Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hope found in an unlikely place...

My heart was heavy as I arrived.  The conversation I had come from ripped my reality wide open:  I am about to be a single mother to 3 small children.  Trying to map the future is like standing at the edge of a thick fog.  One blind step after another hoping for ground to meet my feet.  Can I afford to stay in my house?  Can I afford to stay in Indianapolis, the city I've known as home for the last 11 years?  Will I be able to provide for my children?  Prayer for reconciliation feels like it has hit the ceiling and ricocheted.  Job searching with an Associates degree and an 8 year gap in employment raising babies has gained nothing.  My dreams of writing could take years to monetize.  The subtle yet steady increase in grocery costs along with the growing appetites of my children are already squeezing my wallet weekly.  Where am I going to go from here?  How will this work?  My heart cried for a Word before I arrived at Riverwood Church on Riverwood Trail.

Gathered in a tent under the trees, Pastor Dennis opened in a word of prayer.  We began to worship as Greg played his guitar.  Soon after, the rains began to fall as a storm blew in.  Teresa was the picture of hospitality as we sought shelter under a plastic-enclosed lean-to from wind, rains and hail.  Pastor Dennis scrambled in search of styrofoam sheeting to further shield us from nature's fury.  While waiting out the storm, Pastor Dennis continued to lead us in singing praises to the King.

When all had calmed, we returned to the tent and my dear friend Melissa delivered a message on captivity and how through Christ we can break free and live a life to glorify Him.  The message resonated with the audience.  As Pastor Dennis closed the evening, he said something that struck a chord with me:  "God calls us to follow Him.  And that obedience always has a cost.  Even though I have nothing, it is still going to cost me something.

The message familiar.  The messenger unexpected.  You see, Pastor Dennis is homeless.  The lean-to where we took refuge from the storm is where Teresa lays her head each night.  Riverwood Church on Riverwood Trail, sprawls under an interstate overpass, down by the river, minutes from downtown Indianapolis. 
I'm not sure of the exact details that brought Pastor Dennis to his current circumstances.  But I can tell you that it doesn't take long in simple conversation to see that He is a man of God doing His work in an area few people are appointed.  He has chosen to rise above his circumstances and bloom where he is planted.

As I left, a scripture Melissa had shared rang in my heart:

Jeremiah 29:11, 13-14a
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you."

I will seek Him with my whole heart and He will be found.  As I take that next blind step I need not worry.  Because He has the plans for the future.  Plans of prosperity, provision, safety and above all: HOPE.

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