Why a blog from me, someone who has never been a writer, someone who has never been articulate or had a solid grasp of the grammar world. Because God told me to write. Several years ago a life storm invaded my family. God kept telling me to write it all down. I argued, but He would not let up. This went on every day for a couple of weeks until one day out of frustration, (I'd like to say it was out of obedience), I picked up a pen and paper and wrote for 7 hours straight! Do you think maybe I needed therapy and God knew it?

I've been writing ever since and have learned to love it! I started out sharing my stories with friends and family. I've now been published in a Nashville church paper, Our Daily Journey (a devotional site of RBC Ministries), PCCWeb Daily Devotional, Ruby for Women Ezine Magazine, and I am a contributor in the book Alabaster Jars, Life in Abundance Collection 2.

Why Ponderings? During this life storm, God led me to a pond in the woods behind my home. There He met me each time, teaching new lessons, reminding me of old ones, showing His presence and allowing me to feel His love through the surroundings of that pond. I found myself returning over and over to ponder, pray and praise. A healing of my heart took place and out of the experience came my first book, Ponderings From the Pond, then a second book, Ponderings From My Porch, and now a third book is in the works along with a memoir about my storm.

Why am I making myself so vulnerable? Because God has done so much that I cannot keep quiet. I have to share. Jesus's last words to his desciples were, "Go,tell." We are his disciples too and this is just one of my ways of telling.

I'm no scholar but I have heard God's voice in my spirit, experience His love daily, and have a desire for others to experience this also. I would love to share with all who visit and I would love to hear from you. If my sharing gets just one to ponder, to be quiet with the Father, to see and hear from Him or to be reminded of something from Him, then this is worth my vulnerability.

As you visit me, sometimes we will be at the pond, sometimes we will move to the front porch, and sometimes we will just be here, there, and yonder. Thank you for coming and please feel free to come back anytime, you are always welcome here.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14


My first book, Ya Know What I'm Say'n, has been released.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Voice of the Homeless/A Family

Susan, Jim, and Baby

This day I met a different face to homelessness, a family.  They are a husband and wife from Tennessee.  The little feet belong to their 2 ½ year old son.  Mom and Dad both have been married twice and divorced twice.  Both lost everything in their divorces.  This is their third and last marriage they tell me.  Between the two of them, they have eight children, most of them grown.  They together have this precious baby sitting on mom’s lap.  Mom is 43 and Dad is 49.

They have been in Bowling Green at this time for one week and are staying at the Salvation Army.  He has been a plumber by trade and the jobs have been off and on.  He was told there was lots of work in Montana and a company told him to come on up there, they would give him a job and he could take the licensing test after he got there.  They started him out at $12 an hour.  After he took the test and was licensed, they did not want to pay what a licensed plumber makes, so they laid him off.  A lot of plumbers are out of a job, so there is a lot of competition. They traveled over 2000 miles to work for not much more than 24 hours.  There was not any other work, so they decided to head back to Tennessee on their shoe string budget.

They stayed at free RV parks along the way, staying in their truck.  They ran into good people along the way who helped them out.  They found food banks that helped them out with no questions asked.  They lived off the land, camping here and there. One lady at a RV park was getting ready to go somewhere on an airplane and said she could not take everything with her, so she left some things for this couple.  It was a cooler with some food, shampoo and body washes and other things, a hibachi and charcoal and $100 cash.
The food bank not only gave food but also baby wipes and detergent. 

When they arrived in Bowling Green, the money ran out and they could not go any further, so they came to the Salvation Army.  They have been out every day looking for jobs.  Jim speaks, “We are doing the best we can, we are applying anywhere and everywhere.  Susan applied at TJ Maxx and at a food store market.  He has applied at factories and several different temp places.  Susan speaks, “The process of filling out applications is long.  It took 2 ½ hours to complete the process the other day, just to apply.  You have to take personality tests, which we understand, but the process is very difficult when you have a child with you.  Some places won’t let you bring the baby in, so one of us has to sit out in the truck while the other applies.  That means sitting in a hot truck for a couple of hours or more with a 2 year old, who eventually will get tired and fussy.  He applied at a laundry detergent factory, which took 3 hours.  Now they are just waiting to hear from someone.  They have a ¼ tank of gas left and $20 in their pocket.

I asked if they went to the churches for help and they said NO, they wanted to try and take care of themselves the best they could.  This led into a discussion about what they believed in.  Mom grew up in a troubled life.  She was a member at one time in a Protestant Church but felt they were never there for her.  She felt they looked down on her because she was from a single parent home.  When the youth went off to do things, she could never go because could not afford to go and do the things they were doing.  She went to the church for emotional help and they were not there for her.  She never felt at home in the church.

