need more…imagine that. Shelters often have to turn people away. Some families live out of cars and some people live LITERALLY on the street, and not because of a lack of trying to provide better for themselves and/or their family.

                2. A lack of good educational resources. Schools in low income areas are typically restricted by a very small budget and a community with a wide variety of issues. Homeschooling isn’t an option when no one is home that is capable of schooling that child. Obtaining a degree becomes unimaginably harder if you graduate high school with an inferior education and no financial means for a higher education.

                3. You get a job but you have a lack of transportation. This is rather self-explanatory but I’ll explain anyway. No money, no car or ability to secure reliable means of transportation. If you can’t get to your job every day after you finally get one, you’re fired. There goes the income again. You could try walking for miles a day or hitchhiking through a less-than-safe neighborhood (to put a “positive” spin on it) with your young children, but I’d like you tell me how you think that would work out long term. Save up for a clunker? You need a job first…but you need transportation to keep that job..but you need that job to save for your transportation…see the problem yet?

                4. Dealing with the possibilities of losing your children because you cannot give them what they need. Maybe they have to walk in shoes that give them bleeding blisters or maybe they have no winter clothes or coat that can fit and you have to cover your child in layers of your old clothes to substitute. That may keep the kids from freezing but CPS is more interested in making sure the child’s needs are met than an individual’s creative solutions.

                5. Let’s assume you have a home, and money for food atm. Many very low income areas have no grocery stores within walking distance (remember that transportation problem that has yet to be solved). That means your groceries are coming from the local corner stores. That’s basically grocery shopping at a 7-eleven. With that comes health issues and dental issues from that steady diet of convenience store “food” when donations and/or a free ride to a grocery store isn’t available.

                6 Speaking of health and dental issues, if the breadwinner is in poor health, chances are good his job (assuming he has one) isn’t going to be paying for medical care. That’s another out of pocket expense that the family cannot afford. Instead of trying to stretch the painfully small food and housing budget more (and watching your children go hungry and make homelessness an even more likely possibility), watching the breadwinner die is always an option of course. But, I’m pretty certain that would make things quite a bit worse.

                God is real and hears our prayers but people still suffer. That is the reality anyone can see when they look outside their own neighborhood and circumstances. “Put a smile on and you’ll be fine” works when the issue is a strict budget. When you’re facing homelessness, starvation, joblessness…you know, the effects of POVERTY, a smile is not going to keep your child from being taken away and it’s not going to keep you and those depending on you alive. It’s a cycle that is extremely hard to break. That is what’s so bad about poverty. Accepting poverty when you are TRULY in it will not solve your problems and you will NOT thrive with only a change in your attitude.

              • Anonymous

                Hmmm, I wonder how far our blog thread can move to the right?

                We disagree, Toni. But you’ve given us lots to think & talk & blog about in the future. Thanks for putting so much time into this!

              • Jess

                Toni you are far more eloquent than I could ever be in talking about poverty and what it means to live in poverty vs living with a frugal life.

                Several of my family members live on the margins in terms of their finances, they are lucky to have jobs and not completely depend on government welfare but they deal with a lot of issues inhereent to poverty.

                Another issue is safety, people living in poverty are more at risk to be victims of violence, to live in areas that are more violent prone, have more gang activity, drug dealing etc. One of my cousins used to live in a very poor area of city and she had to move because there was two guys who shot each other outside her building and a 10 year old bystander got shot and killed. She moved so she wouldn’t be putting her children at risk. Since she has a very small income (she works as a phlebotonist) she had to move nearly an hour away to find housing she could afford.

                Another issues is lack of job security. Since many jobs that are low paying don’t require a lot of education or training it’s easier to fire and replace people . Often low income people will get fired since they are usually people willing to their job for cheaper. My cousin has been fired several times because they wanted to hire people fresh out of college who’d work for a dollar or two less.

