Lost but Found

Words cannot begin to describe my absolute lack of direction.

Todd learned early on in our marriage that a quick trip to a local store would more than likely result in frustrated tears and at least two phone calls to see if he could help me figure out where I was. It’s terrible. Really. I am paralyzed without my little navigation thing talking, even when I’m going to places I go to all the time. It is one of the things that has driven me (and everyone else) nuts for as long as I can remember.

It’s like my brain literally can’t remember which exit will take me where, so I panic. Then, before you know it, I’m on a wild goose chase trying to get home, screaming at Siri, “Take me home! Take me home!” I have a feeling she wants to crawl back in her pretty box and dream of lower-maintenance owners. Sometimes she understands me and saves the day.

Today was not that day.

I was late for lunch with my friend Jess, and she only gets a certain amount of time for her lunch break so I knew punctuality was important. I get to the 440 exit  and I panic because I can’t remember if I go west or east (never mind the fact that I went to school off this exit and drove it every day for years.) I decide it’s east and then immediately, but not immediately enough, I realize that actually, no. It was west. WEST. Darn.

I find the closest exit ramp (Nolensville in this case) and I’m not in what you would call a “peppy, friendly, let’s talk” mood. I see a homeless man on the side of the road with a sign that says “Need Groceries,” and for a moment I am sad for him. Not sad enough to make extended, awkward eye contact, or to roll down my window and give him encouragement. I stare straight ahead, aware of his eyes begging mine to acknowledge him. But I don’t. I just stare ahead, willing the light to shine green so I can escape this moment.

As it turns, I press the gas hard and wave to him as we get eye-to-eye. Poor man, I think. And then I look in my rearview mirror and I see the way his T-shirt is soaking wet, stuck to his back from hours of begging for someone to care.

His back...I think. Soaked through with exhaustion and loneliness…oh, his back…

And while I cannot say I heard an audible voice, I know the Lord spoke to me at this moment.

“No, Angie. That is My back…”

Yes Lord. He is the least of these and what have I done for him? What have I sacrificed? Offered? Because that is what I have done for you, Lord. And it isn’t good enough.

I felt nauseous because I knew the Lord had been prompting me to give him money. I don’t carry cash, so that seemed like a decent excuse. But not enough. I could find something. I got back on the highway and told Jess I was going to be a few minutes late. She is understandably shocked because punctuality is my gift to the world. Stop laughing.

I open my wallet and find (I have no idea how it got there) $10. And it was his, this sweet man who needs, and who knows what he needs really, but he needs. And I want to be Jesus to him so badly.

I turn and get myself back on the highway going towards Nolensville and I pray to the Lord that he will still be there. As I get closer, I see him, now sitting on a rock a good ways back from the road. I open my window and wave to him, indicating I have something for him. As he stands, he nearly falls, and I see that he has a leg that doesn’t seem to be cooperating. He labors toward me with a smile on his face and by the time he has made it to my car, I hold the money out to him. I have tears in my eyes and I tell him that the Lord Jesus had told me to give him money the first time, and that I was disobedient. I apologize and ask his forgiveness. I tell him that I’m mad at myself because more than the money, God wanted me to speak truth over him. I tell him that he wasn’t forgotten, that he was loved, and that the Lord knew him intimately. He nodded and said “God bless you” as his eyes shimmered.

For a moment, it wasn’t Angie and a man. It was the bride of Christ desiring nothing more than to bless her Father.  And as he looked at me, holding the money, he said something I will never forget.

His eyes, well there was something about them.

Something more than a little familiar.

And it reassured me but I didn’t know why.

“Thank you, thank you” he breathed out “…and…I love you.”

He loves me. He loves me.

The King of all kings, the creator God, who allowed me the grace to go back.

He loves me.

I stared right back into his eyes and searched the intensity, wondering what it was the Lord was teaching me.

I whispered a few more times, “Your Father loves you. He sees you and cares for you. Don’t forget that!” He told me his name was Stoney and I told him mine.

As the car line began to move, I saw him run away from my car trying to motion to me. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but as I watched, I saw a Pringles can fall to the ground and something else in his hands. He stumbled in desperation,  holding it out to me as an offering. I realized it was a half eaten sub sandwich and he was limping toward me again in an attempt to repay me for what I had given him.

Mercy makes you want to give back, doesn’t it? And I know, because I am the recipient of a mercy so fierce it leaves me speechless. And as much as I limp and gather, the truth is, He only requires me to love well and rejoice in the gift.

“No, friend. It’s not from me. It’s from Jesus. You keep that!” I smiled big and waved

“Thank you!” He yelled as I turned the corner.

I couldn’t do anything but cry. All of my extreme emotions turn to tears, which is another gift of mine to the world at large.

I told the Lord I was sorry about my disobedience because I knew He had told me to do something very simple but it just didn’t fit into my perfect little plan for the day. I was so frustrated with myself and honestly, ashamed. Yes, I did go back and that was the second best thing I could have done, but it wounded me.

Do we really believe that the marginalized, broken, down-and-out populations can be affected by the power of God? Who are we to say that a few kind words or even money might not be exactly what convinces them that they are provided for? I have to say, I’m one of those people who pretty much automatically assume they are going to buy booze, but the truth that God reminded me of today was this: “Your hands, your mouth, and your heart dealt him grace today. That’s all I’ve asked of you.” 

I finally got to lunch, had a great time, and prayed for my new friend Stoney as I drove home.

In case you’re wondering, I got lost again on the way home. Totally different mistake, same nutcase driver.

And as I passed neighborhoods and houses and mailboxes and children, I thought to myself, “Why? Why have you given me this thorn in the flesh. I just want to know where I’m headed. To not panic when I don’t know where I am, and to have some sense of logic that could help me better understand a map.”

I was really angry at myself, but the truth is, one of the things I despise the most about myself (being directionally challenged is a nice way to say it…) brought me to a man in need of Christ today. I was so convinced I was going the wrong way that I didn’t consider that maybe the Lord had chosen it to be so.

It was the wrong way to get to lunch.

That much is true.

But the wrong way entirely? No. Not by a long shot.

I committed a new prayer to the Lord later in the day. Lord, take me wherever you want me. Urge to me interact in ways that bring You glory, and prepare my heart to receive what that interaction will teach me about You.

The truth is, I’m probably never going to be any good with a map.

But you know what?

Today, I reaped the benefit of joy that comes from a heart that wants to bless her Father. And in obedience to His calling on my life, I am sensing that it’s entirely possible that my sense of direction?

It’s getting better all the time.

:)

Have you ever had a prompting from the Lord that was clear like this? Did you listen? What was the result?


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  • http://katemcraig.blogspot.com katecraig

    I love this so much! Because I am exactly that way about directions (I half laughed half cried during that part) and because I so want my heart to be that sensitive and compassionate. God take away my skepticism and hard heart!

  • http://www.theparsonagefamily.com/ Jessica Miller Kelley

     My husband sounds like you. He gets in the wrong lane, misses turns, etc., like his mind is just somewhere else. It’s a challenge to me every time, because he hates it when I point this out, and I’m trying not to be nag, but how will we get anywhere on time?!

    My most poignant encounter with Jesus on a streetcorner was when I gave a man some money and he held my fingers for a moment, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “I will remember you.” I’ll never forget it.

  • Fiona

    Girly, you make me laugh, and cry, all because of your beautiful God given words.  And your beautiful God the surgeon worked on heart.  

