A Small Glimpse

June 25, 2013

Months ago, we found something left behind in the shelter and in reading it we realized an anonymous someone wrote out some of their experience living on the street. I thought it was definitely worth sharing:

download“I am writing this notice in hopes that more people can understand the life of a homeless person. The life a person lives on the streets is a lot of trauma. The life of a man is always trying to make a dollar. The most of my time hustling is buying crack for people. The rest of my time is protecting women who sell their bodies for a living. I met a woman about 8 years  ago one night. I knew her all of about 3 hours. This guy kept trying to take her, when she asked me to help her I did, she got to leave with her money she was making. I got stabbed 5 times by the guy who kept trying to stab her. One time in the chest, once in the stomach, once in the shoulder, 2 times in my right hand. I ended up walking up a street 3 blocks to a store holding my stomach because that cut was the worst. While walking all I could think about was I am dying and I don’t even remember the girl’s name who I protected.
I have been homeless now since 2001 or 2002, I have lived in abandoned houses, I have slept in cars parked at car lots that I found with the doors unlocked. When you want to sleep you will find some place to sleep. The past 4 or 5 years off and on I have been staying in this 2 story abandoned house.
2 or 3 years ago I was so cold that I had to sleep with about 8 covers over my head to stay alive. The air was so cold in the room I was in that it really hurt bad to breathe the cold air.
In this same house at the present February 2013 I have a roommate in the abandoned house on the 2nd floor. It is a full grown wild opossum that I believe given the chance it would bite me and I can’t blame it because it’s a wild animal. I sometimes am asleep and it starts clawing at the walls and then I am wide awake all night.”

 

It’s important to not only look at people’s outsides. When the insides come out we may be surprised to find someone who only needs to be loved.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

May we be kind to others today in Jesus’ Name.

It’s us.

June 7, 2012

It has officially been 6 months since I last posted so I believe a quick month-to-month recap is required:

January: worked my last month at City Rescue Mission.
February & March: rested and learned how to find worth in Jesus even through joblessness.
April: found a job at the OKC Day Shelter – the last place I expected to work…

I thought that my days of working with the homeless population at a shelter were over, but just as happens with most of my plans the Lord had something better. I knew working at City Rescue was a kind of preparation for the future and as hard as it was working there I figured the future probably held something ridiculously difficult, but as I have been at the Day Shelter now for a couple months I have felt pretty prepared. It’s amazing how the Lord plans and the plans actually lead you to be equipped for exactly how much He wants you to do.

I find myself with a ton of inner-struggle and to be honest, a little hopelessness at the end of some days. With all of the frustration of people dying because of idols that they love more than themselves and the fact that I hold no power to help them unless they want to make an effort. God keeps reminding me that it doesn’t matter if you are wearing fancy pants, drowning in alcohol, buried deep in drugs, or coveting your next door neighbor’s mango tree… we are all equal. All searching for something miraculous to fill our days. In my opinion that I have come to cling to in the few years I have lived, it’s only by the Holy Spirit that I live at all. My goal right now with all the people I come into contact with daily is to live out looking like Christ. I fail at this in epicness mostly, but I really do want to do things right(eously).

Recently I have been reminded of how much I LOVE listening to people’s stories. The major blessing is that I know most of the people living at City Rescue, all the people in the Refuge, and thanks to working at the Day Shelter, I probably know 3 out of 5 people I pass on the street. I remember way more than a handful of times how God met me right in the middle of the epitome of my sin, and He had full mercy on me to breathe life again. Some days I weep at the fact that everyday I get the chance to meet people where they are at (which often includes throwing up from alcoholism in my car or stoned out of their heads on crack), know that I have the ability to love them because of Christ’s love for them, and then I get to find out how they got to where they are. Stories are brutal and freeing and haunting and redeeming and I can’t help but tangibly feel Hope for everyone.

Our God is love and He has every intention to keep fighting for everyone He created, which is everyone. In the moments of my own serious weakness, I feel the Lord lifting up my head. He is urging us to be a people who don’t look away. People who see darkness and know that the Power in us wants to light it up using our physical presence to magnify Him. People who see the scheming of the enemy and how it is breaking people all over the place and using ridiculous lies to do it.

The Church is to be the hands and feet of Christ. The Church is us. We are His Beloved.

Let us not be able to look away.

Jesus is the reason.

