Author: Laura King, Director of Development & public relations
Lately, I have felt really disconnected from people. This time of year I seem to withdraw inward and just try to skip from September 7th to November 7th. During this period three years ago my Mother was in the final stages of cancer and as a caregiver & daughter those moments broke me and changed me. So when fall rolls around I go into a subconscious survival mode. I find myself avoiding crowds and just people in general. My frustration levels rise, I don't sleep well, and I grab on to Jesus with everything I've got.
As September 7th neared, I prayed specifically that Jesus would make himself known to me during this time. All I can say is that God moves in the most mysterious and unconventional ways. Three weeks ago, the CMC launched into a remodel and God has shown up in the weirdest and grimiest places. The next few paragraphs will not be a tale of how God helped calm my frustrations, how well I am sleeping or even how I love being around people right now. Instead I will tell of how God showed up in spite of all those things.
It has been hectic to say the least these last few weeks at the CMC, We have been packing, cleaning, moving, painting, laying floors, and everything in between. We had a Saturday move day on September 15th and there were volunteers everywhere...they just kept coming.
I don't know how that entire warehouse of food got moved from one building to the next but I know that everyone was wore out by the time somebody hollered "lunch time". We were all sweaty, dirty, and just plain gross. My brain and body were done and I sat down in a chair in our new warehouse not to far from the makeshift pizza buffet line. I began to watch the volunteers coming through and I was just amazed by what God was doing. There was a medical professional, a local judge, a homeless man, a recovering addict, church folks from multiple churches, school teachers, poor people, wealthy people and everyone in between.
We had all been working side by side and now we were breaking bread together. As I reveled in the beauty of what was, I also realized that all of those people are broken just like me. We all have stuff, we all have things we battle... but we are not in it alone. All of my hardship brought me to that moment in time. A divinely appointed time.
And not just me but others. The homeless man...hardship brought him here also. He's been on the street for a few months. He got sick and missed work which caused him to be late on his rent and he ended up on the streets. Chaos breeds chaos and he lost his job. We asked him this week to tell us his story. He said "you know, I had been coming and getting emergency food packs for several days. I was sleeping not far from here and saw y'all working. I just wanted to be a part of what you were doing". This man has been a God send to us. He showed up and has kept showing up for three weeks. So much talent and ability and God has used his hands to help us get ready for the next chapter at the CMC.
God just keeps bringing hurting people to this place. We work together and break bread together... and Jesus binds up our wounds and mends our broken hearts. God makes provision for us and the people we serve. There is story after story to be told of how God has provided for the CMC's needs during this remodel. God has made himself known to me over and over these past few weeks. And our new homeless friend...God has provided for him as well. Our friends at Bethlehem House accepted him into their program and he is on the road to rebuilding his life.
God is in the middle of our heartache, our brokenness and even our hopelessness. He loves us and He uses our life stories and circumstances to draw us ever closer to Him...the cool thing is He uses our life stories and circumstances to draw others to Him as well.
I have learned to let my pain speak for itself. I used to be ashamed of it actually, but I realized in the middle of all that is broken is where my Creator shows up. As much as I want to be rid of the sleepless nights, irritability and panic attacks...what I really want is to be in the middle of God's presence. And I have found His presence in all sorts of places...my drive to work, Lowe's, power washing the sidewalk, and in the warehouse breaking bread with my neighbors.