Heart Strings

I have had the blessing of traveling a great deal in the past.  I visited several countries and have seen poverty at it’s worst.  Nothing breaks my heart more than witnessing homeless and hungry children, especially orphans.

Photograph by Chan Kwok Hung

This photo speaks a multitude, doesn’t it?  This world can be such a cruel place. How I wish something could been done to help save every child and preserve their innocence.

There are times I feel helpless and overwhelmed, like tonight for instance. I was walking crosstown on 42nd Street to catch my bus home.

As I was walking, I took in my surroundings; the rhythm, activity and energy of rush hour.

Until something caught my eye that caused me to stop in my tracks. I remained frozen, watching, pondering whether I should go do something.

This moment reminded me of an incident I read in Jeff Goins’ new book, Wrecked. I knew I had to make a choice.

Suddenly a man spoke and snapped me out of my trance. I guess he noticed my struggle. He tells me, “Your heart strings are being tugged, huh?” I said, “Yes.”  He nodded in understanding.

Right then, I decided to walk over to her. This young woman who was pregnant sitting on the hot concrete floor with a toddler. She must have been no more than twenty-five years old. I asked her if she needed help.

She didn’t speak English. She said something which sounded like Spanish.  However, when she responded again, I realized it wasn’t Spanish, but more like Portuguese or Italian.

She wanted me to give her money. I told her I didn’t want to give her money. She said she needed diapers. I said I would go buy her diapers if she wanted. She agreed for me to get her diapers.

I asked, what size, she tells me size four. For the life of me, I don’t know how we were able to understand each other, it had to have been the Holy Spirit.

She tells me she would wait for me in the same spot for only twenty minutes. So I take off in a hurry to the nearest place I could find and bought diapers. I also bought her a few other items so she could feed her child who looked dirty, hungry and tired. I especially felt compassion for her child.

The city was so hot. I’m sure this poor child was outside all day in the heat while her mother begged.

When I returned she was there waiting. I handed her the bag and she thanked me.

What was most beautiful to me was the reaction on the little girl’s face. She pointed to the bottle of water and looked up at me with a big smile. She seemed genuinely appreciative. I grabbed her little hand and smiled at her too. My heart swelled with love for that child. I so badly wanted to protect her.

I looked into the pregnant mother’s eyes and told her Jesus loved her. I also told her to be careful and to take good care of herself and the baby. I just hope she really understood what I said.

I arrived home very somber. I began thinking about all the homeless mothers and children living in the streets of New York City and around the world. My heart hurts for them.

This tug never goes away. I guess it serves as reminder to never forget.

I wonder how things would be if every Christian from around the world stopped to help and encourage one person each day?

What do you think would happen?  I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.




  • Such a great story, Pilar. We never know how we will help someone in that moment. I am really trying to do this more as a part of my every day routine. I definitely feel overwhelmed most of the time, but every little bit does help. And if we can help encourage others to start doing the same, there will be a big ripple effect. Great post.

    • Thanks Tammy. I wrote it on Friday night. I needed to do something with all my emotions, thoughts and images. Thanks so much for your friendship. 🙂

  • This is beautiful, Pilar! So thankful that you stopped to help and to allow your heart strings to be tugged. Thanks for writing this to tug mine!

    • Heidi, thank you so much for commenting. I am glad this post blessed you. You always bless me with yours.

  • Elaine Stock

    Thanks for sharing this true life segment of life with us, Pilar. America is often viewed by outsiders as a country of abundance (compared to others maybe it is), but there are so many who are hurting and have so very little. What you did was a beautiful thing; the right thing to do. In my day job in a busy restaurant I see many walks of life and have learned not to be envious. I often pray for complete strangers when I learn that they have a dire problem/concern. I wish I could do more… but am relying on Him who can so much more. Blessings to you.

    • Elaine, thank you for commenting, I just realized you commented here. I apologize in my delay in responding. I appreciate your dropping by. I am learning to pray more as well. There is so much need all over.

  • I think amazing things would happen. I think we should be doing this everyday right now! Thanks for sharing this fantastic post!!!!!!!

    • I agree, Jim. I think amazing things would happen if everyone would just stop and help others out, to give an encouraging word, or even just a smile. The world would be a much better place, for sure.

    • Amen my brother, amen. 🙂

  • Beautiful. I always find myself “tugged” by the children too because they were not made for this kind of hardness. They were made to play and laugh and grow and feel safe.

    I wish I could see the adults (the ones with the same old signs every day) like God does: his little children, never ever made for this.

    • I apologize for not responding to this comment sooner. I realize I am not getting notifications. I have to figure out how to get notifications. Thanks so much for commenting. Yes, I agree, they aren’t made to suffer, but to thrive, to be able to laugh, play and grow in a safe environment. I wholeheartedly agree.

  • The homeless, poor, downtrodden, orphaned, and abandoned always pull at my heart strings. I always wish that there was something I could do to help… and am reminded that I can, even if it’s something small. A smile, an encouraging word, maybe even a meal. Little things done with great love can change the world. I’m paraphrasing Mother Teresa there, but it’s true. If every believer had the same mindset, I believe that the world would be a different place – a better place. Thanks for making the world better for this young mother & her child, Pilar.

    • Thanks so much, Denise. I honestly wish I could have done more. 🙂