    • Fiona

      And yes, to answer your question I do get promptings from the Lord and always always always when I listen and obey – it always  always always results in the Lord being glorified.  I am but a vessel.  I wish I followed my God promptings every day, because I’m sure He gives them everyday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rose-Jackson/55705815 Rose Jackson

    today at the park, i bought Jesus a snow cone. it was my first time being obedient like that. it feels so insignificant, but i hope it was a blessing.

    • Jennifer

      Oh Rose, it was a blessing. It was a blessing to someone at the park- but it became double a blessing when you posted it here. Angie’s post was beautiful and touching- as they always are. But my heart wasn’t truly engaged and I was flipping through the comments casually until I read yours. “I bought Jesus a snow cone.” Rose that is so beautiful and so true. Somehow that spoke straight to my heart and is going to echo there a long time. I sobbed out loud as I pondered it.

  • http://kristaonpurpose.com/ Krista Wilbur

    Okay, seriously, I cannot get over the fact that this is what your post is about today. I mean, I know you’re not writing just for me, or to me or anything, but what I love about God is how when He is trying to teach you something, or grow you in some area, He makes is so. stinkin’. clear. And this is just part of it for me.

    I have been struggling for MONTHS with a ministry to be involved in. I’m in a program at my church called School of Ministry and as part of it, I am expected to serve in a ministry — any ministry! — for one hour a week. That’s totally nothing in the grand scheme of things. So I work in the nursery a few Sundays a month, but God has made it abundantly clear over the these few months since I started that He wants me to be working with a crisis pregnancy center. I keep telling Him “No,” as in “No, God, that’s not what I want to do. What is your next opportunity for me?” I’ve seriously struggled with these despite it being made clear for a million reasons. If I do what He is calling me to do, He will have to break down my walls and rebuild because. I can’t help women in a crisis pregnancy center until I heal from my own experiences in this area.

    Anyhow. He is calling me to be obedient and I am so afraid of what will happen if I’m not — I finally took the first, tenny-tiny baby steps the other day to get involved. So until last Sunday, I had not listened, and I kept reading things about Jonah and other people in the Bible who weren’t disobedient.

    Didn’t mean to write you a novel but seriously… how poignant and timely! You continue to bless me, Angie! (And you’ve been on my heart… praying for you!)

    • Jamie Nixon

       Hi Krista,
      God knows exactly what He is doing.  If CPC is it for you – do it! I only say that from my own experience.  I had a very painful past and felt I would not be good for anyone, until I started ministering to people who also had a painful past & some with hard current decisions. God used all my experiences for the good to help others.  Remember, you can not tell someone you know how they feel until you actually do.  Be open to using others to help you heal, minister to those that in return (without them knowing) can minister to you.  This can help you heal your past and your heart.  Good luck – just remember there are many rewards and freedom in being obedient to the Lord – He is God and He has your back!  WOW…how amazing is that?  God Bless you.  Jamie

      • http://kristaonpurpose.com/ Krista Wilbur

        Thank you so much for the encouragement, Jamie! As I was moving forward last Sunday, I was — and continue to be! — so thankful for the way He redeems for Him the things we thought would be used to destroy us! :)

  • Laura kim

    Thanks for sharing.  I experience the same things in my life and don’t always respond the way I know the Lord would of liked me to.  This post made me laugh and cry because it was such a blessing to hear through your experience what we are often faced with and how we are called to respond!

  • Margaret

    Beautiful!  Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Baroness Black

    “(S)He who chooses his (her) own path needs no maps” – Queen Kristina of Sweden

  • Coby

    Oh, this is a blessing, a reminder to LOOK and LISTEN for the Lord even more. 

    My favorite prompting from the Lord was when I was about 23; I was going to leave the church that I was in – for various reasons, and even for good reasons.  I was driving home one night, telling the Lord that I was going to leave, and I swear, He must have been sitting in my back seat because I clearly heard, “Don’t leave.”  I (foolishly) responded, “But Lord, don’t you see what’s going on here in this church?”  He repeated, “Don’t leave.  If I’m telling you to stay, does it matter?”  Well, hard to argue with God on that one!  So I stayed.  My circumstances didn’t change, but my heart did…and it was at that church that I met and married my husband.  We eventually left that church, but it was in God’s timing.  I shudder to think of what would have happened had I left in MY timing!

    Sorry that was so long :-)

  • Diana

    I am going to challenge myself to look and SEE and to listen to my heart more.  Spoke to me so deeply.  I love it when I see a new post in my inbox… can’t wait to sit down and read it.  Blessed my heart today.   I hear Him more and more, cause my heart is open to it.  It is exciting!  Loved your story!!!!  I needed it today. 
    Diana

  • Janet

    Thank You for this story! Janet

  • http://www.sharpmoments.blogspot.com/ Tracy S

    I get lost all the time, going to the same places as always. I use my GPS constantly too.

  • KL

    I travel for work. A month ago, I was driving down to VA from PA – a 7 hour drive plus pee stops and food stops. We got off at one exit and there was a man with a sign. I knew I had to buy him food…And I did. But when I went back after my lunch and we went to get back on the highway in our big bulky truck he was too far down the off ramp in the wrong direction on the other side of a divider…I couldn’t get to him and I am still so sad about it and think I could have should have tried harder to this day…funny you brought this up. I can’t believe how much it still affects me that I failed that day…

  • Kimdvandeberg

    Wow, what a powerful witness.  I definitely needed to read this.

  • Nancy

    Yet so often when you give “homeless” people money you are feeding their addiction…not giving Jesus food.

    • Mfitaly

      I keep gift cards for McDonald’s and hand those out.

    • Neshamah150_6

      You must understand, Who are we to judge what the other person does with the money? It’s God’s money anyways. What they do with the money is between them and God. Not between them, God, and you. God bless.

    • http://kristaonpurpose.com/ Krista Wilbur

      We were actually just talking about this in my home group last night. So often we question whether to give “homeless” (or truly homeless) people money because we are afraid of that they’ll spend it on less than honorable things… but it brought our conversation full-circle to what our pastor was talking about on Sunday — honoring those who cannot possibly honor you in return. If you give someone money or a gift card or even a sandwich, they could be not homeless and just looking to work the system. But in that moment, with whatever you gave them — you were Jesus.

      I’m not trying to be mean or anything because I really, really struggle with this (especially considering that we have two Targets in town and every entrance — I mean literally every entrance!) has at least one person soliciting handouts there throughout the day, but I think the heart of this post is about something far bigger than whether people on street corners really are homeless or not. It made me ask myself when I was last obedient in answering God’s call to be Jesus to someone — whether that was a homeless person or not.

    • Carole M

      I once worked as a sign language interpreter at a mental health clinic, working with homeless drug addicts.  They confessed that when they beg for money their only aim is to use it to get high again.  

      Also, it is illegal to panhandle.  

      I definitely think we should view homeless people as our equals.  And in that sense, let’s not pity them so much that our actions actually cause a disservice rather than  helping them. (For example, if this were my sister/aunt/best friend, addicted and begging me for more money would I give it to her?)  At present my goal is to learn from our local homeless shelter as to what they think the best response would be when I encounter someone like this in need.

    • Chris

      Nancy – have you ever used money God gave you for less than perfect purposes? Ever wasted money? Ever spent it on something that was not honorable for his purposes? And yet God gave you more and trusted you again and again. I identify with your thinking, and I thank God for his unmerited favor.

