A few years ago, while feeling that God was not using me enough, or as much as I wanted him to; I prayed with all my heart and earnestness for him to take my life and do as he willed. I wanted and desired to be so close to him that he couldn’t turn around without elbowing me in the nose! Little did I know that he would begin the very next day!
While spending my lunch hour shopping at a dollar store; I focused my attention on a little old lady searching in the bargain bin. She seemed to be talking to anyone that passed by and was being ignored by most. I was drawn to her and felt she was in need of some kindness and company so I worked my way over to her and started talking to her.
I found out she was a widow from up north and lived alone in an apartment about a quarter of a mile from the shopping center. She walked because she had no car and if she went far off she would pay a taxi to take her.
It was obvious she was very poor by the way she was dressed and the way she talked. I listened as she told the story of how she ironed for a couple of people each week to get a few groceries and how hard it was to pay her bills with a small fixed income that came once a month.
I thought maybe God wanted me help out a little financially but it would have to be very little since we were having a time paying all of our bills at the time but I offered. I asked to let me buy what she was getting but she would have no part of my “charity”. She was very proud and said if I had some ironing that I needed done she would do it for a good price though. I had to go back to work so I asked if I could take her home and she said yes.
When I let her out I told her I would bring some clothes by for her to iron and did so the next day. I found a way to sneak a little extra cash without embarrassing her and found someone else who let her do ironing also.
The little old lady kept calling me her angel and that I was sent from God every time I saw her or talked to her on the phone. I assured her I was not and if she asked anyone who knew me they would tell her the same thing! I told her that I just loved God and wanted to do his will; and I believed it was his will for me to help her.
This all went on for a few weeks but I still believed God wanted me to do more than give her money and let her do my ironing. Then one day I called to see how she was feeling and she said she was fine but had a hard time keeping warm because the gas company had turned off her gas. She explained how she had fallen behind on her payments and didn’t have the money to get it turned back on. This was the middle of winter and a very cold time of year and to top it all off she had a gas stove so she couldn’t even use it for heat or to cook with.
My heart sunk because we didn’t have enough money to help her get the gas turned on so I invited her to come to our house. She didn’t want to leave for fear Of someone breaking in and stealing all that she had left; which wasn’t much. I couldn’t believe the gas company would do this to anyone with it freezing outside and especially a poor little widow!
I cried out to the Lord and asked him to help her or let me know what I could do to help. She was so very sweet; she didn’t deserve that to happen to her. After much praying and answer seeking I knew this was why God put her in my life.
God then reminded me of a coworker who was on the city counsel in the very district my new friend was in! I called and told him the story and immediately things began to happen! Her gas was turned on that very day and paid for! She was also qualified for many other senior citizen benefits that she had no idea even existed! It thrilled my heart to see God work on her behalf and I knew that was why he wanted me in her life.
A few days later I told a friend about the incident with the little lady and her eyes lit up and she said that someone gave her a coat and it was too small for her so maybe the lady could wear it. The coat was tiny and even though the lady was small I knew it wouldn’t fit but decided to take it anyway. I went by several times but could never find her at home to try on the coat. I knew she had a nice coat already but figured God just wanted to bless her if we could make it fit.
A week or two after I put the coat in my trunk I woke up to the coldest day I had seen in years. My car door was frozen and when I finally got it opened I headed to work. I looked at the gas hand and remembered it was so cold the night before I put off getting gas. I could have cried because it seemed twice as cold that morning and I had no choice but to stop at the first station I saw.
The first station I saw happened to be in a very bad section of town and as scared as I was to stop; I was even more scared of running out of gas so I stopped!
While standing in the freezing, cold air pumping gas; I looked out and saw a woman and little girl about five years old walking down the road with nothing on but a short sleeve shirt and pants. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was bundled from head to toes and was still freezing! My heart went out to them wondering why in the world they were walking in such a bad part of town alone without a coat or even sweater on! I saw them shivering and could even see their noses running from where I was and it was obvious they were freezing to death!
While standing there analyzing why they were doing it and wondering how far they had come and how far they were going; I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and say, “Give her the coat.” I ignored him for a second thinking he can’t possible mean that! He said it again, “Give her the coat!” There was no denying it that time, I heard Him loud and clear!
