Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I get a check

On the 1st Monday of every month I receive a check. It's not a rain-check. It's not a pay-check. It's a reality check. A reality check in the rawest form. And it comes to me from behind these doors.


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As I may have mentioned before, Justin and I meet with a small group on Monday nights. It's a group comprised of men {& their wives} that he has been in discipleship with for at least 10 years. We have only recently become re-involved in the group. It has ministered to us far beyond our expectations in 5 short months. It has not only ministered to us but also to those in need in our community. We meet in our home 3 Monday's a month. The first Monday of the month we meet at the local Rescue Mission. For 3+ years this group has faithfully fed an average of 30 homeless men and women who take shelter at the Rescue Mission. The first time I joined them I was flooded with emotion. I still can't even compose my thoughts enough to tell you my first impression. It wasn't just compassion and pity that I felt for these people, I felt humility for them as I sprinkled cheese on top of their nachos... how did they get here, what is their story, what is it like, how do you get to this point? I've since been convicted of worrying and wondering how did they get here rather than what can I do to help them. I've never been homeless. I never even been desperate for a place to stay. I've been hungry, but not because I didn't have food. These people have opened my eyes to the world of homelessness. It's real, it exsists. It exsists not only in large cities but in small ones, like the one I live in. These people are broken.


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Since my first trip to the mission my mind has been entertained with thoughts on the poor. Our group is studying Galatians and when we got to chapter 2, verse 10...where Paul says, "All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." my friend Jill posed the question, "are we eager to remember the poor?" If we're honest, probably not. In fact, before we joined the group serving food to the homeless, poor and hungry was something that came to my mind around the holidays. These people need us to remember them more than at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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After the food is served we join the men and women staying at the shelter for dinner. The men will sit with the men and the women with the women. The conversation for the women will almost always turn to children, like it would at any dinner table; the men talk about work, or the lackthereof.


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The people who stay in the lodging at the mission are allowed to stay 6 weeks, that is if they choose to follow the rules and curfew. Depending on their circumstances some may be permitted to stay longer if needed.

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After dinner we sing a few hymns and a man in our group will present a message. The wife of the husband who prepares the message is responsible for preparing the main course, the others will bring sides & dessert.


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It is a precious time of fellowship and an incredible reminder of the reality of the brokenness of the world in which we live. I hope to do this for a very long time.


They have immediate needs {if you are local and so inclined to help}:
-dish soap (I can vouch for this... I reached for the bottle on Monday and it had been watered down... a lot)
- hand soap
- laundry detergent
- socks
- towels & wash cloths
- coffee, tea, & sugar


These were just a few rattled off to me in a phone call earlier. If you think about it, these are the same items that are on our grocery lists. These are the type things that they need too. You can also click on this link to get to their site to see other needs & ministries.


You can find them at the intersection of Appletree & Washington.


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The front of the building faces Washington and looks like this.


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You may see Boots on the back porch. He seems to hold down the fort.


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I whispered in his ear Monday night that someone suggested on the blog it would be better that I not own an animal...

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You tell 'em Boots. He could tell by looking at me that I'm a true animal lover!! Anyway...


I went way too many years with out a reality check, if you don't get one, I highly suggest you do. It puts the world outside our comfortable homes into perspective. If you can't get there but are inclined to meet a need... you can bring it to me and I'll see to it that it gets there.


From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

36 comments:

Tiffany said...

Darby, have you read "Same Kind of Different as Me." It is an incredible book that changed my view of homeless and in a way it changed my life. Please go get it today!

Becky said...

thank you darby. i hope to send you a box soon!

Gray Matters said...

Beautiful post, Darby. Thank you.

Taylor Wise said...

One book I love is "Under The Overpass." It is about two college kids who took a semester off to live on the streets. It really changed both my husband and I's views of the homeless.

I love how you mix posts about your home and life with ministry. Isn't that how it is supposed to be? I try and remind myself all the time, "Saved by grace. Saved for works." It is so easy for our lives just to be about us, so I really appreciate the post!

jeana said...

wow.... thanks for sharing, Darby. :(

CJ said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel said...

May I tell you that every morning during my routine blog check, the first thing I think about is...I wonder if Darby has posted? But totally not in a creepy way. :O) I was never homeless, but thisclose to being so when I began life as an adult. I came from a household that believe in being on your own at 18, but crippled any sort of preparation for that. It's also my instinct to think "how did one get here." I think it's pretty natural. But, "how can I help" will lift the spirit of so many of those who are desperately seeking the answers and need to be shown the love of Christ. Being a Christian, it was so difficult at the time to look at those that knew my situation and went on with their day. A handful of people took notice & acted unselfishly with humility and without credit due. And forever I will be grateful to those that let reality checks rattle them into action to give me encouragement that a better day would lie ahead. So here's an air hug for allowing a reality check to sputter forth into action. You never know the lives you'll impact when you share the love of Christ OUTSIDE of your comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

This may be my favorite post. It truly shows what we as a nation have going on all around us. As Christians we should rise up and have a reality check about what is going on around us. Thank you and your group for doing your part where y'all feel it is most needed.

Mary Michael said...

My sister introduced me to your website recently and I thouroughly look forward to reading your posts every day. From your children, to your home to your faith, you seem to have it all!

Heather said...