    • Andrea

      I see what you are saying but I think the real thing is this: If you are truly listening for God’s voice and hear Him, He will no lead you wrong. If you obey, you are being Jesus no matter how the money or the blessing is used by the receiver. And if you have never been an addict, then it would be hard for you to understand how HARD it is to rid yourself of an addiction even when you want to. So, yes, maybe some fight with themselves the entire way with your blessing to feed their addiction but YOU planted a seed of love and mercy from the Heavenly Father HImself. Let the Father deal with the addiction. It is not our place to do that. It is our place to be Christ and to love on others when they feel unloved and need mercy and grace. So, the real deal here is your heart, not theirs. I know that all of us deserve mercy and grace. It may be on different levels for different things but in God’s eyes, it’s the same nonetheless.:)

  • Gloria Anderson

    Angie,
    I read this after Mandisa posted a link to it.  This spoke so loudly to me.  There have been a couple of people begging along the route I take daily.  I had heard through the grapevine that they were going straight to a local convenience store and purchasing “bath salts” whenever they were given money, so I didn’t want to give them money and didn’t want to take the time to buy food and take it back to them.  I felt guilty and disobedient every time I passed them.  Your post has reminded me that I don’t have the right to judge them.  I need to give them the same grace that Jesus has given me!  Thank you for sharing.
    Gloria

  • Chelsee

    Something similar to this JUST happened to me on Memorial Day! I was driving to the local garden center to get some flowers..I passed by a gentleman who is blind, and has a guide dog…he is from the area, and he hitchhikes all over the place..it was HOT out..I felt so bad for both of them, standing on the hot macadam along the side of the road..I passed right by..this was my day off, I was supposed to do fun things, right?! The Lord started telling me to go back and pick him up … ME, Lord? A woman? Alone? We are not supposed to pick up hitchhikers. The further away I got, the worse I felt. Saying “no” to God was literally making me sick in the stomach…So I finally tried to reason with God, “OK, I’ll go back, but hopefully You will have someone else pick the man up before I get there.” That didn’t happen. I asked him where he was going, he was only going a few miles to a store. I have an SUV, I have dogs, so I had plenty of room for his dog, Hero. Long story short, he was completely safe, we had a wonderful conversation, he ended up going into the store, and I kept Hero company while he shopped (he used a walking stick)..and I took him to his next stop, a Coffee/Donut Shop that he frequents on a regular basis. I would’ve missed out on SO MUCH if I had continued to say no to God!!!!

  • Rdlginger

    Thank you for posting this. I must have really needed to read this, since I have been brought to tears many times today. This touched my day in a whole other level though. Here I am saying to myself woah is me – I deal with migraines almost on a daily level now, but here is this man feeling abandoned, left alone, to fend for himself. Reminds just how much we are really put in places outside of our comfort zone to be someone’s Jesus. Thank u.

  • Joel

    Very cool post.  Yes – It’s difficult to hear God’s voice sometimes – we’ve got SOOOO much to do. I think we all struggle, even as we walk thru a store… yes??  I want to be open and useful.

    I haven’t ever read your blog before, and probably will again.  Even if I’m not a young female… I’m a 59-ish guy - 
    I saw Mandissa’s post on FB and decided to check it out.I very rarely get anywhere near lost that I can’t find my way where I want to be… this message helps me understand folks who are directionally-challenged, as I’m the opposite. For Krista Wilbur, you’ll never be healed enough in your mind – if God’s telling you to do it, he’s not saying get ready to do it… helping is part of your healing.  For Real!  Dig in and Minister!!

    • http://kristaonpurpose.com/ Krista Wilbur

      Thank you for the encouragement, Joel. I am digging in as we speak and God is preparing me and readying me for great things for Him!!!

  • Sarah Graham

    That was so beautiful! It really touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. God bless you and your servant’s heart!!!!! I have known His mercy and I have known His grace, and I will be forever trying to pass a little bit of it on to some of His other children. I thank you for your obedience to His will, and bless Mandisa for posting the link! What a blessing today! Praise God!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UBQHL4GIQIHVXLNYNMKCWSKFEA TammyW

    I am crying!  Both happy and sad tears.  Incredible post.  I disobeyed God yesterday in fact.  I was at the grocery store in a hurry to get through and pick my daughter up from her children’s theater camp on time.  In the ice cream aisle was a little elderly woman, and I felt the nudge to just pat her on the back to let her know that someone noticed her, that someone cared, and that God loves her and she is not alone.  I DIDN’T DO IT!  I grabbed the last thing on my list and sprinted to the checkout so I could be ON TIME to pick up my daughter.  It has haunted me ever since.  I wish I could find that little lady and tell her all about it.  I have promised to never ignore that still small voice in my head ever again.

    On the other hand, I am a single mom, and I truly struggle financially EVERY day.  Their father’s family is pretty wealthy, but they do not ever contribute to help in any way.  Their father rarely pays child support…just enough to stay out of jail.  Their grandparents do take them out to eat on their birthdays, however, so we get a treat twice a year (I must go as well because their father is only allowed supervised visits, and his parents allow him to drink and drive with them in the car).  Anyway, last weekend at a local restaurant, they had my 12 year old daughter stand up and everyone in the place sang to her.  She received some iTunes gift cards from her grandparents and father.  Then a middle aged woman came over and gave her a little hug and slipped a $20 bill into her hand and wished her a happy birthday.  It was amazing!  My daughter LOVES to craft, and I just haven’t had the extra money to purchase craft supplies for her in several months.  NOW, she is going to Hobby Lobby to buy some a cross stitch kit with her money!  My daughter has worked super hard this year in raising money to be able to go to theater camp and church camp, and she is going to both totally free from the money she has raised!  Plus, her sister is disabled with lots of special needs, so she gets overlooked sometimes.  She deserved this blessing so so much.

  • Kimberly

    I was in a hurry to grab something from my house before a doctor’s appointment and saw a lady walking down the road that goes about 2 miles before an intersection. Usually I see people walking and you can tell they are probably exercising. This girl did NOT have that look. She was in a dress and sandals and it was hot that day. I passed by her while I heard this voice saying help her. I don’t pick up hitchhikers because they could turn out to be killers. I debated for a little bit before I made the decision to go back. I had to drive the 2 miles, make a U-turn, drive 2 miles back, another U-turn then pulled up next to her. I asked her if she needed a ride and when she got in asked where she was going. I am praying the whole time that it is not far because I had places to go. She told me she was lost and needed to get to the library which was 1/2 a block at the intersection. She didn’t say much except people kept passing her and honking at her. She was almost crying when I dropped her off. I don’t know what happened before I saw her or since, but she saw God’s love for at least 5 minutes.

  • Ecliburn

     have always been afraid to admit that I too am the same exact way with direction. Familiar places always look strange to me and there is never a road that I am sure of. Not just in a physical sense, but true also in the life sense. In lif…e, nothing ever seems familiar even though I wake up in the same body everyday. I never seem “found” although in truth I know that I am. Ive asked all of my life… through abuse and mistakes… why this thorn in my side? But I suppose God as the Creator knows His creation and how it is to work properly. So, I trust Him. He is the only thing is this broken world that is sure. Thank you, Angie Smith for sharing your written words. Thank you, Mandisa for sharing them as well. And now I too will share them with those who are in my own small world. And in case you are reading this: Mandisa… I enjoyed meeting you at Women of Faith 2011 in OKC, OK. Maybe, I can meet you some day, Angie Smith. One thing is for certain, we will know one another as we kneel before His throne in Heaven. Goodbye for now, sisters in Christ.