He graduated from a full Protestant Gospel Church School, a private school.  His adopted father was an ordained minister who beat him black and blue every day.  He can remember hearing his mother scream, “You’re going to kill him!”   She was super religious, a real fruit cake he said.  She was super annoying with it, always in your face, to the point where it was downright aggravating.  The minister of  the church school he had gone to was a fraud, a homosexual.  I asked if school had been a bad experience for him and he said, No, he didn’t even know about the minister until later and that he had gotten a very good education.  He went onto college but did not graduate there because decided to go into the Navy.

Jim stayed in the Navy for twelve years.  He was an air traffic controller, FAA certified and was in the Navy Seals Special Force just before the Granada Affair.  Later he was shot in the stomach by enemy fire in 1991.  He became a diabetic after this.  After getting out of the Navy, he worked in the Police Department until he became burned out, not wanting to carry a firearm anymore.

I asked if they believed in God.  They said No, they were spiritualists, not religious.  Jim’s grandfather was a full blooded Canadian Cree.  They choose to believe this way.  Jim tells me with the Cree beliefs, the father does not teach until his father has passed away.  It’s always the elder who does the teaching.  Jim learned through the peace that his grandfather displayed and taught through the love of the land and living things; the air, the wind, the water –“ that is life”, he said. They told me when they were living off of the land for a short time in Wyoming and Montana, they would eat fish right out of the river. They say to me, “You would say God provided the fish, but we believe we were lucky enough that there was a man who caught the fish for us.  His good spirit was what had him voluntarily go out and get us fish.  He wasn’t a Christian, not religious in any way.  He liked to fish and we liked to eat the fish.  We believe there is good in people no matter what religion if any at all.  It’s about the spirit, the person. A lot of people who call themselves Christian are not good people and a lot of people who aren’t Christian, are good people.”

They continue, “We are very positive people, we have to be.  Our lives have been very difficult since our childhood so we believe in the day to day.  As long as we keep a positive attitude and outlook, tomorrow will be fine.  We don’t plan because we’re tired of being disappointed.” 

Jim says, “I can’t put faith in something I don’t agree with and I see so many conflicts in.  Susan says they are Pantheists.  I went home and looked up the definition of this word.  Pantheist- the view that the Universe (Nature) and God divinely are identical.  Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal or creator God.  The central idea is the Cosmos as an all-encompassing unity and the sacredness of Nature. 
This seems to go along with the belief of the Cree Indian beliefs.

I googled to see what was said about the Cree beliefs and this is what I found. . .Canadian Cree’s believe animals and humans possess a Spirit.  Because the Spirit is eternal they believe when they die, it is only physical death and the journey continues on. When the body is no longer viable, the Spirit ascends into another realm. Traditional Cree spirituality strongly reinforces the principle of a circled of life, the essence of which is found in Spirit.  http://www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a89mar11.htm.  Susan said to me, “We don’t believe we’ll come back as a hamster or anything like that” she says chuckling, “But we don’t believe in a Heaven or Hell.

I ask about homelessness.  Jim responded, It is easier to fight as a homeless person when your single, but with a family and you are suppose to be the bread winner and head of the home, it’s rough.  To see your wife and child experience such tragedy, it is heartbreaking.  But witnessing others going through this is heartbreaking also.

I asked if they were surprised at the number of homeless.  “No, we are not surprised, with the way the economy is, it’s just hard.  Jim tells me, “Seattle is at the top of his list for caring for the homeless.  I said Seattle is a much bigger place, so it’s probably easier for them to take care of the homeless there.  Jim said, “I disagree.  In a smaller community where there are less people, less crowds, it should be easier to help.  I have never seen so many churches in such a small square mileage area as it is here in Bowling Green. They are surprised there is not a better system here.

I ask, “What do you want people to know about homelessness?”  “Jim responds, “Homelessness is in all shapes, sizes, colors, from the professional to the mediocre.  It doesn’t take but one unfortunate experience to put anybody on the streets.  They can be those with mental problems and substance abuse.  They really need the care and understanding.  We are not looking for handouts.  We just want help.  We want to help ourselves, but we just need somewhere to turn to show us how to help ourselves in this situation.  Salvation Army has been great in putting a roof over our heads and meals, but it has been very difficult.  There needs to be a better support system.  We get more understanding from each other (other homeless people) than we do from others.  The other homeless help us more in telling us where to go to apply for jobs, how to get around in the city, etc. than do the professionals who are suppose to be there to help us.”

They have been here a week and no one has told them about Hotel, Inc. or Community Action, or Hope House.  I tell them.

I ask, “What could be more helpful in this town for the homeless?”  Transportation is a big problem.  Most are on foot.  Those of us who have a car cannot afford the gas.  If there are still payments left on the vehicle, it’s about to be taken away.  People who are older get so tired of walking all over town looking for jobs and having to go here and there, that they are worn out and just don’t have the energy the next day to get out there and do it all over again.”  Phones are another problem.  If they have a phone, they can’t afford to keep minutes on it.  If they don’t have a phone, just having enough money to use in a pay phone can be too much for them.  When you’re looking for a job, people may have to make as many as 8-10 calls a day.  That’s a lot of phone change to a homeless person.”  The professionals who are trying to help could give better directions.  We are not from this town and do not know the streets.  The people have given us awful directions and we have wasted what precious gas we have left in our truck trying to find the places we need to get to. Childcare would be wonderful.  It is so hard going all over town looking for jobs and applying here and there with a little one.”

