20 December, 2008

I know the economy is hitting people very hard lately. It is hitting everyday people like me. People that otherwise would be "okay" to get their families food and buy their kids Christmas gifts. I shutter to think that some child might not have a Christmas this year because mom or dad or both have lost their jobs or/and homes. I constantly remind myself to be so thankful each morning I wake up with a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a hubby that is still working to pay the bills. Don't get me wrong... we live paycheck to paycheck and pinch pennies where we can, but we HAVE a paycheck and pennies to pinch! I am SO thankful!

That being said, I am reminded today about a situation that I have always debated in my mind and heart. People approaching me for $$ in the parking lot. What do I do? Do I give them all I have? Do I give them a couple bucks? Do I say no? Do I witness? Do I take them into the store and buy them something they need? I have in the past been very critical about homeless people begging on the streets. I get annoyed when they approach me when I have my kids with me. I don't know them or what their intentions are. "Mamma bear" needs to protect her babies! I have at times seen moms with their nicely dressed kids sitting outside of a restaurant with a cardboard sign and thought they were just trying to take advantage and were lazy. I work my tail off for what I have why aren't you?

So many questions flew through my mind in a split second this afternoon when a woman approached me in the parking lot of my local Target. She dressed casual, but nice. Her toenails were painted. Her hair was combed, but a little ratty. All she carried with her was a bag from the dollar store with flowers in it. Her story was, " I have no money to get gifts for my kids for Christmas, so I am selling these flowers to help pay for something for them." She said she had 5 children and no job.

Here are my questions and concerns :
1. If I give her $$ will she use it for what she says she will?
2. Is this nicely dressed woman telling me the truth about her story?
3. Will she use the $$ for herself for drugs/alcohol?
4. Did she only approach me because she thought she could play on my "mother" instinct since I had the baby with me.
5. Does she really have kids?
6. If I say NO will she get combative?
7. Am I being an enabler to continue this life?

Amazing how fast your mind works and all these different questions and scenarios go through your mind in a minute! As she was talking to me, I continued to load my car with the Christmas presents that I had bought. (imagine my mind spinning out of control) What do I do Lord? As clear as day, I had my answer!!

"I love this woman! I am her maker too. It is not for you to judge her or her situation. Bless her as I have blessed you. I am in control of her circumstances. It is not for you to decide if she is worthy of your help. It is not for you to decide if she is telling the truth. You bless her the way you can and she will be held accountable to what she does with that blessing. "

I get it now. For some reason the Lord brought her to me. It isn't for me to judge. What she does with the $$ isn't for me to be critical of. I did what I thought I should. Now it becomes between her and God. I reached into my purse, pulled out $$, and handed it to her. Her face lit up. I told her to keep the flowers. She thanked me. I told her I know times are hard. She said she was waiting on God. I told her to be patient, it will get better. I told her not to stop waiting, He is there!!! I told her as she was walking away --He isn't going to leave you. She turned around and nodded at me. I watched her approach another woman who turned her down quickly and coldly!! I felt badly for her!!!
As I drove home, I quickly said a prayer for her and blessed the $$ I gave her. I prayed that she would use it for what she said she would and not for drugs/alcohol. I prayed for her children.

I think the Lord taught me more today than I had intended on learning on a trip to Target. I still have a lot of work to do in this area. I don't know if I would have reacted the same had a dirty ole man approached me. It is a hard place to be in and to know if a line should be drawn. It is out of my comfort zone therefore "uncomfortable". Do I help the old man who is dirty or do I hold out for the clean woman who says she has starving children at home? It is not up to me who the Lord brings across my path. It is up to me what I do with what HE presents to me.
Sorry this is so long, but I felt a need to share my heart!! Have a blessed Christmas!! Count your blessings! Bless others!

