Loving as we have been loved (Heidi)
Last week Steve spoke about love being risky (in the sermon series Loving As We Have Been Loved). He shared about how the Lord impressed on his heart to use his (South African) accent as a bridge into conversations with people-often people will ask where he is from and from there the door to conversation is open-from there the Holy Spirit would lead. It reminded me of when I lived in Chicago the 1st time (2009-2011) and I was staying in an apartment and doing my laundry at a laundromat. At that time I felt that the Lord gave me a simple ‘key’ that just as you might open a dryer door at the laundromat and a pink sock would fly out (or some other random piece of laundry), so I could use my ‘gift’ of always thinking of something random to say-to start conversations with people as I did my laundry.
This is a very easy and natural thing for me to do as I am always connecting things in my mind and seem to rarely come up at a loss for conversation starters. 🙂
I started doing it and it was amazing to see the ministry opportunities that opened up with people.
As Steve spoke last week and shared about using even his accent to the glory of God, I was remembering this ‘pink sock’ revelation.
That very afternoon, I was taking laundry downstairs to do it in the basement of our apartment and met another tenant coming to bring his laundry. Since I had 2 loads to do (and there are only two machines), I decided to just walk across the street and do our laundry at the laundromat-Mind you, I had not been to a laundromat since I left Chicago in 2011!
I did my laundry and as I was drying it, it came to me that that very morning the Lord had brought the “pink sock” thing to mind, and here I was-at a laundromat!
This opened my eyes and I was prayerfully waiting to see where God might be at work. The lady next to me soon started up a conversation with me and so I just engaged with her ‘on purpose’ so to speak-in that, I was looking to see where God might be at work in this conversation.
She ended up sharing with me her heart about her sons and how she was almost feeling like she didn’t want to stay in Chicago/didn’t like Chicago because she was so worried that her boys might somehow end up with the wrong crowd.
I was able to share with her about prayer and to encourage her and then she shared with me one of her sons’ learning difficulties at school. She said that she was at a loss of how to help him and so was his teacher. I had been a tutor in the past and I shared an idea with her that I had used as a tutor and her face just lit up! Then she shared with me another story about her son and her eyes filled with tears…I was able to encourage her as a Mom and her tender heart for her boys encouraged me as a mother as well.
We left with the mutual comment, “I hope to see you again!”
The story of the loaves and the fish comes to mind as it was such a simple, small gift…so natural. And yet when it was given to Jesus with faith, it became something supernatural-it became something more than it was and it became nourishment to many, many people. We all have something to give and it is up to the Lord to make it fruitful!
I sent this testimony to Steve & he asked me if I would share it at church next week as a connector from last week’s sermon and I said yes!
On the way to church this morning, though, our car broke down-just before we got onto the highway! We ended up having to call a tow truck and I had to carry Corrie, Peter and the stroller down the side of the highway to get on the bus and go home as Nath waited with our car for a tow truck. Nathan and I were stressed, to say the least. But as I sat on the side of the road with Corrie and Peter-waiting for Corrine to stop crying so she could walk and I could push our stroller through the tall grass …a young man came out of his house with his dog. He was so kind to us. He asked us if he could help us in any way, or even get us a bottle of water. Then we got to Fullerton and getting on the bus was a huge endeavor. We did and I told the driver we had broken down so I was a bit disoriented. Then my Ventra card said that we had insufficient funds!!
She said-go ahead and get on.
So I was busily searching my purse for cash (to no avail) and a kind young man next to us offered to give us any coins he had.
Then a big gentleman stood up to get off of the bus and said, “I’ve got ya.” He paid for our bus fare and my eyes filled up with tears.
Just as he did that-a man who I used to see all of the time at the ‘pink sock’ laundromat (back in 2009-2011) got on the bus! The very laundromat that I was meant to get up and testify about at church that morning.
It may seem unrelated but it really, REALLY spoke something to my heart.
“Loving as we have been loved”…yes, we need to freely give what the Lord has given us, but we also need to be humble enough to receive the love that people in this city give to us as well.
Sharing the gospel with people must be done from a place of humility-as it says in Isaiah 58, not turning away from “our own flesh and blood”. God sees mankind as His creation and we are all flesh and blood…we all need each other.
If we have the living God living inside of us, then it is our best gift of love to give the precious people that we see every day.
And some days it is them that will give to us something when we need it-like I experienced this morning.