The Only Name
She comes in every Saturday. Has to. There are about eight families in her neighborhood that are reliant on her to get their food each week. She never disappoints. Always delivers. Usually she likes to wait and come behind the early morning rush. She’ll sneak in about 8:00 or 8:15.
She’s always so calm and delightful. She makes her way around the parking lot, speaking to everyone, asking them about the week they have had, making small talk, giving out hugs, asking for prayers. It really is humbling to watch her...especially if you know her story.
Her husband suffers from dementia. She does everything she can to take care of him. Never knows what each day will bring. Sometimes all she can find when she digs down, fighting back tears is, “He’s not well,” or “It’s been a really hard week.” Sometimes she just begs, “Just keep praying for us.” And we always stop and pray. I used to tell people that asked me to pray for them, “Absolutely, I will.” I’ve learned talk is cheap. It means a whole lot more if you just do it right then and there. Those are special moments when someone is willing to stop what they are doing, put their hand on you, and pray for you and with you. I think that’s how Jesus would have handled those moments. Something tells me that He wouldn’t have just said, “Sure, I’ll add you to my list.”
Sometimes I think we are filling a void for her. It’s become a burden for her to go to church because of their situation. Maybe in some degree we are filling that gap. I pray we are. She is a small town, simple life, God-seeking type of woman. The kind that loves her neighbor, sacrifices for her spouse, and trusts in Jesus…and wants everyone else to also.
She gets what we do at House of the Harvest. I would even call her part of our team. More than once she has told me about people she knows in our community that could benefit from the resources God provides through HOH. She will send me a text message or stop me in the parking lot and say things like, “I met this lady this week. She can’t find work and she is raising three kids. She really could use the extra food. And she doesn’t know Jesus. I am sharing Him with her. Could you guys send some food over there? And pray for her? Would you pray for her? That God would soften her heart so she could receive Jesus?”
Hard to turn away from that. A woman in her seventies, struggling to take care of her husband who suffers from dementia and she is out preaching the Kingdom and sharing the love of God to her neighbors? I am inspired.
This week was no different. She comes in and asks me if I had talked with her neighbor. “I’m not sure.” She begins to tell me about him. Turns out I know of her neighbor. I actually pass by his house every day on my way to work. He is always sitting out on his porch. Small house. Old house. I’ve often thought he might be the loneliest man in town. Or the happiest. It just depends I guess. Either way, he is always sitting out there in his rocking chair on the porch by himself, just rocking.
He doesn’t have a car so that keeps him from getting out. He is sick in his own right. Probably isn’t going to live much longer. Does anyone care? I don't know. I don’t see any grown children or little grandchildren stopping by. Just a man sitting on his porch. Waiting on something. Maybe just for the end.
She says, “I’ve been talking to him about Jesus. He gets all huffy when I do. I keep telling him, I’ll bring you food, but every time I do you are going to hear about Jesus.”
I love that. And I can totally relate. I remember wishing people would leave me alone about Jesus too. He doesn’t turn her away...so maybe wheels are turning in there. If there is one thing I know, it’s that the Spirit of God can burst a heart wide open. Happened all throughout scripture and still happens today. She believes that, so she keeps on. She tells me, “Pray he will stop rejecting and receive the message.”
Absolutely. Let’s do that. And while I’m at it…
“Father, I pray to be more like her. More selfless. More relentless. More focused on You and Your Son. Less focused on me. Because Yours is the only name that matters. Amen.”
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30