Today is Super Bowl Sunday... people are well armed with hotwings, chips, and of course awesome guacamole! They have their jersey's on and are ready to see the big show down of teams! We thought it was fitting to have a pizza party on North First St. today to have a tailgate superbowl party too....but first let's back up a few days to the beginning of the week.
This story is actually my husband Keith's story, but I would like to share it with you all. Keith always starts his day in the Word. Every morning I get up and find him sitting in his chair...reading the Word of God! Very inspiring and an incredible role model for our kids (but that is a whole different story.) Anyway... earlier in the week Keith read Matthew 8:23 "Jesus Calms The Storm". "Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."
After reading this scripture, Keith told the Lord that he wanted to stay in Jesus' boat. He prayed that there were many other boats to go in, but he wanted to stay in Jesus' boat whether there was a storm or not. All week Keith also prayed, "Help me to love people who don't love me." It is easy to love people who love us, but it is much harder to love people who do not love us. Well.... today was the perfect storm.
Keith called today "The worst day on North 1st. St. in the year and a half that we've been doing this."
Maybe it was his high expectation, maybe it was tiredness on his part, it might have been that it was the first weekend of the month and alot of the people were strung out and high... who knows, but for Keith... it was awful!
Last Friday Keith was able to share what was happening on North 1st. with Open Bible Church. They were incredibly kind and generous and gave us a wonderful offering. Keith, Olivia, and I had so much fun yesterday buying jeans, boxers, socks, hoodies, gloves, and hats for our North First St. friends. It was really fun. We also bought them Tony's Big Cheese Pizza for today because it is Superbowl Sunday and we thought it would be a wonderful treat. (By the way... Tony is awesome! He always gives us incredible deals with our large orders! Thanks Tony!!!). I think we were more excited than the people on North 1st. (One more thing to add to the perfect storm.)
Well with any perfect storm.... it is just the right combination of "stuff" that sets it into motion. In Matthew 8:22 ..." Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. " We pulled up to the lot and as soon as we got out of the car people were approaching Keith with different requests. The overall amount of people that came today was relatively small compared to normal, however, it felt so much harder......like running through mud....as if you are working so hard, going in so many different directions, but getting so little accomplished. It felt like working in chaos just like the storm on the sea for the disciples. The food line went relatively smoothly. We served pizza, a wonderful rice and bean dish (Thank you Cheryl!!!), donuts, amazing cookies (Thank you Traci, Michelle, and Miranda), hot coco, apples, and hot coffee (Thank you Gin!!)
It was a different story on the other side of the Suburban where Keith was handing out the clothes. For whatever reason... it was very chaotic! People were bombarding him with requests, asking for "North Face", and being very unappreciative. Keith wanted to say, "Why are you being picky... don't you realize that these are brand new?.... don't you know that God provided these for you?....You can't be ungrateful!.....The people who usually bother him a little bit... pushed his buttons today and were extremely irritating!! By the time we got home, Keith said he felt like he got run over by a train. He was worn, tired, and looked beaten down. It may not sound like it was a big deal, but for Keith...it was not good at all.
After we got home, we talked about the day like we do every week. We call it debriefing....because usually there is so much to try and process. I told Keith it was the "Perfect Storm". After we started talking Keith remembered what his prayers had been all week. Just like the Disciples....Jesus was in our boat too. The storm came up with a vengeance....but the Lord calmed the sea and protected all who were on board. Jesus never leaves us... He is with us ALWAYS despite how we are feeling at the moment. We have to remember that "We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but rather against the rulers, against p0wers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) so... put on the full armor of God!!!
As the verses came flooding back to Keith, truth started coming to him...."Keith was not upset with Nate, but with the spirit behind Nate.....He was not angry with the most irritating guy...but with the spirit that operates through him." The prayer to help Keith love those who are hardest to love...was put to the test today.
Further versus came to mind, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!" The more we talked, the more the good parts of the day came to mind... like how Keith was able to help this Jamaican man who was new here and was in need of clothes....the funny older lady, "Annie" who stood by him smoking her cigarette, "Can I help you?" Keith asked. "No, I don't need anything. I am just here socializing." This made Keith laugh....She just came out to "See the sights" lol!!! Keith shared how he was able to help this young guy who was from Wapato. He had a backpack and the shoes on his feet, but that was it. The guy was so appreciative for all that he received. The thought of the wonderful volunteers today softened the harsh outer shell that he came home with. Keith shared how happy it makes him to see the beautiful hearts of the young volunteers who come out each week. "Those kids show so much joy while they are serving and sometimes they outwork the adults."
The more we talked...the more we started seeing it through God's eyes again. The mud that seemed to weigh us down...started to dissipate. God has a way of doing that...He melts the yuck off of us and helps us to see things with His eyes again. Even when we can not see any light...we have to remember Jesus is ALWAYS in our boat. He never jumps ship, never over sleeps, and never sinks the ship. Jesus is our Salvation, Our Savior despite how we may be "feeling". Keith weathered the storm and came out of it stronger and even closer to the Lord because of it. Stay close to the Lord and in His word so that you can put on the Full Armor of God! Have a blessed week and I pray that you always remember who is in the boat with you. :0)