We have air mattresses
Sometimes "convoying God's valuables" doesn't look like I thought it would.
“Which of these do you think was a neighbor to the man...?"
“The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” -Luke 10:36-37
Today I have a prayer request. Several weeks ago, my wife and I hosted a house guest. Samantha (not her real name) was a 30-something lady who worked alongside our daughter a few years back at a daycare center. The original engagement, which came as a request from our daughter, went like this: "She's living out of her car; can she come stay at your place for a couple days while she figures out what to do next?" Within two days of her arrival at our house, Samantha wrecked her uninsured car, totaling the vehicle and sustaining a concussion.
Over the time she stayed with us, we learned from what our daughter relayed, and from conversations with Samantha, that she had had a terrible childhood, a failed marriage to an abusive husband, and a couple of kids that were removed from her care because she was deemed mentally unstable. But after three weeks and change, she found a friend in Bentonville who was looking for a roommate and lived about a half-mile from where she worked. Perfect! Glad to help, now that's done, let's move on.
Well, we learned last week that Samantha had been checked into a mental healthcare facility because she was engaging in behaviors which indicated she was a danger to herself and possibly others. She has been diagnosed as bi-polar. She called my wife the night before her scheduled release from the center. She said her roommate was so spooked by the recent events that she no longer wanted Samantha to stay with her. "Is there any way I could come back to your house for a little while?" Five days before Christmas.... With a houseful of people due to arrive in the coming days....
Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! -Hebrews 13:2
For the moment, our daughter was able to broker a temporary house- and dog-sitting job for Samantha through a mutual friend. Nevertheless, we are preparing to check on her periodically, have her over on Christmas Day, and provide her with shelter if needed. On one hand, my wife and I are grateful that Samantha (and God) are trusting this situation to our care, grateful that we have the resources to offer some relief, and grateful for the opportunity to love this person the way Jesus does. (She is a believer, but her faith is very immature.) On the other hand, timing could hardly be worse and I am certainly not qualified as a mental health professional. Honestly, I am hoping we are not on suicide watch for the holidays.
So what's the prayer request? I dunno. Health, hope, and a future for Samantha, I guess, and some grace and wisdom for me and my family. I must confess - my initial reaction to these circumstances was not especially Christ-like. But I'm married to a lady who helps me keep these things in perspective. Her attitude has been, "God has His reasons - He knew Samantha would need us, that's why we're here... Maybe this is for her good, maybe for ours... We have air mattresses - we'll figure it out."
More backstory on this lady. Her family is from Laos. Her parents were in their 50's when she was born. She has siblings but barely knows them because they were in their 30's and gone by the time she came along. She was a surprise... and an inconvenience. Her parents made it clear very early in her life that she was an "accident" and that she should plan on leaving their house as soon as she was able to do so. The name she goes by is not her real name - it's a name she gave herself because she hated her real name, a Laotian word that translates roughly to "Get away from me."
What do you do with that? We have air mattresses - we'll figure it out.
The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:40
Have a Merry Christmas, men! Watch for opportunities to convoy well - they may come from places you'd never expect!