Perspective Makes You Positive

She kept saying “I’m so grateful,” and she couldn’t stop smiling. I was instantly inspired by her sense of pride and the light that radiated through her beautiful brown eyes.
I think it is no accident that Milagros, her name, means “miracles.” That’s what you experience in her presence.

I couldn’t help but stare at her and just soak it all in. She is a loving mom, an entrepreneur, and an inspiration to many.

Milagros Matos, 42, Ezequiel ADP - World Vision

By now you may be wondering, who is this woman and what makes her so happy? I’ll answer the second question with a simple word I’m a big fan of: perspective.

In Philippians 4:11, in the New Testament, we read this statement from Paul:
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

I know I’ve spoken about this verse a lot, but I just find it exquisitely brilliant. And, hey, I learned from my heroes (my grandpa and my dad) that the more you tell a story, the higher the odds of it sticking.

To refresh your memory, Paul was in a yucky state that not everyone would be content to be in. He wrote this verse from prison. Now, I don’t know Paul personally and didn’t read this in the original language, but I can assure you I’ve learned a powerful lesson from this very short sentence: you may not necessarily be grateful for the prisons in your life, but you can choose to be grateful for whatever else is happening, while in the prison, through the power of perspective.

Well, back to Milagros, she’s not in prison per se, but for over six years, she’s found herself in a condition she never thought she’d be in. I was in awe of Milagros as she told her story: she had a near death experience while giving birth to her son Genesis, and she thought she almost lost him. Whew! The tales of the past can be an emotional experience for both the storyteller and the story hearer.

But, wait. Behind Milagros’ perfect smile, sparkly eyes, and passionate gratitude, and beyond of her survival is the condition that is very much present right now, as you read, and will continue to be present in her life: she’s positive… HIV positive.

So you asked, who is this woman? Well, yeah, I assumed you asked. And here’s my heartfelt answer: she’s a brave single mother of seven kids, living with HIV in a stigma-filled community, providing for her family by selling homemade bread at the local market. She’s also the go-to person for anyone who is diagnosed with HIV, because she’s turned her pain into a passion to help others understand they can lead a healthy, meaningful life despite the disease.

Why is Milagros so grateful? I can’t possibly recall all the reasons. I was too caught up in the moment, and too in love with her kids, and it’s been a long day. She had a long list. I’m serious.

Do you have a long gratitude list? Is it so long that it would overwhelm people? Especially people that seem to have more than you do?

While you think on that (I did for a long while today while riding the bus around some impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic), let me share what I remember:

She’s grateful to God because she can be alive to raise her kids
She’s grateful because she can be a loving, caring mom
She’s grateful because she has had the support of World Vision, USA (Vision Mundial, in Spanish), through her son’s birth, her diagnosis, and the roller coaster of emotions and challenges that come with it.

Perspective makes you positive and positivity makes you powerful!

World Vision is the organization that invited me to live this incredible experience in my homeland . Most of her kids are sponsored through World Vision, provided her with small business training, and they even built her house for her.

Perspective is how you view something. You probably remember that from the six mental faculties I shared with you.
Perspective has a Latin root meaning “look through” or “perceive.” It means going broader and going deeper, to find the good in every condition we may find ourselves in.

Perspective makes you positive!

Perspective can help us find JOY in the JourneY.
You may find pain, poverty, and pestilence along the way, but if – when – you take a closer look, you will see HOPE, JOY, and LOVE shining bright.
Perspective doesn’t get you out of prison, yet it arms you with the awareness that, though it may sound or seem unreasonable, there’s actually a way out.

“Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.” ~ Nelson Mandela

What actions can you take to help someone? Sponsoring a child may sound like too easy or little of a solution. $39 may sound like too crazy of a “price.” And you may be skeptical about it. And I would be too.

Except that I’m not.

Meeting Milagros’ children today reminded me vividly of my own childhood. Things like safe drinking water, proper nutrition, basic sanitation, decent clothing, access to healthcare, and good education were often considered a luxury. And sometimes being poor also meant feeling judged and lonely, and suffering the anxiety of lack, and apparent doom.

Milagros Matos and her children - a family blessed by the aid that World Vision provides

Meeting Milagros’ children, and other children that are sponsored through World Vision, also reminded my heart of what child sponsorship can make possible. One of my siblings had a sponsor in the USA and that afforded a different set of possibilities for that child, while improving the situation and condition for our family as a whole.