  • Katewasgray

    Um, I think you’re being really hard on yourself!  I don’t feel like you disobeyed God at all!  You didn’t feel the urge to actually help until AFTER you passed him and looked back and saw his sweat soaked back.  THEN you heard God and THEN you obeyed!  Sounds pretty obedient to me!  If you don’t HEAR Him right away it doesn’t mean you were disobeying.  When you heard you responded.  Seems pretty clear cut to me!  :o )

  • Lori

    Thank you for this heartfelt post.  I, too, want to be obedient to the promptings of  God.  Sometimes I try to convince myself that that “still small voice” is just me putting pressure on myself.  I know better.  You have reminded me to pay attention and take the action.  God Bless you and your tender heart!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GPOP36WYC3CZNSFVDXBXXDG6DA carlie

    I gotta say, I’m in tears reading this! I always assume, because that’s how I was brought up, that all they want is “booze” as well. It’s hard too see them for who they really are, to see them as God sees them. I recently heard a son that convicted me in exactly the same way. It’s called “Heartbeat Of Heaven” and it’s by Steven Curtis Chapman. I really hope you listen and enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij3KBdEihBI

  • http://twitter.com/mcdanielsara Sara McDaniel

    Hi Angie~  Beautiful, beautiful post.  God will reward your obedience.  I’m quite certain that this encounter may possible effect you more profoundly that it did Stoney.

    Here’s a similar story that happened to me:
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/sara-wheeler-mcdaniel/she-asked-me-for-panties/10150160853250942

    Blessings to you friend!
     

  • Melissa Culver

    I ignored a homeless woman as I left an office supply store once.  When I got to my car I knew I was supposed to head back to love her.  I gave her $5.00 and…I hugged her.  She said, “You go to church, don’t you?  People don’t hug me.  I smell.”  I replied, “I do go to church.  And we all need hugs.  It feels beautiful, doesn’t it?”  “Yes it does,” she said.

  • Lizgeeslin

    Thank you Lord for this revelation:
    If I give the homeless man money and share God’s love, I have done what He asks of me, even if the man buys drugs with it. That man’s obedience doesn’t dictate mine.

  • Lisa Groen

    It reminds me of the beginning of a poem  wrote, called Broken Dreams
    Broken Dreams

    by Lisa Groen

    Though the road is long
    and the road is winding,

    And the view of your
    destination you are not finding,

    You’ve started this
    journey and there’s no turning back,

    Though the devil may howl
    and with doubts attack,

    You can rest in His
    goodness, rest in His grace,

    Rest in Him helping you
    run out this race.

    Because in the twilight
    when you can’t see the road,

    And in bearing the load
    you feel the wind and the cold,

    Know His word is a lamp
    that will brighten your path,

    When the door we dreamed
    opened had a quick aftermath.

    My dream took a hit, I
    asked “What?! Is it dead?”

    There’s a picture I
    missed, from another’s view instead,

    That was unfolding the
    links that links your heart to mine,

    In a way that I didn’t
    think could be divine.

    With an attitude of
    patience, many questions I asked;

    The answers came slowly so
    the wisdom would last.

    “My brokenness in
    Christ!” I said “Wait! Not so fast!”

    That is quite truly the
    choice I picked last.

    As I gazed in the mirror
    seeing the reflection I cast,

    Might this brokenness be
    shared, as the bread that He passed?

    And the path overlooked
    and the turn that was passed,

    Might he detour us to, yet
    we can’t see that far?

    Yet this is the hope as He
    raises the bar:

    Because the one I’d pass
    by is the one He’d point out,

    To invite to the banquet,
    so He changes the route.

    I mustn’t for a minute
    take you for granted,

    Your life is a story with
    a lesson, so He planned it.

    Will I learn to follow Him
    who gave birth and made new,

    As I deny self, bear the
    cross, learn to serve, and follow truth?

    To connect in this life to
    other’s lives as they teach,

    And to live mine before
    them before I would preach.

    Now here’s grace to learn
    that human dreams can take a hit and wither,

    And although I wish the
    process was fast, yes and more pleasant and much simpler,

    Now I accept the potter’s
    hand and moan and sigh a bit and whimper.

    I feel my pulse race, I’m
    getting sweaty, and somewhat limper.

    Through brokenness, and
    pain, and waiting to be repaired,

    I am lonely and watching,
    though not in despair.

    I know He exchanges grace
    for all the broken things I love.

    I must trust Him and lean
    on Him though I moan like a dove.

    I rely on Him alone, Who
    holds our lives in His hands,

    On Him Who counts seconds
    like all grains of sand,

    Though the dream seems out
    of view, it shouldn’t worry me you see,

    For He balanced all the
    mountains and spread out each galaxy.

    And by the light of His
    Word I shall look straight ahead,

    Upon that which has
    purpose for this time instead.

    A new dream is rising and
    one He’ll impart,

    A certain one not at all
    far from my heart.

    A note to myself is that
    we cannot by swayed

    From the purpose that He
    gave us right from the first day.

    So did I have the right
    dream in my heart from the start?

    “I’m simply learning
    about myself, my likes and dislikes”, I remark.

    “If there’s a fire on
    the way it is only to purify,”

    I tell myself “I’ll
    pass right through even if the flames go really high!”

    I am challenged in the
    Lord, and I’m challenged by the fire,

    I can see it will be a
    little while before my He answers my desire.

    So I persevere under trial
    and he pulls me out of the mire,

    And I brace myself for
    hardship and mutter, “It’s not the right time to be tired!”

    I must put on the armor he
    supplied and I won’t bruise so easy or cry,

    Yes, I know there is a
    challenge on the way so I must renew my mind.

    I must build my spirit,
    deny the flesh, and do things of this kind.

    He is shaping and testing,
    He is taking time,

    For remodeling my heart,
    now the canvas is primed.

    But through all the
    confusion I came face to face

    With a higher calling from
    the Lord. Now my plans have been erased…

    So let us look to His
    Word, and gaze into His face,

    Because we have no one to
    lean on but only His grace.

    As I spit out the sand in
    that dry empty place,

    And make my heart the
    throne of His rule in this race.  

    There is more to this poem.  If anyone would like to read more of it, I can email them a copy of it.   In His Service, Lisa Groen

    • Ev Thompson

      Lisa, I would love a copy of this poem. evthompson@ymail.com  Thanks so much. This whole conversation has so blessed my day~ God bless each one of you! Ev

  • Kimwitman

    On Monday I passed a woman dragging 2 suitcases as I raced to the grocery store. I couldn’t get her out of my mind so I drove back, picked her up and took her to her desired end, a cheap motel. I used my cash ( didn’t want to give them a credit card) to book her room and she tried to give me an old coin as a thank you. I felt that God had used me to touch one of His own.

  • Pearle

    We are a blessed people.  To be loved by God is awesome and the best and we honor Him by loving His people, even if it’s a dollar, we become Jesus in the flesh.

  • Cassie

    I have been that person in need before. A few years back, I had no car, and I had a good mile’s walk home from the grocery store. One of the bags I was carrying broke and I was struggling to keep everything from falling all over the ground. A woman in a pick up truck stopped and asked if I needed a lift home. I was so gracious to that woman I just about cried as I got in her truck. When you do an act like that for someone, it sticks with them.
    About a year later, I got heat sick at my job and I was throwing up because I hadn’t eaten in a few days. My manager took me into her office and gave me one of those frozen steamer meals and a box of wheat thins and asked if I had any food at home, or if she needed to help me out.
    There are more examples like that, and each and every one of them has stuck with me through the years. I was so lost at the time, and I know that God was using these people to help me see the light somehow <3

  • http://ziggysblogs.blogspot.com/ Laura Day

    I get these prompting all the time.  It’s funny, because I’m a single mom & hardly ever have money, but these promptings never come when I don’t have money. It’s only when I do have money to spare. 

