The streets are what I call “home”…

StreetsWe see them holding their signs on the street by the highway and we don’t even give them a second glance.

We see them sitting on the corners with a blanket around them as they shiver in the cold and we just pass them by.

They are not usually appealing to look at. Sometimes they even stink. And unless we have a few coins to offer them we tend to avoid them at any cost.

But what if we took the time to stop and listen to their stories?

What if we took the time to stop and care?

What if instead of passing them by we chose to stop by and show them some love in the same way that Jesus would?

What stories would they tell us?

What memories would they share?

What lessons could we learn… if we only took the time to stop and care?

This weekend me and two of my friends decided to go to the streets of Seattle to pass out some food to the homeless people we saw there and to talk to them and pray for them.

Every one of them had a story to share.

And with each story my heart broke a little more.

With each story I realized how selfish I was for not taking the time to stop and care more often.

For just passing them by.

For not giving them a second glance.

They are all precious children of God.

Children who don’t deserve the cards that life dealt them. Who don’t deserve to call the streets their home. Who don’t deserve to be cast off by society.

Unwanted, uncared for, and often time left alone.

Here are some of their stories.

She was raped at the young of age 8 by her mother’s boyfriend. Abused, rejected, unprotected, alone. So she did what she knew would be best for her. She ran away from home. From the place that she should have found shelter. The place she should have felt safe. The place that instead became her prison. By 10 she was living on her own. Not in a nice family surrounded by loved ones. Not being taken care of by people who valued her. But on the cold, dark streets. That was what she learned to call “home”. 35 years now and those streets are what she still calls home.

His parents died when he was only 4-years old. He was handed off to a foster family that didn’t really care for him. They beat him for no reason, abused him every chance they got, and sent him off to the next “home” when they couldn’t handle him anymore. He was never loved, never accepted, never held in caring arms. Just handed off from one household to another who took him in not because they cared about him, but because they would earn a few extra bucks for keeping him under their roof and their rules. So he acted out. He rebelled. He ran away. 100 foster homes later he brought himself to the place where no one could harm him. No one would look for him. No one would pretend to care. He is only 26, but the streets are his home.

He was a brave marine fighting in the war for five years. Seeing cruel things that no one should see. Witnessing gruesome sights that no one should have to live with. Yet he was there. Watching innocent families, mother, children murdered in front of his eyes. Fighting for the freedom of his country. And when he came home to America those things he saw continued to haunt him every day. They turned into nightmares that would keep him up all night. Visions that would never leave him. Suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and so much more he couldn’t keep a stable job and he had no family to care for him. And one day found him where he never expected to be. Instead of an honored veteran he ended up just another homeless man on the street.

As we were ready to head home because it was night, the temperature was dropping, and we were getting cold I felt so sad.

It is unfair that I have a warm house to come home to when all they have is the streets.

It is unfair that I have a warm bed to sleep in when all they have is their sleeping bag, if they’re lucky.

It is unfair that I have a family who loves me to share my life with when all they have is themselves and sometimes one another.

It’s just not fair.

We did what we could that day. We gave them food. A word of encouragement. A prayer. And as I was leaving I couldn’t help but think to myself if Jesus was here on earth right now this is exactly what he would have been doing: hanging out with homeless people, and it made me feel good to know we took the time to do what Jesus would have done.

Today… I challenge you to really start seeing the people that you pass by every day. Do any of them need a word of encouragement? A hug? A smile?

Sometimes the biggest thing you can do for someone is stop and take the time to care.

Take the time to encourage.

To pray for them.

To love them.

It doesn’t have to be the homeless man on the street (although that would be nice too).

Maybe it’s just the guy in the cubicle next to you.

The lady down the street.

The young girl at the grocery store.

Everyone is struggling in one way or another.

Everyone has a story to share.

Today…. Can you and I take the time to stop and care? My prayer is that it becomes part of my every day. That no one is unnoticed. That not one is ignored. That no one is just passed by without a second glance.

We are Jesus’ hands and feet to this world. Called to care for those who can’t care for themselves. Called to give what we can. Called to love. And called to see others the way that God sees them: as His beloved children.

Never forget to stop and care. You may not be able to do much. But you can at least do the little that you can. And by doing so you will spread the love of Christ to everyone around you.

Be blessed!Anna… 

homeless7homeless6   homeless3homeless5homeless4[Top image creator unknown. Please respond if you know the author so credit can be given.]

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16 thoughts on “The streets are what I call “home”…

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving: the best time to look around | daughter by design

  2. The poor, needy, dispossessed and marginalised are strongly on the Lords heart. I do believe they are a big part of the church yet to come. I am glad Jesus was not religious and He held no prejudices.

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      • Luke 4:18-19. This was His anointing. Each life is important, each one has their own story. When you are given the honour of hearing that story, being there, listening, sharing in that unique life and serving each person then you are doing your talking with your heart. Words are not always necessary. In a cold-hearted and loveless world, may the Lord continually give us the grace to do our talking with the very heart of Christ. His heart is everything. To have His very heart take up residence within us, there is no greater cause to yield to. He is looking for vessels that will say “yes”.

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        • Jesus’ heart really is everything. Once we have a heart like His we will see people with new eyes and treat them with a love and grace we have never possessed before. I love spending time on the streets because I can only imagine that if Jesus was living here today that’s exactly where He would be. Talking to broken people. Encouraging them. Loving them. There’s no greater joy than caring for others in a way that you know Jesus would.

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    • That’s so great Robin! I was thinking of doing the same thing too. Keep small little packages in my car in case I see some on the road as well as carry a few of them with me when I go to downtown Seattle just to hang out. It may seem like nothing to us but I think it makes a difference to them. 🙂

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  3. Thank you for being you! I am quite taken and honored to read your pages and especially this one. I am quite grateful that you choose to share with those less fortunate yet just as beautiful. Having been on both sides of the street in my life a few times I admire your courage and your love shared! Thank you!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I think it’s our calling as Christians to always care for the people around us just like Jesus did. Life isn’t really meaningful if all we live is for ourselves. 🙂

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  4. God bless your caring hearts, thank you for sharing, the story you shared was such heart felt and sad at the same time that some of these people you have met with has had it so rough. I will be lifting those people that shared their stories in my prayers tonight.

    I and my wife started a home ministry handing out free donated Bibles to the homeless and anyone else willing to accept one.

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    • Wow. Your ministry sounds wonderful! It’s so great to see people who live beyond meeting their own needs and desires but also take time to look out for others that are less fortunate than them. You and your wife are such a blessing and God-sent to all of the people in your community! May God bless you in all that you do as you reach out and share His love to the people around you. There needs to be more people like you in this world. 🙂 Be blessed!

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  5. Your story, of their stories, breaks my heart. *Thank you* for reminding us of our call to love, to follow Jesus, doing what we can. You’ve done just that.

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    • Thank you Brook. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that it’s difficult to stop and take a moment to really think about whether we’re doing things that really matter to God outside of this world. I often need to remind myself to slow down, look at the people around me and give a helping hand in any way that I can. Thanks for stopping by. Be blessed!

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  6. Pingback: Tending Innocence « whitehothair

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