Be like a tree near still waters.
This was originally posted on June 22, 2014
Are you being seasoned to fail or to overcome? Do you rely on “public” benefits or the benefits of the Creator? For this is the grandest of all designs for you in your poverty where the riches cannot be bought, sold, or stolen. These are the riches the Lord provides. Not people, not places, not things. While some folks like myself have for whatever reason needed the safety net known as public assistance, truly it is not a simple nor comfortable asset in any measure. Instead it epitomizes the scripture “the borrower is slave to the lender”. Where every 3-6 months one must account for every single penny earned, spent, paper upon paper or documentation must be provided to entities in order to prove yourself as compliant with the laws and rules that govern the programs that provide any such assistance. So my questions are based upon this very element. Where medical proof exists of any conditions, where ADA services are provided, where housing vouchers help in providing a safe place to live that is affordable, where food supplementation or prescription drug supplemental aide is also a part of the program. Being compliant, submissive and dependent on the system, on food pantries, or other benefits exists a fear based standpoint- because if you don’t follow precisely the laws they tell you to, well the ominous threat to your quality of life is that those services will be taken away or ended if you miss the deadlines of any application. Fighting for those rights or benefits do not necessarily get you what you need. For some it just makes the fight even more opposing, more stressful, and more hopeless. Any person that lives under the authority of public services knows that after your applications are finally approved, you’ve got about 2-3 months of relief from doing the routine all over again. I’ve actually considered paying someone to keep up with all the paperwork during my repeated physical illnesses while caring for an aging parent, a teenager, and myself at the same time while in recovery for my own conditions. To no avail of course. Even had the pleasure of being told “you made your bed now sleep in it.” When my fridge was bare I was told “that is pathetic”, and when my arm was in a sling stuck in pain “why don’t you just go to the doctor”. What do mean they won’t help you? “Don’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with you. Right..so then how many more people are going through the very same things? Too many that’s how many. It is sad, it is unfortunate and it is true.
Eliciting much stress in my personal life trying to survive while attempting to excel. With a hope that things will get better because of my faith in God, pressing on towards the future each day is relying on Him. Yet, in the world once succumbing to the defeats known as illness, poverty, hopelessness, insecurity, injustice and despair. Holding on to the promises that come from God. Surely He must have a plan for my life because all my plans do not work out ever. (learning how to not make plans) In an attempt to go back to college several years ago, to obtain a Bachelors degree followed by a Masters degree through the state, I was told my resume was so good that they would not pay for me to go back to college and to get a job and keep it. Blessed by the option of choosing several jobs ranging from a low to high income I chose the lower paying position that was p/t close to home, and feasible for my family as the primary caregiver/source of income.(having a higher income lowers or complicates benefits) Thinking it was close to home and that I could be of more help to more people with my lived experience, to be encouraging, to be supportive, to let others know they were not alone in their struggles. That was an incorrect assumption and with it came a burn out of being a peer advocate, and a double jeopardy of religious or disability discrimination. Then Dad became homeless, if I didn’t throw him out we’d lose our housing assistance. Crisis upon crisis upon crisis. Seasoned to either stand up for my beliefs by the ordeals became the equivalent of becoming jobless, hopeless, and pushed to the ends of myself. Seasoned to fail my mental health, physical health and abilities quickly declined.
Prior to that was disability and educational issues that were longstanding relative to my child’s IEP education. To make a very long story short our need to get a human or civil rights attorney went nowhere. Why? Because we are a lower class status family not a middle and nowhere near upper class statistically speaking family. Seasoned to overcome all adversity by struggle after struggle. For what? To obtain some sort of “quality of life” in this backwards world. It did not come. My advocating for myself, my children and my now deceased parents got me more stress and a continuum of retaliations where now I don’t even want to fight for my rights anymore. It is not worth the induced stress upon my conditions. So where are we now? My kid dropped out of High School, we have no savings, had no vehicle, had no jobs, and for nearly one year had limited access to the community. Justice? What that looks like to me is that if you are poor, if you suffer injustice, and if you don’t have money to pursue obtaining justice you must accept your place in the world and do the best you can with what you have and not expect to have any better. Oh the lies of the enemy have been revealed. Still impacted by the grasp of repeated trauma, the minions of darkness would like me to fold. To give up, give in and accept poverty or oppression. To accept illness, inability, and obstacles as the course of life. I refuse to do that. Instead, I’m walking away with my head held high. So what that Medicare/Medicaid was incorrectly processed after dropping my insurance that I paid for and that now I have to reapply for something that was supposed to be in effect after March 31st. So if I were to become sick to the degree of needing medical assistance it would be uncovered. The medicines that are unaffordable, the food, the transportation, the housing, the necessities of living all without going through the processes eliminates both the safety nets and the stress. So now what? I have a senior plan and don’t have medicaid. Awesome! We will be officially homeless at the end of this month. Remind me again where my joy remains. That is what is important…JESUS.
I’ve been told you take this Jesus thing too seriously while they believe every single lie thrown their way and do not even know Him. Putting their faith in the world, in items, in temporary fixes. I’ve been told by those who do know Him or are proclaimed Christ Followers to proclaim the victory for all the Glory in such goes to Him. I’ve been told you don’t need medicine,(as my fingers are numb from typing, and my muscle spasms continue to slow me down) you don’t need the system, what you need to do is go to church because that will make you feel better. What you need to do is get more exercise; what you need to do is go out and have a good time. You need a vacation, you need to laugh more. You need to serve on more ministries. You need to go look at apartments, did you find one yet? You need to save money…HA! What do you mean you have no energy? Other people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, back injuries, cognitive/executive functioning issues, migraines, vertigo and mental illness do it every day…so why can’t you??? Guess what? It doesn’t work that way and it is not easy to just do anything when you are on the bottom of the pile. It doesn’t work that way when you look at apartments and are asked for monies up front that you do not have, it doesn’t work that way when your body has conditions yet to be healed, not everyone can do what everyone else thinks they can or should do. Take that plank out of your eyes please.
