We live right in the middle of our town, in the middle of our block.
We have lived here for nine years and yet, still do not know all of our neighbors. I am ashamed to say that.
But recently, we had a visitor at our door.
A woman we've all seen walking around town on a daily basis.
She is old, thin and always has a cigarette in her hand or sticking out of her mouth.
And she was knocking at our door.
Selling what appeared to be candles from her own home, and asking for five dollars.
I need five dollars was her reply when my husband graciously told her we didn't have any cash to give her(the truth).
But he felt her desperation.
He came to find me upstairs and asked what I thought we should do. I didn't know who it was at the time & prayed for that instant wisdom to make the right choice.
He grabbed our coin jar(you know, the one where you throw extra change at day's end to save up for a rainy day?)
He got out five dollars in quarters and ran downstairs to give them to her.
After she left we watched her ask others on the street, probably asking for another five dollars.
Everyone turned her away.
Most never even smiled at her.
And I must admit, I'm guilty of the same reaction at times.
Didn't I judge her the minute my husband said she was asking for money?
Is she just desperate for more cigarettes?
She's always digging through other peoples' recycling to take bottles for the deposit money.
And then my hypocrisy hit me straight in the face.
This woman came to our door, asking for something.
Maybe she was desperate for her next smoke. Maybe it was to buy alcohol.
But have I ever known that level of desperation?
Yes, I have.
When Eric was in grad school, we had just signed our names to the mortgage of this home, had our first baby and had no idea how we would get to his next paycheck
. We were determined not to owe any debt for his classes so we paid as he went along and often we had no idea where our next meal would come from.
There was no money for groceries.
There were even times we ran out of diapers for our daughter and had to improvise.(Don't ask)
And yet, I think God blessed our decision to stay debt-free through that.
We NEVER went hungry.
Somehow bags of groceries or diapers would appear on our doorstep.
Someone would place something on the FREE table at church that we were desperately in need of.
Our family would get a great deal on something and have extras to give us.
He always provided.
So how can I turn this woman away with nothing? She's asking.
She's in need of something.
While we won't be giving her money the next time she shows up on our doorstep, if she is in need of food you bet that we'll put something together for her.
Gosh, maybe we'll even do the unthinkable and invite her to dinner.
Because guess what?
We're called to.
As Christians, we're called to live outside of our comfort zone sometimes.
Jesus loved the un-lovelies. He ate with them. His words were filled with wisdom and conviction. But he LOVED them.
I want to be like that.
I want to be the kind of person who sees & responds to the needs of people around me and loves them with Christ's love.
On a day when many, including myself, are loved by those around us let's remember those who are lonely and hurting.
Open your eyes today.
Who needs your encouragement?
Who could use a smile? A genuine 'how are you today?'
I promise there are many in need around you-you just need to open your eyes.
A pleasant word is a bright ray of sunshine on a saddened heart. Give others the sunshine.
~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Author & Missionary to China and Japan
Who needs you today?
I hope that if you don't already, you'll come to realize and know the love of the Savior who created you and who has a plan for your life.
Have a wonderful Valentines day, friends!