Monday, June 27, 2011

You Are More

For so many years of my life I struggled with an eating disorder among other things. It didn’t matter where I was at or who was treating me, every single professional in the field of treating eating disorders would refer to me as simply “a bulimic.” I can even remember hearing these words from one of my dearest friends at the time as well—Oh it’s okay, she’s just a bulimic. It was as if I was no longer of any worth or value apart from the fact that I often threw up what I ate. I didn’t just struggle with bulimia, I had become a bulimic in every aspect of my life. As more and more people in my life began to accept and even embrace this terminology, I began to accept and believe it as well. If I couldn’t be an excellent writer, a good student, a loving sister, or a caring friend, if people were never going to see me as any of these other things, then I might as well strive for something they already acknowledged I was good at—that was when I decided to set out to be the absolute best bulimic I could be.     

Just as I was often refered to as a bulimic, so often men and women without a home are termed “homeless.” This is true in regaurds to the state of their current situation in the sense that they do not have four walls surrounding them when they lay their heads to rest at night. However, I think that a lot of times as men and women with homes, we often allow the term “homeless” as a condition to become a term that actually identifies who these people are. Even I have done this so many times. But as I have been spending this time with Tiffany and several other women in Tent City, I am realizing that while these men and women are indeed homeless, as in they don’t have a house to go home to each night, this term does not even begin to represent who these men and women are in the eyes of the Lord, nor does it explain who they are as individuals. The men and women living in Tent City may not have a place to call home, but they are real people with personalities and hurts and joys and passions and dreams.

This past Thursday, I embarked on my very first solo trip down to Tent Town—just me and Mama Fogt. It was the most precious time with Tiffany. I love that each time I get to go down and visit with her, her personality just pours forth more and more. Each time it becomes harder and harder for me to see her as a homeless woman. When I think of Tiffany, the words homeless don’t even cross my mind anymore. She is hilarious. She has a gentle spirit but never holds back when she has an opinion to share. She has this steadfast boldness about her that draws people to her. She is confident in who the Lord created her to be and in her abilities. When she is gifted at something, she is gunna let you know! She doesn’t play games; she always says it like it is without hesitating. Oh Lord, allow me to learn from her! You know how sometimes you just meet someone and you just know instantly that you are going to be great friends? That is how I have felt about Tiffany from day one. Her confidence and wisdom and life draw me to her.
It is ironic that it is part of my job to go down to Tent City to teach her how to make these soda tab bracelets because really I think I am learning more from her then teaching her! After spending not more then a few hours with her over the past few weeks, I just want to know her more. I am beginning to realize that I talk about her all the time. Any chance I have to share a bit of who she is and what she needs, I do so without hesitation; this is so unlike me! I know this sounds weird to say, but I am passionate about Tiffany—I am passionate about seeing her experience freedom in her life and watch as the eyes of her heart are opened to the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I just sit and reflect on all of her incredible characteristics, I can’t help but think how much greater each will be as she comes to understand her position as a beloved daughter of the Most High King! Wow. A world shaker—with a doubt. And yes, Tiffany may not have a home, but I’ll tell ya what—she refuses to allow this to define her. So I will fight for her, and for all of the other men and women who don’t have a place to rest their heads at night—these men and women are real people!

Tiffany has some bold ambitions—she has dreams. I want Tiffany to be given an opportunity to pursue those dreams. That is why selling these soda tab bracelets is so important—the more we can sell, the more Tiffany can make, the quicker she can have a place to rest her head at night as she dreams more dreams that are within her reach! As you go to bed tonight, I encourage you to think about those who may not have such a comfy or safe place to fall asleep. Challenge your thinking about those without a home—in your mind, are these men and women simply homeless or are they people with hopes and dreams, just like you?

“Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.”   -Proverbs 22:2

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