Today I Met A Woman That Gave Me A Reason To Be Thankful

As shared by Sheri Gulla

Today I met a woman.  She has two daughters and a hyperactive son.  Her home consisted of a mattress on the floor, a stained small sofa and one end table.  She has no car.  Works for a home health care agency making $8 per hour and has to ride the bus to all her client locations.  $8 per hour to provide for three children.  One daughter wants to be a chef.  The other a nurse.  And the woman herself wants to go back to school at age 51 to try to become a dialysis tech.  She has asthma and medication is hard to come by.  She told a story of how one night her daughter was in a car accident.  A nurse called the house and told her other daughter that the girl was dead.  The mother, who has asthma remember and no car, had to run to the hospital with the thought of seeing her dead child.  God told her to slow down.  God told her that her child was not dead.  God was running with her.  It was true.  Her daughter did not die that night.  The others in the accident did.  She was told that she should have been dead.  The nurse had the wrong home.

Can you imagine?  Having to run to a hospital in the middle of the night to find out if your child is dead while you yourself cannot breathe?  Can you imagine being joyful and loving a God who has put you in an unsafe place to live?  In a life where survival is as good as it gets?  It never gets to actually living… just surviving?

Regardless of all this, her goal is to get a car at an auction sometime soon so then she can drive places.  Maybe get some home care jobs on her own.  Maybe be able to go to Bible study and meet a good man.  Transportation is an obstacle for her.  Maybe…. just maybe…..God will show up and grant them their dreams.  All have dreams.  Aspirations.  Hopes.  The oldest daughter has recently taken up with a boy who goes by the name of “slim” and is leading her down a bad path. Who knows where she will end up.  The mother is devastated and prays for her child.  Don’t we all? 

This family wants the American dream.  To leave the inner city, to grow up safe, to find love and to be successful.  We all want that.  Just for some the road is much harder.  The dreams die quicker.  Life kills dreams.  As barren as this home was, love abounded.  The love for Christ abounded.  Tears, hugs, stories, car races and 1 hour later I had to say goodbye.  I’m not sure whose life was changed more.  I will be back.  I will not forget.  I am forever changed.


I then met a man.  His legs were as slim as my wrists.  He struggled to walk, had missing front teeth and was kind enough to let me into his life.  A personal view for an outsider.  The boys played in the back rooms but as we were leaving, she was there.  A beautiful girl sitting somber and quiet.  Eyes lacking the joy she should have.  Then the door opened to a place I did not expect to go.  He told us her mother died last January.  With tears in his eyes he told the story of how she “just had the flu.”  One minute she was there, and literally the next she was gone.  As I held the girl the tears started to flow.  A nine year old girl, in a house with all boys, in a broken down inner city house.  What about her dreams?  Her future?  Her hope?  As the story continued he conveyed that he is dying of what we could best figure out is colon cancer.  He kept saying that he has taken care of them for when the time comes.  He also stated that he is conveying this to them slowly to which the girl whispered to me “not enough”.  No matter how much he tells her, she will never be ready to lose both parents by the time she’s ten.

I didn’t want to let go.  I wanted to bring her home.  I wanted to show her it will be alright.  I was angry at God for her.

And as we were leaving and driving away my anger built.  God, she deserves a chance.  God, she deserves everything my daughter was blessed with.  God, she deserves less heartbreak.  Where are you!!  Why won’t you!!  How dare you!!

Then I saw it.  An abandoned house collapsing next to an abandoned house.  The first window which caught my eye said “You’re the God of this City”.  Below it a window read peace and love.  Next to that “1 Corinthians 13:8 love never ends”.  On the door – Jesus loves you.  Love is never ending.  WWJD.  Our God is strong.  Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but love everlasting.

In the midst of despair.  In the midst of poverty.  In the midst of drugs, gangs, and hopelessness is this beacon of God.  God grafitti.  A tangible reminder to all who walk by that he is there and is never leaving.  A reminder to me that he is the God of that city.  He is watching over it.  He will care for his children.  How dare I question that.  How dare I doubt that.  He loves these people more than I ever will know.  So even through my heartbreak today.  Even through my anger today.  Even through my anguish for these people…. He is there.  He is in their homes.  He is in their lives.  He is in their hearts.  And there he will remain.  Which is more than I can say about me.

Take a moment to view these photos.  The physical despair of a community.  People literally getting their dinner from a Salvation Army truck that drives down the road.  Homes falling apart.  Listen closely and you can hear the dreams dying.

What is your biggest worry this week?  How much food to serve?  How many hours you need to get your shopping done?  Making your Black Friday list?  I hope you keep some perspective.  If your biggest concern is that relatives may quarrel, or the turkey may burn, or you may not get everything on your Friday list…. please remember your neighbors. But mostly remember your blessings.

As you go into Thanksgiving week please raise these people up in prayer.  You don’t know who they are, but God does.  Pray for their protection.  Pray for their peace.  Pray for the heartbreak to stop.  Pray for dreams to be realized.  Pray for Him to show up.  Give thanks for your abundance.  Give thanks for your family.  But most of all, give thanks that you are not living the life they have been dealt.

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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