Our church held a "Love Loud" event Saturday morning where we gathered together and took Thanksgiving meals to about 200 low-income families. We basically just went in small groups and knocked on doors. Gene and I took Reagan with us because we have been talking to her a lot about loving people by meeting their needs because Jesus first loved us. There is no way that her little mind can comprehend what that means without showing her. And this is something that Gene and I want to model to our girls all throughout the year, not just around the holidays. We have been very convicted about this lately.
As I drove to the event, I assumed that Reagan would learn something and we would have some positive family conversations. That did happen, but I forgot that God might have some lessons for me as well.
How easy it is to forget that people right here in Wetumpka, Millbrook, and Prattville are living in poverty. I knocked on the doors of several trailers that I almost skipped because I assumed that no one lived there. I thought this because the trailers were run down, the yard overgrown, and there was no car in the driveway. How easy it is to assume that every one has the means, the equipment, and the ability to keep up the outside of their home, and how silly to assume that every person even has a car. In the worst trailers, people answered the door. In a few of the homes there was no sound coming from inside the trailer, like the noise from a television or radio or the hum of an air conditioner or heater, and no lights were on. I am assuming that they did not have electricity. What they did have in these homes were small children and that broke my heart.
One young lady, who was probably 22 years old or so, came to the door with a toddler on her leg. This was a run-down trailer with no signs of electricity. I spoke with the girl for a few minutes and there was absolutely no light in her eyes. Actually, her eyes looked a little distant, like she was "on" something. She looked a little dirty...a little greasy...maybe no hot water for a bath. She eagerly took the food I offered but didn't want to talk about church or God. I wanted to shake her to make her listen....I didn't. I wanted to take the little girl and run....I didn't. I wanted to ask her what she needed, knowing she needed a lot. At that moment, I felt completely spoiled rotten, completely blessed, completely ashamed that I am never satisfied with my material items, but most of all, I felt completely helpless. I walked away with tears in my eyes. I can still clearly see her face and the face of that little girl. I have no idea what to do to make significant changes in her life. I could throw some money at her, but knowing Jesus is the only true way to turn her life around and she wasn't open to that.
After the Love Loud event I had to drop by Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I needed milk, bread, yogurt, and eggs, and not because I was out of these items, but rather I was close to running out. It never occurred to me how I would pay for my purchase. It is a "luxury" to me to be able to walk into a store and get the things I need. I had the same thought as I went to put gas in my car. The morning gave me new insight into just how blessed I am. The young mom I spoke to doesn't have the luxury of jumping in her car, going to the store, and buying the things that she is "almost" out of.
Not too long ago I heard a pastor ask his congregation, "What is the opposite of being poor?" The congregation responded with the phrase "being rich". The pastor corrected the congregation by saying, "No. It is having enough." Having enough is definitely the opposite of being poor. Having enough makes each one of us rich. I saw clearly Saturday morning that I am rich, and I am pretty sure that I wouldn't have described myself as "rich" before leaving my house. I am rich because I have enough...of everything. I have more than enough, and I have got to learn to be more giving and to open my eyes to the needs of those around me. Too many people don't have enough.
Father God, help me to truly see people as you see them. Help me to see the blessings in my life, to be grateful for those blessings, and to truly desire to bless others.
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