When the going gets tough.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you
know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you
may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV) [sisters added]
I grew up in a family where dad worked long hours to provide for his family. I grew up in a family where mom was waiting for me to get off the bus and her presence provided me with security. I grew up in a family with two older sisters and an older brother. We fought like cats and dogs but always stuck together when we needed support. I grew up on a small family farm where work and chores were a given and not a suggestion. The education I received from that work formed within me a lifetime of apptitude and fortitude that has served me well. We lived beyond municipal water sources and as far as I know cable TV is still not available there. Our water source was a shallow well down the ravine and periodically we would pump that water up to a hill reservoir about 300 yards away. Wintertime water pumping was the worst. Because water was a precious commodity, we conserved water every chance we got.
Enter, old blue, the famous Saturday night bath venue for our family. Yes, because I was the youngest, I got to use the bath water first and then share the same water with my brother. If we had a full reservoir, the sisters might get clean water and then again maybe not. I suppose you could say we were recycling and reusing before if was the rage to do so. We had no shower and the bathtub was all we had. That saucepan hanging to the right (in the picture below) was and still is the means of rinsing soap off the body. Mom still uses this tub today. It's all she knows and really wouldn't like a shower. She may be just a tad stubborn.
One income families don't live the same way as those with two incomes. One income families learn the art of doing without extra, sometimes frivolous, things. One income families learn how to stretch resources far beyond the boundaries of what should be possible. What appears to be a family living in poverty is a family that places importance on people and not on things. Our family structure was and still is fairly tight. Because things have a shelf life and in time lose their value, attending to each other was thought to be time and effort better spent. It was a good investment.
In retrospect, I would not change one thing about my growing up years. In fact, if I could, I would subject many people I know to try living with my family back in the 60s and 70s. It was in that pressure cooker of life that God instilled and grew a great "testing of my (our) faith". He developed "perseverance" within us and helped us to become more mature. Have we arrived? Not even close! I never want to sense that we have ever arrived but will seek to learn and grow till the day we exhale for the last time.
Some days, I'm convinced the book of James in the New Testament was written solely for me and my family. To be sure, I embrace this brash, in your face, matter of fact book.
Thank you O Lord for loving us enough to challenge us and push us beyond our limits in order to
strengthen our trust in you, to galvanize our resolve, and enhance our faith witness. You always
have our best in mind. In Christ I offer this prayer of praise. Amen.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV)