Sunday, March 14, 2010


Yesterday I went to Iowa to serve with the Gateway at the shelter. I seem to be in this season where God is working with me on "stuff". I won't bore you with the details of the stuff, but I got the opportunity to stare down my own selfish ambitions.... ouch. Didn't see that one coming. And I realized, as much as I try, I still don't go to God immediately when I need to. I think I can handle it. In my case, it gave place to the enemy and compromised my witness. But our God is so good, so loving, so gentle with us. And He reasurred me today, twice, that even in my failings He still loves me and will still use me to serve. A third thing I was reminded of on the trip was that God wastes nothing. Even in the middle of a situation that was not in God's will for me, He redeemed it and brought fruit from it. He astounds me with His grace and mercy.

What about the actual serving part at the shelter? I met some wonderful people - homeless and not homeless. As I was driving into Des Moines it was raining. I thought about how the people who'd come for lunch would have to be in the rain once they were done eating. If you don't know, dear reader, they don't usually get to hang out in the shelters during the day. They can be there for meals and to sleep if they get a spot and then they are out. Also, on the way down I chose to eat an orange for breakfast and drink water only and I realized that the homeless can't even necessarily get water when they are thirsty. Seriously, what do we know about this life and the plight of others??? I realized that homelessness definitely has no "one size fits all" solution. Some of the issues these people face - mental illness, spiritual attack, lack of education, lack of family, lack of resources, lack of so many things, makes it a formidable task to help them out of that situation. I gained a new appreciation for shelters, even though most of what I've read makes them a place I'd never want to be. And honestly, I thought the shelter we served in was so decrepit, I cried. It looked nice on the outside and once you got in, it smelled bad, the kitchen was gross and dirty, paint was peeling. I wondered how the state wouldn't close that kitchen because if it was a restaurant they sure would. I felt that the people we were serving deserved better than that. And yet, at least someone was providing them a meal when without it, many of them would go hungry.

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