Over the Christmas Holiday, I was able to see all of our children. It is so fun to see how they are growing, making choices for themselves, and blossoming as young adults. They are all definitely changing, but what is so funny is that Keith and I are also growing and changing. When my oldest son left for college- we got a dog for Olivia. We had never had a dog in the previous 12 years of marriage, but it was time. Needless to say-shortly after our purchase- my son blogged that he had been replaced by a dog when he went to school. Kind of true/kind of not true. No one could replace him, but his life was moving on in great ways that did not need mom and dad in the same way.... so we bought a dog, lol.Well, page ahead a year and our 2nd son comes homes from college for Christmas. I think that he thinks that we have gone nuts. He goes away for 4 months and suddenly mom and dad are filling the living room up with boxes and bags of clothes for the next days "distribution." His comment, "I to away to college, and my parents replace me with homeless people." We laughed about it and later it became a little clearer.... God wired me to be a mom.... 100% nurture.... care for.... encourage....uplift... in my own goofy way... I do that to the best that I know how because I don't know how not to. It is how I am made....Later I told my son that he and his siblings are growing up and moving on. They are all making exciting and awesome choices/changes/etc. in their lives that don't need a mom and dad holding on too tightly....so...... we are just directing that natural "nurturing" to a group of people who could use a little "love."
In Luke 3:11 it says, "If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry." Today we handed out 60+ pairs of socks, 30+ hats, 30+ gloves, 20-25 pairs of jeans, 35-40 jackets, chips, sandwiches, and 48 rolls of toilet paper along with multiple other odds and ends. Wow! I really do always wonder where all the "stuff" will come from. It comes from caring friends, family, friends of friends,etc. who opened their hearts and took the time to dig out the used clothes that they wanted to get rid of. God took their things and through a variety of people- got it to us. He managed to fill a lot of "needs" today.
That feels good filling needs, but then you hear about what has been going on this past week throughout the area.... down by the river.... (This is a whole new education for us... we just keep on learning.). Given the fact that this week was the first of the month... people received their money from the various government programs they are on. Needless to say... it has been one huge drug/drinking fest. They told us that there has been a lot of violence down by the river because so many people over did it. Tents were slashed and burned, there were mass fights, and a lot of chaos followed. Many of the people we saw today were "juiced" up on their drug of preference.
My "cognitive" side says, "Why are we putting all of this effort into people who are no where close to taking responsibility for their lives?" Thankful for my wiring--- Jesus speaks to my heart and not my brain. He reminds me that they are someone's child- that they didn't get this way over night- that they must have a lot of pain that they are trying to escape-- and if all else fails--- because Jesus loved me before I ever knew Him... and He forgave me for ALL of my sins... not just the ones that were "not so bad".
Please don't think that we are such wonderful people to love the lowly or that we have something special... no on the contrary.... it is only because of the love we receive from Jesus that we are able to extend that love. I am constantly fighting my human-ness. I think judgemental thoughts and try to rationalize and make "cognitive" sense of what we are doing. God continually convicts my heart and says... "I just told you to love them and try and supply some of their basic needs. Don't judge them, don't try and make sense of it, don't try and fix them.... just love." Wow! Humbly I say, "o.k...." and realize that I can not make sense of why God gave me so many chances in my own life. It doesn't make sense how He could forgive me for my past, but He did.... So each day I try to judge a little less....... and love a little more. (Forgive me Lord for my judgemental ways....Please continue to grow me and stretch me.)