Ezekiel 37 "The Valley of Dry Bones"
The power of the Lord was upon me and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley full of old, dry bones that were scattered everywhere across the ground. He led me around among them, and then he said to me: "Son of dust, can these bones become people again?" I replied, "Lord, you alone know the answer to that." Then he told me to speak to the bones and say: "O dry bones, listen to the words of God, for the Lord God says, "See! I am going to make you live and breathe again! I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you shall live and know I am the Lord."
What a beautiful promise from the Lord... He will take our dry bones... breathe again, He will breath into you and you shall live..... "and know I am the Lord!!" Today I think that we experienced the "valley of dry bones". It was a wonderful day... we had so many volunteers today! What a huge blessing... because we had so many people come to receive clothes and food today. Our empty lot quickly was transformed into tables of sandwiches, snacks, cookies, and hot coco....after the food came the boxes of clothes, shoes, and blankets.
The fellowship was wonderful... I feel genuinely joyful to walk down the line of people handing out grocery sacks so that they have something to put their food into. It is wonderful to see tired, faces light up when you hand them a sack, smile, shake their hand and say, "Hi! What's your name? How was your week this week?" That little "chit-chat" is like drops of pure water on dry bones... it is absorbed immediately and brings life... Along the way each person is met with a line of people offering a kind smile and some sort of wonderful food.
Today someone told me that their friends are touched so much by the fact that the food is homemade- it brings back good memories of some time in their childhood when someone they loved made them something good to eat. Each smile, each offering of food, a kind word, a roll of toilet paper act as more drops of pure life giving water.. on their dry bones. God takes our "offerings" and transforms them into "living water" that feeds their souls and pours into their dry bones.
God is so so cool though because He does not just breath life into their dry bones.... but into our dry bones. I had shoulder surgery 7 days ago and have been "couch bound" for the past week. Today was my first official day out... it did wonders for my spirit to be out serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!! The water that was flowing from my interactions was a 2 way spout- Water was pouring both directions! As I served the Lord and spoke life into others... the Lord in turn poured living water directly into my spirit!! No pain medicine, no anesthesia, can ever do what Jesus' Living Water does!!! He is the life giver, the healer, the fountain of living water!!! Thank you Jesus for watering my dry bones... as I was so honored to be able to help bring your living water to others!
Most everybody had left the lot, but we still had a few stragglers who were very hungry. Lately we bring a special box for "emergencies" :0) It has bread, peanut butter, jelly, and cookies in it because we really don't want to deny anyone food. Keith was making sandwiches for some of the guys while I was chit chatting with some of our regulars who had stayed around. One of the guys was really hungry so as I watched him adjust his things so that he could hold his sandwiches, I noticed how incredibly dry and crusted his hands were. I said, "Wow! You need some lotion!" He had cracks that had bled. Someone offered him clippers for his nails and he said, "No, I can't because I am HIV and so I can't give them back to you." He said it in a very low voice with his eyes cast down to the ground. My heart broke for him. He is only around 30. I am sure that he has led a very difficult life to get to this point... but my heart says... He is some one's son and he is going to die. (so what did I do? of course went and bought him some intensive lotion and neosporin for his "owies". I can't make it all better, but I can give some mama tlc that the Lord takes and makes into more everlasting water... to help water his dry bones.)
Well our story continues because as you can see in the pictures to follow... we were invited to see the "tent camps" down by the river. Keith, Kaecey, Kaity, and I walked with them down by the river.... across the bridge... over the rocks... around the tracks... let's just say it was a jaunt "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go." It amazed me that they trusted us enough to show us where they live. I know that I would never go there without an invitation and an escort. It is their world, with their rules, and with respect we entered it. I know that God had our back, our front, and our sides :0)
(We asked permission to take these pictures and they were fine with it. We show them not to exploit their situations, but to try and better understand what it is to live homeless. Again, I don't know what I would do if I had lived through some of the situations that these people have lived through. I asked how old some of these people were when they no longer could rely on their parents. There was a range of answers, but most were on their own from 9 to 15 years of age. I can't judge. Jesus asks us to Love not Judge. He continually works on my heart as well as my eyes--- to see and to feel a tiny bit what Jesus feels. God can revive those dry bones!!!)
A few of the guys are making progress staying clean and going to AA meetings. I think that the group tries to support them and help them with encouragement, but everyone does there own thing. I had this heaviness that I felt so much.... it was a feeling of "death".... dry bones really seemed to fit. The cool thing was... they know what we stand for and they still took us into their inner circle. We saw a few of the people that we had collected clothes for during the week, but who had not shown up today. We asked them to walk back to the truck with us so that they could look through the clothes (No we are not starting door to door shopping, but the little gal is pregnant and we really wanted her to get her clothes- again, the mother heart takes over! no, it is the Jesus heart because it is in men and women alike!). They all walked back to the truck with us and we were able to make some beautiful matches between some excellent jeans and some needy people :0) At one point, Keith was digging in the trailer and the young girls boy friend- (would I say her baby daddy?) asked if we had size 8 1/2 boots for his girl friend (or baby mama?). We have not had women's boots for at least a month now because we are heading into spring and we just haven't had them come through. Keith picked up a pair of women's boots= checked the size- and yes... they were 8 1/2!!! He looked at the baby daddy and said, "There is no way you can deny there is a God who loves you.... we have not had women's boots for months now." They guys eyes were filled with tears and they were genuinely touched. We gave all the praise to The Lord Jesus Christ and hugged them before we hopped in the car and took off. We also reminded them that next Sunday is Easter weekend and we want to feed them a yummy dinner and have an Easter Service out there! Praise God!!! The Lord finished our day with a huge bucket of everlasting water that He poured over all of our dry bones.... the homeless as well as our own... Thank You Lord for pouring Your Living Water over all of our dry bones... for breathing life into the lifeless so that we can never forget that You Are LORD!! Praise You God!!!! I can't wait to see what next week will bring! :0)