Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beause She's Worth It.

I go to college.
I go to college Monday, Wednesday & Friday online and Tuesday & Thursdays on campus.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I go.
And every Tuesday and Thursday I sit.
And every Tuesday and Thursday she walks in.
Hair disshelveled.
Clothes two sizes too small that are stained, dirty and wrinkled beyond belief.
And she smells.
She smells like she hasn't seen a shower in awhile.
She sits across from me and my body instinctively moves from breathing through my nose to breathing through my mouth to stomach the stench as I watch everyone around her do the same.

and my heart breaks for her a little bit more each day. 

And I'm done.

I'm done standing by and watching.
I'm done standing by and hoping that someone else will help her.
I'm done smiling nicely at her and making polite conversation because no one else in the class will speak to her.

So done.

She is the least of these.
She is brilliant.
She knows the answers quicker in math than most of the rest of us.
She shows up everyday.
She learns despite her circumstances.
She can't be more than 18 or 19 years old.

But she's also hurting.
And hungry.
And she's unable to access our required online portions of this class because the access code costs $80.

And I'm done.

She.
Is.
The.
Heart.
Of.
Jesus.

And yet still I sit with my iPhone in my purse and my new flip flops cradling my freshly polished feet.
Lord forgive me.

Done.

I'm done and I need your help.

From what I can discern
(not from conversation with her about it but from observation alone......so I could be wrong)
but I truly, truly believe she is homeless.
And if she's not "technically" homeless.
She has to be darn close. 
She amazes me. 

How she is in college is miraculous to begin with.

I've thought of a few things.
John and I are going to pay anonymously for her access code.
I am going to head out tomorrow in search of a couple of outfits for her and some toiletry items like deodorant, toothpaste and my favorite yummy smelling body spray and drop it off in a bag at our professor's office before class on Thursday so that she can give it to her discreetly.  

But I need you.
What more?
What else?
Ideas? 
Can you take a minute and pray for her?
Can you take a minute and ask the Lord to inspire you with an idea of how else to help her and what she may need?

In the words of Mr. Hale in 1902 "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."
He knew it then.
I know it now.
Jesus knew it always.

I can't buy her a house.
I can't buy her a car.
I can't "fix" every obstacle in her way.
But I can be His hands and feet.
And somehow......someway that is much larger than me.
That will be enough.

Body of Christ bring it on.
Let's be one. 
Let's be like the ONE.
Let's do this.

45 comments:

  1. wow....reading this post has brought tears to my eyes.....

    i will commit to prayer for her.
    i will commit to prayer for you as you minister to her.

    i LOVE your heart!

    thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Chris! A body of believers praying for her is by far her greatest need right now!

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  2. a pedicure gift card, a starbucks gift card, maybe jesus calling book or some sort of devotional,

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  3. You have the heart of Christ. Blessings, sweet friend. Loves...
    P.s. A grocery card?

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  4. Beautiful you girls are, both of you. A warm cup of coffee to start?

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    1. Coffee! Love it! What college student doesn't love that?! Thank you!

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  5. I don't know when your class meets, but build that relationship with true, earnest conversation. Invite her to go to lunch/coffee with you, ask if she will be a study partner, ask her to church.

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    1. Study partner! Love it! That's perfect! I've been wanting to engage her further but couldn't think of a way in. Thank you Angie!

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  6. I was thinking of other toiletries that would be good, Dry shampoo and conditioner, a comb, some pony tail holders. Maybe a cute pair of flip flops? A bottle of nail polish? Something that will make her smile and maybe a card telling her that she is loved and that god is always watching over her.

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    1. Love, love, LOVE these ideas!!! Hadn't thought of the hair goodies or flip flops and polish!! What girl wouldn't want that? THANK YOU!!

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  7. You undid me with this post. Prayers for both of you. Book fees? Lunch? Continue letting god speak to you.

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    1. Thank you Cheri!! Ahhhh book fees! I hadn't thought of that! Someone on my FB page mentioned that perhaps she used to be a foster child which is how her tuition is paid for but it doesn't cover other costs. That could be incredibly helpful to her, thank you!

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  8. Love your heart!
    Basics like a backpack with pens, calculator, notebooks, bottled water, chapstick, college bookstore gift card? How can we help you?