              • Tgates

                You have a lot of good points, but I still have trouble understanding where even these circumstances could be so dire. I have a cousin who used to walk over 20 miles one way to work because he didn’t have transportation. If he was lucky, someone would stop and give him a ride. My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression and DID wear shoes that rubbed blisters on her feet. Some of her 7 brothers and sisters didn’t finish high school, thus giving them a disadvantage in the work force later. But, they had the knowledge of how to be self-sufficient (with God’s help, of course). They knew how to sew, cook, grow their own food, stay warm with fires, etc. Maybe the greater problem in all of this is what those of us who ARE better off aren’t doing to help those who aren’t. The Bible says that if we see someone in need, we should help them. It also says to love your neighbor as yourself. All of the problems that you described are real problems for a lot of people; but they don’t have to be. If those of us that can would reach out and give a coat to the cold, put shoes on the feet that are hurting, give a ride to the person who needs it, cook extra for the family that’s hungry, then maybe they could better get on their feet. After all, that’s what Jesus would do!

      • godspromise

        I do understand now; YOUR definition of “poverty”. Ok. I see now. You are baseing it upon the goverments definition and income bracket. Clarified.

        I must have misunderstood though. I thought though, that the bases of your subject was on why it’s not “bad” being “poor” or, in poverty. Not the labels of society or goverment. But as a Christian family living without plentious in life and, that it was ok. In fact, that it is a joyous life and, that the God of heaven provides our needs in one form or another.

        Why try to break that term from the goverment. There are much more pressing matters that take priority in govermental business that need addressed. Why waste time in such a small matter. It isn’t detremental to our childrens future like other things are.

        • Anonymous

          We know a lot of couples who suffer from an impoverished mentality, and they
          pass this mentality onto their children. So, we do think it is an important
          subject to broach, especially to couples who bravely Love Another Child.

          • godspromise

            Yes, a subject to broach. Ok. But, to go to the point of making the goverment change a income category?

            Speaking about it is important. Not letting society dictate how being low-income, prevent you from having a family. Even a large family. Or even one more family member.

            Societies interpretation is what I would focus on. Not the goverment income brackets. Goverment in America doesn’t control births. Public dismay over a large family does. Especially if you are low-come. There is a so called unspoken shame if you do have a large family and are low-come.

            Changing people’s mind is better way to go. Having to have the expected set finances is one of the biggest problems. The peer pressure in needing “approval” from sociey is a Christian families greatest downfall.

            Where did we loose our priorities?

  • Toni

    I really think that using the term “poverty” while describing something that doesn’t come close to how most would define the term takes away from your message greatly. Clinging to the government’s definition of poverty and completely ignoring the reality of “poverty” for the majority of people who experience it across this planet discredits your opinion on the entire subject. Instead of the focus being on thriving through economic hardships, the focus is your definition of “poverty” versus the rest of the world’s average standards of living (which your family far exceeds making the term “poverty” utterly ridiculous). What a shame.

    • Anonymous

      See our note to “godspromise”.

      I’d encourage you to instead solicit the government to change how they use the term. We are speaking to the millions who are in the same income bracket as us, and I don’t think that’s a shame at all. And it doesn’t discredit us; quite the opposite.

      Thanks for posting, Toni.

  • melissa

    “Whose to say that God can’t reach into the glummest of circumstances and pull people through?”

    It’s ‘Who’s to say’ not whose.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks! Got it corrected.

  • Zar

    So you’re saying that homeless couples with no resources should have children?

    • KelliSue

      Here in America we have resources that people can and should use them to raise themselves out of homelessness. There are so many resources here for education, food, skills training. But one has to be motivated and one may have to be willing to endure inconvenience and hard work. And it may take teams to help a homeless couple, including a local church, a therapist, a job coach, a financial counselor, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I think the part that set most people off is the usage of the term “poverty.” I agree with you, to a point, that being poor isn’t necessarily a curse.

    In the US, more than 40% of Americans will fall under the “poverty threshold” at some point in their life. The formula the government uses to define poverty is wrong. When it was created, most families spent 1/3rd of their budget on food. Now, with the fluctuations in housing, and food being cheaper (and less healthy, but that’s beside the point), food generally accounts for less than 1/6th of a family of four’s budget (which is what it is based on). It would be nice if they revise the method of determining poverty, as it was also based on one person staying home with the children and that’s not always the case anymore. The system also doesn’t count in food stamps or section eight housing as part of the income.

    We have two million people in the US who live without running water. We have people who live in dangerous neighborhoods with children who grow up with PTSD. To say that you are low income and it’s not a bad thing does not bother me in the least. I also don’t think it would set off most of the responders. The fact of the matter is, though, that while simply being low income isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, it’s unfair to expect everyone who has different circumstances to agree.Sometimes poverty means that someone has to make decisions that no one should have to make.

