I grew up in poverty.
And from the ages of 5 years to 13 years, I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my mom, in Phoenix Arizona.
The apartment we lived in was less than half the size of my house now, and I didn’t always love it.
As a matter of fact, I often hated it.
Sometimes looking back, I wonder why I was so discontent.
As I said, we lived in poverty, but at the time, I had no idea.
It may sound cliché, but a lot of the time, we ate pinto beans for days in a row.
Sometimes there was meat, and a lot of times there wasn’t.
During this time, my mother would share what we had with anyone who needed it.
And during the times when someone else came to stay with us for extended lengths of time, I was resentful.
For example, my oldest brother came to live with us multiple times, and when he was there, I was expected to share the little we had with him.
I remember waking up and needing to use the bathroom, to find that he was in there and going to be for a long time.
So, my mom would get a coffee can for me to use in the closet as a makeshift toilet, because when a little girl has to go pee she has to go pee…in a literal pot/can.
My mother was versatile that way, and so she taught me how to be.
But I resented it and him.
He could be bossy, militant and mean at times.
He was a Vietnam Veteran, and I was a little kid.
He had seen and experienced things that I would never understand, and I was a little girl.
There were times when the day began and we had a loaf of bread, but by the time I returned from school, he had consumed the entire loaf of bread, leaving none for my mother and me.
And I resented it and him.
It was growing up with not enough and having to share that not enough thrust upon me, which caused me to seek work to earn money at a very young age.
I went on house cleaning jobs with a neighbor who had a cleaning service.
I tried babysitting, but that didn’t fit.
I worked at a fast food place briefly.
I did anything to make a buck, because I had to and I wanted to.
So, growing up without financial support, led me to do whatever I had to support myself.
We moved several times after this period, and ended up in another one bedroom apartment, next door to this brother.
I worked as a receptionist and a hair salon, and I had bought myself, with my own money, a box of hostess cupcakes.
My brother had access to our apartment, and when I returned home from work, the box that only had one cupcake eaten from it, was completely empty.
He had consumed the entire rest of the box, and my reaction was rage.
It was one thing for me to have to share what my mom was willing to share, but it was another thing entirely to have it stolen from me.
I resented it and him.
I was considered to be a brat and a spoiled one at that. But I wasn’t spoiled at all, and no one knew what I was living with growing up, NO ONE.
Those who said the things they did about me and to me, never knew me at all.
But I remember that feeling inside, that I was a horrible person and I didn’t know how not to be that horrible person.
Sometimes that feeling tries to return, but instead of stuffing it down, I kick it out.
I refuse to allow it to do to me what it once did.
So, to some people that looks like I’m not as sorry as they think I should be, or whatever they think. But I consider condemnation to be one of the most destructive things people use against one another, and “there is no condemnation…”
Growing up in poverty wasn’t my choice.
Leaving or staying in poverty was, and I chose differently.
This morning as I was recalling the emotional poverty I also grew up in, I felt the truth rise up in me.
Sometimes that thinking tries to accuse me also.
The same determination that drove me to change the situation I grew up in financially is the same determination that is driving me to change my thinking about the abandonment, rejection and the poverty mindset of not belonging.
It is my job to do this, and Love is leading my way.
And I will do it through rest, not blood, sweat and tears.
Because before and after it’s all said and done…
I Am The Beloved