Have you ever had a heart ache? The kind that makes your heart feel like it weighs 20 pounds. The kind where it almost hurts to breathe too deeply? The kind where you have an actual physical ache to your heart?
I have one now. There is so much hurt and pain and need. I was smacked in the face with it yesterday.
I had a meeting yesterday morning, and had offered to bring coffee to said meeting. I walked by the thinnest woman I had even seen. She was toothless, and standing behind her only possession.. a shopping cart. Little did I know that my heart would be wrenched and squeezed as the day went along. I smiled at her, and immediately heard God tell me to buy her a cup of coffee.
So, I did.
Except that when I walked back out of Starbucks, I couldn’t find her. My heart sank as I scanned the parking lot, and I asked God to help me find her. He did, and I gave her a hot cup of coffee. She told me about her boyfriend, Eric, but didn’t give me her name. My heart broke for her, and the life she gave up for the addiction she currently has. There is no judgement here. I understand addiction all to well.. mine is just in the more “acceptable” form of food, of which Jesus has to save me from … daily.
I went to my meeting. Met up with my hubs for some lunch. Ran to the bank. And then got a text from someone dear to me who is in so much pain. There is literally nothing I can do except pray for that family. The weight of the text stunned me.
And then I drove to Trader Joe’s and was not prepared for what I was about to see. A young mom, standing near the entrance of Trader’s, with her baby asleep in a sling. She was holding a sign, but I didn’t read it. I went right up and asked her what she needed. She said food. She had a very thick accent and I don’t think we understood each other very well. But I understood that she and baby needed food.
I had a list of things my family needed, but I don’t even think I looked at it. I was so overwhelmed by her need, her desperation, her baby, that tears started to form. I was contemplating a gift card, but, again, with the language issue, I didn’t know if I could communicate that it was “money”. I must have looked like a weirdo because I was walking around the store, trying not to bawl, and asking God what I should buy her. Aloud.
Oh, yes. I was the crazy, talking to herself lady at the store.
Only, I wasn’t talking to myself. I was trying to hurry through the store and get some things for her (and us) without her leaving. I just started throwing in bread and peanut butter and jelly and almond milk and apples and granola bars and water. I wanted her to have things that wouldn’t spoil. I didn’t know how long she was going to be out there.
I bagged the groceries myself so I could separate the items. The checker probably thought I was a weirdo too. Oh well. I was on a mission to feed a hungry baby.
God and I ended up filling 2 bags full of groceries for her. I walked outside and set them on the ground, and asked her name. It is Donna. I think. Her accent was too thick for me to fully understand. I know she is from Serbia. I know she is hungry. And I know she has a 1 year old baby girl that she is trying to feed. I told her my name, and said I would pray for her. I asked if I could help her get the groceries to her home. She said her sister was going to pick her up.
I walked away with a heavy, but joyful heart. I don’t know if that makes sense. My heart was heavy for her need, but I was joyful that God asked me to feed her for the day. I was reminded again of what my hubs says… These are our modern day orphans and widows that we are called to care for.
The most insane part of the day? The second the door shut to my car, the devil tried to make me feel like an idiot for buying someone groceries. I was flooded with doubt about her really needing groceries. Was it a scam? Was she using the baby to get more sympathy? Is her accent real?
The truth is.. I don’t know.
Here is what I do know, however. If God prompts me to do something, I don’t need to question the sanity of it. His ways are not my ways. I could have questioned my way out of buying a hungry child some food. I’m not responsible for what hurting people do with the food, or money I give them. And neither are you. If God overwhelms you with someone’s need, chances are He has something for you to do about it. 🙂
I came home to some more news about someone we love with Stage 4 cancer, and someone else getting a divorce, and on and on it goes. I can sit here and let that overwhelm me. And some days I do.. to be perfectly honest.
Life is hard. Life is scary.
But, the Good News is that He knows life is hard. He knows it is scary for us. He knows. And He sees. And He is always working. So I will live my day out in faith that He knows what He is doing. And wait for His rest.
Isaiah 14:3 (NLT)
“In that wonderful day when the LORD gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains, …”