When I was packing for my Dominican Republic trip as a World Vision Blogger I found an old fortune from a few months ago. It read: Your happy heart will bring joy and peace to those in need.”

That is my prayer. Is it yours? If like me, you pray for a world in which children can break free from the prison of deprivation, where they have access to safe drinking water, nutritious food, empowering education, protective clothing, quality healthcare, and secure shelter, and the chance at a brighter future, I invite you to take a look at my World Vision page and take compassionate action, like Mandela recommended.

I am living proof that your gift can bless a child, a family, and a community at large.

And as I think of Milagros’ gratitude and joy, I wouldn’t want to mislead you. These don’t just come from perspective. She’s become a mentor and an instrument of hope. She’s an inspiration to her six natural children, and an angel to the little one she rescued when his mom died from giving birth.

Milagros Matos and Elayna Fernandez - two Positive Moms in different and similar ways

She’s an example to me of how perspective makes you positive in any circumstance therewith. She’s also a testament that God blesses a cheerful giver, and a grateful receiver who gives back.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and your stories. I’ll be sharing more of my journey, so stay tuned – and blessed!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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34 thoughts on “Perspective Makes You Positive

  1. I LOVE, LOVE this! Yes, perspective is so important, and sometimes as our circumstances changes we forget. I often remind myself of that, of where I come from, of what we were lacking, but also of ALL we really had through having a warrior like Milagros in our lives. I’m so happy you are able to help and to tell their stories.

  2. Amazing story of your experience meeting Milagros, a beautiful and courageous person who is using her experience to help others who have been diagnosed with HIV. She is also a role model for her children on being grateful everyday despite life challenges. It is so true that when we reflect on a challenge, it will make us stronger down the road, so we can share our story and help others going through challenges. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the stories of these communities!

  3. Great post! Perspective is such an important key. I think way too many people are too negative, or focus on the wrong things in life…. This needs to change.

  4. I don’t have words to say…I am so touched. She is an inspiration for all the people with HIV. We people always worry about small things and we always ask for fame and money from GOD. We look everywhere to find the happiness, but we forget that true happiness is LIFE. Remaining jovial is the only thing which can result in Happiness. She is going through a lot, still doing her best, still surviving, supporting her family, and inspiring others. I can’t even imagine this. I also appreciate people in her town who are supporting her. There are many places in India where people don’t even touch individuals who are HIV positive. Yes, it is true; our society, in a few ways punishing people with HIV.
    Thanks for this wonderful post; Yes, Perspective is crucial.

  5. Wow, I can’t even see through my teary eyes… what an inspiring human being is Milagros…. She totally reconfirms my believe that life really is not as complicated as some people make it to be. Perspective. Believe. Joy. Attitude. Courage.Love. She is a rich woman! So happy you get to tell her story!!

  6. This is an amazing story overall. It is also an amazing way to stop and think about all that any of can be grateful for on any given day.

  7. Such a great and wonderful testimony! It’s so true sometimes we forgot to appreciate what we got. We tend to complain in whatever situation we got in instead of counting our blessings.

  8. Omg so very true!!!! I’m trying to reach my hubby this. I swear it’s all about how you view something. If you don’t like it, change your perspective and try and find a positive 😉

  9. What a beautiful and inspiring story! I think perspective is so important and hearing other people’s stories gives me such perspective on my own life.

  10. I have never thought about it this way, but you are right. Having a good perspective will make you positive!

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  12. I love this! When things get hard and I need a change of attitude, I always turn to that verse. You are so right that perspective makes you positive. Thanks for writing this. I needed to be reminded again.

  13. A person’s perspective is always a pivotal role in how that person acts and feels. Perspective plays a very important role in everyone’s like every single day!

  14. I’m not a religious person at all. In fact, I find the idea of allowing someone else’s morals and doctrine dictate my life, to be repugnant. However, having read this wonderful story about this brave young woman, I truly believe that miracles might have a place in my cynical world. Thank you for sharing. This was truly a story which touched my heart.

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  17. Very inspirational story. I remember when I read it last year and how I could relate to it. Reading it today made me think of the many Milagros I know in the DR. It also reminds me of how fortunate I am and how much I have.

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