Since there is no self condemnation in the Lord, I shouldn’t feel less than anybody…but at times I do. Until any person lives in this body and knows what it feels like, your opinions, advice, counsel, and what you believe is encouragement remains to be heard, listened to and discerned according to the word of God. None of you are Him and none of you are who He made me to be. Appreciating the people in my life is one thing…listening to every word that comes out of their mouths a completely other thing. Do not put out your statements unless you have been in these shoes. Do not put your pomposity, egotistical guises of knowing what is best because you have no idea what we have been through, nor do you know what our lives have looked like up until now. You may be blessed to have the words to speak to give pause for thought…but you are not God. You are not Jesus, and you are not the Holy Spirit who guides me in the ways to go. You also don’t hold my face in your hands while tears are falling out day after day, you don’t sit here and look at the medical bills, you don’t deal with the collection agencies, you don’t wonder where you will get the money to get through the end of the month. You have supportive networks. You don’t have to beg for help, you don’t have to fight for your rights every single day and then not get them met. Humility is not being silent, it’s learning how to be grateful even in the worst circumstances. Grace is the ability to be grateful, kind, and forgiving all at the same time.
Personal development, self advocacy, patient advocacy, advocating for others brought me to the place of being burnt out. Not worth the battle. Not worth the paperwork, not worth the groveling or begging for help from anywhere. So here I am counting every blessing, being thankful for all the people in our lives. Being thankful for food, shelter and whatever little we have…at the moment. Am I thankful for the hoops that had to be jumped through not necessarily. Am I thankful for every bridge burned along the way? You bet I am. Why? Because we deserve better. Because we deserve to not have to live in squalor. Because we deserve to live free from oppression, free from poverty, free from hopelessness. Because we are not here to be owned by the world and all its dark ways. Because we are voices crying out to the Lord who is above and sees us below and He is crying for His children everywhere. I don’t owe anyone anything. I owe Jesus Christ my life and with it He will be victorious. Our being bullied, persecuted, outcast, and severely punished for my beliefs is nothing compared to who Jesus was, what He did for us, and what He will accomplish through us. So where do we go from here? Calling the great physician of course and His name needs no degree behind it. Calling the best provider who doesn’t demand proving myself over and over again because He knew me before I was born, and He brought me into being. Alignment comes from submission to Him not to man, not to persons, not even to oneself.
Could sell everything, could donate everything, could simply throw it all away. With 8 days to pack, store, and move or not move. Either to contend with those who surround me with loving kindness as they pursue to destroy me…They are not worthy of my life and they cannot have it, they will not push me anymore and still I’ll pray for their darkened souls. We are moving without an actual place to move to because going into the light is better than staying in this darkness. What about the applications for assistance? It is like a cruel joke. Seasoned to fail are the systems that will not own me anymore and if the numerous administrative defaults on that end are any indication of the assistance meant to be provided under the very laws that govern such assistance, are the factors for consideration, well then thanks for a job well done in getting me to give up in fighting for what it is that was to be provided. Lord knows I’m tired.
The systems, medicines bent from greed, will not poison me anymore, the lies will not be believed anymore, and above all else none of these and more will own me because I am a child of God and He is my father, and He is faithful. Am I in pain? Yes. Does my body hurt? Yes. Do my eyes cry tears that do not end? Yes. Is it worth not knowing what God has planned? Yes. Do I still want to serve Him, helping others? Yes. Do I believe that all things work together for the Glory of God to those who love Him? Yes. Is there a purpose? Yes. Will I give up? No. Will I give in? Nope. Will I shut my mouth and not do something? Nope. Why? Because it is not my will, but His will that shall be done.
Do happy endings really happen for people like me? Sure they do when you believe in happy endings. God is the finisher of my faith not me. Letting Him finish is being able to let go and let God. My dreams are not mine, they are the Lords. My plans are not for myself, they are the Lords. I pray continuously and seek the Lord with diligence in every breath I take to be pleasing to Him for His purposes. So writing this instead of packing is my top priority because things are only things, and He is above all things.
My human strength and ability is nearly gone. “Nearly” means whatever little strength I have left is like a mustard seed and according to the word of God mountains can be moved. The word does not tell us that we will have justice nor see justice in this life. It does say that all justice belongs to God. I’m counting on my father God in heaven, in Jesus Christ my lord and savior for He is worthy of all Honor, Glory and Praises forever and ever. Please Lord help me to accept whatever it is that you have called upon me to do, to finish this race with integrity, honesty, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and freedom from the pits of what it means to suffer. Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me, thank you for being my rock, thank you for all you show me even when I don’t like what is seen. Thank you Lord for breaking me to the point of complete dependence and trust in you. Thank you for creating me new and preparing me for the glorification of you and you alone. Please let our lives always point to you where in our understanding of you, be not of our own understanding or knowledge, instead be the wisdom and the peace that surpasses human ability, and the miracles that only you can provide be for you to be both seen and known.