I spent Christmas alone very far away from loved ones due to my location and a very tragic very painful long-term family situation. While I know how to find people to be with and places to go, I prefer to spend holidays alone with Jesus because truthfully it is easier than being around other people’s families and celebrations. Usually in very recent years I have enjoyed the quiet time with the Lord and worked on my writing, but this time I felt down and sorrowful. Little did I know God had a plan.
I bundled up my special needs ministry dogs in their red winter coats and sang to the Lord on the way to the beach remembering to rejoice in Jesus and bless the Lord as the Bible shows us to do no matter how we feel.
As soon as I got to the beach, a homeless man called out to me. I walked with the dogs over to him. He poured out his heart and told me he wanted to commit suicide. He was struggling with an addiction, a loss, a very painful childhood, and hearing the devil tell him to end his life. He said he was a believer in the Lord but did not appear to have a personal relationship with God and to be following and living for Him.
I am 27 years sober from alcoholism by God’s grace, I have dealt with enormous losses over the years, I had my own painful childhood, I have had quite a challenging life, I still struggle daily, and for about 20 years on and off I thought about killing myself. My heart broke for him. I truly understood from experience what he was going through. We had much in common. But one major difference. On Christmas, I had the love and hope and personal relationship with and commitment to Jesus the broken and hopeless man needed.
Today, as a totally devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, despite my ongoing challenges, I have love, peace, hope, joy, and purpose. God uses my heart and life and challenging personal story to give me an amazingly intimate beautiful relationship with Himself and to ever deepen and strengthen it, to give me an extreme sensitivity to and compassion for people struggling, and to fulfill my life calling.
My calling is to help people be totally devoted Jesus followers and to experience and enjoy a forever intimate relationship with God.
On Christmas, I had the privilege of ministering to this hopeless man for a few minutes and giving him my Finding the Light Gospel tract which includes my personal story. I took the dogs on a little walk, brought them inside, and returned to the beach and the homeless man.
I listened, encouraged him, prayed for him, shared some of my own story, gave him a homemade triple decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bottled water, and a Bible. Most of all, I gave him the love and hope of Jesus on a day that most everyone else was indoors celebrating the holiday. If I had been at a holiday party, I would have missed this miraculous opportunity.
The homeless man looked at me and very strongly said, “Why are you doing this?” He simply could not understand. He was emphatic that I needed to explain myself. So I did.
“Because I care,” I said simply. “God has given me a love for all people. And I care about you. God loves you and sent me to you,” I essentially said.
When I walked away, he called out to me. I turned back to face him. He was smiling and called out, “Merry Christmas.”
Christmas day was really hard for me. But God gave me a miracle. I could not have imagined a more precious and beautiful gift than giving the love and hope of Jesus, prayer, and encouragement to a hopeless homeless man.
“”When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”” Matthew 25:31-46 NKJV