In The Way

I may not know much but I know something about homelessness. I know enough to understand it’s not quite as simple as some make it out to be.

Maybe they dug a hole for themselves — but maybe not. Either way it seems most people they come in contact with want to bury them.

It takes more stamina to be homeless than any other experience I’ve ever known.

If more people experienced this for themselves they’d show more respect.

Someone once told me that some women want more stability than others. I told him this is not the case and every woman (and man) would like stability — but perhaps a house doesn’t provide this and Jesus says we don’t even know what tomorrow holds anyway.

ANYONE can be months or one devastating event away from homelessness.

Check out James 4:14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

And Proverbs 27:1 Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.

 

What if instead of judging you just pray in the moment when you see a homeless person?

Prayer only costs you a few minutes and it’s a MUCH more beneficial way to spend those few minutes for you and for others instead of deciding you know better about a situation.

A couple years ago as I talked with an angry homeless man I told him I’d also been homeless for a few weeks. He told me I needed to try it longer before I had anything to say about it. Having experienced homelessness 3 times now and for different reasons, I have something to say (whether this angry guy thinks I do or not.)

There are probably as many reasons for homelessness as there are people who are homeless.

Some choose it and some don’t.

It seems to me many show disgust about the homeless probably because they just don’t understand and are uncomfortable with it and probably don’t realize they are adding to the problem by their disregard for humanity.

 

And who cares if people try anyway?

If they try too hard there’s no assistance but if they don’t try hard enough they’re treated as less than human. When you’re treated as less than human long enough, part of you begins to believe that lie.

 

And it can happen faster than you’d think.

And forget TELLing anyone you’re homeless because the moment you do, most people tend to treat you as if they think you just want something from them.

The thing I’ve noticed most is that they (we) just may want someone to listen so they can talk through the situation they’re facing today. (I say “we” because my daughters and I are homeless also so we’re sharing some things we’ve noticed through our experiences. For those who think they know all the details of our lives we are here to remind you that you just don’t.)

But I get it.

Lots of people DO want something from you; mostly because they’ve noticed that this is how people view them so they have started (or even fully accepted the lies) to believe there’s not much other reason for a conversation, because most view them as helpless.

If you’re viewed and treated as helpless for long enough, it’s easy to begin to accept this fate — though it’s FAR from ANYONE’S truth.

This conceited mindset, that if a homeless person talks with you he or she MUST be trying to get something from you, may be causing you to miss out on some Divine Appointments and ONLY God knows which one of you He’s blessing with each encounter or maybe it’s both. Thinking you’re obviously blessing a homeless person by just taking time to listen to them is vanity. They may very well have something to offer you but pride clouds your vision to be able to see clearly.

It actually doesn’t cost much for you to listen.

The truth is that most of the time you cannot solve the issues going on anyway and it wouldn’t do a whole lot of good if you did. Usually attitude has to change for the better before a situation gets and stays healthier.

But you CAN be kind.

 

It’s EXTREMELY difficult to live while feeling in the way almost all the time to almost everyone.

 

True. Some people do act crazy to keep others away (and some people do have mental issues) and I encourage you to ALWAYS use wisdom and listen to your gut feeling. If something seems wrong listen to that and leave the situation. God gave you that for a reason. I’m not telling anyone to carelessly just be with or around someone because clearly sometimes there are dangers — but those kind of dangers are there whether the person you’re encountering lives in a house or not. (My life is full of examples of this.)

But Jesus says to love the least of these and the homeless population are some of the least. We ALL are the least of these.

Matthew 25:37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

If anyone gives even a cup of water in Jesus’ Name… I mean you can give a cup of water anyway BUT when you do this in Jesus’ Name, there is eternal blessing; treasure in Heaven.

Matthew 10:42 “… And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Care for your neighbors. You know about the good Samaritan story. Right? Who are your “neighbors?”

The Bible does NOT say that the good Samaritan had to know exactly what the man beside the road believed about The Bible or salvation before he helped him.

He just helped him anyway.

Even with all the popular cultural messed up political views, he just helped how he was moved to help.

Luke 10:31-34 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

 

The Bible DOES say you’ll know Christians by their love.

John 13:35 “…By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another.”

By love, you can read on knowing I don’t mean enabling, but rather serving others however God puts on your heart to serve.

You do your part — since you are going to answer how you give, serve, and love.

And the receiver is going to be held responsible for his (or her) part, as he is responsible for what he does with the gift he’s been given whether money, food, or other gifts.