    • Anonymous

      Very well said, Maggie. Challenging. Thanks for posting!

    • Tisha

      That’s such an excellent point you make Maggie about poverty sometimes meaning that people sometimes are forced to make decisions no one should be faced with. We are raising 2 children from east Africa who each having one living parent who put them up for adoption for this very reason. They could not provide enough to even keep their children alive. THAT is true poverty. There certainly can be great, extensive suffering and shame related directly to living in abject poverty.

      • Tisha

        Sorry – added an extra “sometimes.”

  • Tisha

    Chris,

    I read through the comments left on part 1 of this topic.

    I believe that I understand that your family’s desire is to minister and encourage couples to embrace parenthood and not be fearful or hold a scarcity mentality. I’ve heard you say that you “live like kings.” And, you do! Your family enjoys a roof over their heads, adequate food and educational opportunities, and even transportation. Which may be exactly why some people are hesitant to conceed that your lifestyle would be one in which you are experiencing true poverty – expressed by genuine lack of needs being met.

    I have personally been a long time fan of your family and have learned a lot from you. I admire your counter cultural lifestyle and willingness to trust God.

    What is difficult to understand, is why would choose to come across as combative toward some of your readers who may ask you to define terms or clarify your stance, even if they ask genuine, thoughtful questions. I’ve been reading for a long time and have asked some legitimate questions myself about other topics, and have often found your responses to be the same, rather disrespectful and dismissive. It appears as if enjoy having a leg up and even letting “zingers” fly toward people who may challenge you.

    I’m curious about what benefit you see in talking that way to folks who are here to read about and consider what you have to say, especially if you have a goal to sell books!

    Perhaps, if such a large number people are saying essentially the same thing to you, they have a point.

    Sincerely,
    Tisha

    • Anonymous

      Seriously? You think we’ve been the disrespectful ones? Several of the posts
      were pretty tasteless. But even so, this discussion is good. We respond to
      comments to engage in the discussion, none of them in disrespect, as many
      bloggers do the same. We appreciate you and your participation, Tisha.

      • Tisha

        I don’t think it’s either or….
        Either they have been disrespectful, or you have been disrepsectful.

        It can be both.

        You know, I am saying this as someone who has been as supportive as I possibly can to your family – purchasing your materials, leaving positive reviews on Amazon, expressing my gratitude for your message and how you have influenced me in the best way on my own blog, giving out your cookbooks as gifts. I am on YOUR side! I have no guile toward you!

        I was thinking it may help your witness if you were gentler to your readers, even if you felt attacked, which may help increase your family’s revenue by selling more of your products. If you care not to see that your responses to your commenters can, at times, be equally as biting and harsh as theirs toward you, then I suppose it is your choice.

        • Anonymous

          Tisha, we want to take you and your husband out to PF Changs. We’ve got a killer coupon. We think you’re a pretty neat family, too, and we should connect.

          • Tisha

            Haha! Get outta town! Really?
            This made me smile.
            That would be awesome.

        • Vicki

          Yes, it would have helped a lot if you had clarified up front in the original post that you were using the federal income guidelines to classify yourselves as living in “poverty.” That way the people who were using the dictionary definition (indigence, deprivation) would probably not have reacted as they did.
          Having experienced life in a country where the poor do actually watch their children die on a daily basis, it is a bit offensive to hear you say “Poverty is nothing to whine about.” It is very dismissive and hurtful. Please try to take on board what people are saying, even those sympathetic to you are put off by your attitude.

  • Tammie Ewert

    No matter WHAT it is you face; be it good, bad, happy, sad .. an attitude makes a HUGE difference on the situation. I have seen this very thing in my own life and can tell you what a difference I have seen just thinking about something in different ways.

    If one wants to be all down trodden with thier attitude thier life will usually reflect it, thus also the same should be said for that if your attitude is of Positive reflection.

    I can easily say “Gee, I am sick of my situation, my husband is out of work, we have 6 kids and owe so many bills and have a really BAD vehicle, no insurance and no way to get ahead .. gee, why do I even bother” …. IF I did that my attitude reflects that . I get all depressed and weary feeling and let my thoughts run away with my emotions and get me all worked up. Yet instead, the new me looks at things differently, I will say now to myself ..” Ya know what self, this may really SUCK, but who cares .. I will get through it like so many other things and I can be happy and in charge of my happiness regardless of what is going on in my life at this time. I may not like what is going on, and I may not be able to control it, but I certainly CAN control my attitude about everything around me. God WILL provide and he HAS .. ALWAYS without fail. Some how and someway … faith is a part of that attitude and has taken me a while to learn, and while I was slow at it I AM learning and am growing and changing as we all do.

