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I witnessed God at work today.

December 16, 2014

Hope & Friendship Countdown- 12 days until Christmas- Day 2

I have lived in Lemont for 20+ years, I have been a conduit of acts of kindness via Hope and Friendship for 10 of those years. I have sat back and uttered the words “I will never cease to be amazed at your works” more times than I can count.

Years ago I had someone email me that they had teen clothes to donate for a young woman in need of them but didn’t have time to bring them to me so I would have to go to their home and pick up the bags that they would leave on their porch. Of course I muttered under my breath as I willingly agreed to make that apart of my day’s schedule. I showed up at the house, loaded the garbage bags into my car and drove to a home of a friend, a single mom of 5, with a young daughter about the age of the person donating and told them to go through the clothes and whatever fit her keep and I’ll take the rest down to the Second Chance Thrift Store after they were finished. The mom of course offered to do it for me saying it was the least she could do for the gift of clothes for her daughter. What I was not privy to was that this 8th grader had asked her mother for a coat she feel in love with from “Gap”. Mom was a single mom, working two part time jobs and a coat from “Gap” was not on the necessity list so she told her that was not a possibility at this time. What we were all not privy to was that happenchance, fate, or if you’ll allow it…God was working His magic on the hearts of those that have to meet the simply and humble requests of those that need. In one of those 3 garbage bags filled with beautiful high end clothing- all of course this young lady’s size- was THAT COAT. Seems like such a simply and silly miracle, but isn’t that how Hope works?

Sometimes when we are at the end of our rope, when we are thinking God really doesn’t give two cents about our requests we are sent a glimmer of Hope that tells us to tighten our grasp and hold on because Hope is around us, He did not create us to fail but to succeed. It may be after many bounces on the tarmac, bruised from the battle, scarred from the fight, or limping from the wrestling match that slammed us to the mat more than once, however once we pass that chapter we will find that we have been polished like a diamond, beautified like a pearl and standing like a warrior proud of where we have been and what we have passed through.

Today I witnessed this again.

A elderly friend I have loved dearly for the past 10 years, to my blessing, remains in my life. Though the family members that brought us together have since passed he is still in my there (because the “Good Lord is wiling and the creeks haven’t risen” to keep him from not being here). I have channeled all I can to help him with physical and emotional relief over the past 10 years and he has endowed me with the wisdom and friendship that has solidified my foundational. He presented me with a check of $300 today. I told him I wanted him to keep that for himself. He was insistent that he wanted that to help someone because of all of the help that has come his way. He has so little and this was so very much to him, but I honored his request knowing from past experience there was a plan.

Enter father of 6 who has not been called back to his factory job, post-injury. He has been pounding the pavements and putting in the applications. I searched some job sites for him and found some leads which he was excited to go immediately and pursue. They moved here in pursuit of a dream and have found nothing but setbacks and struggles. Mom has a full ride scholarship but has not been able to launch into it due to financial struggles. Blow after blow has kept them down on the mat, yet he was so beautifully vulnerable to opening himself to take more chances just to secure a job that would support his family and help his wife fulfill her goal, as was their goal of moving here.

“How much are you behind in rent?”

“$300 from last month and because of the lay off I haven’t paid this month’s yet.”

I wrote a check for $300 to his landlord and told him that it was just given to me this morning to help someone in need. He was speechless, appreciative, yet broken. He wants to be at the level to help not need help. “Hold on” I told him, “You are trying and something will happen! I believe this is a message to you that you are not to give up hope.”

Then as he was parting another friend was waiting to talk to me and had a toaster oven that she had received at one of the communities recent holiday giving parties. She could use it but felt this urge to come to me to ask me to help her find a family that could use it more. I connected them on the spot. His eyes lit up and he told us how his wife had often said how wonderful it would be to have one but they couldn’t afford to purchase one in the struggles they were in. I told him to hold onto it and surprise her with it as a Christmas present and he was delighted at the thought of having something to surprise her with for Christmas that would benefit the entire family.

Such a simple and humble happenchance, but all of us stood there and felt this presence of Hope that was simply beyond what any human could plan or coordinate. I still am smiling thinking of the light in his and the giver’s eyes for knowing they were apart of something greater than their need.

That need IS HERE IN OUR CORNER OF THE WORLD.

Layoffs, medical traumas, extended family needing a place to stay, divorce, death, and devastating life blows that leave us on the mat with the wind knocked out of us.

Your small offerings are HUGE. Don’t underestimate the value of a side dish offered for Christmas, personal care items or a donation of $5 or $10. Every donation, every dollar, every act of kindness no matter how small makes a difference in a life that squinting for a ray of Hope.

Once again I am humbled to simply be a conduit.

I did nothing but connect people today and I walk away blessed and enriched from witnessing God move.

I know this is my calling. I know I was put here not by coincidence but by plan. I know that the devastations in my life only softened me to be eyes, ears, arms and a heart to meet others in their storm and empathize with a commitment to do as much I can with as much passion as I can to channel whatever can be offered to meet them at their need.

A conduit from those who have to those that need.

Sometimes I can only offer an ear, a word of encouragement, or a hug but other times YOU equip me to offer more.

Christmas night is approaching. I foresee homes lit all through town not with electricity but with Hope and love and having received the beauty of the unconditional gift of Christmas- having given a gift to someone who will never be able to personally thank you and then those how have been blessed paying it forward however they can to anyone and everyone they can, always knowing it was someone in their corner of the world who reached out to them to provide a glimmer of light in the dark of their storm.

As I witnessed happen twice today.

Tis the season of Hope, Giving, Loving Unconditionally, and sending forth the ripples of the true meaning of the season.

May God Bless All of Us as we Bless those within our arms reach.

Wishing you peace & love my friends,

Terri

http://www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

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