I have never been one to have "thick skin". But being in a ministry, even as small as our Homeless Outreach is, I have found you develop it real fast! Not just because of who we work with, but others who would just as soon not see you out there.
Then there are the phone calls and texts, one right after the other, over and over and over again from ones who are depressed, mentally ill, those who don't understand and those who want you to do all the work that they themselves should be doing. Sometimes you want to throw the phone away but you don't.
Then there is the despair, the tears, the arrests and convictions after you were seeing good and it's starting all over again.
The addictions are out of this world to someone who lived in her Christian bubble most all her life. The claws of these demons are strong and do not let loose without a terrible fight. And sometimes the fight does not turn out well.
You give your heart and soul to ones in the name of Christ and some will step all over you and break that heart. The next day they will love you and next week, they've let you down again.
All right now. . .who would like to step up and volunteer? ;)
Let me tell you about the other side. . .where the heart shows tender. . .
The flicker of light in the eyes and a turned up smile after you showed you cared.
The genuine hug given back from one who had not been touched in a good way in a long time.
When their heads bow for prayer and they end the prayer themselves.
When you have the priveledge of praying someone into the Kingdom of God.
When you see someone who was hungry, now full from the food given.
When you see someone freezing, warmed up by the blankets and love of people around.
When you see one who has made that turn for the better and you hear them sharing the good news with another fellow traveler.
When you see someone make it from under the bridge into their very own place, paying for it with their very own paycheck.
When one has tears in their eyes and says, "Thank you for not treating me like trash."
When one looks at you with tired eyes and says,"You've all given me hope."
Seeing lessons being learned.
When you sit with one in church and you hear them praising the Lord sincerely.
When one you've been praying for comes up to you and says, "I'm an alcoholic and I need help."
When you see the ones who "make it". . .
Always knowing that once I was lost but now I'm found, once a long, long time ago I was blind, but now I see; there but by the grace of God goes me. Even now when I let Him down, His tender heart shows.
It can be an emotional rollercoaster ride being in this kind of ministry. But it is never boring! You never know what will be around the next whipped, neck breaking turn. Your heart can fall with the despair, beat furiously with the frustrations, and melt with sweet moments of grace and love. The heart can spin, beat, fall, scream, and rejoice. . .all in one day! If this is giving my heart any kind of exercise, I should be in very good shape.
I used to have those moments of "Let me off this ride!" But God says, "No, you are right where I told you to be. I'm getting used to this roller coaster ride now and not as queasy as I used to be. So I strap on my seatbelt, grab my Father's Hand, and away we go!
What ride are you on?
Are you still waiting to get on?
What's stopping you?