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.
Some people know what they want to be when they’re kids.
When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife. (I’ve been a wife twice. I guess I was an overachiever with that dream. Some won’t laugh at that. I get it. Not funny, but if I can find a reason to smile through all the heartache, I need to find it.)
As my oldest child and I were talking today we remembered all her friends who came to her big slumber party several years ago jokingly called me “Mommy” because I asked them all to use sippy cups because I didn’t have water bottles with lids for 20 kids but I had enough sippy cups. We didn’t want to spill on the carpet. Some of her friends still call me Mommy because of that. (I told them their moms may not appreciate them calling someone else by the Mommy name. It’s cute though and they were just being silly and being the awesome, cute kids that they are.)
The thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:
What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?
Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t ASKING Him what HIS plans are for my life. I was just doing what I wanted to do. Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not. I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing me for this very thing.
What if there are a hundred kids who need care?
I know there are. And this is everywhere. Every city. Every place. God leads people and uses us where He wants us. We specifically feel called to move to Alaska for this work.
When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller to you than someone else’s dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they appear and very likely exactly what she knew as a child is exactly what God wrote into her when He knitted her together and even if she didn’t have the vocabulary or visions yet at that time to understand them or explain them, the same dreams from childhood are the same ones God will use later in life (and everything in between.)
(Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this. Being one or the other is amazing, too. And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom. I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and IT’S TOUGH! My heart goes out to single moms and dads. You guys are doing a very important job.)
Just sayin’ when people share what is most important to them, even if you think they’re not the super most important “career” choices many others are working toward, maybe just pray with them and help them see how God will use these dreams in their lives. Please stop telling people what’s impossible. He’s got a plan for each of us. He works well in the impossible.
The talents and dreams put in our hearts are there for a reason even if we can’t see the whole picture when we’re young.
Prayers for the Alaska homeless teen center are always welcome here. We don’t know everything about how to do this work but can look back and see how He’s been preparing for this over 35 years. We will keep following as He keeps leading. We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet and are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.
[Note: Yes, God hates divorce. But God does NOT hate divorced people and He does NOT disown you if you’ve been divorced. God uses EVERY part of our story for His Glory. You don’t have to believe me. Ask Him to do this with your story. He will.]
[Another Note: When people laugh at your God-sized dreams, be kind. Sometimes we all forget to dream big. Sometimes we forget that there is a big God over all this and it’s not actually random at all.]