Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poverty, Priorities, Perspective

As recently shared on Compassion's website:

It's been a rough year. 

Our family structure has been irrevocably altered, and with those changes, along with job loss, our household income has been significantly reduced. 

In the years past, I had cut back my expenses significantly so that I could make child sponsorship a financial priority, but that meant that there was little left to cut back on now. 

It's hard to cut back on groceries. Electricity. A mortgage. Property taxes. At least not without drastic changes, and drastic changes are inevitable at this point. 

I knew it would come, the concern from close friends.  "What about the sponsorships?"

It's easy to think that given the financial hardship, one of my first thoughts would be to stop financial support of the children we sponsor. After all, aren't we in tough times too? 

While I understand the concern, who would I choose to let go? 

Ato Sam, who calls me "Mother" and whose lengthy letters drew us to Ghana in 2011 to combat child slavery? 
Novet, who is "studying to become the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry" for Uganda and who leads me spiritually? 
Noah, who went from a temporary shelter to a semi-permanent house on a mere $75 family gift? 
Victoria, who is visually impaired and disabled? 
Suwanna, who after years of encouragement, finally learned to write? 
George & George? 
The others?

As I consider the value of these sponsored children, I look at my own three children, Brandon, Joshua, and Jillian, and I ask myself, "Which would I choose to let go?" 

The answer is swift and simple. 


None have any less value than the other. My children, sponsored or birthed, are not my own, but God's, and each have equal value in His eyes and in mine.   

The reality is that these families are facing financial hardship so much more extreme than this, their choices often leaving life and death hanging in the balance. 

God will continue to provide for them, just as He continues to provide for me. It can be as simple as Him providing opportunities for me -- mowing lawns, collecting recyclables, taking on some photography clients. There are options, but discontinuing sponsorship is not an option for me. 

Whatever it takes, we will get through this temporary situation, and in time, the continued sponsorships will get these families through their temporary situation too. 

If anything, this situation has helped deepen my commitment to these families, and my perspective on the choices they face. And for that, I am grateful.

Philippians 4:11-13 -- I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Some minor changes on this blog:
Comments on {CompassionCan} will continue to be enabled (and welcomed) but will be not be published for privacy reasons.  The kids and I deeply appreciate your prayers during this difficult season of our lives.