It’s been a long time/ I shouldn’t have left you/without a dope
beat…blog to read through. –Alisha G.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve experienced sides of life that I hadn’t seen in a long time. When I was pregnant with Ashli, her dad and I lived off of food stamps and unemployment for a long time. I remember sitting in the DFCS office for hours waiting for my caseworker to see me thinking, “this can’t be my life. I’m a Spelman graduate with an extensive vocabulary. I’ve traveled and participated in the better side of life. Why am I here?”
I remember feeling like a statistic, a failure, a part of the bigger “problem” in America. I swore then that I’d never return to that place. It was embarrassing and, quite frankly, I didn’t like being a part of such a social stigma: single mother on welfare.
Fast forward 7 years later…
The last two weeks, I’ve spent more hours in the food stamp and unemployment office than I’d like to admit to.
Last week, I sat across from a single mom, hair all disheveled, wearing what the masses (including myself) would consider poorly dressed speak passionately about going to school to get a trade so she can be successful. She wanted to go to Everest, one of the schools that many of us in the Talented Tenth look down, make fun of, discredit.
She spoke with so much passion and conviction to her friend about how she wanted more for herself she just “needed a minute” to get it together. I began to think about how fortunate we are to find favor, be a part of the privileged to have the means and social capabilities to extend our reach beyond the ‘hoods of America. God quickly reminded me of something: the same favor He gave us is on them too. The same opportunities that only He could give He can give to them too. Likewise, it can only take one moment in life to go from privileged to broken. From exalted and revered to abased and destitute.
Today I sat in line with the unemployed, people looking for an opportunity just like me. I was humbled for a second week in a row; I didn’t look at them (or us for that matter) as if we were some of the bottom barrel people. I saw them how God sees them. With a compassionate heart, a sober mind, and a desire for all people to see the favor of God.
These weeks have changed my life and my outlook.
Its made me see the reality of what’s going on beyond my gated walls of privilege.
Its made me really understand what ministry to God’s people is all about. Every one wants an opportunity. Every one wants a level of acceptance. Every one wants to be seen as God sees them: imperfect perfections.
I guess the point of this blog is this: when you’re brought low by God your perspective changes. You become changed through what you’re able to see from a different standpoint.
In the bible it talks about how Paul was so effective for one reason: when he went to the church of Corinth, he was made low with those who were low, suffered with those who suffered, engaged the gentiles (in relationship, not actions) so he could reach them better. Because he made himself as they were, they were more apt to receive the message of Christ and see the compassion that God had for them. (2 Corinthians 3:12-17, 4:2-16)
How much more effective are we when we begin to see people the way God see them?
I want to be effective. So if that means standing in welfare lines, bread lines, unemployment lines… I’ll do it. Pride won’t keep me from being in His perfect will, even if it doesn’t feel good, look good, or fit the social standards I’m used to.
Changing my Perspective,