I found myself in a place that I would not have normally gone. I walked into a homeless shelter located in what outsiders call, “The Hood.” Funny though, my grandmother’s old homestead was just a couple of blocks from where I was…. time hasn’t been so forgiving in that neighborhood. As a child I walked those streets with my grandmother to the store. Now, the street is lined with barred up or vacant stores.
It has probably been 10+ years since I have been in that part of Little Rock. Strangely, it felt like I was going home. Somewhere so familiar that memories flooded into my heart and eased my nerves.
For I was going on a job interview in Women’s ministry. I looked at my surroundings as I parked. People clothed in despair, addiction, and desolation walked toward the same door as I.
I asked God this morning for protection and for a heart of service. I prayed that I would be the tool He could use. I wondered if this was really what He desired me to do. Especially after seeing the shape of this part of town has become over the years. I just breathed the fact that I am the Lord’s servant.
Surprised by the bullet proof glass and iron barred doors, I tried to tell myself that I was nuts wanting to interview here. In my little world, in my little community, many still leave their doors unlocked. I was entering foreign territory. It became apparent that I live a very sheltered life.
I entered through the once locked door. A dear gentleman greeted me and showed me where to sit. I sat there among the people I would be serving if hired. I glanced around the small room. I felt no fear. My nerves calmed. I was sitting among people.
People who got dressed just like I did that morning. People who have addictions and made poor choices…… as I have so many times. People who are starved to know love and hunger for grace. Those surrounding me were just people. God’s people…… like myself.
I had a smile on my face from ear to ear. I could feel God’s presence. I felt His love for those in the room…. myself included. I saw what God sees…..lost children.
Perhaps it was just me being “green” as my grandmother told me….. and sometimes I live in a bubble….. but the feeling I once had when I was a young teacher, that feeling of wanting to make a difference swept across me and made my smile even larger.
The interview was not a typical interview. The pastor’s questions were at times difficult for me to answer. I explained that this world I had just stepped into was like nothing I had ever experienced. I can not connect in terms of drug use or alcohol abuse. Outside of a classroom, I have never had to write policies nor procedures. My head swirled and my mind’s voice continued to say, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Outside of a couple of credit card balances that I wish we didn’t have (not that they are an enormous amount), my life is squeaky clean. He read a passage of how God’s servant should look….. I wanted to jump up and scream that is my family, my husband, my children, my world! But instead, I fumbled with the words, “I will follow God where ever He sends me.”
I am sure the pastor thought I had no business being there. My answers were not polished. They weren’t even clear at times. I kept thinking that we are all God’s children some of us lean on Him more than others and some of us make better choices. Yet, I couldn’t convey that at all. The man of God who sat across from me has more heavenly strength in his one finger than I do in my entire body. Some would say calloused….. but I would say he had to build structure that is sound and clearly right.
God gave me a heart for people. God blessed me with compassion for people. Today, my eyes were opened. I found myself wanting to make a difference. I don’t know if this is where God wants me to be. But, right now, I see the world a little differently. Perhaps, that is what God wanted to show me through this experience. I just know that I have been moved and in a way I haven’t felt a in very long time.
My heart and prayers go out to this mission. If God opens the doors for service there, I will enter through it. If all I am supposed to gain from this is the stirring of my heart, then today, I received a blessing and this determination burning in my soul for making a difference will be used in the area God requests of me.
For the message is the same on the streets, in the homeless shelter, and in the quaint little community I call home….. God is love and He wants us to lead fulfilling lives that demonstrates His love for us and through us.