A Work Day

I work in our church office as a secretary.  Being a church, we get a LOT of people who come in off the street, looking for help of any kind. I hate to admit this, but usually I figure someone is lying, or they're trying to fool me so they can just get "more".  The stories are often very much the same. Ultimately, they're just looking for money.

I've been convicted a lot about my attitude regarding people who come in looking for money. Oh, the people might not all be on the up-and-up. They might not all be 100% truthful and honest. But, I've also seen that it's not my job to be the jury -- you know, the one who decides if what I'm hearing is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That's God's job. My job? It's to love folks, regardless of how they look or smell, how they act or speak, whether I feel like they're deserving or not. The only thing that I'm responsible for is to show them Jesus.

Today, there was a young woman who was waiting at our closed and locked doors before the work day even began. She was carrying 3 plastic bags of clothes. No car. No cell phone. Her husband had kicked her out of the house and she had recently lost custody of her school-age daughter. The night before, she had slept in a field by our church.Yes, there had been some horribly wrong choices that she had made in her life journey ... and the time for reckoning seemed to be looming. She wept. She mourned. And my heart was drawn to hers.

We made some phone calls to see if there was a place she could stay. We talked and I shared with her that when we hit bottom, it's God's way of calling to us. It's actually a mercy, a salvation for us after our choices have done their destruction. He calls us to turn to Him for His saving. I've hit bottom before. I've had God open my eyes to who He is when I was feeling hopeless and helpless. I begged her: "When we're at the bottom, there's only one way to go ... and that's up, especially if we look to Jesus. Look up! Don't waste this time!"

She appeared to listen. But as time went on, I could see that she didn't particularly want my help -- not in the way I was offering it. She never asked for money though. Never asked for anything really -- other than to use the restroom to clean up and to use the phone to maybe find some shelters. She was impatient to leave. Her mind was whirling with all of the ways that she could control this situation and make it better. Before she left, I asked if I could pray for her and she told me yes, that it would probably make her feel better. I stood next to her and gently put my hand on her arm. She smiled at me, and I began to pray.

As soon as I opened my mouth to talk with our Father in prayer, she stiffened. I peeked at her and could see her hands had contorted in to something resembling claws that dug in to her legs. I continued praying, but she wasn't able to stand there with me. She apologized and began walking away, gathering up her plastic bags full of clothes, telling me she couldn't be here. She thanked me for being so kind, and walked off toward the road -- homeless and alone.

And I knew.

I knew that she had made some horrendous choices, all the while probably receiving some encouragement and help from the enemy. There's nothing he wants more than to ruin and destroy the people that God loves so very much. Sometimes, the enemy succeeds ... because we give him permission. Sometimes the enemy succeeds ... because His people don't stop to hear His voice. They want to be the jury and decide who is worth the salvation.

My prayer for her is that she will know and recognize that God is what she needs. My prayer for me was that this heart of mine, which can so often be mistrusting and skeptical, was a picture of the heart of Jesus today -- soft, welcoming, loving, accepting. So often I fail at that. My longing is for my heart to be like His.

Today, if you're reading this, please pray for Stacie (not her real name). Pray that she will come to know and understand how wide, how long, how high and how deep God's love is for her. Pray that she'll recognize the lies she is holding on to, and that she will let Jesus love her.

There's hope ... because there's Jesus.



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