How Faith Grows in Poverty


As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.   (Psalm 103:13-14 ESV)

It is sundown on the mountain and I stand over the stove with coat on, stir the pot with gloved fingers, see my breath linger cloud-like in the dining room as I set the table, call my husband to dinner.  The fireplace burns golden in this home meant for spreading out in summer. Insulation paper-thin and missionaries can’t afford electric heat, so we buy a cord of wood for a month. It barely lasts two weeks.

We run bathwater hot, turn on the electric blanket to warm the bed in the room with frost on the inside of windows. Just long enough to get the bed warm so we don’t feel winters sting on the skin. Body heat, it spreads out nice under those blankets piled high for newlyweds.

Just when the refrigerator opens bare and we ask God how, paper bags of groceries appear mysteriously on the stilted front porch. Enough food for a week and we smile inside out. The neighbors invite us over for dinner.

And now, as I sit covered up with blankets in front of the fire, help my girl write letters to ask for support for summer missionary dreams, I am Paul echoing his words of truth.

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. ~Philippians 4:12-13

As you begin a new week, dear friends, may you find the secret of true living, experience the warmth of His embrace.

Also linking with Fresh Brewed Sundays, and Scripture and Snapshot and Still Saturday.

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30 Responses to How Faith Grows in Poverty

  1. oh, these are years not too far behind me. a broken furnace with no money to replace, two small babies by the crackling fire stoked by my husband who looked in my eyes, searching for the answer of what to do… bless you for sharing your stories, for they help me remember mine.

    • They shape us don’t they, those hard times? I wouldn’t want to do them over but I am thankful for the lessons learned and the ability it gives me to relate to others. Like sitting among Rwandan students and feeling like one of them.

  2. Love how the ESV says “He knows our frame….”
    Thanks for opening my eyes to see this verse in a whole new light! don’t you just love multiple translations? we’re so blessed…
    Beautiful post, Shelly. will be pulling my covers up tight tonight ;)

  3. Yes…and we learn lessons in those circumstances that we never could have otherwise!

    • So true! And I try to remember that when it comes to my children and expectations. That they will have to learn those lessons too, even though they are painful and I don’t want them to feel pain. So glad you visited!

  4. Yep… consistency on our part and trust of the Father to provide what’s needed. There’s not much more that we can do and grow in Him. My life-long independent attitude is one of my biggest challenges. TRUST Him and, whether my stomach is full or not, He will provide the strength. Thank you.

    • The first time we had to live by faith, trusting in the generosity of others as missionaries, I truly realized how God does provide for my needs. No weekly paycheck, just checks in the mail at random and we always had what we needed down to the penny. That cured me of thinking I was the one in charge.

  5. kerry says:

    This is my favorite verse! Infact my family brought me a charm with Philippians 4:12-13. It gives me strength each day!!

  6. “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

    This gives me strength and hope today. He knows my weakness and all He asks is that I rely on Him alone!

  7. Katie Lloyd says:

    This is wonderful!! Such a powerful reminder that God IS our strength!

  8. Kristen says:

    Our sinful nature is to doubt, but God continues His faithfulness and never leaves us – in spite of our doubts and fears. Paul’s secret is one I strive to learn – over and over again. Thank you for this glimpse into your life.

  9. Floralba says:

    It is a truth that is foreign to many and to real for too many others, thank you…..

  10. “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” ~Philippians 4:12-13

    Amen! So beautiful Shelley! Thank you!

  11. This made me draw my blanket closer. And it made me smile from the inside out.

    • Sandra, we turned on the electric blanket just long enough to get the bed warm and then turned it off so we wouldn’t run up the heating bill. We were so poor then. Oh my! But we don’t take anything for granted, that is for sure.

  12. Laura Rath says:

    “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”
    I just love this verse. Whenever I’m thinking about all that I can’t do, it reminds me that through Christ, I can do whatever He asks me to do.

  13. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the visit; I appreciated your comments….

    This post is so encouraging and shows we can trust God in any circumstance we find ourselves….

  14. momof M&MS says:

    such a wonderful post… and thanks for sharing!!!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Wonderful photos and verse and true life experiences shared about trusting God in the times of need or plenty.

  16. Deidra says:

    In our first apartment, the heat was turned off at night by the building supervisor. We lived in upstate New York, and would wake up to the sound of radiator pipes banging and bedroom windows glazed over with ice. The windows were single paned, and operated with a crank turn, so they never really closed all the way shut. When we got pregnant, we wondered how we’d buy diapers. I don’t know why we ever wondered…

  17. Sharon O says:

    I love that verse, it is a promise I think …I can do everything, because HE gives me strength.

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