A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my fear of strangers. I talked about how sometimes I am suspicious of others and how it can inhibit my witness. I think God must have read my post because I had two unique opportunities this week to work with strangers.
The first was with Mimi. Mimi is a wonderful 26-year-old woman of faith. Mimi also has special needs. She stayed with us for the weekend while her typical caregivers were out-of-town.
Caring for a special needs person is something that has never been on my radar. However our friends needed help, and asked us to consider watching her.
Normally I would be too worrisome to do something like this. What if something happens to her? What if I can’t handle her tantrums? What if something goes wrong? Would she be ok with the kids? Usually I would just say NO because of fear.
This time I said yes. I talked with my friend to prepare myself as much as possible. I was ready to bless Mimi. But I was unexpectedly blessed by Mimi.
She blessed me with her faith. Mimi is NOT afraid of strangers. In fact, within 2 minutes of a shopping trip, she struck up a conversation with an 80-year-old woman. Her opening line?
Do you know Jesus?
Talk about an evangelism tactic! The woman boldly answered, “No! I’m an atheist.” And we proceeded to hear about her arguments against God, the Bible, and religion in general.
Shopping with Mimi turned into a real opportunity to witness God’s love to strangers. At the end of the day, Mimi had talked to 8 people, 2 of whom claimed atheism, 1 who didn’t want to talk, and the rest who loved Jesus.
I learned from Mimi that it’s ok to talk to strangers about God. She wasn’t scared to tell them about Jesus’ love.
Mimi taught me boldness. It made me wonder,
What is God preparing me for?
How can He use my time with Mimi to work with others in need? Will I have the opportunity to interact with more atheists? Who will I be able to witness to? What is God up to?
The second opportunity this week was helping a widow and an orphan…by letting them stay in our basement.
Folks, I’m scared of strangers. Talking to them in the store takes courage, and inviting them to stay in my house for a week takes a Valium!
My pastor husband received a phone call from a police officer in the community trying to find housing for a mom and her 18-year-old daughter. She had a clean background check on them. My first reaction: NO.
What if they try to hurt us? Or our children? Or steal from us? Or trick us? My worry-radar was sky-high on this one!
But we talked with a couple at church who just happened to be their old neighbors. This couple vouched for their needs. After some prayer and deliberation, biblical conviction about helping widows and orphans, personally meeting them, and setting clear boundaries, we decided they could stay with us.*
Again I asked myself the question,
What is God preparing me for? How will He use our house in the future to bless others? How will our children view helping others?
What is God up to?
Worry has inhibited my life in many ways. I hold on tightly to that which I love because I fear losing it. But in holding on, I don’t have the chance to open my hands to new opportunities.
This week I let go a little bit and opened my hands to new experiences. Who knows how God will use this these events in the future! And how else He plans to grow me out of my worry…
*I am not suggesting opening your doors to anyone and everyone. Some people have that gift of hospitality. I do not. I believe we should be discerning and gather as much information as possible to make an informed, prayerful decision about how to help others while keeping ourselves safe.
How is God stretching you in your life right now?