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There but for the grace of God….

January 11, 2011

It was so much work, just to make it in the door, her walker banging and bumping against the frame. While she was settling into the chair by the check-in desk, I asked her ‘how are you today?’ She lifted her head, looked at me and said, ‘I don’t feel very good today.’

I saw dull eyes and a weathered face.  The smell of her breath coming across the desk at me made it hard to speak for a minute. I told her I was sorry, and asked what was wrong. She told me she wasn’t getting over her hip surgery from six months ago as fast as she should and she’d already fallen twice. She was way too young to have had hip surgery, to be using a walker, to have such sad eyes, to reek of alcohol mid-day.

At a meeting of volunteers the week before, we’d been reminded ‘Be Jesus to those who come through the door.’ I might be the only kind voice she heard that day, so I asked her questions, encouraged her to talk to me, and listened to her. A voice that lacked any enthusiasm. Hopelessness.

When I asked her if she was there for food, or clothing, or both, she told me ‘just food.’ In spite of the raggy clothes she was wearing it would be too hard for her to get up and move around the clothing rooms, so ‘just food.’

Fifty years old, skinny, worn out, stringy dirty hair, dull eyes and a face that did not have a shred of hope showing on it. How did she get here? What string of days and years and bad decisions and circumstances and lack of possibilities got her where she is today? How do you reach a point in life where your eyes are that dull? Where there is no hope of anything beyond a next meal? When you don’t really care much about that?

God, help me be Jesus to her, just for a moment. Help me make her feel valued and given dignity in spite of anything and everything.

There but for the grace of God go I.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 12:13 pm

    Oh, how this touched my heart . . . and just think how much it must hurt His. May God light a flame of hope in her heart and fan it into a warm fire . . . and may He continue to use you to bring hope to many more like her.

  2. January 11, 2011 12:59 pm

    We truly need to have His eyes, His ears & His heart to minister to these. You do!!!! It rings loud and clear from your post. If she continues to come, who know how God will use your kindness to not only reach out to her, but to touch her at that level when she has not been touched in a long time.

  3. January 11, 2011 3:25 pm

    Oh my, this is painful to see people like this! It really touches my heart too when we have to be Jesus to the unlovable and meet them where they are at….. Last evening we worked at the Food Pantry again and it is so incredible how many people come out on a cold Colorado evening to get free food. As a friend of mine said, “they still need food when it is cold!” We are trying to establish some kind of prayer booth for them to ask us to pray for them but that part of this ministry is missing yet. How is your direct contact set up with the people you serve? We just feel that the only way for most of these people to change their life is Jesus!!! It is such an incredible way to show the real love of God and we have been so blessed working with Food Pantry too.

  4. January 11, 2011 3:55 pm

    Wow Bev, this made me so sad. It made me cry. I’m so glad you and others like you are there for those who need someone. I’ll pray for this lady … that she will find the One she really needs.

  5. January 11, 2011 4:23 pm

    Oh, doesn’t it make you feel so sad and so blessed at the same time? Such conflicting emotions sometimes. Makes me think of the Brandon Heath song, “Give Me Your Eyes”. (Here’s the link if you want to listen/watch: Praying a special blessing on you today. Keep up the good work!

  6. January 11, 2011 5:19 pm

    This made me cry, Bev. The post went perfectly with the Lord was already speaking to my heart after reading the book “Under the Overpass”. Oh Lord give us all your heart for others in this situation.

  7. January 11, 2011 6:25 pm

    This is so moving Bev. Truly – you were Jesus to her in that moment, and He gave you His eyes to see her with great compassion.

  8. January 12, 2011 9:33 am

    Wow. It is so startling to realize the vast differences between us and those in sich dire circumstances. By the grace of God, indeed. What a touching reminder.

  9. Sherri permalink
    February 6, 2011 7:29 pm

    Very touching. Wonderful volunteer work you are doing. You are truly practicing what Jesus asks us to do. I never comment, just a lurker, but this entry was so moving.

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