The Bible verse Romans 12:13 says, ” When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” I am heading home from a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina and this verse is weighing heavy on my mind.
You see when we arrived in Charleston last Sunday afternoon I wasn’t prepared for what I would see. My husband and I checked into our hotel and decided to take a walk down King Street since it was know for cute little shops and restaurants. I was overwhelmed by the homeless people on King Street.
I had decided before leaving on our trip that I would only carry my phone through the city documenting with pictures God’s love and inspirations of gratitude. I would carry no money and would rely on my husband to buy me food, water or items of remembrance from Charleston. I have peppered some of my pictures throughout this blog.
I soon feel so out of place and humbled. I had never really known what it meant to be without money in a strange city. As we began walking in King Street I began seeing the local homeless people sitting along the sidewalk in the extreme heat and humidity. They only had a few items with them.
I had seen homeless people in Dallas and have given them cold water and a few dollars but I had neither with me. The water I was carrying with me was past lukewarm. When I arrived back at the hotel my heart was empty and I felt like I had let God down by not offering hospitality to his people. When they looked at me for help all I could do was say, “May God bless you!” It was all I could do and I prayed for them constantly when I was visiting their city.
The next day I had to become creative. I had to figure out how to help the people I would come across without any money in my pocket. I realized as I went into Starbucks that I had loaded a gift card onto my iPhone Starbucks app for $25 so I went in to get an iced coffee. Inside the shop were pieces of fruit and cold water. Things that can be bought and given to those without and I could use my free money on my Starbucks app. I didn’t need any cash to help.
Throughout the day I saw a homeless man walking the streets in two different parts of town. I at first thought he was maybe eccentric and not homeless but then I saw him the third time on the same day. I am currently reading “Crazy Love” by Frances Chen and he talks in the book about religions that say holy three times because they feel it represents perfection hence the saying of “holy, holy, holy.” My husband and I were at a local restaurant having pizza and hummus with pita bread when the man entered the restaurant. He went to the counter and asked for a to go cup with ice water. He sat for a period of time trying to cool off from the hot, humid day.
As the waitress brought our check I asked her if the man had ordered any food since he was sitting in the booth across from us. She informed me he was homeless and comes in once a day to use their bathroom and get a cup of ice water. I had an idea.
When the waitress returned I asked her if when we left if she would offer our leftovers to the man. She said she would and we left. I said a prayer in the way out that he would take it since we hadn’t touched the food we were offering him. I know most likely if I took that food back to the hotel chances are we wouldn’t eat it and it would end up being wasted. In my mind since I saw the man three times it was God telling me to help. Holy, holy, holy.
The next day we took an Uber to a local plantation. It was a 25 minute drive and our driver was similar in age to our daughter. He talked about being in Austin for a few years and since we are from Texas it was an interesting conversation. He said he was going to become a commercial pilot and drove for Uber when it rains because he can’t fly yet in the rain. He was a very nice guy and the next thing we knew we were at the gates of the plantation and he stated, “I have family that works here and they can use a few free day passes each day and I have asked for two for you to enjoy the plantation free of charge.” I believe that was God thanking s for sharing our leftovers the night before..
Our return Uber driver was just as sweet. She was a lady that had recently lost her job after 30 years with the same company. That company was ToysRUs. It broke my heart because we bought things at their going out of business sale for our grandson and it just hit me in that moment how many people were out of work because of the closing. She asked what we did and my husband said we are both in sales and of course I piped up and said, “I am a blogger and have a podcast too.” She wanted to know what my blog was about and I said, “It’s about appreciating God’s love through practicing gratitude. My daughter and I teach gratitude to others for a more fulfilled life knowing God’s blessings.”
She lit up and said, “I am at an end of a season and I am ready for a new one!” I told her where to find us online and I was thrilled to see she liked our Facebook page the very same day. I have been praying for her to clearly see God’s direction for her new season. She definitely touched my heart in a short 25 minute ride. We were blessed to have her drive us.
The last story I would like to share with you is another story of three (holy, holy, holy). We took a tour at one of the local mansions on Wednesday morning and as we waited on the porch of the mansion for the tour to start and couple joined us. The man was tall with reddish color hair and blue eyes. The lady had such a beautiful face and she was on crutches. She suffers from a condition called spina bifida. The man asked if we had tickets for the tour and we said we did and that they had to be purchased on the lower level down a winding path. He went to get tickets for the tour as his wife stayed on the porch with us.
I was in awe of this woman. We had walked all over Charleston and my back and feet hurt and here she was doing the same thing on crutches. I was so blessed to just have a sore lower back and was ashamed of myself for not recognizing others that deal with back issues in a much more severe way everyday. The tour guide asked all the people on the tour where they were from and we of course are from Dallas and they were from Fort Worth which is about 30 miles away from us! The tour started and we were off to another site.
As we were sitting at the gate the next day to fly home I was surprised to see the couple again. They were booked on our flight! Ok God, you have introduced these people to me twice you must want us to talk. I waved to the lady and she looked oddly at me. I said, “Remember us from the mansion tour yesterday?” She lit up because she has the most beautiful smile and said she did.
I walked over to them and started a conversation. I asked, “what do you do in Fort Worth?” She replied she had been a social worker but had to quit to focus on her health but she now blogs. “What? I blog too!” She told me she has been blogging for six years but has found it difficult to blog in the past year. I told her about our blog and we exchanged card with out blog sites and email.
I felt instantly connected to her and her husband! Three again! The mansion tour, being our flight and both bloggers! I get it God. You placed that book in my hands to recognize the three, the Holy Trinity to be exact. Below is a picture of the wood inlay on the mansion porch where I first met the couple. We were told that the family had installed the clovers to recognize the trinity throughout their home. I took the picture since the tour guide pointed it out and it’s meaning.
It was time to board the plane and they boarded before us. I remembered I had a gratitude heart in my bag and I knew I wanted to give it to them. I held it in my hand as I walked down the jet bridge to board the plane. I held it tightly and said a prayer. “Lord as I share this heart with my new friend, please bless it so when she sees it she is pain free and inspired to blog. God please let them arrive home safely and feel Your love always as they are very faithful.”
As I approached their seats I handed them the heart and said, “You have truly inspired me and I am going to blog about you.” I saw her beautiful smile again and his stunning blue eyes and I went on to my assigned seat.
I looked up her blog called “Sincerely Holly” and she writes beautifully. I would highly recommend reading her blogs and following Holly.
As I move through life I feel God directing me and showing me every step I should be taking. He is allowing me to recognize when to help and that I have everything I need and it is so important to share with others. This can be with money, food, a smile or even a kind word. God has blessed me with my health, a roof over my head, food in my pantry and a loving family. All blessings that come my way need to be shared with those in need. I promise my loving Father this will be the work I do in Your name. I will do Your will.
May God bless you and may you want for nothing as God loves you each and every day-LoLo