"But don’t just listen to God’s word. YOU MUST DO WHAT IT SAYS.
Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." James 1:22
This week's warm weather has me reminiscing about the summer and some of the things God did that I have yet to share.
I actually need to back up to spring - spring break to be exact. My family and I went to the beach that week. On the way home, it was raining pretty hard. As we drove by a hotel, something caught my eye near the bushes along the road. It was a homeless woman, and she was getting soaked.
My heart was heavy for her. I wanted to turn around but we were in the midst of thick traffic on the highway. Stuck. No way to turn around. Ugghhh!
God etched that lady in my mind and in my heart.
Within 12 hours of getting home, God had me take food to the Charlotte Rescue Mission to help with their Easter meal. *There's a whole God-story behind this too. Let's just say that God used a news story, a question from my sister-in-law, and a broken computer to prompt me to act. But it all started with seeing the homeless lady at the beach. WHATEVER IT TAKES!*
Then, God planted another idea. He had me gather all of the strap bags I could find at my house and fill them with supplies and food from The Dollar Store for folks who were homeless. Once packed, I put the bags in my van and waited for God's prompting.
I prayed over each bag and for the people who would receive them. I asked God to lead me to the specific people He wanted to have them. I should add that God had me make one bag specifically for a female too.
With the bags ready, I kept my eyes open for people in need, particularly when I went to Target on South Blvd in Pineville. Homeless folks often stand at the stop light between The Dollar Store and Chick-fil-a holding a sign.
On 2 different occasions, I was leaving The Dollar Store and saw someone standing with a sign at the stop light. As I drove towards them, I asked God to have them wait for me if one of the bags was for them. Both times, they were GONE!!! It took me less than 30 seconds to get to them, but there was NO TRACE of them when I got to the light! Obviously, the bags were not for them.
Faith Wrenn was with me when 3 of the 4 bags were given away. She spotted all 3 of the people too - long before I did!!! What a blessing that she got to experience God this way!
Here's Faith Wrenn with the last bag as we waited in traffic to give it to the young man she spotted. We also gave him a Chick-fil-a coupon, and he made a mad dash to CFA to use it.
Hang on - there's more. Keep reading to find out the rest of this story and how it relates to the next story :)
For the past 3 summers, I've had the privilege of going to Student Life Camp with our youth group from church. For the 2nd summer in a row, our camp was held at Lee University in Cleveland TN. There were over 1600 people at this last camp. That's a lot of mouths to feed at one time.
In the cafeteria, there were 4 serving lines, all serving the same thing. Almost every time I went through the line (no matter which one it was), the same young lady waited on me. I always spoke to her and asked her how she was doing. She was a hard worker and moved pretty fast so we never had a chance to have a real conversation.
The night before we left, I had just finished eating dinner when God hit me up side the head (because I am such a slow learner!!) and said "Umm, have you not noticed that no matter what line you get in, the same young lady waits on you??!!! Don't you think you should go speak to her NOW & find out her story??!!! Don't forget to tell her that I sent you!"
I barely had 10 minutes before I had to meet my family group (small group) for prayer time. So, I quickly headed back to the serving area but didn't see her. I told another worker who I was looking for and asked them to please get her for me. Within a couple of minutes, she appeared.
Meet Jennifer from NIGERIA!!! Yes, you heard me right - she is from AFRICA!!! No wonder God wanted me to go talk to her. Jennifer came to the U.S. to go to college and become a doctor. She had just started working in the campus cafeteria a few days before we arrived! ONLY GOD!!!
And check out the shirt she has on.....
It's for BREAST CANCER!!! I took that as another indication that God had ordained our meeting. We exchanged cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses like we had known each other for a while.
It's been 5 months now since we first met and we talk, text, or e-mail nearly every week. Jennifer is such a positive person, and she loves the Lord! Things have been challenging for her this semester, but she continues to trust God and His plans for her - no matter what. She is a blessing in my life.
Please pray for her as she works really hard to afford school and will not be able to see her family again for a few years.
Did I mention what a blessing Jennifer is in my life?!! Out of all the people at Lee University that week at camp, God introduced me to Jennifer from NIGERIA!!! ONLY GOD!!!
Two days after returning home from camp, Faith Wrenn and I went to Columbia to help my friend Leann move. We left early Saturday morning and decided to stop for breakfast at Chick-fil-a in Fort Mill on the way. Right before we turned into CFA, I was thinking about the bag I had in my van that God had me make for the homeless female in need. I wondered if I would meet her today in Columbia.
Faith Wrenn and I went through the CFA drive-thru and started to pull out onto the road when Faith spotted her - a woman on the other side of the road holding a sign for help. I immediately pulled over and jumped out of my van to introduce myself and see what I could do to help. As I got closer, here's what I saw...
A BREAST CANCER HAT - HOPE!!!
Meet Pam. (She asked that I not show her face so I am honoring her request.) She and her adult son were living in the woods near CFA in a tent - in the blistering heat of summer. She shared part of her story with me, and my heart broke for her. I shared Jesus with her. Then I gave her "her bag" and she let me say a prayer for her.
When Faith Wrenn and I got back from Columbia, we tried to find Pam again to give her 4 gallons of water she had asked for. But we couldn't find her. I'm not sure what happened to her, but I have no doubt that God ordained our meeting that morning and had me make that bag especially for her!!! God used her breast cancer hat to confirm that!!!
Doesn't God just blow your mind??!!!
Within 3 days, He put 2 precious women in my path - BOTH OF THEM WEARING PINK BREAST CANCER ATTIRE! I know that (the pink) was God's way of giving me a hug from heaven :)
NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY! Well, almost....
During this time, I was praying for 2 things: 1) "God, break my heart for what breaks Your heart" and 2) "God, use me. Use me to be the answer to someone else's prayer/need" - I was inspired by Bruce Wilkinson's book "You Were Born For This".
And GOD ANSWERED!!! To Him be ALL the praise, ALL the honor, and ALL the glory! GOD IS SO AMAZING!!! SO AMAZING!!!
He (Jesus) told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field." Luke 10:2
What about you? Are you available to God - for His purposes? For His people? For His will? I sure hope so. Our lost & hurting world needs you. Your co-workers need you. Your neighbors need you. Your family needs you. Your spouse needs you. Your children - the next generation - need you.
So, GO MAKE A DIFFERENCE - FOR ETERNITY!
GO BE SOMEONE ELSE'S MIRACLE!
Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,