    There are many who have led a poverty striken life, yet come out of it far better for what they have learned SIMPLY because of thier attitude about it…. for that many people love them and use thier examples to further themselves. So often today we all seem to steer in the direction of negativity with so many things. Maybe it is time that we learn a new way of doing things and improving the future for those left behind.

    • Hailey

      Tammy that was awesome! I wish I had a printer so I could print that out and read it again and again. Well said!

  • Jchilous

    We will be married 3 years on the 18th, and most of our marriage thus far has been financially challenged. (Even before we had children) it is going to be challenging later this year with him getting out of the military and not really knowing what is next for us. But in our hardest times, we have learned SO much about what is seriously important. We are only 22, and have been through so much together, and if I have learned anything so far it is that love and family are more valuable than money could ever be. What we lack in stuff we make up for in love- for eachother, for our children, and for our families. We have been humbled many times and wondered how we are going to pay for this or do that- but our characters have been strenthened because of it. Many people our age don’t realize how beautiful and important love and faith is, over wealth and trivial things. I tell people constantly in reference to the future that I may not have a plan but I am well with Gods plan. He has provided, is providing, and will provide what we NEED. Nothing is more freeing than letting go of wants and looking at needs. Even though it gets hard, I wouldn’t trade my life for the richest one, I am willing to sacrifice wealth for love and joy, and want my children to know what is really important in life.

    • Anonymous

      “What we lack in stuff we make up for in love– for each other, for our children, and for our families.” — Beautifully stated.

  • Tammie Ewert

    “Where god guides, God provides” .. sometimes I have thought he wasn’t there or wasn’t listening, but I have to remember that it may not be on my time frame, but he is faithful to all who love him and DOES provide. :O)

    About 3 years ago now my hubby was Army, we were stationed in Wisconsin and he got out because we bought our first house, We intended to stay here. However the Lord had other plans…. as we gutted those house and re did the whole thing to our liking and lived for months that way we were unaware that a lawsuit was brewing over the 3.5 acres we now owned and the neighbors. As we got done with our home and had everything just as we wanted it raising the value in appraisal from 124, to 210 we found out about this lawsuit, but due to some identity theft issues a few years prior we no longer had savings to fight the lawsuit and lost our home. We were told that day we had 10 DAYS to get out. I knew very little people here and certainly am not sociable enough to talk much to those I dont about such a matter. However something told me to go to this certain realty company in our little town here that a few members of the church we had gone to had used, which I did. They were nice enough to connect us to know who has been our lifesaver, our land lord.. without him we would have been homeless and there is NO doubt in my mind that God had his hand in EVERY aspect of everything since that time. As petrified as I was over a landlord (We had, had some doozies in the past) God has showed me that not every one is the way we think they are and that there are many angels walking this earth. Without him we would be homesless many times over and he has been understanding and helped us through when so many – not even our family would help us. ONLY God could move his hand this way and show love and compassion in those ways and want to inspire others to do so as well …. so while now my hubby is out of work, we have 6 children and no longer have the home of our dreams, God is always there, always faithful to those who believe in him, but we have to have faith and know that even though it may not be in our time, God’s timing is perfect and WILL fit our every need. Thank the Lord for providing.

  • Jchilous

    I just read the comments to part 1 and wanted to say I see both sides of the discussion. What we have to remember as Americans is that we are SPOILED. And comparing our definition of poverty to a third world country’s is invalid. We make wayyyy less than what is defined as impoverished in this country, and it used to affect our relationship with each other, with our friends, with our families…it was horrifying. We were so caught up in not being “caught up”, not having this or that like everyone else…it was ridiculous. Sure poverty is a strong word, poor would probably be more appropriate. We are poor. BUT we are okay with that, life is still good, we are still so blessed. Everyone is clothed, fed, happy, and healthy. Even if we aren’t in the newest, most fashionable, fanciest anything- as my husband says- “if it fits the need then who cares what it is worth or where it came from or what it looks like?”

