Breath on Paper small group is taking a break between semesters. For the next few weeks we are taking advantage of this time off, we hope you enjoy revisiting our favorites. We will return June 12th.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
I recently met a woman who told me a story about a random Tuesday and a chance encounter with a homeless woman named Alicia. It was Tuesday the week before Thanksgiving when she observed for several days Alicia, who appeared to be very sick, living in her car. She asked Alicia to come to her church for Thanksgiving dinner. Alicia explained that she hadn’t bathed in a very long time and did not want to make anyone uncomfortable. The woman left Alicia and drove to a near by truck stop and purchased toiletries, bath linens and a shower for Alicia. She then gave these items to Alicia along with gas money and again invited her to come to church and share a Thanksgiving meal. Alicia gratefully accepted the invitation.
Although the woman felt good about helping Alicia, she still felt led to do more. She spoke with her pastor and he agreed the church would put Alicia in a hotel for a few days to let her heal and recover. After a few days in the hotel, Alicia was still feeling very sick, so the woman took her to the hospital. Alicia was diagnosed with severe advanced cirrhosis of the liver. Alicia remained in the hospital for over a month, but was too sick to survive living in her car. The woman again asked her pastor to have the church pay for a hotel for Alicia. The pastor agreed to help. The woman continued to care for Alicia, but she was unable to keep her well. Alicia was readmitted the hospital.
The woman prayed about it and asked God when she could be released from service to Alicia; when could she step away from this stranger? God replied “not yet.” The woman continued to care for Alicia. The hospital explained that Alicia’s illness was advanced and she did not have much time left. Alicia told the woman she had no family and there was no one to call. After much investigation, the woman discovered that Alicia did have a mother who was still living. The woman contacted Alicia’s mother and explained how sick Alicia was and that she did not have much time left. The mother had no interest in connecting with her estranged daughter, but thanked the woman for calling. The woman never told Alicia she had contacted her mother.
One evening as she sat by Alicia’s bed, she knew in her spirit that time was drawing near for Alicia. She left that night with a heavy heart, but also knowing that God’s timing was perfect and she was still being called to minister to Alicia with kindness and compassion. She went to work the next morning thinking of Alicia and knowing that she had to get back to the hospital as soon as she could. That afternoon she received a call from the hospital letting her know that she needed to come quick. The woman arrived moments too late as Alicia had just passed.
By the time Alicia passed away, the woman had spent 6 months caring for a stranger that she met on a random Tuesday. During this time many people told the woman she had done enough and that she needed to cut her loose; that Alicia was not her responsibility, but the woman knew God had not released her from His service.
I sat listening with tears in my eyes in absolute shock that Alicia’s mother did not go to her. Of course I knew that God had placed this woman in Alicia’s life to care for her and show Alicia His love in her time of desperate need. If the story ended here, it would be enough to know that Alicia experienced God’s love in her final days through the kindness of a stranger, but the story does not end here….
The woman purchased a head stone and clothing for Alicia and arranged for Alicia to be buried. She took pictures of the grave and sent them to Alicia’s mother. This woman met a stranger on a random Tuesday and recognized a need and chose to serve in love to fill the need.
This was NOT a random Tuesday. This was a divine appointment purposed for Kingdom glory!
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:13-14
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Tracey McDonald is a wife, mother and Mia to three precious little grand baby blessings. She enjoys all things creative; writing, crafting, painting and journaling. She has a heart for prayer; particularly praying for women, children and families. She is a former nurse and practicing attorney; but her most worthy job is serving God by loving others. Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.