When the Chains Fall Off…Then What?

Broken-ChainsJennifer, (not her real name), came to me for coaching… a broken person, chained to a very unhealthy relationship, unable to break free; trying to make peace with her abusive childhood and years of abuse to follow–in a place she thought she would never be free of, and miserable inside.   

I discerned right away her servant’s heart and her desire to reach out to others that were hurting or needing to know that someone cares.  

You see, God used her past to equip Jennifer to have a heart of not only empathy, but true compassion towards a very broken world, and He led her to seek deliverance from her past.   Her loyalty, dedication, and obedience were so evident for all to see.

378095_526317080764178_826390852_n-3After a few months of coaching,  Jennifer found the courage to walk out of her pain, break all ties with a very controlling and consuming relationship that was toxic to her, and begin her process of healing.  She saw her value in the Kingdom of God and became eager to get on with it.  It was amazing to watch!

Her potential was evident from the beginning and to get to witness her freedom break forth first hand is a privilege I never grow tired of. 

What a joy to watch this woman of such faith and heart truly share the real essence of Jesus wherever she goes.   This week I received the following message from her that I share with her permission.  When asked if she minded if I shared her journey with thousands,  this was her response: 

Well,  to me it is important to keep you posted since YOU had such a big part in my healing process. I wouldn’t  be where I am at this point if it wasn’t for all those sessions. And yes, I’m proud of what I’m able to work on at this point and am happy to let you share with others.  It’s those stories that help the lost ones to see there is a light if they just open their hearts and mind to it!”

 

So here is her report.  For the record this was written while she was recovering from a knee replacement and eager to get on with her business in the “ministry.”

jesus and me“Good morning, thought about you when I was making my weekly to do list.

I wanted to share all the serving opportunities that came my way the last couple of months!

I’m waiting on my first assignment from Hospice and Mary and I are involved in a couple of special events at the church. We’ll be part of an Easter egg hunt at our church as well, and we are helping to feed the homeless at a shelter in the city. This is a great time for the two of us to spend some time together! 

I’m also helping at the food basket and hope we get a chance to feed the homeless here with a hot meal if I can get enough interest. As soon as I can I’m going to check with the Chamber to see what is available and find out if there are others in the community who want help.

I had a lot of time to pray for guidance and different opportunities just presented themselves, all in His timing I’m sure!

Thank you again for helping me out of my hurt and confusion, I’m happy to be part of the world around me!   I forgot the most exciting part cause the dog started digging out of the yard while I was E-mailing you… A few days ago one of my friends from the old church put a request on her Face book page. She started a ministry to go visit and pray with women in jail at the prison nearby.   Well I guess they also write them and I signed up to be a pen pal for a young lady who just accepted Jesus as her savior! The girls got me some stationary a while back and now I can put it to good use!”

Jennifer is finding her completeness in just stepping out and praying for Jesus to allow her to see the opportunities and she grabs them up.  

praying-womanThe opportunities are endless, friends!   The more the world seems to be going crazy the more the church needs to get free of the strongholds that bind them and start looking for those opportunities to be His arms extended!!

What a privilege to  help others  know the love of the Father.  Someone said people who are loved well, love well. And you can help those around you right now in whatever life you’re already in.

 Most true ministry is performed person-to-person in our spare time among friends, family, work contacts or people we know. I believe it is best if we don’t try to make it vocational and try to create the opportunity for ourselves…true ministry is not where you have to quit your day job or leave your kids and husband to go out to a mission field…(though some may be called there). But most true ministry is right where you have been planted.

254865_440342676028286_2145415378_n I’ve known many people who grow unsettled in their jobs or their motherhood and think that it is God leading them into “full time” ministry.  Away from the ministry field of their family standing right in front of them.  This, though, is often laced with a personal need to find fulfillment and feel significant in his kingdom.  And they sometimes DO quit their job and jump into a ministry and then struggle financially trying to figure out a way to do it and pay the bills.

Some people will try to raise support from their friends, or create some kind of product to sell to others, hoping it will finance their dreams. It rarely does. Instead of serving others, they will spend significant time getting others to serve their vision.

A friend once said, “Sharing the life of his kingdom is a way of living first, not a vocation.”

When the opportunity is there, so will the resources be.

What is on your heart today to do for the Kingdom?   Pray for the Lord to open doors for you and then pray you will be alert and willing when He does.   Don’t think He won’t answer.  He is looking for those  he can use in a lost and dying world.  If YOU are broken then find the ministry from someone you trust to help you heal first.  Start your journey today!