    These posts aren’t even really talking about poverty, but PRIORITIES. People so oftenput so much on hold out of fear because of finances, most often children. They are trying to get people to change their attitudes about money- and show you can stretch it farther than you think, and that not having tons of it doesn’t meanlife has lost meaning. People just have gotten stuck on the word poverty alone rather than the message here.

    Sorry to post again haha, while I don’t agree with everything y’all post, THIS touched my heart and really makes sense to me.

  • Tgates

    I get what you’re saying while I think a lot of people are not. By our government’s definition, your family is at/below the poverty level. However, you have nothing to complain about or worry about because by the rest of the world’s standards you are rich. People of our country have become so spoiled that we don’t want to have to be frugal or do without meat at meals or wear hand-me-down clothes. We forget that even in having to do so we are better off than the majority of the world. Your family DOES have a lot to be joyful of; while America may see you as impoverished, you prove that you’re not.

  • Margaret

    Thank you for continuing your thoughts there.

    I mentioned my husband and his African upbringing in previous comments. He is a major opponent of poverty, and considers it generally not a good state of being.

    However, he also does not believe that money is the determiner of happiness or contentment. And certainly doesn’t believe that money should determine family size, because children are eternal souls, gifts from God, and a “wealth” in and of themselves. He often observes that nobody would turn down a gift of $1000, but people regularly turn down God’s offered gift of a precious, eternal, unique child.

  • Jaqueray

    With our last baby (just #3) We fell below the federal poverty guidelines. My husband is a college professor, but works at a school that doesn’t pay well. We were GIVEN a truck that seats 5 (6 uncomfortably) We take trips to see family. We get to go to the beach once a year (With my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins…65 in all) as our “vacation”.
    Our children never want for food, toys or clothing.
    God WILL provide when we are obediant

  • Ma Kettle

    Reply to Toni (copied here due to the reply thingy being extreme at that point)

    Toni
    “List what is bad about poverty. Don’t just say
    “short answer: A lot.”

    1. Not being able to afford ALL of your families basic needs at the same time. For instance, having to ask yourself “Do we use our resources to keep from being homeless or to feed our children?” Believe it or not, food pantries/charities/churches are not always able to fulfill the needs of the community. When times get tough people donate less and need more…imagine that. Shelters often have to turn people away. Some families live out of cars and some people live LITERALLY on the street, and not because of a lack of trying to provide better for themselves and/or their family.

    *** I have to choose wisely where are income goes. This winter that meant my children stayed in the house until the end of January as we could not afford proper boots and coats for them. We had to choose between food or warm clothing. We also had to choose between paying the house mortgage or buying food. We chose to pay the mortgage and trust God to provide our food. He did.

    2. A lack of good educational resources. Schools in low income areas are typically restricted by a very small budget and a community with a wide variety of issues. Homeschooling isn’t an option when no one is home that is capable of schooling that child. Obtaining a degree becomes unimaginably harder if you graduate high school with an inferior education and no financial means for a higher education.

    ***** We do not have $$ to spend on education. I stay home to school my children and we do it on a non-existent budget. We give up a lot to do this because it is very important to us. It is very important that our children have an outstanding education that includes all the things we feel are important and in a christian context.

    3. You get a job but you have a lack of transportation. This is rather self-explanatory but I’ll explain anyway. No money, no car or ability to secure reliable means of transportation. If you can’t get to your job every day after you finally get one, you’re fired. There goes the income again. You could try walking for miles a day or hitchhiking through a less-than-safe neighborhood (to put a “positive” spin on it) with your young children, but I’d like you tell me how you think that would work out long term. Save up for a clunker? You need a job first…but you need transportation to keep that job..but you need that job to save for your transportation…see the problem yet?

    ***** My husband has a bike for the days that we don’t have enough gas $$. It’s not ideal. It’s not easy. But hey… it gives him exercise right?

    4. Dealing with the possibilities of losing your children because you cannot give them what they need. Maybe they have to walk in shoes that give them bleeding blisters or maybe they have no winter clothes or coat that can fit and you have to cover your child in layers of your old clothes to substitute. That may keep the kids from freezing but CPS is more interested in making sure the child’s needs are met than an individual’s creative solutions.

