Thursday, April 16, 2009

Best of Both Worlds - Mary van der Veen

Today I woke to my morning coffee and devotions... one of my favorite parts of the day.... alone with God and in a quiet house.

A verse stood out to me and encouraged me... I Chronicles 28:9b -- "For the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek Him, you will find Him."

My six kids awoke with their smiles and their needs... my husband went off to his job..... I looked ahead at a day of serving; at a local food pantry that I have the honor to help lead and to serving my family with feeding, clothing and home schooling.

I left the kids home to their studies and to play while I went to the food pantry to serve the 'less fortunate.'

As the time went by my heart broke over and over..... Kristi, a young mother of five cried and hugged me and told me of a house fire, then a foreclosure on her house, and then the loss of her job and how she can't make ends meet for her children.

Ingrid, a lady who is in need herself of food and a job, took her friend 'Butch' in because he recently lost everything he had. Butch also has a growth on his forehead the size of an orange sticking out and it looks like a burnt marshmallow. Ingrid kept smiling, saying, Butch is my buddy and I'm going to take care of him. I'm taking him to find a plastic surgeon today.

Kim, a mother of nine, stood and cried because her husband is on his third knee surgery and they just can't pay their bills anymore. She writes the checks for the utilities the day the bill is due and plays catch up each month. She lives with a lot of stress trying to feed her children and take care of her husband.

Kevin, a young man, was quiet. He didn't want to share any information, and refused prayer. He took his food and ran. I can only imagine the trials he is facing and the troubles that ache his heart.

Joyce, a young grandma, showed me her license picture. She said, look at my hair in that picture. She had a head full of hair. Then, she pulled off her wig to show me that she has next to NO hair left. She teared up and said, 'it must be from all the stress I've been living under. I lost my job the same day my two daughters lost their jobs. We've been doing everything we can to help one another but we just can't make it.'

The people came and came.... we nearly ran out of food. I was honored to pray with nearly all of them. They echoed my cries for Jesus to give them help and hope here now on earth as He guarantees that in heaven. They hugged me and we cried together.... I felt I saw Jesus in them.

I went home to feed my children..... thankfully they had fed themselves.......... thankfully we had food in our cupboards to eat.

That night I was invited to a Women's night at a church in Brentwood, one of the richest cities in America. I thought it would be a nice get away. The room was filled with candles, decorations, food, and music. It was peaceful, beautiful, and the women pouring in the door were freshly manicured and well-dressed and groomed.

The speaker was good and encouraging in the Word. She talked of living in peace; without worry or anxiety. At the end she asked if anyone had a heavy heart and wanted prayer. About 3 or 4 of the 200+ stood up for prayer.

My head could only thing of the faces I had seen that morning and the dichotomy I was living in this day.
The needs of the broken I had seen in the morning; the ones that had nothing and were trying to be hopeful but couldn't see a way out. I know these women, all dressed up and 'looking' good had trials, for sure, but.... so different from my friends at the food pantry.

We ladies at the big church gathering made light with one another. We exchanged glances and niceties. Then we left, probably never to see one another again. No hugs, no tearful prayers, no deep conversations. I have to admit that, since I am not a member there, I do not know of the connections that are there. I am certain there are deep relationships. The night was just do different from what I was privileged to be part of in the morning.

I know God is in both situations. I know 'the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought' (I Chron. 28:9b) 

I pray that all of us will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to 'seek Jesus, and find Him' for in that is our only hope in any situation.