This one is a bit long, but has been touching my heart again lately. I wrote this after it actually happen sometime last fall. It constantly reminds me that however the Holy Spirit prompts you in your life, listen! God is speaking.
I feel compelled to share something that happen to me a few weeks ago, in the hopes that some one else will get "something" from my experience. That you too can see how much God loves us and what he'll go to show us where we are failing so that we can once again come to Him and He is able to use us. Joanne Jimenez once sent me an email that ending with "don't wait for God to throw at brick at you", that just about sums up the story that I have.
It was a dark and gloomy Friday (just kidding, thought I lighten up a bit). It was Friday though about two maybe three weeks ago. I was going to see a client and had stopped for lunch. They put red onions on my sandwich (yuck) so I had taken them off, not wanting to smell when I went into see my client I tucked them away as well as I could in napkins and the bag. When I parked in front of their office I was looking around for a trash can to put the onions in (didn't want to throw them away inside, they were quite strong). There was a trash can by a bus stop, with a catch, there was also what could have been a homeless person pushing a shopping cart near the bus stop. The way I saw it I had two choices, 1) I could cut the corner and walk across the grass, bypassing the "dirty homeless person who would no doubt ask me for a handout", or 2) walk around on the sidewalk and just tell her "no" when she inevitably asked me for money. So I'm getting out of my car still haven't decided which route to take, going across the grass my heels might get stuck and so on...as I came to the back of my car BAMMM I am slammed down on the sidewalk, hands and knees. Still not realizing what has actually happened my first thoughts are my back, and then the pain in my arm, then Oh God that homeless lady is asking me if I am ok. Yeah, I'm fine a say back to her, trying to keep her form coming over to me. Here she come's, she's left her cart and is running across the grass to me. I'm now at least in a seated position and she comes up beside me still asking if I am ok. She puts her arms under mine and from behind me picks me up. Between hurting and reminding myself to keep an eye on my purse which still lies on the sidewalk I realize that this woman is strong, much stronger then a woman should be, actually more like the strength of a very strong man. She tells me it’s alright that she's fallen before and someone else had to pick her up. She's now about four feet in front of me as she says this and I look up to see her and I'm still taken back by how strong she was picking me up. As my eyes rise to see hers, as God is trying to show me something that I am failing to see, I see her baseball cap says "Obama Girl" and my heart hardens again. She looks straight at me and says "God bless you". My thought, my icky nasty stupid thought, was "they always say that too" "those homeless people always use God".
Yes, I know at this point I have failed 200%; trouble is I'm not finished.
I go into my clients determined to be strong and hold on to my pride, not to let on how much I'm hurting and want to cry. We exchange pleasantries and I sit down at the computer, but as I put my right hand on the keyboard pain shoots in my wrist. So I calmly ask for a favor, do you have any ice? Why? Here come the tears...I fell outside and my hand is hurt badly! This woman takes me into the lunch room and only has ice cream, but gives me an ice cream container to put on my hand. Gets out the first aid kit and starts to put ointment on me, bandaging me, comforting me. I'm thinking, she's afraid of a lawsuit. (I'm still falling, in case you haven't noticed. And, I know what you’re thinking; can this woman fall any further?)
My client sends one of her workers out to get ice packs, she says she needs them for her first aid kit and I need one too. I finish my work and leave before the ice pack arrives, embarrassed that I fell, embarrassed that I cried, oh I just wanted out. There was more to what was happening to me but I wasn't seeing it, yet.
Back at the office, in pain and not wanting anyone to know, thinking that I tripped and that people will just laugh I go to the restroom. That's when it hits me. I don't know why it’s always in the restroom or the shower, maybe because that's when I am finally alone with myself, but it hit me... I didn't trip; God threw me down, literally. I was totally ripping on one of His children with my dirty filthy thoughts about the homeless person and He was just done with my unloving, selfish self. My thoughts about everyone were nasty and snotty; this was just the end of a long road as of late in my life. I don't even know when it started, I so didn't see my heart changing, and God was hurt seeing my hardened heart. Still in the restroom I am now crying but for a different reason. My heart hurts because of how I have hurt God. I crouch down and begin to pray and apologize, confessing my horrible heart. And yet still not seeing the whole picture. Because when I get out and back to my desk, that sweet lady, who I thought was afraid of a lawsuit, has left a message on my voice mail, "Just wanted to make sure you were ok and that you put some ice on your hand". Crying again I return her call and thank her, sincerely this time. Boy I am a fool.
That evening I shared my story with Octavio who told me the homeless woman could've been one of God's angels, I believe she was. She was way to strong for any person, when she said "God bless you" it was different then any other time I have heard it said. It was very deliberate G-o-d B-l-e-s-s Y-o-u. It was from God himself. At every turn in this whole thing God was trying to show me, hello you're falling Christine, your falling and I love you enough to knock you straight I can't use you like this.
I was up probably at least half the night running these events through my head. Now that I know what was really happening I didn't want to miss a thing. I now see so much more to this, God was at and in every turn even though I kept falling He didn’t stop trying to get my attention. He really loves us and wants our hearts right with Him.
The next day we went to meet our surf group, Christian Surfers, at the beach. That's where I met Brandy, a drug addict with horrible teeth, a bad mouth, and a scared young woman, who I saw as a beautiful child of God whom He has called. She needs some work, nothing that is beyond our God. But where she's been is very similar to where I have been with drugs. I was able to minister to her, share with her, love her with God's love. You see if God hadn't set me straight the day before, He couldn’t have used me the way He did. I was amped and filled with the spirit and a renewed love for our God. What He won’t do to get our attention. How stubborn we can be and not see. If Friday hadn’t happened I would’ve saw Brandy as an intrusion to my day at the beach with Chrystal. As it happens, Chrystal who knows my past was very taken to Brandy. Went out in the water with her and I could see she felt very attached to her. Wanting to help her, to show her the way that is so much better then the world. The rest of us sat on the beach in wonder at how awesome God is to bring us together that same day that Brandy decided to hang out with the group, how obvious it was that God was mighty and the spirit was truly moving.
I sure hope this comes across as strongly as I still feel it this day. Heed the Lord's gentle calling, when you wait its painful, literally. He loves us more than we know. He wants our hearts right with Him, Useable, Loveable and a reflection of Jesus. I love all of you, may God bless each one and may my failings bring lessons to all of us.