The Pain of Love

Today I have nothing good or brave to say.

Today I just felt sad. I have been getting to know South Dallas and the homeless for 10 months now, and I'm starting to go deeper in relationships.

We are getting to hear deeper stories and help meet deeper needs, which is a beautiful thing, but is also very hard. When I hear their stories and see their pain, I cry too. Today I couldn't help but cry big tears behind my sunglasses as I drove away from South Dallas. My face got all red from the tears ... I wanted someone to take it away, but no one can ... this is the pain of love.

You see, I love these people so much.

One woman, "Maria," attends our Bible study and was in a car accident several years ago. A drunk driver hit the car she was riding in, and she was paralyzed on one side of her body. After she recovered some and got back to work, she could no longer do her job the way they wanted it done (because of being paralyzed), so they let her go.

our sweet little caravan walking over to the Bible study today

Today,

Maria walks

. Every single week, she tells me the story, "God healed me. I no longer need a wheelchair because God healed me." We pray for healing. We hope for it. When it happens, do we credit God or do we insert a human explanation?

Maria is gentle and happy and has a sweet smile. She has lots of thoughts and shares them. She loves coming to Bible study. She loves it because, as she says, "You all share with me new things about God to think about during the week. I don't have much to do during the day, and so I love thinking about the new things I learn on Thursday morning."

You teach us too, Maria. You teach us that God's healing is real, and that we can talk about it.

Maria told me today that she loves animals. In fact, she shared that there are about one hundred cats that live near Austin Street Shelter. Someone is putting her in charge of feeding the cats. She says she is so grateful because "it gives me purpose."

We all want purpose. We don't want to have to wander aimlessly around.

So many of the homeless want purpose; they want to work; they want to be given something to do—for their lives to matter. Of course they do matter whether or not they do something (and so do ours), but the longing there is deep. It is a

human

longing.

Maria said it's very hard not having a job because she used to feel her value came from her job. I can relate. When I lost my job, that was the first thing I experienced. I wondered,

What is my value now? 

I soon realized my value had always been about the grades I made, then the jobs I had, the money I made, and moving up the ladder. Losing my job showed me that my job wasn't the stable thing. I had to find a new stable thing.

Maria has gone through the same experience. Sometimes we wish we could snap our fingers and make something go away or make it better—in our lives or someone else's. Like I wish I could snap my fingers and get Maria a job doing something she loves, that gives her purpose.

Often, however, it seems God leaves the rope untied, the ends loose, because he wants to

be with us

in the untied, loose mess of life. We covet order, peace, plans; he loves just to be with us. He loves to be with us when we are totally unproductive. He loves to hold our bodies when we are paralyzed—physically or emotionally. He loves to touch his hand to our heart to bring us comfort when we are alone.

He is all that there is. Everything else—jobs, people, houses, cars—leave us or fail us—if not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, in three years or ten or eighty. At some point in our lives, the "stable" thing becomes unstable, and we feel alone. It is there we have the chance to see that God is our only hope. As I drove away today, I repeated what follows to myself ... let the beauty of its truth sink into your heart ...

Whom have I in heaven but you?

There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

This is truth. Hold on tight and don't let go.

--

We had a wonderful time singing today! I hope to create a short video to give you a feel of what it was like having "music on the streets"! Thanks so much to the people from my church, Jay and Paul, who came to lead us!

If you want to, please pray for us today as we are out there again from 2-4 p.m. Please pray for strength, wisdom, and the ability to meet people where they are.

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