Practical Messages for Impractical Times
Yesterday, I had an appointment in our next largest city of downtown Ft. Worth. I felt a sense of dread regarding the metered parking since I had forgotten to bring any change. When I arrived at the building, I was pleasantly surprised by the availability of free garage parking for those with handicapped parking privileges. At the appointment, God performed a second miracle and brought resolution to an ongoing issue that plagued me for 12 years. Once I returned to my vehicle, I had a prayer and praise session thanking God for His love and mercy.
I contemplated as to what I would do next, and decided to go to the beauty supply to pick up a couple of needed items. I was in the vicinity of two stores within one-tenth of a mile from each other. I chose the one that was farthest away for no particular reason. When I arrived the rays from the 90-degree sun were extremely hot and all of the shady parking spaces were taken. I decided to wait for an available space, and yes it was worth the wait. Before I could seek refuge in the air-conditioned building, I heard someone calling, “Miss, Miss can you come over and take one of my cards?” I looked at the Dental services offered as we talked about the necessity of regular dental care, and as I turned to leave, the conversation changed and I was asked to look at “the young pregnant lady who needed gas money for her pickup truck.” I am far from naivety due to previous nursing positions working in the Criminal Justice system. I assessed my surroundings to make certain that I was safe and not being targeted. My immediate response was that I did not have any cash, and inquired as to where the truck was located. I relayed that I would see what I could do when I completed shopping. It is my habit to purchase what the individual in need is requesting the money for as opposed to giving cash. This method allows for the validation of truth and honesty when helping others.
As I left the store, the young woman approached me with four dollars and a small gas can that is used to fill up a lawnmower. She offered to give me the money in her hand and the gas can, and asked if I would go to the gas station across the street, and get the gas because she could not leave her truck in the store’s parking lot overnight or it would be towed. I began to ask clarification questions as to why she could not drive the truck across the street. Her response was that the gas gauge was showing past empty. I thought about handling the smelly gas can and asked her to take a chance and drive across the street. As she entered her truck and drove to the gas station, I placed my purse and purchases in the trunk of my car and prayed for guidance and protection against all harm.
When I arrived she was standing by the first pump, anxiously waving and thanking me for my help. I went inside of the station, pre-paid, and as I walked over to the truck, I saw four large bags of clothing in the flatbed of the truck. It did not come as a surprise when she told me that she was living in her truck. We began to discuss the Homeless Shelter in downtown Ft Worth and the long waiting list for a bed. Just when I thought that my agonizing heart would burst, she told me of her fear that Child Protective Services would take her baby due to her status of being homeless. As I listened to her history, I prayed to God to give me the words to say to bring hope and comfort. When I took a good look at this young woman, her hair was immaculate, she was neatly dressed and well-mannered. I inquired as to her drug-free status, to which her reply was, “No Ma’am, I never used drugs. I couldn’t find a job at home. My mistake was to leave West Texas for a job offer that was canceled when I arrived in Ft Worth, and I can’t return because I have no living family, my parents are deceased.” I offered to buy her food and we proceeded to a neighborhood chicken restaurant. She handed me the four dollars because she wanted to do give me something for my help. Of course, I did not take her money, and explained to her that I was doing nothing more than what God expected from me. I gave her the name of a local çhurch that provides assistance to those in need. I asked if I could give her a hug, and then she stated, “Yes, I have never met anyone in my life who would help a stranger like you did.” I prayed that God would keep she and the baby safe and provide housing asap.
“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
Recap: Although, I have a burden on my heart for the homeless; I was more concerned about my own desires (shopping) and getting my hands smelly than for someone in dire need. God allowed the circumstances to be revealed in a way that exposed my ungodly nonchalant attitude. It is my duty to God to alleviate the suffering of others. My prayer is for God to keep me humble and that I will always do His will.
Prayer for today: Dear God, Please give me a sense of urgency to fulfill my duties to those in need. I pray for the young woman that you brought into my path that you will care for her and reveal your love as only you can. Amen.
Sonya Johnson Ruiz