God made my resolution for me
This year, I did not make any “New Year’s” resolutions. At the ripe ‘ol age of 30, I had determined that they were not only silly, but they were just not going to happen. I had no idea at that time that the Lord had in mind great ideas for change in my life… regardless of whether or not I resolved change.
The end of January arrived, and I blogged about this experience. The bottom line for me that day was that as Christians, we are given opportunities every day to help people. It may look different on different days, but the opportunities are there. That day, that experience started my brain in the direction of, “am I missing out on things because I choose to?”. A few days later, this post appeared. That day was the first day that I began to see that yes, I was missing out on opportunities, and it was because of me. Furthermore, I begin to have my eyes opened to this lie I had been believing about my “season of life”. Being a mother with 3 young children is indeed a challenge, but it is also a joy. I had been using the “challenge” of it all to shut God down when He presented me with opportunities. I resolved on that day that I would try to see and respond to opportunities that came my way.
Fast forward a few weeks, and out of the blue (or so it seemed!), I began to feel strongly that my family needed to participate in the homeless ministry our church helps with. Yes, the WHOLE family, right on down to 1-year-old Brady. There was no arguing with the idea; I knew it was from the Lord, and I was committed to following through. When I brought the idea up to my husband, he did not present any “but’s”, and there could have been some: “we have to be there too early”, “the kids might be a distraction”, “it will be too long of a day”…
So, I signed our family up.
Realized the week before that I chose Daylight Savings Sunday! Hahahaha… what a way for the Lord to teach complete & total dependence on Him for my energy & enthusiasm! 🙂
Today, we went. Matt & I got up at 5:45, got the kids ready about 6:45, met up with some other folks about 7:25, and got downtown to the church by 7:45.
Matt & I (and the kids) were assigned to the hygiene area. All we had to do was have the people sign in, and then hand over any assortment of items they might need. Toothbrushes, combs,underwear, socks… we had it all. I was taken aback at how matter-of-fact these homeless people were. They knew what they needed, and were not at all embarrassed by the sight of me (with Brady strapped to me in the Ergo!) holding up underwear to see if they were the right size.
After the main rush of people was through the line, I went out in to the main area so Brady could walk around a bit. I cannot even tell you how many people stopped to talk to him, stopped to rub his little soft head, stopped to smile at him, stopped to hold him for a minute… it was eye-opening. So many of these homeless have children of their own. Most have grown children, but I met one couple that has a 9-month-old daughter. Seeing my little one toddle around brought back memories of happier times for them, I think. I did not have the chance to talk in-depth with very many people as Brady is quite an active little tyke, but I did get to meet a few folks, ask names, see where they were from… let them know that they matter.
My older two were quite shy at the start. They hid behind the counter; I think because they were 1. still partially asleep!, and 2. a little taken aback at the flow of humanity coming through our line. Towards the end, they took turns coming out and walking around with Brady & me.
Will we go back?
I don’t know how often we will do this as a family, but I do know that I will continue to encourage other families with children to participate. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they are needed. I have been praying since I signed up that my children would be a blessing to the people that we would see… and, they were.
As for me, it seems that God has made my New Year’s resolution for me, and it’s not one destined to burn out when my enthusiasm for it wanes. There will always be people in need; there will always be homeless people. He has taught me a lot today, a lot about His love for people, regardless of where they live, work, how they smell, what they look like…
To turn my back on this, on these people, I feel would be to turn my back on God himself. And that, I cannot do.