14 Comments:

  1. Jill said...
    Bless you Kelly!
    I also give $ to those who ask me on the streets. My family yells at me saying they will probably be dishonest with it, but I tell them "who am I to judge". If they buy drugs or alcohol with it, so be it. But maybe, just maybe, it will be used for good, even if just once in awhile, and for that, it is worth it. God knows my heart, no matter what choices that person makes, and I think that is what matters most.
    Happy Holidays friend.
    He And Me + 3 said...
    I think that you did the right thing. I too am leary, but like the Lord laid on your heart not to judge but give...you even had a chance to share the Lord a bit. God is good. Keep her in your prayers. You may run into her again someday. Great post. I think we have all been there at some point in time.
    Kelly said...
    Thank you for sharing this with us. We have all been there and I am sure many of us have walked away. (I know I have, unfortunately, it is a scary world we live in) The next time I am confronted, I will remember your story and make the right choice. As you said..."who am I to judge"?
    Thanks Kelly!
    Merry Christmas!!!
    Alicia said...
    You're so right, our flesh immediately starts putting up the red flags. But, I agree...we give from our hearts, and it is between them and the Lord what they do with it. I know it's hard to discern sometimes, but I think if we give w/ the right intentions, then that's all that matters.

    HUGS,
    Alicia

    p.s. great post!
    Florida Girl said...
    Yay! I can finally leave you a comment! For some reason my computer hasn't been letting your comment window open. But here I am now!
    Thanks for such an honest post. Thanks for being open to the Lord & teaching me a few things. Great Job!
    Jessica
    McCrakensx4 said...
    What an honost post and I appreciate it. I, too, have been in this position and I had the same questions flying through my mind. The Lord is helping me not to pass judgement on people and accept them for who they are. You made the world a better place today my friend! Merry Christmas,
    Stacey XOXO
    Kim said...
    You made me cry! As I think about all the times I walked away wanting to help but didnt because I was judging. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great Christmas!

    Kim
    Jaime said...
    Powerful Stuff Kelly!!! Wow, the Lord's work in amazing! Most of time, I throw out the judgement and don't even think to ask God of His thoughts. Jon touched on this same topic one service this year and it really got me thinking. Thanks so much for an eye opening post. Such an INCREDIBLE story and great reminder!

    Also, I want you to know I had chills all over when reading this. The Lord was definately speaking to me. I'm printing this one to share and for keeps!!!
    Nicole said...
    I think you did the right thing also. It's hard to decide or know who is truly honest or who is just taking advantage. the boys and I were in Taco Bell the other day when a homeless man came in a bought 1 taco with the change that he had. I figured he was sitting on the corner across the street so I had planned on giving him money when we left. I couldn't find him and I was so mad at myself for not getting out of my chair and just handing it to him then. Maybe another day huh?!
    Under the Florida Sun said...
    What a great post! I think so many of us have had this issue come up. You did a beautiful thing and are so very right.. let God worry about where she spends it.. you did the right thing.. you gave from your heart!!
    Debra said...
    Kelly,

    I have struggled with the 'fear' factor more than the judgment factor when it comes to this.

    My hubby has always said..ask the Lord...God will tell you 'give' or you will have the spirit of discernment and you should go if you are in danger. I believe you were so blessed because God spoke and you were obedient.

    Merry Christmas sweet sister!!
    MoziEsmé said...
    This is a tough situation - I think you did the right thing. For us, we try to say yes whenever people ask us - though we may not give exactly what was asked for. And we've been burned, but I figure that is not our problem, but rather the recipient's.
    Kelly said...
    Thanks for sharing! It's so hard to admit how judgemental I can be, so I appreciate that you did it for me :) Sometimes I can't believe I forget to ASK God what he wants me to do in these situations!
    Jessica said...
    I totally agree with you that this is a tough situation. When we go out to my parents house there is a spot on the way that we usually see someone panhandling and I don't ever give money, usually because I don't ever have cash on me, but I will give them food. I give what ever I have in the car, I have been known to even bring a warm meal with me in the car, if I think that there is a good chance that I will see someone. As you said, we don't really have any extra money and I am thankful for what we have.

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