 

It’s actually very simple.

If you’re moved to give in some way, then give.

If you’re not, then don’t.

 

But NOWHERE is it helpful to be condemning.

 

The whole cheerful giver thing… attitude matters SO much. It’s a heart thing and it always has been.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

I can see there is a certain charm to be found in chronic homelessness though; the less stuff we have, the less we might worry.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

You and I both know there are some who choose to stay homeless — and that’s okay.

But there are those who would like for life to include a house of some kind.

…It’s almost kind of silly though — as if a house equals dignity or something.

It doesn’t.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a homeless man and I’ve seen hopelessness.

I’ve also looked into the eyes of a man who lives in a very nice house and seen the same hopelessness.

I’ve looked into the eyes of a homeless man and seen hope.

And I’ve seen the same hope in the eyes of a man who lives in a big house.

The difference is not in what they have but in Who they have.

 

From my view many people seem to expect more from homeless people yet secretly feel they know all the reasons for their homelessness in the first place — and also all the solutions.

But the truth is the more that many people try to do better, earn better, and climb out of the seemingly bottomless pit that homelessness is, the more others pile on the heavy judgment and weight of the nothingness that others think they are.

The thing is – it’s not designed to climb out.

And when you ever DO try to climb out the ladder rungs are so coated with slime that when you reach up it just feels impossible and defeating in ten different ways every time.

People look down on you because of what you own or don’t — and that’s just nonsense.

Why would anyone look down on someone based on something they don’t own?

The truth is most people don’t own their house anyway; the bank does.

 So perhaps the view is a bit warped from where some are seated with such high regard for themselves.

Many people want to be independent and want others to be independent also but the truth is we’re all dependent on each other; like if the electric company didn’t do its job then you wouldn’t have electricity no matter how much money you could give them, and the grocery store without groceries wouldn’t be able to provide food to buy no matter how much money you have.

Jesus says we’re to care for each other (and be dependent on Him which goes against popular thinking.) And there are even many curses if we don’t care for the poor. That’s more than a little scary to me.

 

Help the poor.

 

Proverbs 28:27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.

And also if someone won’t work The Bible talks about this too.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

 

 

Many ARE willing to work but FEEL hopeless.

I find it’s difficult for ANYone to do better while feeling defeated.

 

We each have some responsibility toward improving this mindset.

 

But as far as a healthy view of homelessness goes I know A Man Who walked this earth and could have had riches stored up and magnificent houses but chose homelessness and from what I’ve read had QUITE The Ministry even so.

His Name is Jesus.

 

He promises:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust IN THE LORD with ALL your heart

and lean NOT on your own understanding;

in ALL your ways SUBMIT TO HIM,

AND HE WILL make your paths straight.

 

And

 

Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God

above ALL ELSE, and live righteously,

AND HE WILL give you everything you need.

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She looked like life had been pretty rough.

She looked like life had been pretty rough and that drugs had her locked in a prison she probably didn’t build by herself.

She was standing by the gas station and I was still sitting in the truck.  I just looked at her for a moment and saw a hurting soul and wanted her to know her worth because somehow I could tell she wasn’t aware that she mattered.  Maybe nobody had told her or treated her as if she meant something.

She didn’t ask me for any money or anything.  I felt a tug on my heart and reached into my purse.  There were 5 Canadian coins and I felt compelled to give them to her, of course, not even certain if she’d be offended that I offered them.

She took them and thanked me.

All I said was, “You’re so welcome.”  Immediately as I took a step I wished I’d told her it wasn’t really me who moved my heart, but Jesus.  I regretted that the second I had I didn’t say this in words to her because He’s the One she needed to hear from; not me.

Within about 3 minutes she walked through the aisles to me and thanked me again.  I was so grateful to get to say, “Jesus is the One who moved me.  It’s not actually from me.  He loves you.”

She thanked me again and smiled.

Then a few minutes later, she walked back over where I was filling coffee cups for my now not homeless anymore family.  She said beautiful, real words that are worth MUCH more than 5 dollars (loonies, as Canadians call them.)

She said, “I’ve been struggling with my faith.”

I said something like, “Prayer is where doors open that no other key can unlock.  Please start praying and God will move in ways you know He’s there.”

She kept walking back to me several times to talk more about Jesus before I left and I thought to myself, “If I hadn’t paid attention to God nudging my heart to give and had only looked at her with my own human eyes and judged that she may spend the money on more drugs, I’d have missed the moment to share Jesus with her but because I listened and obeyed better I did not miss the moment.  (I did a little happy dance prayer in my head right then; just me and God.)