He continues, “We are more fortunate than others. We still have our truck and some belongings we carry in the truck.  Some only have a backpack. 

Jim was down on himself. “We traveled 2000 miles with the promise of a good job and a good wage.  It didn’t happen.  I guess that was an irresponsible thing for me to do with a family. I should not have a problem with my experience and licensing, but you just never know.”

I ask about food.  He is diabetic, she is vegetarian, and the baby is picky.  But you learn quickly that anything is better than nothing. 

Their dream is to own their own RV Park.  They love camping and the outdoors, which I think, goes along with their belief system.  Jim says, “We are just like everybody else, we just want to be happy, be free, have a job, secure work, a home, a safe place for children.  We don’t need or even want extravagance.”  Susan pipes up chuckling, “A shower is good enough for me.”  Jim says, “Just the American dream like anybody else, security and safety.”

My heart was breaking for this sweet, sweet couple and child.  The parents both were so articulate and very intelligent and even though I felt I could see despair, they were very friendly, and I still saw hope.  He has training and experience.  And yet, sitting on the bench homeless as the others I have talked with.  I wanted to pray with them as I do the others, but they backed away and I left it alone as I knew their beliefs were different from mine.  I hugged them both and told them I believed they were going to make it.

My thoughts-When I went back to my home and stepped inside, I felt a flood of emotions.  My house, which is just average size, suddenly felt very big.  I had a huge sense of gratitude as I opened up my refrigerator to take out a drink and a snack.  My eyes burned with tears as I walked into my living room and sat down in my big, comfy chair to rest.  I’m not sure what my feelings were.  Were things not fair?  Was I feeling extreme gratitude for what I had and so sorrowful for the ones who don’t have?  I believe this is what was going on inside of me.  And as much as I respect the beliefs of the Indian culture, as a Christian, I cannot agree.  It saddens me that they cannot believe in the God who created this beautiful earth that they enjoy so much.  They do not believe in the God who can fill them with joy and peace that passes all understanding.  They do not have a God who they can call out to who will walk through the fire and the waters with them and they do not have God who they can pour out their heart to and pour out their gratitude and love to when there is the chance to do so.  And I believe their eternity is in danger and they don’t even see it, because they are being deceived with something else that looks good and sounds good, but is not good in the end.  Isn’t that just how the enemy works; such the liar and deceiver he is.  Tears are falling down my cheeks as I write, and then I think, I have a relationship with the Creator of this Universe.  I may not have been able to pray with this family, but I can pray for them.  And I will.

The next day. . .money was gathered and I took it to them to fill their gas tank.  They had mentioned in the interview as they were sitting in their room in the Salvation Army the other night, how they were craving snacks.  I took them a bag filled with snacks.  The baby was into it before I left.  They wanted to pay back at some time.  I said no need, to just pay it forward.  They said they would.  I believe them.

Would you please say a prayer for them?


Brandee Shafer said...

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for Kristin, for her Jesus-heart with feet. I pray Your blessings upon this family she met, Lord. I pray--if they truly desire work--they will find it. Until and after then, I pray soft places to land, with adequate food and shelter. I pray safety, and I pray this family's way into knowing You, because true happiness and peace rests only in You, Father. Thank You for sending Your Son to this sin-filled place, to die that we might be set free. We love and praise You for having a plan; for seeing what we cannot; for having ways that are not our ways; for having a sense of time that differs from ours. You are so good. Amen.

lynnmosher said...

I had a vision as I read this. It was you doing a TV program about the homeless, as others viewed, they offered jobs, etc. Something to think about. Start locally. Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, prayers for this family. My heart breaks for them in their situation, but mostly because they don't know Jesus,and live according to the lies. I pray that they will come to know Him. Please continue what you do for the Lord. It is so beautiful. You are being the hands and feet, and heart, and mouth, and arms of Christ.
God bless you in this ministry you do. It is so refreshingly real.

Erin said...

I will pray for them, Kristin. I know that you planted a seed in them that will be watered and grow. You have a gift to ministering to the homeless. I've seen it in your writings before. Thank you for being willing to cross the barriers and touch their lives. This is a gift & a calling!

Craig said...

Kristin, your heart just continues to grow doesn't it? And the person was right about something – having been homeless myself – there are really two kinds of homeless – one with a vehicle – one without. with a vehicle you always have some shelter. and of course, I have already prayed for them, and you. I've been missing from here for a while – you've been by – so you know why. I'm just now beginning to breathe again. God bless you Kristin.