Give them the “Miracle of Warmth” tonight.

Twenty one mile per hour winds…the temperature would be down in the teens by morning. “Dear Lord, please watch over our homeless friends as they sleep tonight. Not only keep them safe, but please Father…keep them alive.”

Since we began to do what we do with the homeless 7-8 years ago now, we become very aware of the outside temperatures. Hot/Cold…it makes no real big difference to me but to many of my friends sleeping under bridges tucked up against an open river, a bush large enough to camouflage a man under a blanket or a broken window in a dilapidated building large enough for a man to crawl through it causes those of us working the streets to drop slowly on our knees and ask on their behalf for protection from the shadows that move through the night of possibly someone strung out on some “junk crack” or a night like Saturday night hearing the howling of the north wind beating on my home that men and women need that “miracle of warmth” tonight as they lay down to sleep.

Many many times the men have told me…”I prayed last night Miss Jaye… it was cold, I prayed for God to bring me through the night.” Never in a bragging way do they tell me about their prayer as I have heard many Christians do. “See, my prayer was answered…I am here.” Pat me on my back!

No, they whisper the prayer they prayed through blue lips unable to lift a cup of coffee up to just simply drink due to uncontrollable shaking that began 9 hours earlier. I personally have taken a homeless mans hands into mine and rubbed color back into them. I’ve helped them strip off wet clothes just to save their lives and after warm ones were put back on I have laid out a blanket on a cement floor and told them to go to sleep. I could not begin to count the number of men I found asleep on one of our church pews…

Winter!

Sunday morning I stepped out onto my car port to throw something in the trash. I was in a race. Run out, run in… dang cold!!!! As I turned I happened to glance up my driveway. A figure stood near my mailbox and as I looked the person saw me, pulled their hood farther over the front of their face and kind of slipped behind a tree that has no leaves.

To be honest, it startled me for a few seconds. I don’t live in the greatest of neighborhoods but still it is very unusual to see someone standing by the curb. Especially in 18 degree windy weather.

One of the other great things about learning the ways of the streets is learning clothes and walks. Every day I drive through town I pass mostly men walking and from a distance I can tell from the walk and clothes who it is. As I get closer they shoot up a hand and yell…”Miss Jaye.” They don’t normally need anything. They just like to see someone who isn’t yelling ugly obscenities or tossing trash out at them. Yes, this happens regularly to a homeless person. I’ve been walking with them and been mistaken as homeless and have experienced it first hand.

As I stood by my back door for maybe 10 seconds this person at my mailbox moved… In the slight shift I knew in an instant it was Michael. I yelled up the driveway at him… “Michael!!! What are you doing out here where it is cold? Get into the house and get warm.” He looked up at me at that point and started slowly towards me. He broke my heart because the only thing I could see were his eyes and I knew how long it took him to get to my house. He was cold.

Mike stays in a camp about 5-6 miles down the road under a bridge. You have to understand I live just outside of city limits. Just about every homeless man in this area know where my house is. I find dirty laundry at my back door or they may find clothes, blankets, food I may need and also leave it at my door. This day Mike, needed heat.

As I closed my back door I told Mike to make himself at home and I silently prayed inside myself…”Thank you Father for my heat…Not for me…but for Michael!” He was cold, and he knew if he made it to my house I would make him come in. I became a little weepy when I saw what God was doing.

Mike sat on a dining room chair and began to tell me that he woke up about 2am because it was so cold. He couldn’t go back to sleep… He then told me that he thought if he started walking, anywhere, he might get warmer. Didn’t work. He only stayed as cold as he was under his blankets so he started walking to my house. He didn’t finish I am sure because he was embarrassed to say he walked to my house because he was desperate to get warm and he knew I would let him come in. I reminded him that next time…ring the doorbell, OKAY? Okay, Miss Jaye… was his reply.

My husband Freddie was in his office studying for morning service and I had just woke up my son Josh so he could get ready for church. I told Mike I would be back in about 20 minutes I had to run and pick someone up for church. As I drove away I started laughing out loud. I hadn’t mentioned to my son or husband that Mike was in the living room. Would they be shocked to see a homeless man in our living room? Oh my poor family I thought as I drove on, they have adapted so well to me. NO, they wouldn’t be shocked at all!!!

Before any of you freak out on me…I know many homeless people. There are several I wouldn’t take my eyes off of if they were in my home. Michael? He is like my brother…I have known him several years now. I trust him with my life.

There are times in all of our lives I believe that God helps us bring those things that have become out of perspective; in our lives, back into perspective. Like with a Mike… Don, Larry, David…….. Paul>>>> Often He says to me, “Look, listen… Can you hear their heart beat? It is mine. Can you feel the wind of their breath? It is mine. Can you feel the warmth of their dirty skin? Yes, it is mine. Can you imagine the nights the wind howls and cold  has lost its meaning? It is I in them and they in Me…

Mike ate Sunday dinner with us that day. His hands shook so bad my son Josh offered this dirty, cold, homeless man of God a straw so he could drink. Mike looked up at me and said… “Miss Jaye I don’t know when I ate at a table last… my grandma would have been proud of this meal…Thank you.” I just seem to be unable to get them to understand…No, Michael, I thank you.

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One Response to “Give them the “Miracle of Warmth” tonight.”

  1. Michael looks like he’s gained weight since I last saw him. And yes, when I see that the temperatures are getting low in your part of the country, I pray that your men DO make it through another night. Please tell Michael that Elena and I think of him often. She asks about him from time to time…she wrote to him faithfully until the letters came back to her. Bless you and yours, as always, for what you do.


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