tied together with love

This weekend was incredible. On Saturday morning I had the great pleasure of gathering with some beautiful women of God from our area who have a heart for Jesus and a desire to be His hands and feet. The project was simple... make blankets for those who find themselves sleeping in the cold this Christmas.

It started with piles and piles and piles of fleece... every color of the rainbow, soft patterns, even some jazzy zebra stripes. Next came cutting, tying knot after knot after knot after knot... then repeat. Twenty-one times.

As we worked, our thoughts kept turning to the homeless that will receive these blankets. It occurred to me as I worked along that we probably could have just bought blankets [already made] that would have kept these precious people warm... but isn't there something special about receiving a handmade gift? Knowing that someone cared enough, to do this just for you. Yes it is a special feeling to know that you are wrapped in a blanket tied together with love... each knot a prayer for your protection, that you would encounter God and the love He has for you, that He would make a way out of the darkness...

I saw the pile of "breakfasts in a bag" the SonShine Kids had put together for this same outreach, gloves donated by another...  I was so happy to be a part of the project, but I have to admit there was a longing in my heart to do more. Giving the gift of a blanket and a breakfast is a beautiful thing [especially a handmade one!]... but my heart still broke knowing that these blankets would find homes on the streets. Wrapping around people who feel hopeless, forgotten... cold. I found my heart crying out to God "don't let this be the end, show us how to do more. Show us how to love these folks well...to use the resources we have for your Kingdom... guide us Lord..."

You know what they say... be careful what you ask for.

How could I have expected to hear these words the following morning in my own church... "they are staying in their car, is it okay if they take one of the blankets...?" Of course! Of course... you didn't need to ask. Of course...

And then the quickening of the Holy Spirit. Maybe you can't make a way for every one of those 21 blankets, tied together with love, to make their way to an actual bed under an actual roof with actual heat. But what about this one? 

Over the next several hours, I was blown away as I saw the Body of Christ respond to this need. I sit here in tears as I recall the overwhelming response to a quiet plea to help. None of those who answered the call knew the people who needed assistance, and even more... They didn't bother to ask. They just gave. They tapped into their own, personal resources the week before Christmas. They pulled strings and called in favors. They mobilized resources from church. And within hours a couple was led to a modest room, with a real bed and real roof and real heat... Boxes and bags of food, toiletries, towels, toothbrushes all unloaded and put away... Gas cards tucked safely away in their pocket... bowls, skillet, dog kennel... Every perceived need met by anonymous faces. The hands and feet and heart of Jesus.

All of this, so that this couple who is seeking Christ could know and rely on the love the Father has for them. A Divine encounter in a hotel room where Jesus' heart met theirs.

I don't know why He would allow me to see this unfold first hand... except that He knows the desire of my heart to see the Body come together. And He knew how I would rejoice in seeing resources come from people connected to so many different churches and denominations. It was such a beautiful thing. It is such a beautiful thing. This weekend I caught a glimpse of His Bride... from quick fingers working hundreds of knots to quiet deliveries of food to text messages that say "I have room"... it was a beautiful, beautiful thing... and I could see why He is so ravished by Her beauty...!

So many times the church gets it wrong... we judge, and criticize, and stumble, and fail... but let us not forget the times when she gets it right. When her eyes are on Him, and she quickens to His call. When her heart is beating in rhythm with His, her hands are moving under His guidance, and her feet are going steadfast on the path He has laid before her... let us remember these times. Focus on them... and be encouraged to do more!

If you are interested in getting involved... let me know. We are going to continue to get together every month or so to make blankets so we can have even more to hand out next Christmas. You can participate by donating money, buying fleece, or showing up and tying knots. Let me know if you are interested and I will keep you in the loop on upcoming meetings.

You can also join me in praying for the other 20 blankets. I am believing God to make a way for each of those blankets to make their way from the street to a real bed with a real roof over it and real heat blowing through vents in real walls. And I am believing that He is going to use His Body to make it happen, and that He will be glorified through Her obedience! I know it may not happen immediately for all of those blankets, but I trust His timing, and it will be as perfect as last night was... His heart meeting ours. Our hearts meeting theirs. It is a beautiful, beautiful thing... being tied together with love.

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