For many of my growing-up years, my parents didn't have two nickels to rub together. By all appearances, we lived a middle-class life, but there were times when my grandmother would give us money to pay the rent or to put food on the table. My dad hadn't been able to work for several years, and my mom couldn't earn enough as a bookkeeper to keep it all going.
When I became an adult, I found that I was living their nightmare. That is, until I began thinking my way out of it.
Poverty sometimes claims several generations within one family. Whether you're the first in a family or one of a long string facing hardships, poverty doesn't need to be the norm.
A statement from the Apostle Peter sums it up: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). God doesn't think better and provide more for one of His children than another. We're all equal in His eyes, so He gives to each of us from His infinite reservoir of good.
One day it occurred to me that I didn't have to live my parents' experience. But in order not to, I needed to approach life differently. I didn't judge the way they conducted their affairs, I just felt a desire not to follow in their financial footsteps.
I knew that they carried a heavy burden to keep our family afloat, but they just didn't see a clear answer. By my early adulthood, I'd come to trust God in many ways and felt this would be no exception.
I needed to rely on God's covenant to take care of His own children.
I found a helpful promise in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. She wrote: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 307).
One key was to learn to listen for those spiritual ideas that could then translate into daily supplies.
In order to better hear God's voice, fear, greed, or whatever else that might try to drown it out needs to be silenced.
Shortly after deciding to stretch my expectation, I had an opportunity to prove this point. I wanted to take an important course that required paying for tuition plus hotel costs for the duration of the class. It would give me new, more divinely scientific ways of looking at life, and what I learned would help me heal others.
I didn't have the money to pay for the costs associated with the class. In fact, what I'd saved had been spent for an immediate family need. I'd expected to be repaid soon when a family member sold a small stock she'd inherited. However, as the class neared, no money came.
I prayed to see my needs met by God's infinite grace, not by the sale of a stock, and I listened for God's direction. Taking the class continued to feel like the right thing to do.
Two days before the class was to start, no money was in sight. After inquiring, a family member was informed that the check hadn't been drafted and I couldn't get it for two more weeks. Still, I continued to thank God for His infinite grace and abundant supply. That afternoon, a check from the financial institution appeared in the mail. I cashed it and headed for the class the next morning.
While I've subsequently faced financial challenges, I've never again feared that they wouldn't be met. Now, I start from the standpoint that God always provides an answer, then listen to what it might be. His light has never gone out, no matter how extreme the circumstances.
Unto every one of us
is given grace
according to the measure
of the gift of Christ.