Could you have a heart attack that required open heart surgery?
Could you lose your job as sole support of your family?
Could you lose your home because you could not pay your rent because you were months recovering from open heart surgery?
Could your child be bullied to the point of thinking suicide was his only option?
Could you lose your husband after he learned you were pregnant?
Could you imagine losing a child just 17 hours after her birth?
Could you be living week-to-week in a seedy hotel with no working refrigerator?
Any one of these events would be devastating, but to have encountered them all and more is mind boggling.
I met her as a result of one extraordinary young man who heard their story and wanted to be their miracle. He is making a difference while showing the love of Christ.
Be of Good Cheer
There is warmth and good cheer in her voice. I am a perfect stranger calling her wanting to hear her story. I drive to Franklin IN to meet her. She has a smile and a heap of faith. She is certain her story can give hope to others. She is able to return to work tomorrow as a teacher’s assistant at South Grove Intermediate in Beech Grove. She will make all of $13,860 per year and she is excited about the prospects of finding a home they can afford and getting on with the “hope and future” she is sure God is planning for her and her son.
She has $6 in her purse and she spent $3 of it on a prescription for her son who has strep throat. She needs $85 in order to pay the hotel bill due yesterday so as not to be put on the street today. She needs a tank of gas in order to drive to work this week. She is 100% dependent on God and God is working through His people. She needs a five week solution as this is how long it will take before she gets her regular pay. She will work 25 hours this week and earn $200, she will work 70 hours over the next two weeks and net $600 but she will not have the money in hand until about five weeks from now. Each week in the hotel is $305 and she has no idea where this week’s rent will come from much less 5 weeks of rent. Food has not even been a consideration. And all the while she is home schooling Paul (in this seedy hotel.) He is in his senior year and hopes to be able to get a learners permit soon in order to learn to drive.
Sharing Our Blessings
As I made my lunch and counted my blessings, I packed a few bags of food to take when I met her. She got my famous chicken salad and the delicious lemon zucchini bread. I had just been reading the Book of James. James was Jesus’ half-brother. This book has the answer to everything in 5 short chapters. I love the Message translation. “Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed” And walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup – where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” As a woman of faith, I am compelled to exercise my faith with a few tangible deeds. I packed up food I could easily give, took a month of tithes from my church fund and paid her past due hotel bill and put gas in her car and most importantly I listened to her story. This was not what I had planned for today but it was most certainly what Jesus had planned for me to do. In my old age I have become a good listener and follower.
Consider it Pure Joy When You Face Trials of Every Kind
James also says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” Carol and Paul have lived through some extended and horrific trials. When I asked Carol what keeps her going in the face of these insurmountable needs, she said ” I know Jesus and I know Jesus knows my name personally. He has been with me through it all. He knows the plans He has for me. I know I can do all things through Him and He gives me strength. He has given me abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine.”
Angels Have Appeared
And through tears, she said “strangers have lifted me up. Angels have appeared on my door step. Miracles have manifested. God has allowed me to see a bigger world. I have seen and felt more love from people I have never met and these people are the hands and feet of Jesus.”
And through it all, it was clear she and her son have a heart for people. She wants to give back. She wants to pay it forward. She told me her son has a heart for the “undesirables.” I asked her if she thought she was one of those “undesirables.” She said “that is what I have been told I am for my entire life.” I think she is simply amazing. As my friend Jeremy Lykins said when he set up the GoFundMe page for Carol and Paul…Be the Miracle.
And what God says is the final word “what you do for the least of these…you have done for me.”
Will You Help Be The Miracle?
Will you give in order to keep a roof over their heads until Carol can get on her feet? Can you think of a home they can rent for under $500 per month (with an eviction on her record)? Can you make some food and have them over for a meal and some encouragement? Can you pray for this family?