It was my daughter Melodye’s senior year in high school and she had decided to write an essay about the most influential person in her life. Surprisingly, she chose me. I felt so honored yet humbled that she wanted to write about me!
I had to ask the question,”Why me?” Her answer shocked me! She looked back over her shoulder at me while I was doing a facial on her and said these exact words, “Because, Mom you never let us know how poor we really were.” They apparently had no idea just how monetarily poor we were because we were never poor in spirit or love. I fought hard for them. I applied for every kind of scholarship imaginable, looked for opportunities in the community that I knew they’d enjoy . I didn’t want them to miss out on anything and there was no way I was going to stop knocking on doors because I wanted them to have all privileges innocent children deserve!
Maybe because I started working at the tender age of eleven,I inherently knew I had it in me, a strong work ethic and drive. From shoveling snow, mowing lawns, working a paper route, often times in the snow, for real,at 6:00 a.m. and eventually becoming the neighborhood babysitter all before the legal age of working, I knew I HAD some rather “mad”skills to offer.A few years later,came the slippery skill of dipping ice cream.Never quite mastered that one but sure did eat a lot of ice cream that had fallen into the black hole of chocolate at the local Dairy Queen. And then there were what seemed like the endless hours and ticking of the clock as I’d sit doing puzzles into the late evening hours for a very wealthy yet elderly woman who lived in a scary mansion. Seriously, I was petrified to stay there but I was earning my keep so to speak and did what I had to do. So, I guess you could say, I was well rounded or better yet, I got around town. Not really, but I knew how to work and work hard for what I needed or even wanted.
So, years later ,when I was faced with being evicted from our sweet home after my husband abandoned ship, I knew we were facing being homeless unless I did something and did it fast. Well meaning relatives insisted I apply for government assistance because I had three children five and under but, long story short, that didn’t go so well. After much insistence,I finally went and applied. Quite honestly, even though they quickly denied us on the spot and I was beyond humiliated, I was also secretly, very relieved.
THAT was not part of the dream I had for my life and certainly not that of my children. Poverty…no way!
And yet that’s what we were facing. On a daily basis.
We had rented a three bedroom home at the time of which I could no longer afford by myself. My son was just a baby, still nursing ,so one of the first things I did was moved him into my room and rented out his little nursery to someone at church who also helped with the children .Secondly, I rented out the garage to someone that needed a place to store their boat and finally I accepted a part time job at Gooding’s handing out chip and dip. Yup, I was a chip and dip girl. No more dipping ice cream for this girl. I was moving on up in the world until that wasn’t enough.
Bills kept piling up and with little to no help, I just couldn’t make ends meet. My landlord was ever so gracious as was the church but time was running out and it was time for us to move on.
But where to? A shelter for homeless? I just couldn’t do that to my children or myself. I cried out for help like you wouldn’t believe. God supernaturally provided a home for a short season but that didn’t last long as it was sold within three weeks and we had to be out by then. Again with no where to go. That was devastating in more ways than one. It was someone in our family that I had trusted and thought really cared about our welfare, if not mine, at least my children. I thought wrong. This time it wasn’t an eviction, it was for this persons own personal financial gain. That was their prerogative after all. It was real estate deal and thats where it got real.
Desperate as we were, my friend offered us a small room, without a window,within her garage and with a very reasonable rent, so how could I refuse. It became our ‘home”for quite sometime and quite a quaint one at that. I could make anything homey, even a garage.
What a blessing that was really and we are still the best of friends to this day. God again made a way where there seemed to be no way. He always did.
The fact of the matter is, I couldn’t give up on my childrens potential even though ,secretly ,I had long given up on my own.There had to be a better way and I was determined to find it. For them. I knew what hard work looked like and I wasn’t afraid of it.
Some may say I was persistent to a fault. To be more accurate ,that may have been confused with perseverance, my pride and even a bit of stubbornness.
Good thing. Because, I’m not going to lie, that’s exactly what it took to get us out of such dire strates. Yes, we were recipients of Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas baskets and multiple gifts and clothes for the children for years. And yes,we had to move 7 times within 7 years, but through it all, we made it to the other side of poverty ,pretty much unscathed. One thing is for sure, we were never poor in spirit or in love.
I know this is a lengthy blog but its vitally important to know that you can do anything you put your mind to. Because I had put my mind to it and was determined to be there and be present for my children, I made an “uneducated”decision to start my own business. A wise but uneducated decision in the fact that I only had a high school diploma at the time.
But being the jack of all trades, that I had learned to become from early on, I knew I could spin many a plate and that’s exactly what I did. For years.
One thing I knew I could do well, is clean. I loved to clean. Weird, I know but it was one thing I could control. I had a thriving cleaning business for years, Another thing I knew I could do well, was love on and care for children so I nannied in between cleaning and going back to school to become a Medical Aesthetician. I knew I loved aesthetics,as I had also worked as a freelance make up artist for years and it was a given that I loved to love on people. It was a perfect fit for me. Eventually I started my own practice which has always been such a ministry and I’m still passionate about it to this day.
Don’t despise your early or challenging beginnings because it may be the very thing that God uses to propel you into far greater things that He knew you were called to do all along.
For I know the plans I have for you say that the Lord, Plans for your good and not calamity, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer.29:11)We just ” reenacted” this picture 30 years later and had a good laugh!