Her name was Katie. Homeless and broken, she was curled up on the pavement sleeping on concrete out the front of a Walmart in the middle of the day.
I saw her and turned to my wife, “poor girl”, I muttered, as we turned the corner into our parking spot.
I took the kids for dinner across the street as my wife did our grocery shopping. Once done we all loaded back into the car and drove past Katie once more.
By now she was sitting against the wall with her head in her hands.
As we drove past, her head lifted and her eyes caught mine. I smiled and she waved, and I kept driving.
At that moment in time she was a nameless homeless woman to me, that is until I did a U-turn.
I turned to my wife and said, “I have to go back!”
As I stopped the car I did not take lightly the fact that my children were in the car watching what I was about to do. I know that they need me to do this as much as I do and as much as Christ does. You see, salvation is by grace, but what we do with our salvation is determined by our actions.
I stepped out and walked up to Katie, sitting down quietly beside her against the wall, I asked her how her day was going.
She told me it was “all’right” and I asked her about her story. I get that there are many “homeless” that lie to get a meal or some money, but I have lined up in food-bank lines before and I don’t take lightly someone’s story. Even if it’s a lie, my love for her and Christ’s love through me would be genuine.
She told me how she came to Orlando from Atlanta with a friend. Things hadn’t worked out and now she was homeless. She’s been on the streets for nearly 6 months. I didn’t ask her how old she was, but she looked about the age of one of my sisters, not more than 30.
I shared the love of Jesus for her and asked her if she had any help to get off the streets. She told me she didn’t, so I offered my number to her to get her to a local church here where some locals could help.
“I don’t have a phone”, she said. “I can’t contact you to come to church.”
Immediately I felt the Lord say to get her a phone. You see no phone means no possibility of getting a job, no job means no way off getting off the streets. The Lord whispered, $100.
Off we went into Walmart. The phone and the credit was $100.
“What else can I do for you?“ I asked, her blue eyes piercing mine as I kept thinking of my sister back home.
“I have this terrible anxiety. Every time I try to get ahead anxiety just crushes me.”
I told her if Christ’s peace and hope again, this time sharing more details of how He had changed my life.
“I used to believe all that stuff, but now it’s very far from me,” she said. “Thank you for reminding me of this.”
As we walked out of Walmart to where we had parked the car, my wife and children eagerly greeted Katie.
Joyce joined me as we prayed for Katie and commanded all anxiety to leave her life.
As we drove home that afternoon my son Sean said to me. “That phone could change her life Dad, with a phone she can get a job, with a job she can get off the streets.” As we talked I shared how the most important thing was that she knew Jesus. Jobs come and go but Jesus remains forever.
The phone was just the tool to show her the love of Jesus.
I’m so glad I did that U-Turn. I’m so glad I did it for Katie, I’m so glad I did it for my family, I’m so glad I did it for my King.
What U-turn is God asking you to make?
Here are three questions to challenge you to action, it might just change your life, or someone you know!
1. What is God asking you to do, or has asked you to do that you may be driving past right now?
2. Are you believing the lie that driving past means you missed it?
3. What tangible action do you need to take right now to turn around?
The next choice you make could change someone’s life forever.
Do a U-turn today.
PS- A HUGE thank you to those that have chosen to invest into us in this season. We couldn’t have blessed Katie if you hadn’t blessed us. THANK YOU for passing on His resources so that we could pass them on to her.