It is more than Christmas..to me..this year. It has been about listening. And seeing. Nurturing my trust in God.
He is always working. always. When I can move past myself. My own pain. Circumstances busyness and pray to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Who knew a stove can cause heaven and earth to meet?
I saw her walk in. Long unkept hair not real clean, clothes more than likely from the salvation army and she didn't care if they were a brand name or not. Honestly, she looked a little strung out...these were my honest first thoughts. She was in conversation with the employee and was noticeably upset and began to cry. I heard the word husband and soon after an older man walked in...looking much the same.
I completed my transaction without giving them another thought. I was there picking up a hutch for House of Belonging. I was standing on the outside of the furniture area and I looked to my right and there she was again. Sitting on a couch with an employee rubbing her back while she sobbed.
Way out of character for me I tapped the employee on the shoulder and asked her.."what does she need?" She said a gas stove. Someone had given her 125 dollars to buy one that was sold. They didn't have anymore gas stoves at this particular store. My heart skipped beats.. I swear! You know that old gas stove we had? Well - it was old and gross but it cooked and baked like a charm. And we were getting ready to move the electric one upstairs. After making a quick call to Nana to see if she'd mind if we gave the old gas stove away..I got the OK!
an Instagram of our new (used) stove that sits atop freshly primed and cleaned and is now mice free!
I went over to her and touched her shoulder...would you like a free gas stove? She couldn't speak. Tears welled in my eyes and I couldn't contain them. She began telling the lady on the phone someone just gave her a free stove and she would give the check back to her. The lady on the phone told her no to go buy christmas presents and some food. This precious heart...who's name is Cindy I later found out just kept saying....I just gave my heart to Jesus and He is blessing me...
Long story short. They followed us home and we helped them load it and she just kept thanking us. She has been abused so many times. She wants to be able to make it on her own. I know this feeling. She loves to bake and wanted to bake me a pie:) She has four children. She has luekemia. She looked a mess but you know what?
that day I saw with my naked eye God working. With no strings. No expectations. I didn't even say Jesus loves you and all that religious stuff. She knew. I knew. I prayed that just this little bit of love would lay one brick in her new foundation. Her new life. And someday she would look back and really see God was always right there.
The stove encounter has left me different. More ready to walk on the edge with God. It showed me how quick I can judge. I have no idea what circumstances people have come from or are going through.
Later on my son gave me a hug and asked what that smell was? At first I didn't know...and then...it was her smell.
To be able to have eyes to see past the smells, the clothes and the messy pain that people are in. That is what I want all year...this 2012. To see God working everywhere in the everyday and that I would be available to do whatever He asks. Even if people think I'm weird or don't understand.
God is SO MUCH BIGGER than we can even imagine. His plans and dreams for us are MUCH MORE than we can imagine and I so often put Him in a box.
Please don't think me crazy here but I truly believe God is raising up a replacement army within the world wide church. While I respect and love the church building and the people in them so often they are just treadmills that Christians get on and stay way to busy "doing" and miss God all together.
I long to be out in the trenches where real people are hurting and most likely won't ever enter a chruch building. But to show love without strings, a track, or a "do you know Jesus" speech.
and may that smell always remind me of where I could be but for God's grace.
I will be back after Christmas. I pray for each of you that this year be the year where you KNOW His LOVE for you. He loves you for ALL of who you are...messy and all. HE NEVER leaves you. NEVER! He is right there and may you ask each day for eyes to see it. I love you and I wish you a beautyFULL CHRISTmas. There are no have's and have not's in God's economy. His GIFT is FREE! and for that I can be grateful and find peace.