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

I love this and try to be cogniscent of it every day...although, admittedly I often fail. It is easy to eliminate service oriented activites from our lives because no one is demanding our time in that area as they are in so many others. However, acts of service are often a recharge and a reality check that one is not often afforded by daily tasks.

Thank you for this post. It reminded me that I need to refocus some of my time and prioritize being a servant.

Anonymous said...

Some more suggestions for the food...(I have worked in my church food bank (a long time ago) and continue to support the local Sharing Center....they always can use baby food, peanut butter, canned meat products,,,and canned fruit is good because it's a little more expensive then canned vegetables...they don't get as much. I always look for the store 2 for 1 specials and buy those items...twice as much for a small donation.

meaghan said...

thank you for this post! i'm def feeling convicted and we're in full-time ministry! am i eager to remember the poor? what great lessons to instill in our children. and why do people write you nasty things like the pet thing? i mean, really? i love pets too, but i'm not a dog petter either so there. xoxo

Meaghan said...

my comment above didn't post from the right source! oh and rachel and i are on the same wavelength...you're the only blog i check right away from someone i don't know ;-)

Lindsey said...

those things are so essential for us. my 12 months of living in kazakhstan did more for my "reality" and my perspective than i can explain. thank you for sharing and for encouraging us to be eager to remember the poor and needy... and not just at the holidays. beautiful pictures.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I share so many of the feelings already commented on. All I can add is my own thank you for this, my reality check today.

LindsB said...

Wow, you are amazing! What a small way to make such a huge difference in the lives of these men and women- bravo to you!!!

Ashley said...

Hey Darby! I would love to mail a box to you with some of the stuff on your list! I love helping with this sort of stuff!! Please email me your home address~~
ashleyclynch@yahoo.com

Abby Maddox said...

Great post. REally great reminder for us all.

Tina said...

Thanks for this. I'll remember this on my next shopping trip

Michelle said...

I second the suggestion for reading the book "Same Kind of Different as Me." It really does change your perspective and show you marvelous ways the Lord can use any and everyone.

Ashley said...

I LOVED this post too! I'm about to do some investigation as to where I might could volunteer around here. Sometimes you just have to be INTENTIONAL in serving others I think. Loved it, D! Glad you shared!

Anonymous said...

Lovely and Inspiring, thank you for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Darby,
Thanks for giving us all a reality check!! I read the book "Same Kind of Different as Me" and what a reality check it was for me! It is one of the most touching books I have ever read. One that will make you stop and take stock of your life! It makes you look at life differently, an unforgettable story. I think we all think of homeless people in larger cities and not so much in small towns like ours but it is real. What a difference your group is making. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Darby,
Thanks for giving us all a reality check!! I read the book "Same Kind of Different as Me" and what a reality check it was for me! It is one of the most touching books I have ever read. One that will make you stop and take stock of your life! It makes you look at life differently, an unforgettable story. I think we all think of homeless people in larger cities and not so much in small towns like ours but it is real. What a difference your group is making. Thanks for sharing.

Kendra White said...

darby, so touching.... have you heard Chris Tolim's song "God of this City".... we are teaching to to John Hunter now and it speaks to the heart of the city. I encourage you to read/listen to the words. Also the book "Same Kind of Different As Me" is the real life testimony of a homeless person and how he came to know the One True God through people who did exactly what you and your group does... become Jesus with skin on.

RCO said...

Thank you for this post. It helps put things in perspective. Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.

andi said...

I echo Tiffany's recommendation of the book Same Kind of Different As Me! Great book!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh (OMG) thank you for this jolt back into reality. I wish I lived closer as I would make a big delivery. But, I guarantee, I probably could find this situation in my own back yard (Texas). You are truly a fine person, and no we never stop to think that this is happening in our own neighborhoods...every day! BTW the dollar stores are great for your list of needs. Take care, and love to your family!
Susie in Texas

rustic rooster interiors said...

So true we all need a reality check! Thank you very much . . . !
XOXO, Alexandra

Jennifer said...

Reality checks are essential, and thanks for the glimpse into yours.

It's so easy to become consumed with our daily lives and forget what is happening so close to our very own doorsteps. There's nothing better than reaching out!

Lori said...

Darby,

I don't comment much, but check in everyday.What a touching post! I'm the Angel Tree coordinator for our church which is outside Montgomery. The families we help aren't homeless, but some are very poor. Every Christmas me, my husband and our 2 girls help deliver these gifts. My girls have seen how not everyone lives the way they do. We have met the nicest families and our girls look foward to it every Christmas.

The quote below is a favorite of mine. It goes perfectly with your post. God Bless you Darby.

"You have not lived a perfect day unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

Renee said...

This is so true, we all need that kind of reality check.

Wright Family said...

I love this post! Have you read the book Same Kind of Different as Me? You would love it. It really spoke to my and my husband's heart. Thanks for sharing!
rebekah

The Langfords said...

I don't comment much but I have been following your blog for a while. I found this post and thought of you...
http://hip2save.blogspot.com/2009/05/free-sample-of-sunbutter.html

the sweet life with olives said...

great post darby. thought provoking, emotional, inspiring... thank you.

pve design said...

We all need a check and I see more and more of this sort of thing happening closer to home. My daughter asked me just the other day if we would take in another family if they can't keep their home. I love that she is sensitive and compassionate. We all need to dig deep, lend a hand and listen. God sure knows how to put angels in our midst.
You are an angel.