My Mother, Bless Her Heart, spent her entire life trying to change me.  Perhaps she saw something in me that I did not.  Perhaps she wanted to relive her life through me.  Perhaps she did not even realize what she was doing to my sense of self.   Without fail I never felt as if I was "enough" ~ who she thought I should be.    In my informal survey, I have found mothers either think their children are perfect and God's gift to mankind, or like Momma, they are always trying to shape us up.   Until the days of her final illness, she was FULL of correction.  I would take it personally, but I know for a fact she did the same thing to my perfect older brother.  I am not so sure about the younger brother, after all, he was the "baby".  We all know the baby gets away with everything!

NO, this is not a monologue on my childhood.  I read a passage in a book I just finished that struck a note with me.  Many times when we work with those who are financially challenged (correct current verbiage for poor), we approach the problem with an attitude of changing them.  Showing them the way to better days.  Providing new opportunities, training, and above all, a shove in the direction of financial independence.  That sounds wonderful!

It all sounds like a noble cause we can all get behind.  Generations of poverty are not solved overnight.  For every person pulled out of the ranks of the impoverished, there are scores still stuck in the world of the needy.  It is a huge problem.

One of the many things I have learned by volunteering at The Well is many times the problem is multi-layered.  There is no one easy answer.  The ladies in the group I spend time with are mainly retired.  Their entire lives have been spent in poverty and all the problems associated with the lack of financial resources.  How do you help these ladies get out of this world?  I read this quote by Charles Martin that sums up my approach ~

" I love them without trying to change them.  I look at their suffering, their hopelessness, and do what I can.  I climb down in their misery and love them where they are."

That is it in a nutshell.  There are times we cannot change the circumstances of others - no matter how hard or what we try.  We CAN always love our brothers and sisters just where they are.  We can offer a helping hand and do what we can without stealing their dignity.  We can love them where they are.  That is ministry at its best.  Perhaps the reason we have always had the poor among us is for the good purpose of God.  Perhaps He is not trying to change their lives, but to change our attitude.

"The poor you will always have with you."

Matthew 26:11


  1. Love them where they are . . . Such wise advice, Lulu. And by the way, my mother was a lot like yours.

  2. So you totally understand, Martha.
    Blessings, My Friend!


Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!