Unexpected Grace

I didn’t expect much to happen today, but was pleasantly surprised when God gave me the opportunity to share in a moment of grace. I’m home alone and spent the first half of the day reading a book called  “Wild at Heart.” This book is all about nature and reading the author’s descriptions of the forest inspired me to get outside.

It was a beautiful sunny day to go to one of my favorite spots. I simply call it, the river. It is a local park nestled next to a small neighborhood. The entrance to it is behind a shopping plaza and I don’t think very many people know it exists. I rarely see anyone there which makes it the perfect place just to think.

I found a spot to sit for awhile. I noticed on the other side of the river was a woman sitting on a bench next to her bike. I didn’t think much of it at first, but I kept t noticing this woman glancing over at me. She even waved at me at one point. I waved back saying “yea, you’re weird” under my breath.

I had brought my Bible with me and  decided to flip through it. Nothing really caught my attention, but I read anyway. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me, “Um, excuse me?” The woman had come over to talk to me. “Hi, I just wanted to tell you it’s going to be ok.” I  awkwardly thanked her for her kind words.

She lit a cigarette and sat down next to me in her holey sweat pants and shirt. She shared her story with me about how she was homeless and living in the cold, coyote filled woods. My heart broke. She noticed my Bible and told me how she was a Christian and knew that God was going to take care of her. She had so much hope and was so positive. She had to be, her strength would have collapsed without hope.

We sat there for a good half hour just getting to know each other. She shared with me how she was once rich and lived in one of the wealthy cities in Oakland County, but became addicted to alcohol. Since then she had been hopping around from homeless shelter to homeless shelter.

I knew I had to do something. Something more than just a prayer or a twenty dollar bill. So I handed her my Bible and told her to wait because I was going to go get us dinner. I asked if while she was waiting  she would look up some of her favorite passages of scripture for me. I wanted to know more about the hope that kept her going.

When I got to my car I realized I didn’t have my wallet on me. Instead of going back to tell her, I put the pedal to the metal. I went home grabbed my wallet, a blanket and a couple bottles of water for her. I ran like the wind back to my car and did a quick stop at McDonald’s. I just kept asking God to compel her to stay. It wouldn’t have been terrible if she’d left. She could have my Bible for all I care, they make more. I just wanted to help her in anyway I could . Finally, an hour later I made it back to the river and she was still there.

We sat and shared our McDonald’s together and continued talking. We talked about God, my cat, deer, anything and everything. After dinner she showed me how she had  been living. On her bike was a bag of everything she owned. A couple shirts, a bar of soap, two plastic bags, and a light jacket. She had been sleeping on the plastic bags in the woods. One night she went to the hospital just so she could get a meal. You should have seen her smile when I gave her the blanket. It was just a simple blanket, I have a whole bunch of them in my closet, but to her it was everything.

I prayed for her and she prayed for me and after an hour or so we parted ways. I ask that you continue to pray for her. I can’t tell you her name for safety reasons, but God knows it. Let me share with you a verse she loves-

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.

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