I did see that she used the money to buy breakfast but even if I hadn’t, it’s okay.

I am responsible for how God shows me to give and she is responsible for how she uses the money; for how she receives.

It’s that simple.

When we feel moved to give, give.  When we don’t, don’t.

But please always ALWAYS treat someone as if she matters because she does and you may be the first or only person she’s heard that from in a very long time.

In those moments a quick prayer can open a closed or hurting heart and invite communication to restore faith in The One who loves us most.

Mommy bk k blog 5 coins with blog

Automatically we were signed up for war.

We were born into a battle. It’s not like we had a choice to sign up for war or anything but the moment we were conceived we were in this broken world and automatically we were signed up for war. It doesn’t matter if we consent to it or not. There is a war going on all around us every day between good and evil.

But before we were even conceived in our mothers’ wombs, God ALREADY had a plan for EACH of us. It’s like… impossible to even wrap my head around this but that doesn’t make it any less true.

When someone signs up for military in this world, we EXPECT he or she will go through tests, training, pain, and we KNOW to expect all of this. When military people complain and cry or whine, it’s kinda like people lose respect for them.

But the training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry. It’s not weak to cry. It’s healing.

In life, we sometimes have forgotten that we are automatically entered into a battle and God wants to train us, He will test our faith, and use the pain we go through for something bigger than ourselves. And OH how we do go through pain!

The training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to grieve and there is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s chaos. Know why?

There is an enemy. And this enemy is satan. Sin is real and satan designs custom-made traps for each of us. It’s not like we mean to fall into them but it’s seductive and we are human.

Traps look different for everyone. It’s nothing to laugh about and we all need help breaking the chains that hold us in prison. It could be that we fell into a sin like pornography or drugs or chasing money or even we could have faced the death of a child or a divorce and these can knock you down like for what feels like an eternity.

You matter. Your story matters. All of it. How you feel about it matters and the most important thing is what you do with it. You can hide it or let the enemy keep you down – and he’s GOOD at it because that’s what satan does – or you can stand back up and ask God to cover you and send the Holy Spirit with you everywhere you go and keep giving you His strength and leading you to know what He wants to do with your story.

We each have a choice to follow Him or not. Nobody can make this choice for you EXCEPT FOR YOU. Nobody.

And we will each stand before God on Judgment Day – by ourselves – and we are accountable for how we lived.

God did not expect perfection from us.

If He did there would have been no reason for Jesus to die taking our sins on the cross. But Jesus did die and Jesus did get down off that cross and that tomb could not hold him!  God sent Jesus to redeem us which if you think about it, if He expected us to be perfect, there would be no need for this.  We’re not perfect and that’s okay.  This is why Jesus is perfect.

I know stuff happened. I know someone has hurt you. I know people betrayed you. I know you have faced unbearable pain that nobody can fully understand because every situation is different. Get up anyway. Don’t let the enemy win. Please, please get up. God has such plans for your life and when you keep asking Him what He wants you to do every day, He will keep leading you and ALL the experiences you’ve been through in life will make more sense and all your talents and gifts will make sense and life becomes better (not necessarily easier but better.)

God loves you SO very much.  Talk with Him.  He’s listening.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.
The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. – the movie King’s Faith

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

“How did you spend the time on vacation?” “How much time did it take to finish that project?” “The time you took to repair that issue was time well spent.”

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

We each have a specific number of minutes, hours, and days.
When our time is up, where have we spent it?

We CANNOT get more time.

What is wasting your time? Did you hear how we say that?
“YOUR” time? Like it’s just a casual thing…
but
Where did your time come from?

“Spend” some of “your” time, the time that God has gifted to you, talking to Him. Just stop a minute now to speak to Him. Your conversation is something He wants very much. He is jealous for YOU.

Pick each other up IN LOVE and WITH LOVE

When a baby has a poopy diaper, we change it.

What if we left the baby in the poopy diaper because he’s comfortable and we don’t want to upset him because cleaning him up and helping him get out of the poop is a process and he’s tired and the wipes are cold and he’s pretty content the way he is.

No.

That would be neglect.

We change the diaper because we love him SO much. It’s called caring for him. We will change the diaper EVERY time it’s poopy. That’s how it should be.

We need to care enough for each other that we help each other out of the poop our lives are in. That is not wrong to do.

