I have been struggling. I am going to be quite honest here today. It may not be pretty, but it all needs to come out. If you have followed my blog for very long, you will remember that back in June-August of last year, we were matched with a homeless woman who wanted us to adopt her baby girl. "E" was talked about and prayed for here on my blog. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out my archives from June-August...I have no idea how to attach posts like those professional bloggers do!)
We all know how that ended...badly. "E" was/is a homeless drug addict by choice. I learned so many things about her world while spending time with her. I came to really resent homeless people. They are living on the streets, collecting social security checks for their "mental illnesses", spending those checks within about 2 days of getting them, and we are ultimately paying for their addictions. (Now, I really haven't had a change of heart in this regard...I believe these people should be drug tested before receiving their government checks. No, I don't know how you would oversee it, or care, I'm just saying!)
And then there was the mother of my former foster kids who used and abused us with the promise of her baby (that she wasn't even pregnant with). Burned by yet another homeless person.
So, fast forward a couple of months after "E" and I am asked to head up our women's ministry at church. I wanted to, I knew God was leading me to this, but there was something missing in my spirit. First of all, they wanted us to help the homeless. Ummm...nope. Sorry. I will support you all in what you want to do, but I am done with homeless drug addicts. DONE!!!
I felt totally justified in this. Those homeless people deserve what they get. They chose to do the drugs. They chose this life. And on and on the excuses went. I mean really, can you blame me? Just look what these people did to us and all we were doing was trying to help them!
So there. Someone else will deal with the homeless, I'll help with everything else. And our women's ministry moves forward.
As you know, Patrick and I are praying to adopt through DHS. This is straight adoption, not foster care. The children available have already served their time in foster care and need a forever family. Because DHS changes their rules all the time, there was a 3 hour class that has been added since we first started doing foster care. So, last week, the coldest night ever (in my opinion), we head downtown to take our class. We stop at a Taco Bell to eat, and because of the temperatures, there are some homeless people coming in and out to warm up. We were just blocks from the bridge where "E" lives. Patrick and I were finishing eating and this homeless couple walks in. They are freezing. She was carrying all of her belongings and her hands were frozen. When I say that, I am not talking about when you or I get out of our warm vehicles to pump gas, or run to the mailbox from our warm homes and claim that we are freezing. This woman was in pain. He was trying his best to warm her hands, but his hands were cold, too. I watched them as they were trying to figure out how to get her warm.
I walked over and handed her my gloves. Her eyes lit up like I had handed her a million dollars. My heart was breaking for her. She said, "Oh, thank you! Bless you!!" He said, "We were trying to get her warmed up, this is going to help."
And we walked out, got in our truck that was warm in about 2 minutes, and I put on the extra pair of gloves that were in my truck. It wasn't even a sacrifice for me. Not only did I have a pair in the truck (you know, a different color so that my ensemble is never an eyesore) but I have a couple of pair for EACH of my coats!!! If I wanted to, I could have had Patrick take me to the nearest store to replace my gloves. How I wish I had had the time to go buy a bunch of gloves and pass them around downtown.
Let me clue you in on the bigger thing here. God told us to go back to DHS. I did NOT want to go to a stupid 3 hour class that is supposed to tell me how wonderful it is to be friends with our adopted children's parents. (Been there, done that, they stole my t-shirt!) It was SO cold and I almost cancelled. But God had other plans. You see, he knew from before I was born that I was going to be hurt by homeless people. He also knew that I would have this encounter that would totally soften my heart towards the homeless again. Praise God.
That bitterness and hate that I was holding onto was gone the moment the gloves passed from my hands to hers.
"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." Proverbs 28:27
2 months ago