When we got there, of course, it happened again. Looking around in amazement, I thought to myself, “Just get busy and get rid of some of this stuff.”
She seemed to walk fine to me, playing with her little puppy outside. In fact, when we got there she was walking around her yard on her cell phone. Why does she need our help, I wondered.
I unloaded my little children into the cold evening air expecting to finish in two hours only to reach the gate and know it would take much more than a cold evening, this would take another day.
She had replied to an ad we had placed in the local paper offering free leaf raking help to local people 55+ who either needed help or needed us to do the job for them. We were there to rake her yard. A simple task. After all, her yard needed major help, it hadn’t been helped for several years.
When you walked through the gate, you could see her life that once was. Play toys, flower gardens, sitting areas, and even a pool. At first glance someone would think…
“This person doesn’t need help, she just needs to clean up her yard.”
That is what I love about our Jesus. It’s not always the person who needs help he’s helping, it’s usually me.
We worked hard that night, doing as much as we could. The kids we’re having a blast, there were so many leaves to have fun in, making piles, running and jumping. Discovering treasures that had been buried under the mess of leaves for what looked like, years.
I always do it. I judge. I make excuses for why someone isn’t worthy of my Graces. Why I don’t have time to help. Why my help won’t make a difference because I’m just one person- we’re just one family.
I really am a mess.
As I worked that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace and how absolutely desperate I am for the precious gift. I also thought about how so many people look to me like they don’t need [or deserve] it.
I stopped and chatted with *Ms. Martha for a bit. She told me of her grandkids who once swam in the big pool (now overtaken with weeds) and how long she saved for that patio furniture nobody sits in anymore. She shared with me about all the pins in her back, the countless surgeries she had endured and how she was preparing for yet another one. She said thank you countless times. When we left, her eyes filled with tears and she said,
“Nobody ever helps.”
She had experienced Grace and I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, all we did was rake some leaves. My goodness, the kids even argued a few times over the rakes.
How does grace show up looking like some crazy kids and a tired mom?
Of this I am always reminded: when we love people, no matter how big or small He does all the rest. He moves and stirs their hearts the way they need stirred. The way only he knows. He uses our crazy, messed up lives to love and help people.
It’s how they know, He [that magnificent jesus of ours] cares.
They know He cares because you came. Because you sat and chatted, because you touched them. Because you hugged them, cleaned their house, talked them away from their addiction one more time, took them into your home one more time, or perhaps forgave them once again.
I realized that night, for the first time. Some people are just ready to see Jesus.
Some people don’t need to be taught about Jesus; they don’t even need to hear the Sunday sermon. They’ve heard it all before– they know all about our Jesus. They’ve heard the stories. The heartbreaking truth? Some may even sit in a pew all their days and never really see Jesus.
I’d like to tell you it’s always easy. I’d like to tell you loving on people always brings contentment to your soul, always fills your voids. I’d like to tell you everyone I’ve ever touched was nice. I’d like to tell you my kids understood yesterday when I denied the homeless man a dollar but then he denied me the opportunity to buy him lunch or even bend to pray with him. I’d like to tell you I’m totally content where I am in serving others and I’d like to tell you I don’t pray each time I read Katie’s updates that He would send me there to help. I’d like to tell you, I don’t question God and beg Him to let me do something more. I’d like to tell you I’ve never had to stop and pray before we step foot out the door- headed to help- asking that sweet Jesus to forgive me for yelling at the kids or being impatient when we’re trying to get out of the house. I’d like to tell you I didn’t have to ask for peoples forgiveness time and time again.
But I can’t
I can’t because I am desperate. So, desperate for His Grace. I can’t because I’m broken. I’m broken and only complete in Him.
Like so many, I didn’t deserve grace. I was a liar and a thief. I was an unwed mother at 17. I was selfish, mean, and full of hate. I was broken.
But grace? That gift I don’t understand one bit? I fell into it hard. And when it caught me, it changed me. It didn’t take away my struggles- no. It gave me a hand to hold thru the struggles. It gave me hope of a day with no struggles. It gave me peace.
It said, “Hey you. I really love you.”
And He has to say it over and over again: “No, no, no. for real. YOU. I love you. Hey Kati- I know the world says you’re no good or not good enough. I know your mind says you have to get it all right before I’ll love you. But no, for real. I love you now. Messy yard and all. Messed up plans, dreams, and hopes- I’ve got that. Wrong decisions, damaged relationships- I’ve got that.”
Someone really loves like that? Yup. He sure does.
Reminds me of a story:
New Living Translation (NLT)
A Woman Caught in Adultery
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
I bet she thought she was a total loser ; ) And He just loved her, showing grace in abundance. He’s pretty cool like that.
May you fall into grace today and everyday friend and rest there peacefully. May it cause you to be a crazy bright light- shining for Him everywhere you go. And when you fall and stumble? Like I do every.single.day. may he gently help you up. dust you off. and make you new.over and over again.
All my messy, broken love~
*ms. martha’s name changed for story