We need to matter SO much to each other that we notice and take the time IN LOVE and WITH LOVE to help lift each other out of the poop.

And it MUST be IN LOVE and WITH LOVE. It takes time and kindness. Sometimes after I know you love me, I will be able to listen to you and let you care for me.

That’s how it should be. We should matter.

He’s led me this far and I will keep following Him.

This is real stuff.

Jesus. Take Him or leave Him. It’s YOUR choice. It happens to be the very most important choice you can ever make.

You better choose. Because your choice will lead to either Heaven or Hell.
Can’t sugar coat that.

I am not going to be the person who didn’t tell you about Jesus and that you need to choose Him. I will tell you every day and plead with you to choose Him. It’s part of my job and I won’t be afraid to do it.

You matter WAY too much for me not to tell you.

If you want to delete me from your computer, email, Facebook, Twitter, please know that I will miss you terribly.

I’m not going to shut up and I’m going to have the courage to write what God puts on my heart even if I’m afraid sometimes that it will make somebody mad. I’d rather have a person mad at me instead of God mad at me for not doing what He’s led me to do.

I will use any platform and tools He gives me. I’ve had death threats. I’ve been used and lied to and laughed at for years. That old devil will NOT cover my mouth ever again. I won’t hide any more and I will keep having courage to write what God’s laying on my heart. I am here to stay. God has very big plans for me. He opens doors that no one can shut and He closes doors that no one can open. He’s led me this far and I will keep following Him.

In Jesus’ name, I claim that I will not be a coward any longer.

I don’t know about you but I’m NOT gonna be the person who stands in between Jesus and a soul needing Him.

Who are YOU to stop someone from accepting Jesus in baptism?

Jesus speaks to someone’s heart. She wants to be baptized and accept Jesus into her life and follow Him.

Who are you to stop her? Who are you to tell her she has to wait til she knows more. Who are you to decide when she knows “enough” to be baptized?

I would not want Jesus to ask me why I told someone “No” or “Not yet” when she said she was ready. Yikes!

Check this out. Acts 8:34-38
In the bible someone heard the Good News about Jesus and decided to follow Him. “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” He was not told to wait til he knew more.

I don’t know about you but I’m NOT gonna be the person who stands in between Jesus and a soul needing Him.

I believe God can do anything He chooses to do, of course, and MAYBE if that person died before they got to be baptized, God still knows her heart and will gift her Heaven anyway but I’m just putting this out there.

I would NOT want to be in standing in your place when God asks why you stopped someone from coming to Him.

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….
Mother’s Day 2010

I remember my mom making sandwiches for the men who dad was working with on stormy nights at the electric company to restore electricity for the families whose houses were hit with lightning.

I remember the fun slumber parties my mom planned for my birthdays. She let me invite as many friends as I wanted to. Mom let us invite one friend our age to the other sister’s slumber parties, too. That was cool.

I remember the most beautiful birthday cakes ever made were the ones my mom made for us on our birthdays…. The kind someone would pay lots of money for, but my mom’s tasted better than ANY store could make.

I remember my mom making beautiful wedding cakes.

I remember telling lot of kids that I was going to have a party and to get off the bus at my house, and they did. My mom didn’t even get mad at me for that. I don’t remember how she got them all home.

I remember mom driving the camper and picking up ALL the friends I wanted to invite to Vacation Bible School, and never complaining about it or making me feel that it was an inconvenience.

Mom makes the very best grandma bread ever. Everyone loves her homemade bread.

My mom made sure we went to church, even on vacations, and that showed me how important church should be.

My mom chose the names for our streets on the corner where we built a house when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.

My mom makes the very best tasting food and makes it look very beautiful. Somehow my macaroni and cheese or deviled eggs just don’t measure up in taste or beauty.

I remember my mom giving up her bed to let company sleep there while mom and dad took a less comfortable place to sleep.

I remember knowing that if I told mom something, that I better expect that she’d tell dad because they had no secrets, and that felt secure.

I remember that mom let us play in the basement and color in coloring books.

My mom taught me hospitality. If someone needs a place to rest, clothes, food, my mom was there for them. I was hungry and… Matthew 25:34-36

Mother’s Day 2010
(From my sweet husband to my mom)
Why my mother-in-law is the greatest

My mother-in-law is the greatest because she is always helping others.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she makes the best bread in the whole world.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she always makes me feel welcome.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she gives the greatest Christmas gifts.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she has never judged me for my past.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she had and raised the perfect wife for me.