December 24, 2011

if you don’t like controversial things or to be made uncomfortable or if you like to be able to live without constantly praying and trying to think of ways to improve the way of society… Do not read this.

This Christmas season has been great in the way of how much I feel and understand the desperation of the people in the old testament for the arrival of the promise of a Savior. He really is Hope to the hopeless and Peace to the restless. Without Jesus in my life I would be a total failure and I need Him to remind me everyday of how I can’t do anything without Him.

For the past week or so, in looking down my street I have seen carloads of gifts and people handing them out to my homeless neighbors. My kids at the Mission have received more gifts this year than I have in my entire life (I wish I was just being dramatic).

People get this desire during the holidays to help others in need, I get this desire! I think it stems from feeling bad for people who don’t have everything we have so we want to help in ways that make them feel good but don’t take too much comfort away from us. I would like to hand everyone living on the streets a $100 bill and walk away feeling super good about what I just did, but the truth is that it’s not helping anything.

Everyone living on my street has a lot of gifts and blankets due to people’s desire to help in the cold months, but at the end of the day they are still sleeping outside in danger of freezing to death because even the best sleeping bag isn’t equal to a heater, and most of those souls are void of any healthy, consistent relationships…

What if we all rose up together in the next year and loved them all like Jesus would ask of us? By sitting with them and listening to their stories then asking the Holy Spirit to show us how to help them in the big picture kind of way. To ask Him to show us that person in His eyes, to see His love and plans for them, to show us that He cherishes and loves them so much more than we or they know. Yes, it would take a lot of time and sacrifice, and yes it would be hard and uncomfortable, but what if next Christmas the homeless had homes and jobs and relationships and then Jesus used them to change other people’s lives for Him? What if there was such a thing as Jesus radically changing the homeless community through His people who started living selflessly and recklessly loving people?

I don’t write this to be a Scrooge, I write this in hopes that the Lord would stir a passion in all of us for His people that are broken and hurting and without the hope of Christ, like we have all been at one point or another. Just as God was fighting for each of us and so stirred a person to speak into our lives for Him, we have to know that He wants to use us to do the same for others, because it’s never been about us. The reason is all about Jesus.

Looking back on my last 2 months or so there are a variety of things to be noticed:
-I was stressed out by my own and other’s problems
-I did not have a fridge or a stove
-I was worrying about worldly stuff that did not matter much

In the midst of the items listed above, I just realized that I was using food and relationships to comfort myself and fill myself up instead of seeking after the Lord to be filled up via staying up late and hanging out knowing that I could have a good window of sleep and also eating “comfort food” for every meal. Relationships are great, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of times it seems like we forget to take care of ourselves when in fact we are a bit sucky at being relational if we aren’t resting enough spiritually, mentally, and physically.

The last couple of days I have made some fun food, which making all my food is proving to be helpful in emotionally resting, almost as much as running or riding my bike. I baked a spaghetti squash; it’s kind of confusing… spaghetti, squash, or jelly fish?

My friend/neighbor, Bel, and I made some ketchup last night as well AND then made sweet potato & purple potato fries to dip in it!

It was a little messy as you can see, but seriously delicious! I am debating on whether I like this natural ketchup more than regular…

So. As easy as it is to run to Braum’s or eat a whole batch of buttery, flaky, amazing biscuits… (Lord, forgive me for coveting both of these) It is so much better to ask God to reveal why you need comfort so that He can relieve you, forgive you, etc. How amazing that He loves us so much.

day four: life = miracle

October 2, 2011

It is the fourth day of my “fast” from what had become my normal lifestyle. I’m feeling pretty darn good.

I’ve noticed these last few days how precious life is and how much time I waste worrying instead of waiting passionately for the Lord to move. Also I have seen a teensy glimpse of how HUGE God is and how small I make Him, which makes my heart wrench even more to think about how much He has empowered me to do and how much of a wreck I know I can make things. He loves each of us so much that He has orchestrated this endless stream of miracles called: life.

Not to be all dreamy, but it’s a miracle that my parents met and got married; it’s miraculous how little strands of molecules meet together to start forming a human; a baby living through the birthing process is a miracle. You get the idea, right? Every single breath we take has to be a miracle because of all the work going into it that we don’t see or think about… How lovely is the Maker of all these things? The Loveliest.

