As I shared yesterday about my school lunches. Even though I was “gifted” those lunches, they still had a price. I had tasks to complete to receive them. I learned at a young age that one can’t be prideful when they have nothing. Churches and organizations were not available in the 1950’s and 60’s as they are today to assist families in need. Poverty is encompassing. It doesn’t merely cause people to be hungry or lack other necessities of life, but most often it imprints them for actions and decisions during that time of their life and beyond.
As a child living in poverty, we experienced more than having little to eat and wearing hand me down clothes. One of those memories was a recent “humorous” story around a family table while visiting my brother and his family, bringing tears of laughter. In that era of our youth and teen years, there was a faux butter spread; oleo which not only left a waxy taste on the palate but was also packaged in a wax covered carton. When our commodity butter was depleted or if none had been provided, oleo was the staple in our home.
Not only was oleo a food source, it was a “sole” necessity. Shoes with large holes in the soles were not to be discarded. Oleo cartons would be cut to fit the interior of our shoes and worn until the shoes were almost disintegrated. Often one pair of shoes might have five or six carton replacements before new shoes would be purchased. That time of my life was preparing me for situations as a wife years later.
As a newlywed, because my then husband, Charles mandated I drop out of college to work full-time so he could complete his college education, I accepted office jobs which were unfulfilling. Charles had his life planned and he never deviated from his goals. However, I was asked to take jobs which I had no desire to take to enable him to satisfy his aspirations. If I hadn’t endured the hardships from my family of origin, I might not have been able to endure the adversities of my marriage.
It isn’t uncommon for many newlywed couples to have “lean” years in early marriage, but most of them are a team in the decisions. Finances may be discussed, and budgets made together. That never happened in my marriage. Charles was the leader and I had merely to do what he instructed. As a result, some financial struggles could have been prevented if purchases had not been made.
One of the most challenging financial times was when Charles had accepted his first career position in Enid, OK and our first child, our daughter was weeks old. We didn’t have money for even her formula. What a joy and blessing it was when a Canadian dollar had flown into our flower bed at our small apartment. At that time, Canadian currency had greater value than our US currency. That gift from God provided us with enough money to purchase a couple cans of formula. Philippians 4:19 KJV,” But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”