Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends . . . My God Provides

There is a family in our neighborhood. They live in a small, pieced together, old, wooden farmhouse. The grandparents care for several children and occasional cousins, aunts, etc. One of the teenage girls had a baby this year. The grandfather still farms a small patch of ground near their home and raises vegetables every summer. My 11 year old son has become friends with their youngest grandson.

Beginning in the fall of this year, some of the older brothers and sisters began asking for help every few months. The first time I was asked I thanked God and was so grateful He had sent someone to me that needed something I could give. However, over time I found myself growing distrusting of the sincerity of their need.

One evening a few months ago, I was praying that God would give me and my teenage daughter something to bring us together and give us some common ground. I received a phone call from one of the girls asking if she could borrow a few dollars to buy some feminine items she needed. My immediate response was to turn away, not wanting to be taken advantage of. I decided to ask my daughter what she thought we should do.

Tears filled her eyes and she said "Oh, Mom. How sad that she had to call someone she hardly knows to ask for something like that." She found some of what the girl needed and said she wanted to give them to her. I drove them down to her house and left them at the door when I received no answer. Later on that evening, my daughter and her friend went to Walmart and bought 19.00 worth of shampoo, soap, diapers, etc. for this family. She said they cried while they were shopping and thinking about what they might need. I hung the bag on the door knob the next morning on my way to work, hoping they would find it and know they were cared for.

God works in such wondrous, mysterious ways. He opens doors we don’t know how to open, only He holds the key to our heart and to the hearts of those we love. He showed me that day through my tender hearted daughter that my heart, though I think I’m looking at life with God’s perspective, had become cynical and wary of being made the fool, being taken advantage of.

Me? After the years of pouring my soul out to God for help? After searching under couch cushions for change to buy a little gas or milk? Me? After praying to God to help me provide better for my family, to find ways to be responsible for the needs of my children…Me? If not for the generosity of friends and family at times I might be without a house or a car, or I might be working 3 jobs and have no time at all with my kids. Me?

Once about 10 years ago, my kids and I arrived home tired and hungry, to find we had no electricity, no phone and no water.

Another time my car had broken down and when I went to pick it up from the shop I was told "The Lord loves you and someone has paid $500.00 of your bill". I was in a small group Bible study at the time and my friends had all pitched in to help. That same afternoon, a man came by to give me an estimate on repairing my fence. He ended up mowing my yard and before he left, he pointed up to the sky and said "All good things come from God".

There was the day when my paycheck was about $200.00 short. When I got home from work that day I found an envelope in my purse with 200.00 in it with a note that said "God loves you".

One cold December just a few years ago, my heater went out and was unable to be repaired. I was trying to get by with some space heaters until the temperatures dipped way below freezing.
My precious friends found out and they rounded up my faithful small group and the owners of the business I had worked at for about 5 years and paid for a brand new heater. I had it the next day!

Each time I felt so honored and humbled that God would help me through my friends. God has restored my life and brought me to a place where I want to be the one to help others.

Tonight, my son's friend and his sister came to the door and asked for 10.00 to buy diapers. I didn't have any cash but my son said "I have 10.00 in my wallet. Can I give it to them? The word "No!" was out of my mouth before I could even think about a response. My son's face fell and my daughter looked at me with disappointment in her eyes. Realizing my hard heartedness too late, I told my son to go try to catch them and if he wanted to give them his 10.00 he could. He raced down the street on his bike until he caught up with them and came back with a smile on his face and warmth in his heart.

Finances were an area that God really used other people to bring healing into my life. While feeling unworthy because of my struggles, He provided friends who reached out to me and communicated God's love to me through their loving actions. They showed me what it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Matthew 5:42

Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Dear Lord, make my heart like new. Tender and responsive to the needs around me. Thank you for the joy in giving and for placing people in our lives who need you and need the small gifts we are able to give. Forgive me for putting up walls to protect myself and for being so quick to forget.


pfranklin said...

Oh Karen, your post blessed my heart and was just what I needed to hear this morning. I, like you, have had many....many...many times in my life where I would not have made it had it not been for God touching the lives of others to help me. God takes the bad things in our lives and turns it into good. It's amazing to watch Him work things out.

Love to you this morning, Phyllis

Just Joni said...

your story touches my heart and reading it reassures and reminds me that God does indeed always provide...I believe very strongly in this. Friends can be such a blessing and God really knows when to plant them in our lives. I love reading how God is working through your children and I know as a parent we want to caution them sometimes, but isn't it amazing what we can learn from them? I have learned to rethink many issues because of my children and I think I am a better person for it...we are really all in this world together...when we help others it is always returned some way at some time (usually when we least expect it)...