My word for this year is revival, my theme is #nofearnewyear …a challenge from Ann Voskamp. I have two pair of rainbow socks to remind me God’s promises are true. He challenged me and called me out this week and asked me to be brave and to trust Him. I am (by most accounts) very brave and have a deep and wide trust in the Lord. However, this week I was sore afraid when He whispered 4 simple words to my heart….“Go buy her shoes.”
I am not one of “those people” who run to Walmart and buy all the milk, eggs and bread I can store just because there’s a snowflake in the forecast….but last weekend, I did make a quick trip before the big winter storm because I needed milk, eggs, bread and toilet paper! Ok…don’t judge. I pushed through the crowd of people, to the long check out line and finally headed out of the parking lot to go home. I was so tired and ready to be home in my pi’s! My headlights caught a figure walking slowly ahead of me. Oh…it was the same homeless woman I’d seen many times before. My heart always longs to reach out to her, but the “word on the street” is she will become quickly agitated if you approach her to offer help. It was bitterly cold and “Weather Dan” said we should expect snow on Sunday…but there she was walking in flip flops. God whispered to my heart “Go buy her shoes”. I kept driving. Fear crept in and I came up with every excuse….”Kent was expecting me home, dinner was ready. I don’t know her shoe size. She will freak out if I pull over.” I drove home with a heavy heart and told Kent. He tried to make me feel better, but I knew I should have stopped. Saturday night I dreamed I was driving with heavy snow falling and my headlights caught her standing in her flip flops, sobbing and frost bit. I woke up from a troubled sleep and prayed for her…tossing and turning the rest of the night.
All week my heart was heavy. I prayed for her and asked God what He would have me do….after all, we were snowed in from Sunday through Wednesday and I never left my home. Thursday life returned to “normal” with school and work back in its routines. As I drove home late that night after life skills, there she was, walking on Oak Street, between 13th and Dixieland….in those flip flops. I slowed down, overcome with that awkward feeling and fear. I began to cry, tears streaming. I told God how very sorry I was that I was so afraid. I kept driving and cried all the way home. Again, making excuses. “I don’t know her shoe size. I’m afraid of her.” Last night, I asked God for courage and decided I would go today and get a back pack from Samaratin Shop and fill it with warm things…including shoes. I thought to myself, size 9 would surely work.
Then last night I dreamed about the homeless woman in flip flops again. I wasn’t afraid and asked her what size shoes she wore and she said 10. I woke up this morning determined to fill a back pack for her….and buy her a size 9 shoe, “it was a dream after all,” I thought.
Today I began my mission at Samaratin Shop in Rogers. My friend Jorge (a Samaratin employee) gave me an awesome purple back pack to fill for her, I found a few things….praying, “God I will be ready this time.”
I drove over to Walmart because I wanted to pick up a few more things….and there she was….walking in the parking lot, still wearing flip flops, temperatures in the 20’s… And I was immediately afraid. I shouldn’t be afraid, but I was so scared. God has given me several opportunities this week to be obedient to His Holy Spirit and but I ignored His prompting, made excuses or shrunk back in fear. I know fear is never from God! When I got into Walmart, I was going to walk over and find her eventually. For now, I decided I would stick to my grocery list and continued to pray. Then it happened…. I turned by the bread aisle and almost ran right into her with my buggy… Holy cow! So then I got a little bit tickled, because I could see God was completely messing with me!! He, in His wonderful way, was making it “easy” for me to serve this woman! He brought her right to me! So… I decided to go get her something to eat, the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy, right? I went to take her the food and she was gone but then I saw her out of the corner of my eye, she was walking toward… Are you ready for this? The shoe department! So I very carefully quietly and with a kind and gentle voice, I reached out to her. I offered her the warm lunch and she looked so confused and afraid and said she’d already eaten. I sat it down and said maybe she could eat it later. She took it and said thank you and was actually very sweet. I forgot that I was afraid and ask her if she would allow me the honor to buy her a pair shoes. She said yes! I asked her what size shoe she wore….size 10 of course! I invited her to choose and she picked up the most sparkly gold wonderful furry boots ever!! I asked her if I could get her some new socks to go with her new boots. She picked out 2 pair of wonderful tall rainbow furry socks!
We walked quietly to the front of the store, I told her my name…and she told me hers. Will you pray for Lori with me? This is her only hope…she’s alone, she’s cold and hungry…but God can change that!
This was the scripture I read this morning:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
God went before me….He gave me His Word before I ever headed out the door, with clear instruction… and on shaky knees I followed His lead (all the while feeling much like a big fat fraud with my #nofearnewyear business and rainbow socks to remind me of His promises). As He led, He was kind and gentle, I felt no guilt….but I did feel the heavy burden to act….then in my obedience….Oh my goodness, I was blessed more than you can imagine!
I share this, praying God gives you a brave heart to serve Him right wherever you are and as He prompts you to “go and do”… be encouraged, go .. give … do. May He steer your cart right into your calling….so you are sure to feel the brush of angels wings!
To God be the glory!! Great things HE has done!!
His grateful girl….with a brave heart and shaky knees,