    I know a lot of people believe if you give money to the homeless, they will buy alcohol, but the way I look at it…if someone is trying to con people out of money for alcohol, then God will deal with them.  But if that person really is hungry, and I don’t do anything to help, then God will deal with me…and I certainly don’t want to answer to God as to why I didn’t help.

    I’m glad you turned around :)

  • Holly

    I experienced something like this at a Culver’s restaurant a few years back.  I was eating lunch with my family and noticed an elderly gentleman and a younger woman (maybe his daughter) sit down in a booth nearby.  They both looked extremely sad, and I noticed that the woman was crying.  I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and tell me to go pray for them. My inner dialog went something like this:  “Pray for strangers?  In a restaurant?  In front of other strangers?”  I told my husband what I felt God wanted me to do.  He said, “Well, you’d better do it then!”  (wise words from a wise man!)  So, I walked over to them, knelt next to their table, and said, “I noticed that you two look very sad.  I don’t know what’s going on, but could I pray for you?”  The woman, with tears running down her cheeks, very simply said, “Yes.”  Then a miracle happened for me.  As I prayed for them (a simple prayer, really) God’s love for these people came into me and poured out onto them.  That’s the only way I can explain it.  After I prayed they said, “Thank you.”  I have never seen them again, but I know that I obeyed, and because of my obedience I was blessed.  It made me say to Jesus, “Do it again!  Do it again!  Use me even though I am unworthy.  Use me!”

  • http://www.michellepack.blogspot.com/ Mlpack777

    This is the lesson that God taught me with my encounter with a “man with a sign”…I must fully consume the gift of God before I can give His Grace.  For a few moments, Jesus speaks as the ultimate Giver…only giving from His incredible riches…what is my response? Lesson learned in trading my begging for His grace. See here: http://www.michellepack.blogspot.com/2012/06/hungry.html 

  • amanda

    this post spoke all too close to my heart. similar thing happened to me as well. i wrote about it here. http://amandabmorris.blogspot.com/2012/04/obedience.html and just so you know you’re not alone…i’m directionally challenged too!

  • Karen

    My sweet future dil is much like you in her sense of direction and she gets so frustrated and embarrassed.  I sent her this as encouragement!  THANKS!!

  • Bethany

    Absolutely beautiful.  I’m learning when God puts someone on my heart, I’m to pray and let them know I’m praying.  It’s kinda awkward to me, because I never want to seem nosey.  So, I am always reluctant to reach out when someone’s on my heart.  BUT, God’s taught me over and over that when He puts someone on my heart, there’s a need.  It’s not for me to know the need, but for me to pray.  I’m blown away each time I tell someone I’m praying for them and that God put them on my heart, because you know what?  She’ll always say, “wow, I needed that!” or “Thanks, I’m at the doctor now, please pray for a good report.” The examples go on and on.  Yes, beautiful Angie, the best is truly yet to come!

  • Courtney DeFeo

    Angie – this is so beautiful. Just shared it on my Facebook page for Lil Light O’ Mine. I love so much about your story – your authenticity (as always) that you did drive by the first time – and you sharing how God spoke to you in a way others can understand and begin to recognize that it’s happening more than we know. And, oh the end – his face. Good grief this got me today. Absolutely beautiful tale of someone I respect that does more than “talk” – lots of “walking it” and taking action in your life. Thank you for your words today. 

  • http://pcosjourneytoconceive.blogspot.com/ Chirleen

    Hi Angie,

    This is such a touching story.  When I see someone on the side of the road, begging for food or money, my heart always breaks. Recently I encouraged my husband to give some money to a woman and her child who were asking for something to eat.  I am embarrassed to say that the only reason I felt comfortable doing that is because my husband was with me.  I want so bad to help others but am always afraid to when I’m by myself.

    I discovered your blog after hearing about your book, “I Will Carry You.”  It was recommended to me when I posted on my Facebook the YouTube video for the song sung by Selah.  You see, tomorrow on Fathers’ Day, will be two months since my husband and I lost our sweet infant son, Caleb.  I was only 22 weeks when I went into preterm labor caused by an incompetent cervix.  Caleb’s heart stopped beating just before I delivered him.  Reading Audrey’s story has touched me tremendously.  You have a very special gift with expressing your feelings.  I really wish that I could do the same.  I have so many things left unsaid that are just aching to come out.

    I watched your slideshow. I’m still wiping my tears.  Your family is so beautiful and I know that Audrey is so proud to be your daughter.  Since we lost Caleb so unexpectedly, we didn’t get many photos other than those taken by a nurse, some on my cell phone and some by my Mom on her small pocket camera.  We will always treasure these but I do wish we had some of better quality.  Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

    Thank you for your inspiring words, for sharing your story and for giving me a place to feel welcome in such a very lonely place.

    With love, Chirleen

  • http://pcosjourneytoconceive.blogspot.com/ Chirleen

    PS: I have been keeping a blog since just before we lost Caleb.  http://calebs-story.blogspot.com  

  • Kristy

    Thank you for putting this into words!  I leave in less than 12 hours with a group of 19 middle schoolers on a mission trip.  My week has been crazy (Satan tries to sneak in wherever he can!) and as I’ve been packing today my prayer has been “Lord open my heart to those we will be serving and allow me to be willing to be led by Your Spirit to lead the students to you.”  My heart has been frazzled and I feel like so many things have been distracting me from hearing my Heavenly Father … which has made me anxious.  Your post has drenched me in peace and is fueling the excitement of what He may do in the week to come.  Thank you!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JV7AB5GZNETOP5JYVVH2RMRSNE Lesley

    This post is precious. Yesterday I had some errands to run after work (I get off early on Fridays) and a hair appointment later in the afternoon. I was starving and not wanting to get fast food I decided to stop by a local Mexican place we eat at a good bit (not that mexican is healthier but you know!?! ha). I had texted my sister and 2 other friends but no one was available for a quick lunch. I decided to go anyways…even though I’d be by myself. And I didn’t even had a book or my kindle in the car. Which is rare. It wasn’t a really big deal but I just dont like the idea of eating by myselft usually. So I walk in and the man takes me around a corner to the table and I see two friends from my church sitting in the same area. They graciously asked me to eat with them and the Lord blessed our time together. It was actually their 44th wedding anniversary and they had both forgotten until just before getting lunch. They were on the way to see him sister who is in the hospital about 2 hrs. from where we live. Anyways, it wasn’t a huge deal (or maybe it was) but I just saw God’s hand in me being there right then. I was so glad I didn’t just swing through Chick-fil-a and eat in my car missing the blessing the Lord had for me. I was nurished by the food yes but more importantly by my fellowship with them. When I was walking back out to my car I heard the Lord say to my heart “I handled lunch…what else will you let me take care.” I (we) “know” these things but oh how my heart sores when he reminds me in the smallest most intimate ways that He has everything in control. We are safe in his hands….even when we are yelling at the GPS!! Ha. Feeling crazy and out of control…He is there to turn me/us in the right direction again. I am so thankful for His faithfulness and patience with me. All these comments are a blessing too.

  • Lance Pinson

    There was a man that stood by the road everyday, in the same place.I saw him every time, and didn’t stop and take time to help him. I was going to bring him clothes, and some money very soon. I just found God and my heart changed. I thought that I would start trying to help people that needed it. But when I was about to do this I found out that this man had just gotten killed, he was hit by a car. You never know that while you’re taking your time to think about helping someone, that there may not be much time left. It’s so sad. This story touched my heart, and thought I would share my story.

  • Amanda K

    This post spoke to my heart Angie as many of your posts do.  I’m actually really great with directions but I feel more directionless in other areas of my life at the moment and I don’t know how to get back on track.  Your post was so encouraging to me. I think the Lord is speaking to me but I’m not doing my best listening and really allowing Him to be my emotional/mental/spiritually GPS.

