You never know how far you're reaching.

Church community rocks. I mean, real life community living together because of Jesus, united by His blood, is downright transforming. Last weekend (our normal weekend is Monday/Tuesday) we went backpacking with the youth group. We didn't rent any supplies; everything was lent from people within this church community. Amazing.

While we were gone, we had friends staying in our apartment as their house was being worked on. Long story made short, we came home to a completely filled kitchen. Cupboards, fruit bowl, wine, and fridge stocked with our favorites. Such a gift right? We have the best of friends. How we roped them into being our friends stumps me.

I've been hit with the reality of REACH we can have as individuals. As I think back on the life lessons I have been taught by many, I realize I am empowering others with those same truths. The REACH that they poured into me is furthering into more lives than they know. Thank you to the countless humans who have poured themselves out and into me. Your wisdom is being passed on...past me. Into more lives. It's the same with this blessing of stocking our kitchen. fruit bowl You never know how far your reach is; when you bless one human, you more than likely are blessing many. It's a ripple and it's beautiful. Pouring ourselves out for others is miraculous. It multiplies.

I ran some errands today before heading to our church camp out -- because our church is this crazy community of people where we like to spend days at a time together, getting all sweaty under the blazing heat and wearing filth in our finger nails, not showering for days. We like each other. Anyways..I'm re-reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. My heart has never been hardened towards the homeless. But too often I grow numb when I see the many standing on the corner with a sign. I'll be writing a book review later this week on Interrupted, but just know she has been reminding me of the command to "feed His sheep."

I was needing to consign some clothes, because that's how I satisfy my guilty pleasure of new clothes, and I had to park two blocks away - very abnormal. As I pulled into the nearest parking spot, my eyes noticed a woman standing with her sign in front of the post office. I prayed. "Jesus, help me serve this woman how You want me to." I crawled out of our Ford Focus, back seat overflowing with clothes, and shook her hand. Susie. Sweet, sweet, tender Susie. Her hair was growing in from her last chemo treatment; her breast cancer spread to her brain. She explained that 4 treatments of chemo drained her bank; she is now living with a friend. I asked her of any immediate needs and she explained she is out of chicken, garlic, and vegetables. -pause the story- normally I would go to the store and get the needs stated; I have never handed cash over. Why? Because I have this deep rooted arrogance that I must discern what someone should spend "my" money on. Oh the arrogance; embarrassing. -play the story- I asked Jesus for guidance and immediately a picture of a $5 in my messy wallet flashed into my brain. I hesitated. But then I obeyed. I then asked her if there was anything else? She quietly and slowly said, "I could always use prayer..." OF COURSE. LET ME GIVE YOU THE LIFE SOURCE THAT I KNOW SO WELL.

So then and there I laid my hands on her and we prayed. We prayed the protection and blood of Jesus. We prayed for His companionship and closeness. We hugged and I carried my 15 bags of clothes to Second Glance (okay there were only 4 but I felt entirely consumer-American). As I walked away from Susie, my heart cried out for her. I'll never forget the glimmer of humanity I saw in her eyes -- the look of dignity, that "I" would hug her. It took maybe 7 minutes of my life. 7 minutes. Oh my soul, how far have I strayed?

She is no less human than me. How ignorant and inhumane for us to treat homeless begging people the way we do. To think of humans the way we do. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone -- I'm behind the pointed finger.

Next stop: groceries. Good ole Trader Joes. Insert Diana on the corner - I have spent many moments with her on this particular corner. Her constant needs are diapers and pull ups. Her sweet tooth likes Sweet Tea. She doesn't ask for much. She wears an army pull over jacket, is shorter, and stands at TJ's frequently when she is not working her very part time job. She has 2 kids. Today when I saw her, she smiled a friendly smile. No caution in the air as usual. When I asked her if she wanted sweet tea & diapers, she quickly said, "Not today; baby girl has been begging for chicken nuggets. She is finally in school! But all I can send in her lunch is Ramen. And she is tired of it." At the exact same time, her eyes exuded sparkly love and deep brokenness as she spoke of her baby girl. I asked what else and she listed off a few more items. Guess what's awesome? I had $50 left over from grocery money, because our friends purchased so much food for us. Their reach went further than they could have dreamed or planned. They helped feed a family of four; not only stocked our kitchen, but purchased much food for a very-much-human family: Diana and her kids and her husband. Humans. Starving, living off ramen noodles and watermelon. And the joy and dignity Diana's eyes shone when I brought her bags of food out? All for a few dollars. All for a few extra moments. All for Jesus.

The provision of food was not ultimately from Daniel & Jesse, our friends. The provision of food for this family was not from me. I am in this season of being humbled and ripped up and wrecked in many areas of life; I am learning how deeply un-incredible I am. When we give and pour out unto others, we bless, yes, but we are also being so blessed. We are being made holy. I was so filled full and completely satisfied today - I was refreshed. And here is what The Lord has reminded me today: "The provision was not from you; it was from Me. What you have is not yours. You have a lot to learn. The first thing is this: you can trust Me when I call," {excerpt from Interrupted}.

What is ours, our resources and knowledge and wisdom and life experiences...isn't ours at all. None of it. It's not ours to hoard and keep to ourselves. It is from The Lord and He intends to love his broken, poverished, starving sheep. We are His plan A, as Mike says. He calls us to this.

We can trust Him when He calls And we may never know how many He reaches through us.

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