I want to start by telling you that Jessica and I have been in prayer for all of you as we close this amazing book and see what the Lord is asking of us from here. Our brains has been full of inspiration, searching in every bit of the ordinary and trying to see where we can, well, *bloom.*
One of the things I have been meditating on is the idea that no act of love is too small, and no service is inadequate. We can't all hop on planes to go change the world but we can certainly go through our days praying to see the world through lenses that identify needs all around us. We can pray for discernment in figuring out what our roles are supposed to be, and we can pray for conviction to follow through and be obedient. These are the things I pray for you all as well as myself.
Several years ago I wrote the following...
On a beautiful fall day just shy of my twin daughters’ third birthday, we decided to go to the park and feed the ducks. A few minutes into our adventure, a homeless man wandered through the grass around us and eventually began to dig through the garbage nearby. Several mothers turned their children’s heads in disgust and whispered comforting (and, I’m sure, inaccurate) words about the man, while gathering up their picnics and brusquely clicking their car remotes.
I made a bold move in that moment, and decided to tell Abby and Ellie the hard truth in a version suited for two blue-eyed girls who thought that Strawberry Shortcake’s botched birthday cake was a tragedy of epic proportion. I delicately explained that the man didn’t have a home, and that we should pray to Jesus about him. As he discarded old bread pieces and empty soda cans, I explained that he was going through the garbage for food because he was very hungry in his tummy. They were mesmerized, and their first brush with the other side of life ended with us sitting, 30 toes in the lake, praying for the man we called “Mr. No House.” Ellie, my mother hen, made the suggestion that we bring him a sandwich the next day, which I wholeheartedly supported.
Unfortunately, we never did get to see Mr. No House again, but the imprint of who he was and what he stood for was enough to evoke nightly prayers and many conversations about what he might like to eat if ever we were to run into him or any of his friends again. We decided that Mr. No House would like chocolate candy bars and ham sandwiches (hold the mayo, please), and that he preferred strawberry jelly over grape. Fried chicken was out, and he should, under no conditions, smoke a cigarette. We also prayed that he would find a new pair of pants and someone to talk to during the day. There was a great lesson in this story for me as well, one that has revolutionized my parenting style: we miss opportunities with our children when we shy away from difficult teaching moments.
This was actually part of a book proposal that I hope to work on at some point because the Lord really stirred me to realize the impact of the "everyday." I had felt useless, thinking I wasn't showing my kids things unless we were doing it in an extreme way, like a mission trip or something like that. I will tell you that to this day, when we drive by that park, they ask if he's there and whether we can go see him. They remember him. They recognize now that people they see on the road who also need homes are more than strangers and people we shy away from. The Gospel tells us to concern ourselves with those in need, and I pray they will use this lens for years and years to come.
Jess was telling me the other day about how on a day when it was snowing in Nashville, she stopped to buy one of the newspapers a homeless woman was selling - and she gave her $20 instead of the $1 cost of the newspaper. She said, "I saw her standing there as I turned into the intersection and felt compelled to turn around to give to that woman. It was cold. I was going pick up Elias, so I couldn't do anything more than give the $20 that was in my wallet. I never have cash, so it seemed logical and perfect to just give it to her. I prayed for that woman the whole way home and continue to pray for her every time I see the spot she was standing in that day. I hope that the money I gave her simply reminded her that people care."
While we might be tempted to say, "Well I could do that. That's not so out there, you know?" I might disagree. The percentage of people who actually do extend a hand in one way or another are few and far between. As Scripture tells us, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Matthew 9:37).
So this week, we are going to put up our little MckLinky and we want to hear from you. So many of you read and sometimes post, or the two of us get to connect through email or twitter or something, but we would ALL love to hear your stories. Since we've just finished this book, let's focus on homelessness and what we can do to represent the body of Christ in a way that honors the Lord. Feel free to leave a link to something you have done in the past, or something you want to do. You are welcome to share what the Lord has begun to stir in you after reading this book, or even the ways your thinking was challenged as far as the homeless are concerned. Don't limit yourselves too much, just go ahead and write something sharing your thoughts. Please link using the actual post link (vs. your blog link), and consider posting the Bloom button on your blog too so your readers will be able to easily read other posts! Lastly please make sure to spend some time hopping through others' links and being inspired.
We look forward to reading what has been on your heart regarding the things we have been discussing the last several weeks.
So, that's all for now. Link us to your site and tell us some of your story.
May we continue to grow in dialogue, in spirit, and in faith as we move ahead together.
We love you ladies,
Ang and Jess