I know I usually write once a week on Sunday or Monday, but I have this unwavering nagging in my heart. And I am filled with worry and sadness.
Remember the post I wrote a few weeks back about helping out someone this Christmas season with money?
Well, on Christmas Eve my family and I stopped in at a homeless shelter in Elgin Illinois on our way to the big Christmas Eve celebration with our family. It was a typical cold and gray Chicago winter day.
I let my mind be free and did not have a real plan as we drove there as to how I’d find the person to help with new warm socks and $100 I had in my pocket. I just wanted to be in the moment and let the Holy Spirit guide me. I prayed before I went there. I asked God to lead me to the person who would most need a little extra help on that day. Well truth is, obviously, if they are eating at a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve they all need help. I prayed that God would lead me to the person who would use the money in the best way for themselves.
Now, walking into the shelter there were quite a few men and women, different races and ages. All homeless. Then something, some energy, some supernatural source outside of my control led me to this beautiful little toddler and her mom. (IVE DELETED THEIR NAMES TO PROTECT THEM).
I knelt down and talked to the mom and her beautiful, big blue eyed, light blonde haired baby girl. She oozed sweetness. Mom had her all dressed up in a little Christmas dress, red ruffle socks, she looked all ready for Santa Clause. They were eating a desert of pumpkin pie. Mom looked tired and weary, but it showed that with the obvious little she had, she took great care of her baby girl, likely the only person in this whole world who gives her real, true, selfless love.
I commented on how pretty her girl was and asked how they were doing. I asked where they would sleep that night and the mom said they stay overnight in the shelter.
I asked her if I could do something for her and her daughter, if I could give them something. The mom looked at me a little suspicious. From my coat pocket I pulled out the new warm pair of fuzzy socks with $100 wrapped up in them. I opened up the socks just enough for her to see the $20 bills and said “I want to give this to you for you and your baby.” She was stunned. She said “This is so unexpected”, “I don’t know what possessed you this morning when you woke up to do this, but thank you, God Bless you.”
I really didn’t want her to feel bad and told her that we all need help sometimes and I was happy to help her and I hope it helps her and her baby.
We talked some more, she said she had been homeless for 4 months, she had been living with a boyfriend, the child’s dad, but he was abusive. She also said she has family in the area but that they were not an option to stay with. I asked what her plans were. I asked if she was looking for work, a place to live, she said all of the above.
I know they have to leave the shelter at 4 p.m. and then can return at 7 p.m. so I asked where do they go in those cold three hours. She said sometimes they’d go to the library.
Her baby started crying because she wanted the new socks her mom was holding onto in her tight grip. So now I felt bad, making her mom stress over her now crying baby. So, I gave the baby my gold necklace. This baby lit up, so happy!
Then I got a bit nervous, someone might notice me giving her money and put her in danger somehow. So I hugged her and her baby, said “Merry Christmas, God bless you.”
The baby followed us out toward the door……Mom came and got her and we said good-bye.
They went back to their pumpkin pie and I left and got into a nice, warm car, with my family and we all went to a wonderful Christmas party with loads of food, goodies and presents and lots and lots of love and laughter.
But I thought about the mother and her child, and where they were. And where were they the next night, the next night and where are they tonight? Are they safe? Are they warm?
I feel kind of guilty. My girls and I, even my dogs and cat, are warm and safe in our beds and we have a ton of good food at our disposal.
What do I do?
Did I help her or did I make things worse for her? Will she find a warm, safe, soft place for her and her baby to call home?
On Christmas Day, my daughter, Emily, and I went to see Les Miserables. There is a scene where a man rescues a fragile, tired woman living in the streets and trying to make money to care for her baby daughter. He picks her up just as she is about to collapse, he holds her tight and he says “rest.”
I pray someone gives this mother and child rest.
Please pray for them and all the other homeless people out in the cold tonight.
Love each other.