I went for a fantastic run Saturday morning. It was a crisp fall day, my breath steaming in front of me, leaves aimlessly floating through the air and fog lifting above the river. One of those inspiring kind of days where I was left in awe of God’s provision and thankful for the breath in my lungs. I’ve always appreciated moments like those.
As I made my way down the usual path, I had a little conversation with God. Lately, a common question that I’ve been asking Him is “what’s next?” In other words, I ask Him how I can be a part of what He’s doing. It’s kind of a scary prayer because maybe, just maybe, He will actually answer that prayer by opening up an opportunity to love on somebody in an unexpected way. Well, literally 2 minutes after I prayed that prayer, the opportunity presented itself.
To back things up a little, months ago, I met a gal named Karen. She was homeless and I had a very cool conversation and experience with her. Long story short, we chatted a bit, I gave her the sweatshirt that I was wearing, but I wanted to give more, so I sprinted home to get my family in hopes of grabbing a few things to give to her. We loaded up the car with supplies and drove back down to the river in search for Karen and we eventually found her, having the chance to give her some food and blankets. That was basically the end of the transaction…until this last Saturday! (FYI, you can read Part 1 of this story HERE)
As I was huffing and puffing, jogging along the river, guess who I saw?! Karen!!!! I couldn’t believe it! As I passed her, I knew I had to say something, so I offered a simple, “hey Karen!” She kind of looked around, half disheveled and shocked, probably wondering who this weird guy was and how the heck did I know her name!
I ran past her about 500 feet and then I felt the nudge to go talk to her, so I headed back towards her direction.
As I approached Karen, I asked her if she remembered me. At first, she didn’t recall who I was, until I started explaining the day I gave her my sweatshirt and my family meeting her down by the river with food and blankets. She actually remembered us and said that she thought about us often! So cool.
Nothing much had changed in her life. She did get the radio that she was looking for…she said she wanted one so she could listen to that “Christian radio.” I thought that was neat.
Karen had some cans to return to Safeway, so I walked with her to the store and we had a great conversation…although it was a little disheartening. We talked about church and how she doesn’t feel accepted there. We talked about how folks turn the other direction, not wanting to associate with her. We talked about what tree she slept under and if she used a tent or a tarp…stuff like that. I appreciated her letting me tag along.
I asked her if she had plans for Thanksgiving and she didn’t have any….that made me sad. As we continued to talk, I felt led to give her my phone number. I told her to give me a call on Thanksgiving day and I would put a plate of food together for her and run it down to the river, where she was staying. I made Karen promise that she would give me a call and she agreed. I really hope she calls.
Here’s the deal, this story isn’t really about Karen and this story really isn’t about me. It’s about God engineering circumstances in a miraculous way, allowing His love to be shared. Karen and I just happened to be a part of His story on November 18th, 2017.
Life is full of opportunities to be a part of something greater. Sometimes God just needs a warm, willing body to work with…somebody to accept His invitations into something greater than ourselves. I’m certainly not perfect and I have missed out on many of His invitations in my life, but I accepted His invite the other day and I’m grateful for that.
It would be really cool if I got a call from Karen, it really would. But, whatever happens, I have a feeling that I’ll be seeing her again soon, whether she likes it or not! 😁