Saturday, December 12, 2009

One Very Cold Night

I've been thinking about this post all weekend. And since I'm typically more of a "start-typing-and-who-knows-what-might-come-out" blogger, you know that it's close to my heart.

The nature of the type of work we do means we get asked for a lot of STUFF. People have needs, and we want to do our best to help meet people's physical needs so that we can minister to the deeper needs of their heart. But lately we have been reading and studying some things that are teaching us to do our best not to enable the people we work with by increasing their dependence on us (and not only that, but a lot of times when we give them stuff, we not only increase their poverty of spirit by making them more dependent, but we also increase our own poverty in that we become prideful . . .) The truth is that many of the families we work with could actually meet their own needs with a little help, teaching, prodding . . .

But there's this one family we work closely with, and their mama is an absolutely gem. She is the most grateful, sweet, loving person. Who never asks us for anything. Truly. Now granted, she has made some BAD decisions. And as a result, she has 7 kids and one grand-baby who live with her, in one bedroom. Not a one-bedroom apartment, just one bedroom. Period.

This sweet lady, April, told her daughter's mentor that she didn't have any winter jackets for her kids. And people, it has been COLD up in here lately. So I felt a little panicky for my kiddos. And we gathered some folks who all bought coats and we ended up with some really nice winter coats for her kids. Adam and I wanted to bring them to her right away, so Friday night after a dinner meeting, we headed downtown.

We pulled up to their building, waving off all the people who naturally assumed we were there to purchase some of their wares (if you know what I mean). We grabbed several big Gap bags and shivered on the front porch while we waited for her to answer the door. Entering her room, I was able to make out all seven kids huddled on the queen sized bed, by the light of one small flickering candle. She explained that they only had one outlet that worked, and they were using it for a small space heater since there was no heat. I looked down as a small hand slipped into mine, and I embraced little Raymone tightly, tears slipping down my cheeks as he asked if he could please some stay at our house. I opened my mouth to tell him yes, forever, but Adam explained that we had brought him a winter jacket and would be back to pick him up for church on Sunday.

I sat down and pulled Ray Ray into my lap. He softly whispered in my ear: "Becca, I love white people." Surprised, I looked at him and asked "Why?"
"Because they are SO nice," he said earnestly. I responded with a hug, and explained that it isn't the color of your skin that makes you nice or mean, but rather what's inside your heart. I told him that the reason we were so nice to him was only because Jesus lived inside of us, and Jesus loved him so so much.

At one point during our little conversation, I looked up to see Adam telling April that we wanted to move downtown so she could bring the kids over to play, and sit with us and drink coffee. Or to do her laundry. Tears streamed down her face, and babies snuggled on the bed, Ray Ray sat in my lap, and Lee was holding my hand.

And all of a sudden I knew just a little bit of what it felt like in the stable so long ago, as Jesus lay sleeping in a manger: a bed not fit for a baby, let alone a King. And yet it was holy, peaceful, joyful even. Because Jesus IS the least of these, and His presence can warm even the darkest room, the draftiest stable.

It is moments like these that I remember how much our Savior loves and provides for every single one of His children, and I remember how blessed we are to be able to serve Him in the darkest places. Because that's usually where we find Him, where we expect Him the least and need Him the most.

21 comments:

  1. WOW, this brought tears to my eyes Becca!!!!! I'm humbled by the work ya'll do and the lives you are touching and love you for it!! :)

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  2. Becca, what your family is doing is so amazing. I realize that I don't know the half of it, but reading about your ministry, your LIFE is constantly inspiring and thought-provoking. Thank you.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this story with us Becca. I type through tears now. You are so right about Jesus being in our hearts and how He is always there esspecially in the darkness! Blessings,

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  4. I feel like I've witnessed a sacred moment. So many sacred moments have NOTHING to do with soaring arias and crushed velvet pews and everything to do with cramped quarters, oppressive darkness, and the Light of the World that shines in the hearts of His people.

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  5. Oh Becca. I love this. I am so sad for their struggles. So, so sad. I wish it wasn't so. Thank you for showing Jesus' love to them so boldly. So wonderfully.

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  6. What a great message for this holiday season. Your family is truly a blessing!

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  7. oh Becca you are an amazing living example of Christ. Thank you!

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  8. In all the days I've read blogs from day one that is the most magical magnificent post I've ever read!

    God Bless you!!!!!!!

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  9. You just started my day with tears. Sad tears for those babies. But happy tears for the amazing ways in which you and Adam have been led to transform their lives.

    I know that to God goes the glory, but the people you work with are so blessed to have you in their lives. Thank you for posts like these - little glimpses into miracles.

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  10. Tears over here, too. That was so beautiful, so honest, so sad, yet so full of hope. xoxo

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  11. Oh Becca, this just pulled my heart in a million different ways. You are bringing not only light but the WARMTH of Jesus in a tangible and practical way to souls so desperately in need of Him. My prayers are with you as you continue to be His hands.
    Thank you for inspiring us all to do no less.

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  12. Becca,
    I honestly don't know how you do it. It had to be unimaginably hard to walk out of that room and feeling like you were leaving all of those children behind. I am sure it is the hard times like this particular night that make the good moments all the brighter.
    God bless you for all that you and Adam are and all that you both do. It is people like you that are making this world a better place.

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  13. Becca, I wish that we lived close enough so that we could meet for a cup of coffee and you could share a bit of your wisdom with me. To be completely honest this is the area I struggle with most in ministry. It is hard for me to reach out to those who are outside of my "bubble" and/or "comfort zone". I know that sounds so horrible, but I have been working on it, and God is definitely teaching me through this. Thank you for your posts and for you ministry. I know its not always easy but you are truly reflecting the face of Christ.

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  14. Becca, I wanted to ask if you could be a guest blogger on my site--if you could post this particular post it would be so awesome. I just want others to be as inspired by it as I have been.

    Let me know! My e-mail is on my profile! : )

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  15. break my heart and warm it w/ christ's love at the same time. i am so thankful these children have you and we look forward to continuing to support your wonderful ministry in the future! may God continue to bless your family!

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  16. I'm sitting hear bawling my eyes out So thankful for so many things.
    Im thankful for an Amazing God who brought you and April togehter.
    Im thankful that God let YOU experience such and amazing gesture and
    I am so so grateful for your heart in this and the way that you told this story knowing full well that We reading it are no different than you and no different than April.

    Thank you many many times over.

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  17. This just made me tear up. What you and your husband do is amazing work Becca. I am constantly inspired by what you write about in your life.

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  18. Oh Becca, tears on my face and my heart just hurts for children in hard places. I'm so thankful they have you and your husband. I'm so thankful you brougt them coats. Does your heart not break at times like that? What a sweet little boy and I love your answer to him. I also love that he's getting a glimpse of Jesus through your witness to him.

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  19. one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read, Becca. you have brought me to tears and rejoicing at the same time. just amazing.

    you guys are Christ incarnate with the amazing work you are doing. always in my prayers.

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  20. I'm catching up on favorite blogs.

    This is amazingly beautiful, Becca. I love your insight about meeting needs without developing a co-dependence with those you're trying to help. I hadn't really thought about that aspect of your ministry but I can see where boundaries are necessary. It would be hard to walk that line.

    When you brought it around to a glimpse of what it must have been like in the stable....wow. This was beautiful, Becca.

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