    *** I’ve never EVER heard of cps removing a child from a home because a parent dressed them in layers rather than a fancy coat. That is not even remotely a concern. Heck, I recently read a news article from NY about the current trend for kids wearing SHORTS and T-shirts!!! in the snow because it’s ‘cool’. I don’t see them being removed from their homes. Neglect resulting in action would require much more than not having typical clothing.

    5. Let’s assume you have a home, and money for food atm. Many very low income areas have no grocery stores within walking distance (remember that transportation problem that has yet to be solved). That means your groceries are coming from the local corner stores. That’s basically grocery shopping at a 7-eleven. With that comes health issues and dental issues from that steady diet of convenience store “food” when donations and/or a free ride to a grocery store isn’t available.

    *****Our nearest grocery store is 10+ miles away. When we are without a vehicle or gas money I ask for a ride from a neighbor. I also plan to not make excess trips to town. We combine errands (usually on Sunday so we can also attend church) and stick to staple basics that I can have more of and stretch meals to last between shopping.

    6 Speaking of health and dental issues, if the breadwinner is in poor health, chances are good his job (assuming he has one) isn’t going to be paying for medical care. That’s another out of pocket expense that the family cannot afford. Instead of trying to stretch the painfully small food and housing budget more (and watching your children go hungry and make homelessness an even more likely possibility), watching the breadwinner die is always an option of course. But, I’m pretty certain that would make things quite a bit worse.

    ***** My husband does have insurance through his job. His hours have been cut back but he stills maintains insurance. Not that it does us much good though. We can’t afford the copays so I have to be quite selective and knowledgeable about the treatments and services we actually REQUIRE. Because any visits and medications must be paid for from something else that will go unpaid. Which means I stretch my asthma medications as long as possible and my teeth are in need of repair …. I’m praying for a solution. It means that I have to be diligent with the children to ensure they are seen when needed but not frivolously.

    God is real and hears our prayers but people still suffer. That is the reality anyone can see when they look outside their own neighborhood and circumstances. “Put a smile on and you’ll be fine” works when the issue is a strict budget. When you’re facing homelessness, starvation, joblessness…you know, the effects of POVERTY, a smile is not going to keep your child from being taken away and it’s not going to keep you and those depending on you alive. It’s a cycle that is extremely hard to break. That is what’s so bad about poverty. Accepting poverty when you are TRULY in it will not solve your problems and you will NOT thrive with only a change in your attitude.

    **** The examples you gave are not outside the realm of our circumstances. According to general standards (and apparently yours) we ARE living in poverty. Not the lowest form to be sure. But most definitely well within the range.

    Our circumstances have brought us closer to God. I don’t see our circumstances changing any time soon. I’m kind of glad about that. While it would be nice to have all my medical needs taken care of and the house paid off….. we do ok.

    In our position… that of my family of 9…. poverty is not all that bad.

  • Ma Kettle

    It appears a lot of people just haven’t got a clue about how the ‘american standard’ creates ‘poverty’. It really does. By portraying wants as needs people create an artificial poverty that blurs the line between true poverty and ‘labeled’ poverty. According to the label my family is in poverty. Not just at the edge. Right smack in the middle of the spectrum. We’re tight, we’re making hard decisions and we’re doing without a lot of things that others take for granted. But we are rich by God’s standards. And you could not convince my kids that we are poor. For those with hope the means are there. Go get them.

    So I have to agree with the Jeubs. What’s so bad about it that can’t be overcome?

  • Cindy C.

    The market value of your home is over a quarter of a million dollars according to the El Paso County assessor’s website. A discussion from you about poverty is not worth the time of day.

  • Amanda Brown

    We are in a very tight spot at the moment, but it’s not the end of the world. Sure our kids sometimes act or think that way as alot of people around us are surrounded by wealth. We made a choice for me to stay home with the kids till the youngest was happy for me to return to work or such. Many times and especially right now many days it feels though our live revolves around money and bills/expenses.

    But at the end of the day, the kids are happy and healthy, well fed and have plenty. We choose to save or layby items they/we need or just do without. Sometimes that’s hard but at the end of the day it makes us more grateful for what we have.
    I feel blessed that my kids are well behaved (usually) and almost always the first child to help another in need. In my experience alot of the kids here who are spoilt and have everything are not as polite and not as eager to help others. At the end of the day those morals and values are more important than material items ever will be.

  • Guest

    It is precisely the fact the poverty is so bad that people want to get out of it, to have a much better life.

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