  • Sheri

    Wow! I had a similar experience in my town-elderly homeless man looked so sick-but I’m on my lunch hour and in the far lane from where he stood. You understand, right God? He would not let me continue so I turned around and drove down the interstate and back in his lane to give him everything in my wallet. As soon as I drove off the radio began playing, “The Face of Christ,” reminding me so clearly that He saw

  • Shene Benton

    I’ve had a similar situation. (I wrote about it a year or so ago.. http://www.notbeforemycoffeeblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/four-dollars.html). In the end, being obedient feels so much better than holding onto my cash.  I’ve learned to listen to the Holy Spirit and give when I feel led, and not worry about what happens with the money.  It’s very freeing.  

  • Char Rupert

    What a great testimony.  We think things happen by accident but I think all happens in Gods providential timing.  God is good all the time and All the time God is good.

  • http://inklingwrites.blogspot.com/ Inkling

    I love this story.  We live in an area that has a lot of homeless people, and God has used my generous-to-a-fault husband to open up my own heart to helping them when I can sense the Spirit is totally prompting my heart.  I never know the outcome, but figure maybe I’ll get to hear “the rest of the story” in Heaven.  It’s a sweet privilege to be Jesus-in-skin to someone, and it’s kind of fun to wonder what God will do with that act and what it will be like to see how it fit into His big picture on the other side of eternity.

    Oh, and between the red hair and the sense of direction, we should probably be sisters.  When I got married, my dad looked at my husband and said, “I now give you all responsibility of being my daughter’s human GPS.  My job is finished.”  I have the best adventures from getting lost, but not everyone appreciates them.  =)  (Like the time I took my cousin to Fall Creek Falls from her home in Columbia, but we ended up at the Baptist Sunday School Board building in downtown Nashville on our way.)  I like to tell people God gave me other gifts.

  • Patricia W Hunter

    Thank you for this, Angie. I am so foolish to ever think I know who deserves grace and who doesn’t. When Love covered a multitude of MY sins, who am I to withhold it from any one else. Any one else. And to see God’s hand in our interruptions changes everything, doesn’t it? Thank You, Jesus, for Angie – for how she loves You, blesses You and Your people, and spurs the rest of us on to love and good deeds. 

  • http://bringingHomeHolland.blogspot.com/ Yvette

    I love this story!  Our unexpected was actually in bringing our 4 year old SN son home from China.  When people ask about him I often find I have no answer.  Simply, God placed this little boy with significantly deformed legs in our path.  Although this path has not been the easiest it has most definately been all God.  He jsut had amputation surgery on both of his legs, but you know I finally realized that this is the closest I personally will ever come to touching the cloak of Jesus.

  • Ro elliott

    great post…I am from Nashville…actually I met you at the IRL…I think I was the oldest one there:)…I know that spot…I probably have seen Stony…I like the thought when I pass by I can pray for him by name. God has done a work in my heart in this area…I love the to stop whenever I can and buy a paper from the ladies and men who sell them…and instead of just shoving the money out the window…I want to look deep into their eyes…talk to them…and just maybe God’s love can be felt in the short exchange.  I heard the toey’s(blindside) say…they just give money…and what they do with it is between them and God…our job is just to love. THis helped me one day to pay for an elderly ladies’ groceries…she said she thought she had money in the bank…I don’t know if she was honest or not…but I paid and told it is was because Jesus loves her so much. I want to continue to be sensitive to His heart toward the hurting.
    And I may pass you sometime in nashville driving in circles…I too am directional challenged:)

  • natalie

    A few years back I drove by a man holding a cardboard sign, “Will Work For Food.”  Immediately God said to me, GIVE THAT MAN MONEY.  I was tired, on my way home, kids in the car, things to do, etc, etc…
    ‘Besides, I thought,  I don’t even have any cash.’

    My excuses didn’t get rid of the heavy nagging feeling in my gut, so I turned around and headed toward the nearest drive thru bank machine.  ‘Okay God, How much do I give him?’
    The number that popped into my head made me choke.  It was too high.  It was too much. That was going to cut into the grocery and gas budget for the week.  How on earth could I ever explain that to my husband?!

    My 3yr old daughter chatting away at her baby brother in the backseat suddenly pips up and says, “Mommy are you getting money for that man with the sign?” 

    ‘Yes honey’

    “How much you gonna give him Mommy?”

    - I’m silent as I’m wrestling with myself and what I believe to be God’s answer to that question -

    “  – - –  hundred bucks, right mommy?”

    She had rhymed off the EXACT amount that had popped into my head (which I never said audibly), I didn’t even know she knew numbers that high.  Out of the mouths of babes, huh? 

    ‘Yes honey’

    Sigh. ‘Well God, you confirmed it.  I guess it’ll work out it somehow.’

    I withdrew the cash and clutched it in my hand as we drove back to find the man.  I knew there was nothing about this moment that was me.  It was all God.

    As we approached him and my arm stretched out, “God bless you sir” was all I could say as I squeezed his hand firmly.  I smiled at him through my tears.  As he looked at the amount of cash in his hand I saw this expression come over his face, an expression I’ve worn many times… when the gift feels like its too much, when the grace shown takes you by surprise, when something leaves you feeling small but very full.

    It was a moment where Jesus was on both sides of transaction.  He was the one giving the gift (through me) and he was the one receiving the gift (through that man).  ‘What you do to the least of these, you do to me.’

    >> The gas and groceries worked themselves out, the husband fumed temporarily but came around and the supernatural joy that flooded my heart kept bubbling over for weeks to come. ;)    I only wish that I had been obedient faster and not questioned God every step of the way.

  • Lorena Long

    This is my first time reading your post.  Loved it!  We recently moved to a new city and I immediately began seeing a man who I couldn’t forget.  He was poorly dressed, weary, and lost looking every time I encountered him.  I felt God prompting me to reach out and bless him somehow.  My husband urged me to be safe and pray for God’s wisdom.  I asked God to have this obviously “needy” man be at the grocery store so that I could meet him in a safe place.  I prayed for three days.  Drove by the store for three days.  And, on day three…there was David.  I had money and a kind word from a Father who had not forgotten David.  I still see David almost daily walking his same long walk with sad, tired eyes.  And, I keep praying that God will bring what David needs from those around him.

  • Ev Thompson

    I loved your post, Angie! I laughed and cried my whole way through. I am often lost. Fibromyalgia.. brain fog, you name it. I have determined they are just little detours and a lovely surprise that I wasn’t expecting during my day. To hear you describe your lack of direction made me laugh until I cried. And then you got to Stoney, and I cried until I laughed. I live in a city that is full of hungry, homeless, displaced people and it seems that God is always asking me to feed them, and he always smiles back through those all to familiar eyes. Bless you for sharing this. It has simply confirmed that God has given some of us a mixed up sense of direction or in my case a brain that sends things into a black hole, but has compensated us by giving us hearts that overflow with his grace and mercy. In return he grows our hearts. How amazing is that?? 

  • Meredith Flaming

    Thank you SO much for sharing about your lack of direction!  I have the same problem and it’s such a handicap.  I get lost often or take the LONG way to a destination because it’s the only way I know.  I hate it and it’s so embarrassing.  It makes me avoid going to new places and missing opportunities.  God DOES direct me to lots of needy people, so now I’m going to remember that He’s directing me in ways that are really important.