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    1. Ahhh bookstore gift card!!! Yes!! Thank you!!! She didn't have a pencil today to do our test review, had to get one from the professor so your idea of school supplies is fantastic! As for how to help having a body of believers praying for her is going to WONDERS! Thanks again!!

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  9. Would it be too weird to be her friend? I recall that Jesus calls us to break bread with the least of these (or something like that...sorry for my lack of words). Could you do something with her? Like take her to breakfast and make her feel special? Beautiful post:) I love your ideas and know that anything you do will be a HUGE blessing to this person, Sonia! What a great way to start a new Lenten journey!

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  10. Dude. Lisa. You are so right. A friend....why is it that the most obvious things are right in front of me. Thank you for the suggestion! There is a coffee shop right down the hall from our class. I will invite her!

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  11. So good to hear your voice again! I'd be cautious not to overload her with 'stuff' especially if she is indeed homeless. If she has somewhere to lay her head, that would be a different matter. What about food? You bring an extra apple, protein bar and offer it to her. You want your interaction to seem natural and put her at ease...you want to try and meet her as an equal. Be the you Jesus has made you to be and she will 'taste and see that the Lord is good.'
    Sarah Risley

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    1. Sarah your thoughts are exactly what has started running through my mind the last couple of hours as I have been sitting here thinking through it and how best bless her. You are so right when you say to make it natural and let Jesus shine through. I think she has some immediate needs that need to be addressed but you are so right that I should be careful to make it too much too soon. Love your heart!

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  12. Sonia- this post has touched my soul. The timing could not have been more perfect. I am also in college (on much the same type of schedule!), and I am in almost a parallel situation. One of my classmates is also in a very hard position- her marriage has crumbled, and she & her 2 children are bouncing between friends' houses. She often times either drives 2 hours to get to the college campus, or sleeps in her car.

    I was just thinking today that I need to do something for her. Here I am, so happy to have had a new kitchen floor installed this week.... and she is sleeping in her car so she's not late for class. She is a beautiful person inside & out, and she is desperately trying to better herself.

    Your post has inspired me to move from thoughts to action. Thank you.

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    1. Hey Amy! Gracious. Sleeping in her car? Sigh. I cannot imagine packing my kids up every couple of days, thank you Lord for the reminder what a privileged world we live in!

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  13. Just being her friend and letting her know there is someone that cares. Gift cards and supplies in a backpack would be great. I was that woman at one time and I wish that someone had reached out. I will keep her in my prayers.

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    1. Love the gift card idea, thank you! And thank you for letting me know that when you were there you wished someone would have reached out. That helps tremendously as I find I am becoming fearful of insulting her or making her feel uncomfortable.....but I also know that that fear can keep us from moving or acting in these situations so I am chalking that fear up to the lies of the enemy. :) Any specific way that you can recommend that would be the best approach with her?

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  14. I don't know if there's anything like this in your area, but here we have a Ministerial alliance. They have a fund for situations like this and they pay for nights at a hotel, etc... for people. We also have crisis centers where she might be able to stay somewhere while she gets a place. A friend of mine was that girl and a sweet Pastoral couple actually took her into their home, adopted her, and turned her life around.

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    1. Awesome, thank you! I am looking into ministries in the area so that I may be able to direct her toward. Honestly I don't even think she knows that there are services out there that can be helpful so that will be big for her! Thank you!

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  15. Can you talk to your professor about what her greatest needs might be? My dad was a college professor for over 50 years and he cared so much for each and everyone of his students. You have some great ideas of ways to put love into action. My heart breaks for this girl tonight....just prayed for her. Would love to help out in some way.

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    1. Just sent our professor an email! Thank you!

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  16. What about a chip in or kickstarter to pay for the school meal plan?

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    1. That's a great idea! I'm going to spend the rest of the week doing a bit of research and finding out what's out there and am hopeful to begin to build a friendship with her to better discern how we can best be helpful to her. I'll let you know! Thank you!

