Love One Another as I Have Loved You

Love one another as I have loved you.  -John 13:34

Estes, 8.1.14 024

For those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know my husband and I like to go bike riding. We have a stunningly beautiful trail that follows the river and goes into Denver, about 30 miles round trip. It’s also a trail that attracts many homeless men and women that set up camp along the river and under the overpasses.

Also, for those of you who have been reading my blog for the past couple of months, you know my sisters and I, as well as others we recruited, had a 30-day prayer challenge where we tuned into those around us and prayed for a stranger each day. That trail gives endless opportunities to pray for strangers in need.

And here’s where the two tie together.

About a month ago on one of our bike rides, I saw a person way up ahead crawling on the concrete trail. I watched as several bikes passed by this person, swerving around him, barely taking notice. As I approached him I heard him groaning, struggling to continue on. My husband was a ways behind me and I stopped by this young man, who was clearly homeless, and asked if he was okay. During this time, more bikes passed by, and those that looked, quickly glanced away. I asked him if he was okay, he said he was fine. We exchanged a few more words, he insisting he was fine. I got on my bike and continued, slowly, until my husband caught up to me. But when he did, I stopped. Something was keeping me from continuing. I couldn’t leave this man, hurt, in the middle of nowhere. I told my husband I had to go back and see what I could do.

Now, given the professions in which we work (my husband is a police officer and I work at a District Attorney’s Office), it’s all too easy to become skeptical and jaded about humanity. My husband didn’t think it was a good idea, thinking he might have been high on drugs or alcohol. But I insisted it didn’t matter if he was high or drunk, he was hurt. I could feel it in my gut. My husband agreed to turn around with me and go back.

As it turned out, he was hurt. He’d fallen the night before, thought his foot was likely broken, and was trying to make it into Denver. I asked him if I could call someone for him, he said he didn’t have anyone. I asked if I could call 911, he said he didn’t have any money, to just go ahead and he’d be fine.

I’d decided as soon as we reached Denver I would find someone who would know how to help this man. And the next mile was spent doing mental gymnastices trying to figure out how I could help him.

And then it happened. I heard in my head, the unmistakeable message, “You can’t help him, Rhonda, but I can. Ask Me.”

It was a clear message that gave me goosebumps on every square inch of my arms. God had placed this man in my path and I’d been so caught up in what I could do, that I nearly missed what I could do. This man was my stranger for the day, the one I was to pray for, and I nearly missed that golden opportunity.

When we reached Denver, I told my husband what had happened, and how it changed my heart. Once again, it struck me that praying for others blesses the person praying as much, if not more than, the one being prayed for.

On the way  back we saw him again. He smiled at us and we stopped. My husband pulled out his wallet and tried to offer him some help. The man said he couldn’t take the money, that he would be fine. That statement changed my husband’s heart. A homeless person refusing money??? Finally my husband said, “Please take it. It’s for me, not for you.” The man’s eyes pierced my husband’s heart, he took the offering and said, “Thank you for your blessing.”

Say what?!?

I believe God put that man in our path that day to change both my husband and me. My heart broke to see so many people pass by as if the man, crawling on the pavement, were nonexistent. As if they were afraid to notice him or too caught up in life to notice someone struggling. And it saddened me to think that that’s what has become of our society. Those that are homeless are every bit as precious in God’s eyes as anyone else. They are His children. And if someone passed by my children when they were struggling and hurt, it would rip my heart out.

Helping one another, helping to make life that can be beyond difficult easier for someone else, giving to another the grace and mercy that is so freely given to us–isn’t that what life is about?

Mother Teresa

Time to share – Tell me about a time you’ve helped someone else and how it changed you in ways you never expected.

 

 

A Mother’s Day Thanksgiving

English: BBQ - Self Designed.

English: BBQ – Self Designed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a lazy blogger the past week. That being said, I’ve been breathing new life into revising my novel, The Inheritance, and I’m seeing the final touches being completed in the very near future. Near, as in by mid-June. 🙂

My husband and I are taking a much needed vacation this next week–leaving in the morning–so I will resume blogging after we get back home.

In the meantime, I’m re-posting what I wrote for last Mother’s Day, a day that was so spiritually lifting it took my breath away.

I would like to wish all mothers, wanna-be mothers, aunts, grandmas, moms to pets, and any woman who cares for a child, regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not, a very happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate YOU, the LOVE you give, and the DIFFERENCE you make in the life a child.

And here’s the re-blog:

True to form, my husband agreed to do whatever I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, wanting to be sure my day was perfect.  My list consisted of two things: our first bike ride of the season, 30 miles round trip along the Platte River Trail to Confluence Park in Denver, enhanced by getting a treat from Starbucks, of course, followed by a BBQ in our backyard with my kids. We were on the bike path by 9:00 a.m., the slightest breeze, sun shining bright, trees budding like crazy, grass green as  be. I was in a state of awe as I breezed along the path, all of my senses aroused and drinking in the beauty that surrounded me. And all I could do was pray, giving thanks to a God who is so amazing to care about the most insignificant parts of my life, making them so significant.I saw the wild flowers sprinkled throughout the open fields, like paint on a canvas, and gave thanks for the blessings, too numerous to count, sprinkled throughout each of my days.

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed...

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed crop was dotted with a selection of wild flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw three small children lined up on a fallen log like baby birds in a nest, reaching up to the man standing before them patiently providing water and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. I gave thanks for the supply of living water and spiritual nourishment He provides me to sustain me on my journey of life.In the river below the bank I saw the flowing ripples from a duck that had taken flight. I gave thanks for a God who flows through my veins with love and grace to create the ripple effect to those He brings me to.

A woman in fragile health, wearing a mask protecting her mouth and nose from breathing the dust in the air, yet not afraid to go out and breathe in the beauty of the earth, smiled at me, the gentle crinkling at the corner of her eyes,  as she walked past. I thanked Him for my health and for his loving Spirit flowing to me through others.

I heard a baby crying in a meshed carriage being pulled behind a bike, and I watched the mother stop to comfort her child.  I thought of Mary on this blessed Mother’s Day, the perfect example of obedience and motherhood, bearing and raising a son that became my savior. And I gave thanks for the privilege of being a mother.

In the heat and stillness of mid-summer, with a not-distant-enough sewage treatment plant along one portion of the river, where I usually strengthen my breath holding skills, this particular day I inhaled the sweet fragrance of crab apple blossoms in the gentle spring breeze. And I gave thanks for the ability to smell such sweetness.

Martin Johnson Heade - Apple Blossoms CGF

Martin Johnson Heade – Apple Blossoms CGF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we walked in the park and I saw a disheveled man, sleeping soundly through the activity happening around him, back pack askew, I thanked God for my home and for the strength to get off the elevator of alcoholism before it hit the bottom floor. And I prayed for this man. That he would find the loving God that has blessed me beyond what I can possibly begin to comprehend.His goodness is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. I’ve come to believe that what I look for, I will find. If I look for His blessings and His goodness, I will see it. Each morning upon waking, I have a choice whether I will see goodness. And I pray each day I choose wisely.

Share with me what you are grateful for today at this very moment.