  • Tncmeyer9

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was me, yesterday and today. Directionally challenged panicked and wounded. And yes punctuality is also my gift to the world. Great line, loved it! Now, if I could just figure out that other part, that Crazy Love, being Jesus part. I am a work in progress.

  • VL

    Wow you have no idea how this spoke to me. We are having VBS this week and the kids are taking change for our local children’s home. I got the change jar down for them and was putting it into baggies, I heard God tell me to give it all. I selfishly thought to myself but we end up needing that money for unexpected stuff. I ignored God and I’ve worried about it all day. Then I see this link at the bottom of Anne’s email, click and here I am. Facing my selfishness and disobedience to God-thank you for this post, I know what I have to do in the morning.

  • Beth Werner Lee

    Oh sweetheart! I love your obedience, raw for not being instant, you know? I honor you for going back.
    I was talking on the phone with my friend, she was talking, and I heard my mom’s voice in my head (Mom being in heaven by then) saying, “Ask Antie what her relationship with Jesus is like!”
    “Really?” I thought. “No way, is this true?”
    The voice came again, same words, maybe more urgent.
    So I wimped out and I said, “Ant, my mom wants me to ask you what your relationship with Jesus is like.”
    Do you know, Ant totally skipped the dead mom part and went right into answering the gift of a perfect question?
    I was bowled over with my dear Jesus who let me hear my mom’s voice in my head, imparting his wisdom.
    It is hard sometimes, when he speaks, to prove it was God…and then it comes to pass…

  • http://livingtocarrythecross.blogspot.com/2011/10/obedience-that-calls-you-to-be-radical_21.html Brian Jackson1

    Angie, Here is my story of radical obedience. Obedience is hard no matter what he asks of us. I believe that his grace is plaenty big enough to cover when we don’t obey the first time. He wants us to obey yes, and still loves us even when it is not frst time. Blessings and grace poured out for you because you did obey.

  • Brbgrdn

    reminds me of tokien quote “all who wander are not lost” !!

    • inTN

      AMEN!

  • http://pippasporch.wordpress.com/ Pippa * Jeanne

    I am just so blown away by this. THANK YOU for sharing this, Angie.

  • Pingback: {And then there was that day she started reading the Bible.}

  • Aly

    Hi Ang,

    I try to keep in mind especially on the days I am running late or get stuck behind a slow driver that God is purposefully causing me to be late or placed me behind that driver for a reason. Maybe it was to avoid the accident that is about to happen or just happened. Maybe it’s just to teach me to have some patience. Maybe it’s even to give me more time with my kids in the car or, can you believe this, more time with HIM.

  • http://www.chasing-eden.com Alle McCloskey

    Alright – this is my first official visit to your beautiful blog.  Saw that you’re a friend of Maggie and decided to hop over…then your words smacked me right in the face, girl.  I’m still processing what Jesus has for me in your words, but I wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for your honesty, authenticity, and example. Blessings, sister.

  • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

    Not long ago, I was approached outside the downtown Nashville LifeWay by a woman.  As I walked to my car, I had seen her approaching other customers going to their car and felt like she would be coming to mine.  My phone rang as I was walking and I thought, “Great, now I have a reason to avoid her!”  I got in my car, kept talking, and noticed her waiting patiently for me to finish.  She needed money for a hotel bill so her family could stay one more night until she received her paycheck.  She even said I could take the money to the hotel instead of giving it to her.  But that was not what God told me to do.  She only asked for $10 of the $40 she needed.  I had an extra $40 in my wallet (a strange thing to be sure since normally there is nothing there!).  I gave it all to her.  She was so thankful, it blessed my heart.  At the DotMom event last year I gave a homeless man $5 and he gave me a huge hug.  It made my day!

  • http://www.reason2believehim.com/ Vicky Ann Hunt

    Angie, it seems like your sense of direction is keen in the Spirit world. You are just focused on God’s Positioning Satellite. (GPS)

  • Rebecca Harden

    I loved this story, thank you.
    And yes you are so right, we must be Jesus to everyone who crosses out path, stranger or friend.
    Thank you again.

  • Sarah {Handbags*N*Pigtails}

    I love how you said people automatically assume or say that these others will buy booze because Ive heard that over and over again. But its not our job to judge or pre-conceive..only to be obedient to the promptings we feel from the Holy Spirit. God Bless you for being that obedient one, Angie! The world would be a much better place if we all did this more often.

  • lesliemartinyoung

    I can SO relate to the frustration of having absolutely NO sense of direction. I got lost on what should have been a familiar route the other day and when I called my husband he had the (momentary) bad judgment to act a little shocked at my mistake which inflamed my frustration, anger and hurt towards HIM! Oh boy. Flawed. So flawed. I love your perspective, though, and especially your gracious response to Stoney. I’m going to be more mindful of my, uh, detours and open to what I might be driving into! 

  • inTN

    Oh Angie! You always make me think and tickle me too! I don’t get lost.  Not cause I’m good with directions at all though.  I can go somewhere once and never forget it.  I remember the turns, ect. by landmarks(TJ Maxx and Kohl’s) and sometimes even small things like lovely trees or bushes or flowers that I loved!  You wrote a post a long while back about seeing your life in snapshots and that is sort of how my sence of direction works! For years, I used to pray everyday that the Lord would make me the woman He needed me to be, no matter what the situation.  I’ve decided tonight after reading this that that will again be my prayer every morning!  About 10yrs ago, hubby and I were heading out to finish our Christmas shopping and stopped to eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Culman, AL. As soon as we sat down, I was in awe at how old the sweet lady waiting on us was.  It was so busy and loud! Hubs kept trying to talk to me about the few gifts we still needed to buy and I was sooo drawn to this sweet woman I could not pay attention to him.  I thanked her for my drink when she sat it down and closed my eyes to pray.  Hubs is a non believer and thinks I’m nuts when I talk about my faith boy was he about to see God in a BIG way! Now please don’t take this wrong, but I’m not fancy and don’t know how to pray fancy either.  I’ve always talked to the Lord like He is my oldest and dearest friend so when He whispered in my ear, “Give her all of your money” I said  WHAT? I promise you He whispered in my ear as plain as day again, “Give her all of your money!” Now you can imagine my delima. Hubby is gonna loose it when I say this out loud right! I opened my eyes, looked right into his and said how much money do you have? He says $40 why? I said ok, I have $60. He says why? I tried to be as calm as I could hoping that he would be calm also! again, he says why? so finally I say we need to leave this woman a GOOD tip. She has come back to drop off our breakfast now and when she leaves hubs says wow she is too old to be working like this, how much do you want to give her?  I whispered, ALL OF IT! I wrote on a clean napkin MERRY CHRISTMAS! and tucked the money in the fold! We just walked away from the table in silence.  She came after us, tugged my hubby’s arm (you could have knocked him over with a feather!) she said her prayer that morning was for big tips cause she has 11 grands and hasn’t been able to buy the first gift! I told her that He heard her prayers and that when He whispered in my ear, I obeyed!  My hubby is still not where I am in my faith, but he will go to church with me and says he really enjoys it! Praying he obeys when the Lord whispers in his ear!

  • http://www.differentparent.com/ Wick Anderson

    Great moments, thanks for sharing. :)   It’s a similar calling that finds us in the midst of beginning the adoption process.  Still praying and raising funds….and looking forward to all God has in store…

  • Jo

    Have Audra had her baby yet?!?! So curious to find out!!

  • http://thechuppies.blogspot.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    I’ve been on both sides of the possible responses…Recently wrote about a missed opportunity where I felt that nudge from Him, but instead gave in to the heart-pounding-self-doubt that the woman He was prompting me towards would think I was CRAZY if I stepped out.  I almost-immediately regretted it…and prayed He’d give me another chance with her.
    But I have been on the flip side as well, where I listened to His whisper…to follow Him places that didn’t make sense…and the joy in that, knowing He was including me in His plan…incredible.Loved this post Angie. This is how I want to live.

