My whole life I have had a few pre-conceived notions about those living on the streets.
1) They are all drunks and drug addicts.
2) They are lazy and don’t want to work.
3) They don’t really care about their lives or the lives of others.
The past year has confirmed a few things.
1) I have no idea what I’m talking about.
2) It’s really unfair to have pre-conceived notions about ANYONE.
3) I have no idea what I’m talking about.
While it is true that SOME people living on the streets are addicted to drugs and alcohol it is my finding that many are trying. so. hard. to make a lives for themselves and get off the streets.
While SOME of them are lazy and actually plan their lives around how to move from shelter to shelter, county to county, state to state so that they can continue this life style… there are many who are doing all that they can to have their children in school and are working towards permanent residences through whatever means possible. They care about their lives, they want their children to have a future, and they are doing everything in their power to provide.
Sometimes people on the street are not there by choice. Sometimes they are, but sometimes… I would dare say most times… they are not. They lose jobs, spouses (who made the only income) leave, they are working two part time jobs and still can’t make ends meet… the list goes on and on as to why people get into situations where they just lose their homes and have no where else to go. Some of their choices have been poor choices that have gotten them in bad situations, but not always. Each person is different.
The more I see the more I understand that in so many ways America does not get it! We take so much for granted and we assume that everyone has support, education, a family that loves and encourages and the simple truth is that more people are struggling than we could really ever imagine.
The stories of entire homes being completely stripped bare by robbers in the United States and leaving an entire family with absolutely nothing is unheard of, but I have heard it more than once. Stories of people losing jobs and using every bit of their life savings to pay for their home, utilities, everyday expenses, etc. is extremely common, and these people are not dead beats who don’t care! They try! They really try.
The year of 2013 was the year of “God opening my eyes.” As I enter 2014 I am already sensing in me the determination to press on and to DO something.
1. I am going to ask people to tell me their stories and I am going to listen. Sometimes when they start to share with someone they instantly cry because the burden is just so heavy and they would really LOVE a listening ear.
2. I am going to pray. I am going to pray with them and I am going to pray for them. Why do we see their situations as hopeless, and why do we not pass on the hope that we know through Christ? He IS ABLE and they don’t know that.
3. I am going to meet as many needs as I can. I can not pay a mortgage payment or a car payment, I can not turn someone’s lights back on. BUT I can give my time to organize clothes and basic items to meet some of their basic needs.
4. I am going to tell them that Jesus loves them. Do you know that sometimes they look at me and say, “Really?” when I say that? Has no one LIVING IN AMERICA ever told them this? Christians!! What have WE been doing?
I’m learning that I have not been doing what I am called to do. I am called to: (while I am at list making I will make one more!)
1. Micah 6:8 “Do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your (my) God.:
2. John 13:34 “love one another…”
3. Jeremiah 1:6, Joshua 1:9 “do NOT be afraid” and remember that He is with me!
I am learning that I am frankly tired of my disobedient, judgmental and self-consumed life and I am on a journey to change that through CHRIST. He IS the answer to my life and the lives of those who are living in hopelessness. His Word is true and His message is clear and we are NOT sharing it! I’m learning that for much of my life I have ignored acting on His Word, and I am praying for the boldness to follow through with a new found obedience.