The other day Facebook reminded me of an event that happened while I was living in Washington. This was one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. God’s hand in my life and His amazing ability to orchestrate time and space is the only way I can explain this.
I posted on Facebook on July 26, 2017 about how I saw a homeless woman in Vancouver, Washington on my way to work. However, the significance of this woman was I knew her when I was still in Reno. I never thought that I would see her again and yet while driving on 78th street in Vancouver, Washington, I see her on the side of the road with the same bags of luggage that she always carried. I could not believe it! I pulled over and ran to her. She was so startled to see me. I think that she must have thought that I was stalking her. She asked me what I was doing here. I asked her the same. The answer was the same, we both had moved. However, the reasons why and how were different. I was finishing school, living as a live-in nanny, and working. She hitched hiked, took the bus and ended up there. Of all the places that she could have ended up, she lands in the same corner of the world that I was residing in.
Let me further explain my history with this woman. My heart for the homeless has not been as tender as it is now. A big shift in my feelings took place after taking a class on the prophets while I was in Bible College. I realized more than before that God has a heart for the oppressed and outcast of society. My heart became sensitive to the homeless people I saw on the side of road. On my route to and from home, I consistently would see the same homeless woman standing at the intersection with a sign asking for help. Not being content with just giving her a hand out and wanting her to know that she is valuable because she is created by God, I stopped to talk to her. I approached her and asked if she was hungry and wanted to go to the Taco Bell that was right there. She stared at me. At first, I thought maybe she couldn’t speak. She probably was stunned by the offer? She asked me why I wanted to spend time with her. I told her that I believe that she is created by God and therefore should be treated with dignity and that I wanted to get to know her because I love her. With that, she agreed to dinner but only if I was hungry (I wasn’t but didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So, I lied and said I was.) Our time at Taco Bell was educational for me and moved my heart to care more for the homeless. I learned about her life, the events that lead to her becoming homeless and what it is like to be homeless. My heart broke over the stories she shared. Especially, about how she is treated now. People spit at her, call her names, and steel her stuff while she sleeps. She buys body spray at the Dollar Store because she doesn’t want to stink. I didn’t know that a homeless person would care about that. I was wrong. She is human and wants to gain some dignity for herself by not smelling.
After our first Taco Bell date it became a thing. Every Monday and Wednesday at 6 pm I would meet her at the intersection for dinner. I loved it. I loved her. One day, she stopped showing up. It broke my heart. For a while it discouraged me from trying to reach out to the homeless community. Why? You love them, and they leave. However, we are called to love whether it is returned or whether we think it is deserved. God gave me the gift of seeing her again on that beautiful Summer day as I drove to work 600 miles away from where I first met her. To me this seems impossible that we were to ever cross paths again. But God moved!
As I am in this place in my life, where I am sorting things out and trying to figure out where I belong, I am encouraged by this. God has me right where he wants me for a greater purpose than I can see or understand. He is moving in my life and I will be in the place that he calls me to at the time that he wants me there. That may be here, and in the future, it may be Washington. I’m hoping for the later. In the mean time I will continue to wait. There are moving parts that haven’t settled yet and questions unanswered. There are hurting and oppressed people who need love. While I am not always content with where I am currently at in my life, I’m blessed with a home, friends, family, daily food, and more than I deserve. I have received more love from God, far from what I deserve. Hopefully, I’m sharing that same kind of unconditional love to all wherever I’m at.