I would like to say I jumped in my car and went straight to her and gave her the coat but I didn’t. I tried to reason with the Holy Spirit about the situation! I said, “… but Lord, it’s not very smart these days and times to go up to a stranger walking down the road! They may think I’m going to kidnap them and start screaming and run calling for help then someone would call the police and I’d be the one locked up freezing! By the way Lord you know that coat is not going to fit that woman! It’s a tiny, little coat and I know that woman is not that small!”
My answer was NO! I was not going up to a stranger, get out of my car in the middle of a place like this and hand her something that obviously wouldn’t fit! God said YES you are. He reminded me of how I begged him to use me and how I hoped someday he would do great things through me. So I paid for my gas, got in my car and was about to turn right toward my job. When I looked left to make sure nothing was coming, I saw them still walking, shivering, and freezing so I turned left instead of right. All kind of fear and thoughts were going through my head. I would also be late if I didn‘t hurry!
I finally said okay, but told God if this was really him then he would have to make it happen in perfect timing! I wasn’t going to chase them all over the place and He was just going to have to work it out! I drove past them very slowly, thinking they are going to bolt any minute screaming there is a psycho after them but they kept the same pace. I knew I couldn’t stop in the middle of the road so I saw a vacant place and decided to turn around and head back. Just as I turned around and was about to go back toward my work place I had to stomp on my brakes because they were exactly in front of my car!
I slammed it into park and stepped out of the car feeling like an idiot mind you, but burdened with the heaviest burden I had ever felt in my life for someone; and asked, “Would you like a coat?” She looked at me with a puzzled look and said something in Spanish! I don’t speak Spanish! I thought great! I don’t speak Spanish and she obviously doesn’t speak English so what am I going to do? My face was red from the cold and from fear and nervousness and I asked the same question again.
I opened the trunk hurriedly and held out the coat toward her, smiled and said “yours” she was still looking at me with the same puzzled look, I said, “yours, you can have, take, free!” I trusted God at that moment and felt peace, I smiled even bigger and she walked over took the coat out of my hands, put it on, started buttoning the double breasted buttons and yes, it was a perfect fit! She then smiled back, said thank you in Spanish and started walking again.
The little girl looked up at me and lingered a moment then followed her mom. I cried out “God! What about her?! What about the child?!” He reminded me of a windbreaker in my backseat that had been there for months. I opened the door and yelled “wait”! They stopped and I put it on the little girl and it came to the ground and even covered her feet! She smiled, turned again and they walked off and I got in my car and drove to work, crying all the way!
The burden was lifted immediately but the whole experience was overwhelming! It only lasted about seven or eight minutes but it felt like an hour! Because of fear of the unknown it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. It is so easy to do things for people we know, especially our loved ones but it is different to do something that seems irrational to a stranger because you don’t know what they are thinking or what they will do.
I went into work and straight to the bathroom trying to get control of myself and a coworker came and asked what was wrong. When I finally told her; she looked at me like I was crazy and couldn’t see what the big deal was! She wasn’t a Christian and couldn’t understand what I was talking about when I spoke of the Holy Spirit. Its hard for the world to understand acts of the spirit but I know how real the Holy Spirit is! He’s prompted me to do so much more since that day and thank God it has gotten a little easier to give in to His urging. This is only one of the many things he has led me to do and I wouldn’t trade a single one for all the tea in China!
My “flesh” was weak and scared and unsure of what He was leading me to do but every time I give into the Holy Spirit my “Spirit” grows stronger. Giving God control over our life gives us confidence in him! We don’t have to be afraid when we mess up if we are doing the best we can because He uses it all for good! God will take our mess and turn it into a message!
I now know it was hard to be obedient at first then because my old nature was in control and it didn’t make since to do something like that but God knew they needed those coats even before they were given to me. He also knew I loved him enough to be obedient and he even took into account how long it would take me to decide to do it and he worked it all into his perfect plan and his perfect timing!
The biggest delight I get is knowing he will get all of the glory because they have no idea who I am or where I came from so who knows; they may still be telling the story of how God loved them so much that he sent them coats to keep them warm on one freezing morning in the middle of nowhere many, many years ago and how he will do the same for them!