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    2. Also I don't know which school you are going to but UCF has a student food pantry.

      http://today.ucf.edu/ucf-opens-food-pantry-for-students/

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  17. My darlin' sweet friend,
    Jesus did this young girl the biggest blessing by having you sit down next to her, and now you get blessed by being His hands and feet.
    I'm pondering on what I can do to help you help her! Of course, I'm going to be praying for her!
    Love ya,
    Patrick's mom

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  18. Thank you, Sonia. Thank YOU. Your actions and willingness to share your thoughts are a shining example for all of us.

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  19. Could you hire her to tutor you?

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  20. Bless you! How about snack items...peanut butter crackers, sugar-free gum, mints, bottled water etc., restuarant gift cards, gas card? Do you think she needs any feminine products? Maybe those disposble face/bath wipes (no water needed). If you do a grocery card, you might consider Dollar General (I don't think they sell alcohol or tobacco products).

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  21. What a wonderful opportunity! I'd say for sure to pray for an opening to share the gospel message with her. Maybe she knows it, but then again, maybe she has never heard exactly what Jesus has done for her and how wonderful to be the one to share it.

    Also, when considering whether or not to include some sort of devotional book, I would personally give her a Bible instead, or a Bible, alongside a tried and true devotion (perhaps by Chambers or McArthur). I realize that millions have come to love Jesus Calling but it is no substitute for the true, inspired Word of God. The sticky predicament is that the author says she received direct messages from God, given in first person to us, but that we shouldn't hold them as having the same authority as Biblical messages. But can there really be words from God that have any less than perfect authority? Much of what she says in her book is in the Bible or agrees with the Bible but not all. So should we read these controversial messages? Just food for thought and a friendly word of caution about that book in general, and especially for a new believer, assuming this girl is or will soon be. Jesus Calling makes it all so easy to understand and seems to speak to our emotions, and so it's so easy to lean on it and get filled every day from the Words in it. But those words aren't scripture. We should cling to the only Word of God, His words to us.

    A loving adoptive mama,
    Nicole

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  22. HI Sonia,
    This is Gloria (going to post as anonymous because it won't let me any other way for some reason)....what came to my mind is wondering if she might have schizophrenia? I am a nurse practitioner and have worked with patients who remind me of what you described...intelligent but socially and hygiene-wise, maybe not "appropriate" Just a thought, I have no clue because I haven't met her. But definitely I would say get to know her first...going out to coffee or lunch and as you get to know her, you will know what her specific needs are. Thank you for sharing this so we can be a part of praying and helping!

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  23. I think spending some time with her is important so that eventually you can understand her situation better. Why is she not in a dormatory? If she is a foster child that aged out of the system, would she not qualify for financial aid for a DORM ROOM? So, maybe that is not the problem? Did she miss a deadline or not know how to sign up for a dorm? Or is she living at home in hard/bad situation? Or is there some other problem (like one commenter pointed out...mental illness or social ignorance/lack of teaching in regard to hygiene etc.). Help her where the need is obvious. Obviously she needs a friend, a pencil, an access code, a lunch/breakfast, and PRAYER. As you get to know her and understand her situation, you will be better able to minister to her in that place. God bless you and your ministry to this one!

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  24. Ohhhhhh
    Defiantly a true testimony of "break my heart till it makes me move my hands and feet"

    Can we help send you things to give/get to her?

    Praying praying !!!!
    Janice
    http://sunshine-and-grace.blogspot.com/

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  25. I was wondering about mental illness as well. She may have a home, parents willing to put her through college, intelligence to get through classes, but not the life skills to appear appropriately in public. Please keep us updated, I'll pray.

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  26. It's a delicate balance. You want to help, but just handing her things, even if done anonymously, might make her feel embarrassed. I agree that you need to form a relationship with her - but it would be great if you could find a way that she could help you too. That way it is an equal relationship. You said she was smart so making her your study partner is great - but maybe you can even offer to buy her a meal before class if she agrees to look over your homework to help you with the problems you have questions about.

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  27. I would suggest hospitality. Invite her over for dinner. Perhaps The Lord would open the door for you to share the Gospel, which is most important, and also give ou a chance to build a relationship. Perhaps even a mentor type relationship. Sounds like a great Titus 2 opportunity!

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  28. Oh my I'm so in tears and they just continued as reading comments. I will pray that your find the perfect things to do, and I will def pray for her. You are awesome!

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