Jef’s Challenge

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

James 1: 27.

Over the Christmas break Jef Fowler challenged Veritas Academy families and faculty members with inconveniencing ourselves to help someone in need.   His challenge made me think;  I lend a helping hand when it is convenient but when it is not expedient, I can quickly justify why I don’t need to.   Rarely is it convenient with today’s rapid pace of life however.

God presented our family with the opportunity to meet his challenge however and as a result, we were blessed by making a new friend, Margia.  We hope to continue to visit her in 2011.

I would love to hear your stories in responding to this challenge so please share them in comments at the end of the blog!

Margia

Her life represents all that “please-don’t- let –it- happen- to – me” stuff in life that can be frightening to even think about.  As I sat there listening to her story, I saw a woman, my age, for whom nothing had gone according to her dreams.

Yet, she smiled.

In a long ago, yet unforgettable, season of her life she graduated with a degree in nursing, married the man she loved, and gave birth to two precious daughters.  But life had not been kind to Margia. Her two girls at age 2 and 5 were violently killed at home by an alcoholic, abusive husband. With tears in her eyes, she told us how she was taken to their funeral in an ambulance, a victim of an attempted murder as well.  Then, nine years ago, she was gored by a bull for forty five minutes, leaving her mangled, broken and barely alive.  Today she lives alone, not only crippled but also impaired by lupus.

Yet she is not bitter.

She is supported by a home health nurse.  The food bank brings her groceries, but each month she runs out of basic supplies and perishable foods well before the next allotment arrives.  She does not get out.  She can barely hobble around her tidy, small home with a walker.

Yet she did not complain.

Discouraged and fighting depression, she called our church for help, having heard that we provided food for the needy during the holiday season.  More than the toilet paper, soap, fruit and milk that we brought her, she desired conversation however. She wanted to see faces and hold hands.  Haddie our granddaughter was with us, and Margia was especially moved by seeing a smiling two year old girl. When it came time to leave, I hugged her and told her that I would be back.  She grabbed my hands and said, “Promise.  Please promise me you will come back.”

I left Margia’s home will far more than I brought her.  My heart was cleansed a bit more.  My selfishness downsized a bit. My priorities shifted a degree.  I left far more appreciative of God’ blessings.   If I had lost my children- my health – my ability to work and get around and provide for myself – and had to live alone, day after day, month after month, year after year, I wonder if I would smile.

And how many other “Margias” are out there struggling to get through a day with no one to talk to or be encouraged by.

Thank you Jef for challenging us!  The blessing was ours.

4 Comments

  1. We had fun making sack lunches and then going around town handing them out. I honestly think one of the men that we gave a sack lunch was an angel because when I pulled away I could not hold back the tears. He was all hunched over and severely crippled but had a peace that I have never seen on someone on the side of the road.
    The kids and I enjoyed ever minute of it and definitely got more then we gave.

    Reply
    • Isn’t it interesting how we tend to think that giving of our time is going to be a sacrifice and yet the blessings are two ways!

      Reply
  2. We took care of my brother’s two young children (ages 2 and 6 months), the youngest of which has spina bifida, for 3 days and 2 nights, so they could take their first vacation in 2 and 1/2 years. It was a huge blessing (really, a privilege) for us. Although I thought my back wasn’t going to hold out at times during their stay, now I miss those little energetic boys! When my brother sent me a picture of he and his wife smiling and having fun together, I knew the sacrifices were worth it!

    Reply
    • What a blessing it must have been for your brother and his wife. I can just imagine your own kids stepping in to love their cousins!

      Reply

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