  • Leah

    I get those often.  I have learned to listen more than not.  If I don’t for whatever reason I am instantly convicted and so thankful our God forgives.  If I can I try to give people with signs food, I don’t carry cash as well.  I always tell them God bless them.  I have to be an example of God’s love to my two daughters.  My 10 year old points out anyone with a sign.  But God has nudged me in stores, restuarants, etc.  The last person said do I know you? I said nope, have a good day and God bless you.  I love that you said “I tell him that he wasn’t forgotten, that he was loved, and that the Lord knew him intimately”.  I would like to be able to be so eloquent when I do these things.  I cry every time because I am so overwhelmed and humbled that despite my flaws and failures God still chooses me to help.

  • http://twirlandcurl.blogspot.com/ Mackenzie

    Oh my. This post was exactly what I needed, God is teaching me new things through your beautiful blog. Seattle is an urban city filled with homeless on the street corner, and I too find myself judging them and what they will do with money if I give it to them. This post handled this situation beautifully. I loved this: “Your hands, your mouth, and your heart dealt him with grace today. That’s all I’ve asked of you.” Holy moly man alive. You have my eyes watering. I feel so moved to try to listen to the Lord, something I definitely need to work on. Thank you for blessing me with this new outlook and a new prayer for God to open my eyes to wear he is directing me, and the good that can come out of it. I know I found your blog today for a reason, and this was it. He is working through you and it is such a wonderful thing to see and be able to experience. Thank you, thank you, and thank You.

  • Lisa

     Yeah, I had one of those experiences. I was living in Japan and came across a homeless man sprawled across the sidewalk. Usually, the Japanese homeless stay hidden in parks, so this one really stood out. Everyone walked by, including me, though I prayed for God to send someone to feed him. Then I felt a weight, like two hands laid on my shoulders and clearly, distinctly heard “You feed him.” It was strange because I had 5 or 6 reasons why there was no way I could do it (no money, no time, accompanied by a friend who would not approve of such a detour, afraid to stand out even more than I already did in that country, not sure he was even conscious, etc) and one by one, God removed every single excuse until I could do nothing else but obey. And only after I did, did the “hands” lift off my shoulders. I’ll never forget it, and yes, it blessed me much more than that man.

    • Ivy’s Gramma

      I, too, have felt those “hands”!! I have told very, very, few people in my life about that particular experience because, well, people can be judgmental and rude. Mine was a faith in patience issue and crying out to God for an answer–again. I literally did not want the pressure of the ‘hands’ to go away…almost desperate… & the Lord let me know that even when the physical manifestation of His presence isn’t felt, He is always there!! That was over 20 years ago.

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  • PK

    Yep, been there.  It was quite the experience.  I ended up inviting the man to my church (though he never showed up).  He was a Christian.  Very nice guy and interesting to talk to.

  • http://www.arearrangedlife.com/ Miriam

    God’s gifts in obedience are so profoundly beautiful!  Thank you so much for sharing this!  I recently had a friend go out of her way to help me, and it means SO much! -Miriam

  • Amy Gottschang

    Wonderful!

  • Jennifer Davis

    My children and I stopped at a fast food place around lunch time one day, and while we were there a homeless man came in to buy a drink.  I felt sorry for him and also knew that my husband would very likely loose his job the next day (plant closing, all the signs were there for awhile, big hush hush meeting that day, etc).  My then almost 3 yr old finished his lunch, I finished nursing the 5 month old, and we started to leave.  As we were walking out of the door, I caught the man again and just couldn’t leave.  I said, “Okay.  This will be a great opportunity to teach my child about helping others, giving out of need, etc.”  Man was I wrong.  We bought the homeless man some lunch, I gave him the change from my 10 dollar bill, and we started to leave.  As we were walking out of the door again my son said, “What’s his name?”  I said, “What?”  Again, “What’s his name?  The man, Mama, the man we bought lunch for…what’s his name?”  I admitted I didn’t know and again we walked over and asked the man’s name.  It is Wayne, and for weeks my almost 3 year old son prayed for Wayne…that God would provide for him and take care of him and give him a job and money.  I thought I was going to teach my child that day, but he taught me so much more.  I now make a point of asking homeless people their names when I am given the opportunity to help, and they are always so surprised to know I care what their names are.
    If you are wondering, my husband did loose his job the next day, and it was so so hard to digest.  BUT our Father had a much bigger plan for us and has not ceased to amaze me in the ways he has provided for my family.  I’ve already “talked too much,” but I love sharing how God has taken care of us.  Now almost 2 years later my family is starting a new adventure.  We have moved to a town closer to our hometown and families and my husband is starting medical school in just a few weeks…the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of his he was too full of self-doubt to reach for after college.  Somehow, I think this is probably just how God meant it to happen all along.  Thanks for helping me remember.

  • foodie4healing

    Angie, I just had to tell you that you are such an amazing and gifted writer. Your simple, yet powerful, story brought tears to my eyes and Holy Ghost bumps to my body. Never stop writing!

  • Katknipper_99

    this is such a beautiful, but inspiring story.I remember iI went to San Bernardino California a few summers ago,and I encountered a simular circumstance.My children and I were eating at a MCDonalds,there was a man there who kept on staring at me I felt The Lord speaking to me.So I gave him my food, that I purchased,and my childrens food.I said GOD BLESS YOU,and we left.You know GOD usually speaks through common people.Less forunate individuals,less status individuals!I have never heard of you before,Angie Your stories,and writings are so inspiring,and  uplifting.A High School friend accepted me as his friend on Facebook,and that is how I was introduced to you.I also like to write.But I  havnt done much writing over the years.I got divored  about five years ago,and just recently  I rediscovered I love to write again.     

                                   Kathy

  • Kelly

    I am new to this blog.  You have a gift!  And I’m not talking about the showing every emotion in tears! haha.   What beautiful insight you share, and with such humor.  I actually laughed outloud and cried reading this.  Thank you for your blog.  I’ll be reading it often!   God is good to show to have given a road map to this site.  Thank you!!!!

  • Connorcolesmom

    Bawling overe here and so grateful for your reminder that God has a plan even when the direction seems “wrong” to us!  Thank you !!!!!

  • http://www.compassioncalling.wordpress.com/ Compassion Calling

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of God’s grace, mercy and direction! Absolutely breathtaking!

  • Mnewell0293

    WOW Angie – powerful and yet simple…..love this!

  • Jeannie

    Isn’t it amazing how we feel when know we are going in the right direction, a direction designed by God. I too am directionally challenged and maps and I do not get along. Thanks for this beautiful account of an unexpected blessing and lesson for all of us.

  • Amanda Clark

    I saw an elderly woman at the Dairy Queen one day. She didn’t seem sad. She was just staring off into space. As I stood at the counter, I felt God prompt me, “Go and give that woman a hug.” I didn’t know her. I didn’t know what she was going through. Furthermore, I figured she’d probably think I was some kind of nutcase. But I know the prompting of God when I hear it. After arguing with God for a couple of minutes (and as we all know, we never win those arguments!), I stumbled back there on shaking knees to the woman. We made small talk for a few minutes, and I finally blurted out, “Can I give you a hug?” Surprisingly she didn’t object, and I leaned over to hug her. I have never felt such love for a perfect stranger in all my life. I don’t know why she needed the hug that day, but God did. I’m just thankful I listened.