Bruised faces. "Spotted" stomachs. Black eyes. Lack of supervision. Neglect. Abuse of every kind. Hunger without excuse. It happens here. Over and over again. Sometimes it feels like a prison without bars or an orphanage with parents in the shadows. Sometimes I just feel like being everyone's mom and taking them home by the dozens. Sometimes I feel like quitting. Sometimes I have no answers and no words that are adequate. There are too many stories to even tell. But one thing I have learned? "Lower Still." This morning I told God, "I'm in over my head." And I was thankful. I know that is right where we are supposed to be. Then Jesus can take control, refill me with His strength and receive the glory when things keep moving forward and breakthroughs happen in spite of my weakness. If I allow myself I can get frozen...paralyzed by this "Giant" of Urban Poverty that surrounds me, breathes down my neck and dares me to continue challenging it. The problems are overwhelming. The need is great. Too great for me. But then? I bend low and look into the face of one. Just one little child. I lock eyes with them and I see Him. My hero in disguise. Turns out I'm not alone. Turns out there's a greater force at work that the Giant can't even recognize. I know who this is! He is always there, I just forget because of the "big." But He is bigger than any giant, when you multiply Him by a hundred little faces! He's unstoppable. He runs wide and wild, not tall and stiff. He's easy to miss if you are looking too high. He's in the moments. He weaves in between the crowd and the "need" and finds the one. And He finds ME too. Suddenly I'm with a person to be loved, not a problem to be solved. I don't have to fight "issues." I can just love the people with the issues. It's personal. This is no contest or threat. It's just love. Love in action. Love going low. Love slowing everything down and reminding me that Love is the point and Love is the solution to every curse that spews out of that Giant's mouth. "Addiction!" He yells. "Hopelessness!" He rages. "Worthless!" He spits. But I go lower, not in fear of him, but in defiance to him and in worship to my King. While Poverty screams the lies that bind generations, I whisper the Hope that will set them free. I hold close. I stroke a cheek. I feel dirt on my knees. I say to the one cast down, "You are seen and You are loved." Suddenly, I feel like a giant on the inside. Love wins. Jesus is right in front of me. And there's not a thing that Giant can do about it! Poverty is just a chain without a face. But Jesus? He shows up in the faces of those who are bound. He lives and breathes and brings life and change and freedom. Love breaks the chain, one link at a time. One child at a time. One prayer at a time. One day at a time. Jesus, friend of the poor...He is the real force to be reckoned with.