Jeff & Bryan already had plans to be at Kings Island on Saturday with the college students at church, so when I decided not to go to Chattanooga, that meant that I would be home alone. Now, let me tell you that sometimes that is dangerous for me when I am feeling down. I tend to get lonely, cry a lot and basically just feel sorry for myself. I really didn't want this day to be like that, so I decided to keep myself occupied. I had some movies to watch and a good book, so I was good to go.
I woke up earlier than I had planned (bummer), and I didn't want to watch all of my movies before noon, so I decided to go to Lexington and do some shopping. I drove across the ferry on the way there and back because it's beautiful and I have some great conversations with God on those country roads. I truly felt at peace on the way there. In fact, I felt "okay" with our adoption situation for the first time all week, knowing that God was still in control. But it also felt like there was something that He was trying to get me to understand that I was running from. To be honest, I didn't want to hear anything other than words from God that He was going to bring my little girl home to me. Nothing else. It was sort of an attitude of "God, you do what I want, and then I will listen to more. For now, this is all I want to hear".
I don't think God liked that attitude.
On the way home, I drove by a lady holding a sign that looked like this:
Something about her drew me in. I had to stop. I didn't have any cash on me to give to her, but there was a Lil' Ceasar's across the street, so I went over and got a "hot 'n ready" pizza and drove back to where she was standing. I was so nervous! I got out of the van and walked across the parking lot to her and asked if I could give her some food. She said yes, and so I asked if I could sit with her.
We spent the next hour sitting on a piece of cardboard in the parking lot of a Liquor Barn, eating pizza (i am assuming God will forgive that it wasn't on my diet since I was doing something He asked!) Her name is Lisa, and she is beautiful. I mean that. Beneath the dirt and the obvious initial distrust of my true intentions, was a lady who was stunning.
Lisa immediately asked if I was a "God person" there only to "preach" to her. Lisa has had enough of that, let me tell you. She shared with me about how she was in a church when her husband died, but the church seemed "happy to not have to deal with him anymore". It was someone in her church who called Social Services when she lost her temper and slapped her child. As Lisa said "They never stopped to ask why I was so stressed out. I was working 3 jobs and trying to keep food on the table. I hadn't slept in days when that happened, but it didn't matter". When Social Services came, she tested positive for drugs (she claims that she was taking pills to stay awake for her 3 jobs, and really, it didn't matter to me. Who am I to judge her?). They took her kids away. In a nutshell, Lisa feels like the church was quick to accuse her, but no one ever wanted to help redeem her. She actually used the word redeem. Instead, Lisa has been living on the streets for a little more than a year with no contact at all with her children. She said "I might not have hope, but at least I have pizza, right?".
I got back in the van after our lunch, drove back to the ferry, parked and cried. And I heard God whisper to me again "I needed you to hear me remind you that it's not all about you".
I'm sorry, God.
I have acted like it's all about me. I have been so focused on what I want that I have failed to see the needs of others. And Lisa reminded me that there are people out there with no hope at all. And more importantly, that I can share that hope by something as simple as a pizza.
Matthew 25:31-40 says:
1 Peter 3:15 says "If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it".
Are you living like you have Hope?