The Least of These...

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." - Matthew 25:34-36

 As I move into the holiday season with Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas fast on it's heals, I'm beginning to feel the crunch of consumerism and a pressing reminder to imprint something more in my child's heart at a young age. That in all of our thankfulness during this season, in all the excess we really do have, it's still important to reach out to others in need. to give to others - unconditionally, expecting nothing in return.

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Not long after my mother passed away in the mid-nineties a friend took me with him to a mission/pantry that fed the poor and homeless of Hollywood weekly . It was an experience that changed me, an experience that healed my broken heart, a chapter of my life that I carry with me to this day.

I was working a job I didn't like, feeling broken and aimless and holding onto my hope with quickly fraying shoestrings. I could have easily gone home and plopped in front of the TV for "Must See TV" Thursday. After all "Must See TV" was still in it's honeymoon phase - top rated shows dominated the evening; but that never filled the hole in my heart. So I went with him, and then I went back - again and again.

And then I just kept going back on my own. I would get in my little car after work, totally spent, and head down one of the busiest freeways in SoCal during one of the busiest hours of the day just to serve dinner to strangers. But after time they were no longer strangers, they were friends and it wasn't just them receiving something, it was me.

Like a gas tank, I headed down that freeway most Thursday evenings completely empty, nothing to give; but I went anyway. At the end of the evening I would get in my car to make the drive home completely filled!
Filled with Exuberant Joy, Energy, Excitement and even Hope.

The more I gave of my [empty] self, the more I was filled.

And all I did was talk to [quite often] homeless people, serve them food, clean floors- tables - dishes, worship God and pray with them.


I returned home each evening, week after week - month after month, feeling totally alive and exhilarated and before I knew it, my heart was whole and my hope was restored. Finally, after a long lug through an emotionally desert, I began to smile again. My face hurt from all the smiling! Not only smile but laugh; laugh literally until I cried.

My life was changed.

In all that loss, loneliness, brokenness and emptiness I felt, I discovered that I was rich. Rich in the fullness of Christ. I had a faith that, though shaken, had become more firmly grounded and anchored in my God. I had a church that walked and prayed me through my pain; then I would go to the mission and I laughed and cried and prayed with these people - and hugged and hugged and hugged until I healed.

The Mission closed for a very short term a couple years later, about the time I met my and began dating future husband, eventually getting married; but it was just enough time to lose contact with them. 

And yet - those moments have never left my heart and mind, those faces never leave my prayers. I want my son to be comfortable giving of himself, to reach out to those in need, to feel untroubled talking with a homeless person who may be smelly and dirty, to know and understand that this is still a person with a life, a heart... feelings, to give them a moment of hope even if only in the form of a prayer for them or a smile. Because sometimes... sometimes... a person just needs to be touched by kindness. And sometimes a prayer can move mountains. 

And the people on the streets of our cities and living in shelters have come against a lot of mountains.


(Each time I watch and listen to this, it moves me to tears. It's by Harrison's God father -
for of his music check out http://www.myspace.com/jerrylansdowne)


Not all of them started out with drug problems or mental problems (albeit that is the case for many), unfortunately the streets are cruel and that becomes the reality; but there  are many people out there with stories. Stories that include success, eduction and Bad Luck. I have heard many of the stories from people just like me.

Just. Like. Me.

For me personally, this year I was emailed something that spoke close to my heart's calling...



Since picking up my camera, I knew that I always wanted to give to those who couldn't afford portraits. It's something that I wanted to work into a business when I start to fully. After all, I believe our creativity is a gift from God to be used for His good purpose and glory.  How perfect this project is for me.

If you are a photographer or just love to take pictures, check out help-portrait to find out more information. If it's not your cup of tea, check into soup kitchens in your area, or another way to help someone in need this season.

It just may change your life.

6 comments:

Cerulean Bill said...

You're awesome. No kidding.

Yara said...

Very true. you are awesome!

carrie said...

you are so inspiring, rose. i want to feel that way - i want my girls to feel that. i am making that my mission this year. thanks for the prodding.

Christina said...

wow. how inspiring, Rose. thank you for sharing this.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

This is an awesome story and it looks like a great project. I'm going to go check it out.

Susan Tuttle said...

you truly are an inspiration:)

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