After reading Francis Chan's book Crazy Love last year, I was impressed to do something in service to the homeless. In that previous blog entry I shared my feeling about the homeless and about specific homeless folk in our area.
We've been faithful handing out baggies and backpacks (We have an abundance of drawstring backpacks we've been using too. They work great!) filled with goodies when we come in contact with the homeless. The kids really love it. They're always disappointed if we see a homeless person and don't have a baggie. I hear, "Mom, we need to get another baggie in the car."
Yes we do.
This year Francis Chan spoke twice at our church. One service was a pre-Easter worship service and the other was on Easter morning.
Following the pre-Easter service (Saturday night) as we were driving to In-N-Out to meet some friends, I asked our family, "So now what are we going to do about it?" in reference to the message Francis had shared.
Francis shared stories of his current ministry in the Tenderloin District in San Francisco. He shared of ministering to the homeless, drug addicts, and other people who were just used up. He shared of Christ changing lives in immeasurable ways.
It was inspiring!
While sitting at In-N-Out I was pressed to purchased 4-$5 In-N-Out gift cards to bless people with.
At that moment I could choose to obey, or not.
We're currently reading God's Smuggler and a great quote came up recently,
"That's the excitement in obedience," he said. "Finding out later what God had in mind."
It's funny how God's ways work. I'm pressed to buy the gift cards to bless some homeless person, but what actually happens is God changes my heart in the process.
On Easter Sunday, Francis spoke again.
After church we went out to lunch as a family. Upon leaving the restaurant, we saw a homeless man. Honestly, I have to admit, I looked at him and thought, "He's able-bodied. Why doesn't he do something? Should I give him one? Should he get a gift card?"
While waiting for the light I told the kids and hub about the In-N-Out cards I bought the night before. I asked them if he should get one?
Can I just say, I love my kids' honesty!
My oldest son quickly piped up, "Mom, you are not the judge."
Oh, son of mine, you humble me!
Of course, he should get one.
My heart softened.
We gave the gift card. As we drove away, I knew something had changed, but the change happened in our car, in my heart specifically.
This past week the changes have continued.
Because of continued ebay sales, I go to the post office a few times a week. There are often homeless people hanging out in front.
Countless times, I've walked past them since they're there almost everyday.
This week...things were different.
I carried three packages into the post office and walked past a man with two signs. One said, "Homeless Anything Will Help." The other read, "Will Work..." He sat on the edge of a curb with his head hanging staring at the ground while we all just walked on by doing our post office business.
I quickly walked by with my packages. I had left my purse in the car as I was just doing a quick run in.
Upon entering the post office I felt the "press."
Give him a gift card.
I walked past him again on my way back to the car. He was still staring at the ground.
On the gift card I wrote some message about God providing and my prayer being that he'd find a job.
I walked up to him.
Here, this is for you.
I can't express the look on his face, but the only way I can describe it is "beaming." I don't think he was beaming because he got a $5 gift card. I think it was because someone "saw" him. We waved back and forth numerous times and I drove away.
One of my favorite names of God is El Roi, The God Who Sees.
Isn't that our heart's desire that He sees us where we're at and pours out His blessing on us. His blessing can be a word of encouragement, a smile from a stranger, a small token or gift. For me, it's often a flower blooming where one shouldn't be.
As I walked back to the car, my heart was lifted. God had changed it again. I think He continues to grow compassion for a group of people that I didn't see before. I wonder what I will "find out" through this process.
Yesterday a similar event happened. This time it was an older lady. Same post office, same spot. Lots of smiles, lots of waving, more heart changing.
It is my prayer that God would continue to change my heart to be more like His.
One baby step at a time!