I’ve never done this before. Yeah, sure. I have donated clothing and household items and even furniture, but I have always sort of stopped there. Maybe I helped with canned food drives, but didn’t fully understand what I was doing. Perhaps, I purchased a piece of artwork or a cross, but I never saw behind the scenes at what those dollars supported. I didn’t know the stories of the people whose lives depended on my purchase.
I have lived at a comfortable distance from those that I have contributed to in the past. I helped when it was convenient for me. I gave things that I no longer wanted or needed. I wrapped gifts and fulfilled some child’s wish list and maybe even a few adult’s lists, but I have never had something burden my heart like what is currently happening.
When I lived in Austin, Texas, I was warned that homeless people line the streets and that you have to be very careful who you give to because a news reporter had just exposed many who stood beside the streets with signs all day and then drove themselves to their mansions in the hill country at night. I don’t think I have ever seen so many homeless people up close and personal as I did the year and a half I lived in that area.
I have seen students that came to school from homes with no running water and barely any food. I have helped to pack book bags with snacks to help them make it through the weekends. I know of students that would try not to use the restroom until they made it back to school due to the deplorable condition their home facilities were in-and the fact they had no running water.
Yes, all of this is right here..in America.
I cannot hardly watch the commercials for feeding starving children. I cannot watch those about abandoned and abused pets. I have adopted a rescue dog before and loved him until he passed on from this life.
Please know I say all this to relate to you because I am sure you have done some of the same things. However, what I am asking myself and you today is: Did it inconvenience you? Did you lose any sleep, change any plans, or sacrifice a meal, clothing, or any other activity because you helped someone?
You see, up until recently, I hadn’t sacrificed. I hadn’t felt it where it hurt. I hadn’t taken the last bit of cash for lunch out of my purse to hand to someone I knew had to have it to live (and when I say this, please know I mean someone other than family members or relatives whom I have helped or been helped by in the past-I mean people with whom I had very little invested other than a casual acquaintance or who had been newly introduced to me). I hadn’t felt the war within myself about whether or not I should purchase a Christmas tree or use that money to help someone who had no shoes or clothes. I hadn’t thought about the money I spend on clothes, eating out, or general entertainment and how much food I waste on a daily basis.
I read Jen Hatmaker’s book entitled “Seven”. It actually has the number ‘7’ as the title if you are trying to look it up on Amazon. I read it several years ago and I just picked it up again…and put it down halfway through it. You see, she lives in Austin, Texas now and she sees all those homeless people and they are ‘her people’. She has walked out of a winter church service barefoot leaving her cowboy boots and socks behind because there were people who needed them.
I am not there yet. Just yesterday and again today, I struggled and held Austen, Doyle, and Shakespeare close and fought with myself about why I might need the hard copies as well as the Kindle versions. I had friends who helped me to re-organize my spare bedroom only to find I didn’t donate everything as I so ceremoniously proclaimed when I walked into the room. The exercise bike I haven’t ridden in two years is still there. The Trek (expensive) bike with two flat tires that I haven’t ridden in I don’t know how long is still there.
My sewing, crafting, floral arranging, every kind of label and photo paper you could imagine, Kindles, laptops, and printers…they are all still there. I was so proud of the four bags of clothing that I weeded from my closet after reading a couple of chapters in ‘Seven’. However, I look at my closet and it is still full. The shoes and boots actually jump out all over the floor because they are in total chaos and are not sure where they belong. (smile)
What is my point?
I am way more materialistic than I realized. I am hard-headed and stubborn and I don’t sacrifice at all even when I think I do. It is not costing me anything, really. I haven’t left my comfort zone….
But, I am afraid God is going to ask me to do so and I am not sure what my response will be at this point.
I feel that He has talked to me about doing something specific on Thanksgiving Day and that is what this post was supposed to begin with, but somehow it got all tangled up and I seem to be having diarrhea of the mouth (or fingers in this case) spilling out my random chaotic thoughts showing my struggle with living a modest life that reflects Jesus and not me.
I am not there. I keep saying that because it is true.
I just think God is using this one thing to help me make a step in the right direction. Sigh. So here it is:
I need six hundred dollars to feed two hundred people on Thanksgiving Day. The details are here:
I have never instigated anything quite like this before today. I have the approval of my administration at work and some of the funds that are already showing are from those supporters. This is legitimate. Every penny will go to this ministry. I am not affiliated with them. They just touched my heart in a very real, deep, meaningful way and then God stepped in and told me to work on this.
I cannot do it by myself. I do have a budget and I am a single person. I am praying and keeping my fingers crossed. I will take care of any fees associated with the site that deducts from the donations. Every dollar given will go for food for these homeless families.
You can read about the food being prepared and what will happen if we go over our goal.
I will keep you posted on this journey. I ask for your prayers and I ask you to think about this if you are reading this blog. Would you spare a cup of Starbucks for someone to have a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day? Would you spare one trip through the drive-thru? That is really all it takes to feed one person.
If you cannot or don’t feel comfortable helping, I understand. I ask for your prayers. I ask you to check out their website and see how encompassing their ministry is and see if it is a fit for you. You can donate directly to them, but it will not go toward this meal. We are doing this independently from their normal donations. This is our gift to them.
I hope this will be the beginning of some of the most wonderful Jesus experiences in my life. I will keep you posted.
Thank you for letting me share my heart and my crazy, random thoughts.
Until next time,
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“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.’”