God made me a female. I don’t really know the consensus of what the world thinks of women right now, but I think we are mighty. Recently I have come to many realizations as a woman, I could spew all of that, but instead I will tell you that coincidentally my mom showed me a very truthful/hungry blog entry that contained 2 other posts that I liked.

More than anything right now I feel hungry. Not for food, but for Christ, for gaining wisdom, for using the gifts of Christ and the Spirit, for myself and other people to see what life has become and then be shown what it could/should be. The first blog post really fired me up.

get fired up here

If you are a man reading this: please take note of how God loves His daughters, not just by making them beautiful to look at and able to have babies, but by placing dreams, gifts, wisdom, drive, and love into them.

If you are a woman: you are a miracle. Created well and with a serious purpose not just to do dishes and give kisses, but in whatever you do to love with the Father’s love (and it’s deeper than we’ll ever know). Your life and what you do and will do for God is a miracle. The difference you will make in reaching out a hand to someone is priceless.

women who love

In lieu of my physical fast, I have been cooking every meal and liking it, recent favorite of mine: green bean, tomato, zucchini explosion.

And also an article about running that was encouraging as my love for running is growing: click this  Sounds weird, but the Lord is giving me life while I am running, I truly find joy in it through Him. That in itself is a miracle.

21 days: one.

September 29, 2011

for the last couple of weeks I have noticed how unhealthy I have been in many facets of life, primarily the most important parts: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I have made the decision to change these 3 areas as intentionally as I can.

The next 21 days of my life I am going to be a lot less sporadic in seeking the Lord. He is my life source after all, I should spend more of my time worshipping Him in everything that I do and being mindful of the fact that everything I do should be for Him anyway. I long to be saturated in Him, captivated by His Word and by His love for us mere fools, and also I want to be spurred to love as unconditionally as He loves me.

It is so hard for me to rest emotionally, especially in a job where I am constantly approached with other’s problems and trying to solve them, when I know that I can’t do anything of the sort on my own. I am really asking God to teach me how to think and how to handle situations in His way, and to help me unlearn any unhealthy ways of dealing with life happenings that I have picked up along the way.

Physically, who couldn’t afford to be more disciplined? I have dusted off my bike and found some Forrest-worthy running shoes, and am already enjoying biking and running! I ran my first 5k last Saturday in Indiana, it was a fun accomplishment, I hope to do more.

To bring all three of these aspects of life together I am going to do a Daniel-fast-type-diet. I know scripture says not to make a display of fasting so before you totally disown me for publicizing this I will make the disclaimer that I’m not calling this a fast; let’s call it an intentional life change for 21 days (or possibly more) to seek the Lord and be more aware of how I can glorify Him in everything instead of being a slob in many ways.

I am excited to embark on this sort of adventure, because as well as being closer to God I am going to learn to cook and be able to run 5 miles without dying.

Here is a peek at my first dish cooked : stuffed peppers.

every move i make

September 11, 2011

As it has been 2 months since my last post, it could be apparent that my life has been like a whirlwind. Finally it seems to be slowing down enough to where i can breathe and live and love in a more healthy way for everyone.

The kids are back in school, which gives me a lot more grace for them since i do not see them 6 days a week, all day. God has blessed me and now i get to hang with the women who live here during the day, tutor the kids when they get home from school, and move back into the “ultimate friend” instead of the kids’ worst nightmare 🙂 i really am so thankful for all of the grace God has given me to learn patience from the hectic summer and still is teaching me so much through the women here. Each one of their stories is precious and messy and pushes me into realizing that the Lord yearns to lead us into His Kingdom from the time we are born until we arrive at His feet.

Listening to people’s stories is one of my favorite things; there is so much to be gained and appreciated from every word. Hearing what the Lord has brought people through and the prisons He has delivered them from is encouraging and powerful and one of our many gifts from Him: by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony we will overcometh.

I have been looking through my own story a lot with my mentor lately, and God has been showing me how precious and messy all the happenings in my life have been. It has been a blessing to go back and see how Jesus has worked and cleaned me up and is still cleaning me up as He is using me to love people. He is so beautiful.

As cheesy as i may be, i have to say that i really long for every move that i make to be made and blessed in Jesus. For my life to be fully His and my steps to be guided only by His mercy and grace. I found this sweet video from earlier in the summer, it is precious and messy and might make you smile. An angel moment from my kids, who can be opposite of angels at times haha.