Saturday, January 31, 2015

Confession: Veronica

I grocery shop at Aldi’s most of the time. The hubs and I have been trying really hard to function on cash, because we tend to stay on budget better. The hubs took out a little more cash than normal (probably because he worked A LOT over time and got paid a little more than normal) I asked if I could take some of it and get my eyebrows done. (I haven’t had my eyebrows done since our wedding! I feel like a werewolf.) He said “Please DO!” (See! Even HE thinks I look like a werewolf.) So I went to Aldi’s and was about to take the remaining cash to suffer the excruciating pain of ridding myself (temporarily) of my werewolf eyebrows.
No sooner had I stopped at the light right outside the Aldi’s parking lot, did a woman bundled up in a dirty coat, snot dripping down her nose, walked right up to my window. I was stuck at the stoplight. I couldn't get away.

Only a few times have I run into aggressive begging such as this, usually it has been a little scary. I only had a 20 on me, and I can usually excuse myself from “neediness” by stating that I don’t carry cash. Which I don’t. Only when I’m intentionally about to spend money.
I could have lied and told her I didn't carry cash...I sat in my SUV getting ready to take care of my bushy eyebrows with a car load of bananas and oranges and staples. Gifts that, I have come to recognize the ability to keep my pantry and fridge stocked enough to feed a grown man and a growing boy, are genuinely from God.
Do you struggle with this? Do you struggle with the internal argument you have with yourself when people ask you for money? Do you struggle the notion that what you have does not belong to you?
I do.
I told the woman I could buy her some food. She replied she didn't need food. She needed money for rent. Rent was $15 a day, and she didn't have the money for today.

Oh Lord my God, what would you do? Would you ignore this woman? Would you tell her you can’t help her? Would you tell her that “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head?” On no, Lord, I know you would not, and I’m off to pull eyebrow hairs out of my head for $12.

I pulled over into the parking lot nearby and gave the woman my $20. I told her to use it for Rent. She asked me if I could buy her a meal. I said I could buy it for her from the money I gave her....she replied she would buy it herself.  She asked me what my name was, and I told her. I asked her if I could pray for her and she said yes. I put my hand on her dirty jacket and asked God to bless her for a roof over her head, and food in her belly, and to grow closer to the One who provides such things. She told me her name was Veronica.

I’m not telling you this to pat myself on the back. I’m telling you this because I am ashamed.

I am ashamed about how I felt afterwards. I was torn in between going to the salon anyway and spending another $12 for my bushy eyebrows. 

I was torn about “wasting” that money on a woman who MAY go spend it on cocaine, or cigarettes...or….

and then I thought about our small groups discussion last week, about the Acts of the Apostles, In Acts 2 “And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.”

7“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that theLORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. “ Deut 15:7&8

Proverbs 28:3 “A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.”

Proverbs 28:27 “27Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.”

I want to confess to you where my heart was as I drove away. I was shaking, worried about what the hubs would say, lamenting the caterpillars growing over my eyes…wondering what the woman was going to do with the $20 I gave her...upset that I had “wasted” my money that we are scrapping to save. Feeling stupid. Trying to remember that what I have is not mine. It is Gods and it is God’s to do with what he will.

Luke 6:30 “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.”

I want to confess that I believe our money is our own. Not Gods. I want to confess that I judged what Veronica might be doing with that money other than paying rent. I want to confess that I believe that I am in control, and God is not. Why is it that I am okay with deciding what is good and appropriate for me to seek and spend my time, and money on, and not okay for me to give Gods money to the people and causes he puts before me?

Missional Women
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  1. Just so I don't get hated on, I DO NOT think my wife looks like a werewolf. Never said it. Never thought it. Period. This lesson is a hard lesson to go through. To take the money we work so hard for and give it to people that are begging for it. Our preconceived ideas of these people: drug seekers, homeless beggars, dirty worthless, etc comes from what? Have we sat down and talked with them? Walked in their shoes for a day? I am not doubting the breakdown of correct percentage in a guess, but we are called to love, to be helpful, not put a condition on the cash we give out. I would love to put conditions on the tax money collected. GIVE GENEROUSLY. Take the time to talk to them, pray with them, encourage them and give.

  2. Sarah, wow. This is my first visit here, coming from Jennifer's, and your honesty cuts to my heart. It takes courage to ask the hard questions to ourselves, to others, about our hearts. You ask a handful of questions here that make us squirm, and this is good. For I find, with myself, it is easy to grow comfortable with how I spend money. To rationalize. And I think what your story brings to mind for me is how there are no easy answers. That maybe these are questions we must always keep our hearts open to grapple with, in the moment, and do our best to respond with the movement of Love on our hearts.