Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today I die.

I drive down the street. Thanks to the location of our new house and weekly rehearsals at the local children's theater I drive down this particular road quite frequently now. 

It's a road steeped with history. It's name reflects the piles of product that used to line the street 100 years ago. It houses the public library that sits right next to the police station just a block or two from the first Baptist church. Saturday mornings it hosts the downtown farmers market. And just a few blocks the other way is a local mission/shelter and the mission's thrift store and a salvation army thrift store and a liquor store, and on and on it goes.

We live in a small town, but I grew up in a big city... actually I take that back... I was a kid in a big city and I'm "growing up" in a small town.

As I drive down the road on my way to where I'm going... I hope I see her... and I hope I dont. Our city recently installed new benches along the downtown main streets, and on one of them sits a woman.
Sometimes she's wearing a brightly orange colored jacket, slumped over one of her two bags, resting. Sometimes she eating out of a container of some kind. Sometimes she has a plastic bag on her head because it's sprinkling. Sometimes she has on an auburn colored wig and sometimes I can see her dark hair streaked with gray. Sometimes she's just sitting there, not sleeping, not eating, not huddled up, just sitting. She usually sits facing away from the main street. Sometimes she's there at 10 am and still at 11:30 am. Sometimes she's there at 6pm and 8:30pm and 9:30pm.

Sometimes she's not there and I wonder where she is. I think maybe I've seen her on the north side of town before, walking from one place to another. Maybe that's where she is. Maybe she's at a shelter. Maybe she's hurt. Maybe she's dead.
But when she is there, I wonder what I should do. I read an article that stated "you can't begin to assess someone's needs and help them unless you have that relationship." So how do I form a relationship? How do I talk to her... I don't walk down that street and have a reason to just casually start a conversation. (and besides,.. introvert over here! I don't know how to start conversations remember! I wait for the other person, then I determine whether or not I can trust them, and THEN my bubbly, sassy personality comes out).

When I drive down the street I often have to stop at that red light, and she's only 40 or 50 feet away and I ask myself a million and four questions...
How can I help her? What if she doesn't want help? What if she's mentally ill or just afraid and I walk up to her and she pulls out a knife and stabs me? Should I offer her a place to sleep? Should I pull over and ask if she's hungry? What would Dave think if i brought her home and cooked her a meal and offered her our bed because we dont have an extra? What if she kills us all in our sleep... who will send my beautiful asha kids monthly support if we're dead? What if she steals something? What if she hurts the kids?
...and then the light turns green and I go.

but I don't go into all the world, because I can't even go to the bench lady on the corner of my small town America. I go back to my bubble. my stuff. my comfort. my husband and children. my life.

but I said I would lay down my life... because that's what Christ did for me. He saw me in my hunger and despair and orphaned state; separated from the Father because of sin, and He brought me in and he gave up His position and His stuff and He died for me.  He died!

and when I said I would follow Him and be like Him and live like Him... it meant I would die like him too. I would die for someone else. I would give up my stuff for someone else. I would give up my position and rights and privileges. I didn't get a ticket to heaven. I got a ticket to death. and in so choosing death, I will live.

and because whatever I do for her, I do unto Him. So it's not a scary, possibly-crazy, homeless lady. It's Christ. Waiting for me... to step out in obedience... to step out in surrender... to do something. It's Christ waiting for me to die so He can give me life.

and when all my questions start to convince me to be afraid, I remind myself that it's not just me... I'm only one small part of the body of Christ. I'm not alone in this. I have a network of support. I have a network of resources. Right now I'm the eyes. I see her. and I'll have to be the tongue and talk to her. and maybe I'll be the hands and feet too for a while, or maybe someone will join me and they'll be the hands for a time.

so today... amidst our busy schedule, dirty dishes, feverish child, burnt toast, theater rehearsals, worship set that isn't ready, longings for India, moldy tortillas, unfinished projects, school work, chores, memory verses, organizing clothes, disciplining kids, barking dogs, colorful crafts, and all that is my life... today I die.

and tomorrow I plan to die again.


  1. She's one I pray for often. If it's the same one. I stopped once and gave her a blessing bag and tried to talk to her. She didn't talk, didn't look at me, just sat ther, but didn't walk away. It was more unsettling than had she cursed at me. I wonder how many people see her, pray for her, how many people does she see, does she pray? I wanted answers, I wanted to know her name, her story, her pain but I didn't get to. I realize she doesn't owe me that and she doesn't know me..she doesn't think hey there's that lady in a Honda pilot

  2. But I have to see her because she is Christ...and in order to see her as Christ sees her we have to die to self. We have to do the hard things. We have to pray for her, stop every now and then and talk to her, smile when we see her, think about her, talk about to our kids. Notice her...we have to be Christ. I'm thankful others see her, pray for her and notice..