If my friend Jennifer can do the work it takes to find her healing and be so thrilled to serve when she has spent so many years suffering and holding her head above water, then you and I can do it too.   He is not a respecter of persons!!

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1)Be encouraged, my friend.  Jesus is not done with you yet!

A Homeless Man and The Bottle of Tea

homelessman1The first thing that hit me was the overwhelming stench of body odor.  Every part of me resisted allowing this dirty, wretched, man into my home.   Men were filing into my husband’s Thursday night bible study, Band of Brothers.   But then here was THIS man.   One of the regulars brought him in hopes of reaching the man with the gospel of grace and hope.  

Good intentions.

Yikes, I hate when that happens.   My good deed of opening our home as a refuge to those seeking more of Jesus just was hit with a curve ball.

“Well, Lord, I really meant for it to be to the normal people.

The clean people. 

I mean, really, how much is this to ask of me.  I already give up my comfort for all these men.”

The ones who don’t make me uncomfortable or smell up my house. 

Oops, really feeling not so spiritual right now. 

I started to get angry at the guy who brought him.  This is my home.  Wouldn’t he know better than bring an “unsafe” guy here?   This dirty man.  This destitute man.   Does he have a disease? 

Thinking business woman looking up on speech empty bubble isolat

What if he was a thief?  What then?  

He seemed nervous and quickly walked past me to the back of the house where the men meant each week.  He also seemed to know instinctively what I was feeling about him and averted direct eye contact.   I remembered him from seeing him make his rounds from place to place in our little town.  Actually, I am pretty sure he walked everywhere.

Don’t you just hate the fact when you  feel like you are really spiritual, and are busy patting yourself on the back,  God comes on the scene and shows you exactly just how spiritual you really are?  

I didn’t like myself right then;  At all.

So many stories came to mind that I read in the bible. 

man-crawling-in-desert-dying-of-thirst   The Samaritan man beaten and in a ditch and no one wanted to get  “involved” in helping the poor soul, so those that walked by pretended they didn’t see him and kept right on going.  And then there was that one guy who helped him. Jesus said he was the one who was the true neighbor.  Luke 10:30-37

Then there are the stories of angels visiting us in the forms of people to see how we will react.

sadDon’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!”  Hebrews 13:2 NLT

Uh oh!   Am I in trouble?

It is so easy to do good when everything is clean and pretty and they rave about your hospitality and generosity.  Then I feel rewarded.  

But what about the unlovely people? 

Ugh, I didn’t want to think about it.  

I expressed my distaste to my husband when the study was over.  He told me that the destitute man, though hard for him to sit still, sat there through the whole study and heard what was said.    I felt a little convicted.  But I still maintained that this was my home and off limits to open up to people on the street. 

Just being honest with you.

A few days later I was home alone.   I glanced out the front window and there was this homeless guy coming towards my house. 

I thought, “Oh great, now he knows where I live and he has come back and he knows I am here alone.  I felt fear.   I figured he had been living in the bushes in the front of my house watching for when I would be alone.   

Then I heard a knock at my door. 

 “Now what do I do”, Lord. 

Answer it”, He said.

Okay, but if he attacks me, it is in YOUR hands.

No reply from the Lord.

553486_415888875110718_1880467937_n  I opened the door to the homeless guy.  He stood way back because he knew I found him offensive.   I didn’t indicate anything to that nature, but he just knew.   He held in his hand a bottle of a name brand iced tea.

He reached out towards me with the bottle of tea, and with a gentle and grateful look on his face offered it to me.  I took it with a puzzled look on my face.  

He spoke sporadically, “Thank you for letting me come into your home.”   

He had brought me a gift of gratitude that I did not turn him away.  Who knows where he got the tea, but it was sealed and new.

I am crying right now as I share this story with you because of the compassion that flooded my heart at that moment and still does.   This man was a soul that Jesus loves.   He came to my house.  I let him in with a resentful heart.   He knew it, yet he reached out to me with his only understanding of love, which is to give something substantial.

I learned afterwards that he lived behind a dumpster about 5 miles from my house.  I knew he had to walk a long way to find his way back here.   Yet, he never expected me to do anything else for him.  He wasn’t begging or asking to come in.  Nor has he returned.
He was just grateful.

My husband feeds people on the street all the time.   He buys them food and shares the gospel.   This was my test.   I was made aware of parts of myself I am not proud of.  I guess it is normal for us to freak out when we are faced with people we don’t’ want to see, and it makes us get out of our comfort zones, doesn’t it?

But let’s remember that Jesus said, when we feed the poor, we feed Him.

“For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you? And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’  Matthew 25:42-45