Before I became a single mom, I cut up all my credit cards except one. Thanks to God and the Queen (whose face is printed on the Cayman Islands dollars I earned overseas), I could afford to get out of debt and live on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. When I got the government job, I bought myself a congratulatory present–a $350 pair of Chanel sunglasses that I feared I would lose. I didn’t spend money frivolously though. I donated to charities, helped friends and family members and built a nice nest egg. I later took a pay cut to return to the United States and pursue a long-term relationship and what turned out to be a short-term teaching career. Still, I made enough to pay my bills and buy something pretty every once and awhile.
When I became pregnant, I moved in with my sister with a suitcase not a paycheck. I quit my job, cashed out my pensions and stepped out on faith. Someone suggested signing up for assistance—something I never imagined I would have to do. I also assumed I wouldn’t qualify. At first, my ego prevented me from picking up the phone. Then, I put myself aside and put my family first. I didn’t want to be a financial burden to my sister and her two children, and I wanted to provide the best life possible to my daughter. I filled out an application and surprisingly was approved for WIC—a program which provides supplemental food, health care referrals and nutrition education, food stamps and medical insurance. Although I am no longer receiving these benefits, I won’t cut up my ACCESS card. Here’s why…
1. The Card Reminds Me to Trust in God
My father is a king, which therefore makes me a princess. A princess will always have a roof over her head and food on her table. I must cast my cares onto the Lord and not stress about finances, even on days when I bounce checks. I live in a nice neighborhood with a park and several amenities. God always provides more than what I can afford!
2. The Card Reminds Me to Practice Humility
Everyone weathers a storm. It doesn’t matter what degree you obtained, what car you drive or what house you reside in. At some point in your life, a crisis crashes down. Since tough times don’t discriminate, my father always taught me to treat the CEO and the custodian the same. I am not better than someone else, just because I am an educated, middle-class mom.
3. The Card Reminds Me to be Thankful
Every day around the world, 24,000 people die directly from hunger or hunger related diseases. Many of these deaths involve children. I am thankful that I will never go hungry.
4. The Card Makes Me More Compassionate
I realize that there is always someone out there who is worse off than me. I must show compassion in more than just words but with charitable acts, such as donating clothes, time and money to those less fortunate.
5. The Card Reminds Me That I Have a Bright & Prosperous Future
I am blessed and highly favored! Fortunately, I only received public assistance for ten months. I now have a good job and a great blog, which was created when I was out-of-work. Recently, my blog landed on Startup Nation’s coveted list of the top 100 home-based businesses. DFTM was #49!
Despite what you are going though, it is only temporary. A rainbow appears after every storm! How have you turned a burden into a blessing?
Heather Hopson once hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she’s back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom for her blog, Diary of a First Time Mom. Heather is also a regular contributor for Kidville’s Voices from the Ville and Black and Married with Kids, where she pens “The Single Life” column. Follow her motherhood journey on Twitter @dearmomdiary.
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Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.