Tag Archives: Homelessness

Like We Don’t Exist

The other day while I was walking to Port Authority after a doctor’s appointment, I noticed a young boy swaying and stumbling under the weight of his huge backpack like if he was drunk.

Photo Credit: Louie Ortega | Creative Commons

At a distance, he appeared too young to be walking alone on the streets of Manhattan. I felt a tug and decided I would try to catch up and speak with him.

When I did, I discovered that he was a she, with short dusty brown hair, soft brown eyes, and wearing baggy khaki pants with a matching military jacket which seemed to droop on her 4″11″ frame.

“Hey, thanks a lot,” she said when I slipped her something. She had a beautiful smile even though most of her teeth were missing and her face was covered with sores.

If I were to guess, she was no more than eighteen years old, a transient and addicted to Meth. The sores were from scratching due to formication–which is the sensation of bugs crawling on or underneath the skin–a common side effect of Meth users.

“What’s going on?” I asked. “Everything,” she said with a sigh, looking down and around to avoid making eye contact with me.

“I’m sorry to hear that. I noticed you back there and I’m glad I caught up to you,” I said.

“Really? You noticed me? Wow. No one ever notices me. It’s like I’m invisible or something. Even people I know and thought were my friends, avoid me.” Her voice cracked.

“I know what it’s like to feel invisible,” I said. I could feel my face flush and tears welling up. She searched my eyes. “My name is Whitney,” she said sticking her hand out to shake mine.

Here we were, two strangers, crossing paths, unbearing our souls on the corner of 42nd Street. The heartbeat of New York City. The epicenter of fame and fortune. As we stood there and talked, people rushed around us like we didn’t exist. The irony.

Before we parted ways, she asked if it would be okay to give me a hug. Even though I’m not the hugging type, I said yes. When we hugged, I knew she meant it.

Suffice it to say, this was the most memorable experience I’ve had in a long time. It was real. There were no walls, barriers, masks or pretenses. In contrast to all the years I worked in Corporate America, where pretenses and playing politics were the norm and being real was frowned upon. Go figure.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Matthew 23:26

“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew 15:17-18

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It’s Not About Us

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27

I remember when I first read the above bible verse. It was as if the words jumped up from off the page and hit me in the face.

These words went deep into my heart, never to be forgotten.

My heart has always been for the children; the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the abused, the neglected and the orphans.

This was even before I had children of my own.

My husband remembered my sponsoring children from Compassion International when he first met me.

My desire has been and will always be to help in some small way and make a difference to children in need.

But honestly, I can’t do it alone. I realize that no matter how much I try to help, it isn’t enough.

Recently, a sweet sister in the Lord who lives in Pakistan reached out to me. She is a young girl who has dedicated her life to feed orphans in the town where she lives. The need is so great there and the money she receives unfortunately doesn’t suffice.

I am troubled by this. I am troubled by the fact there are children who are hungry and have no family.

I personally give to the capacity I am able, but again, it’s not enough.

This grieves me and I find myself crying out to God for help.

The burden is great.

Recently, I watched a movie by Tyler Perry called “Good Deeds”. I am happy it had a Hollywood ending, but the entire time I watched, I suffered. There was this one character who was a struggling single mother.  She was evicted from her apartment in the worst way. She became homeless overnight and had to live in her car with her young daughter. It was a sad situation and it broke my heart.

I know there are countless women in the USA alone in dire straits, trying to make ends meet to feed and care for their children or are homeless and living in shelters.

The needs are great.

Which is why I became a Compassion International blogger, because I want to make a difference somehow and in some way to help children around the world.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, my dream isn’t about me, my blog isn’t about me, my writing isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus, His dream and His heart for His children throughout the world.

My life isn’t about me, it’s about Jesus. It’s about living His Word to the best of my ability. His Word is the rulebook for our life. As Christians, we need to follow what it says and not live our lives according to ourselves, our dreams, our motivations or our desires.

We are to live our lives helping and serving others, being the hands and feet for Jesus on earth.

This is why the above verse means so much to me, because I believe this is God’s heart and dream for mankind.

For those of us who say we love Jesus, we are to love what He loves and obey His Word by caring for the widows and orphans.

We must realize that God’s dream is much bigger than our own dreams. The gifts He gives us is not to be used for ourselves, for our gain or recognition, but for His cause and His cause alone.

We all can do our part and make a difference, even if it is just donating a dollar to help a hungry child. Any little bit would help.

Won’t you join Children International by helping them fulfill God’s commission here on earth by donating any amount or sponsoring a child today?

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Book Review: Wrecked by Jeff Goins

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802404928
ISBN-13: 978-0802404923
Price: $11.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD







Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It’s about radical sacrifice and selfless service–how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It’s a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It’s about living like we mean it. It’s a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane.

This book is for us–a generation intent on pursuing our life’s work in a way that leaves us without regrets.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and 20-something who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference.


“Life is not about you.” ~ Jeff Goins

I have been following Jeff Goins’ blog for some time now.  I read everything he writes.  He is one of those remarkable people you meet in life.  Everything this man writes is gold.  He is wise beyond his years. He continually blesses me with his blog posts and now he completely Wrecked me.

I don’t even know where to start.  How do I put into words my experience reading this book?  Every single page of this book is phenomenal, truly.

Wrecked will make you see the world differently. Wrecked will convict you. Wrecked will not make you feel comfortable. Wrecked will challenge your complacency. Wrecked will propel you into action.

When we think of the word “missionary”, we envision countries like Africa, India or Guatemala.  However, these countries aren’t the only places that need our help.

Wrecked discusses serving and making a difference where you live. We do not need to travel thousands of miles away to serve others in need. We can choose to serve right in our own communities.

I admit, I was one of those people who thought I needed to go to some far off land to make a difference. There was a lot of romanticism connected in being a missionary overseas. Yet, the Lord wasn’t asking me to go anywhere.

I had it in my head that this is what He wanted me to do. I figured if I sacrificed going to another country like Africa and serve as a missionary, I would finally arrive in becoming this great Christian. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There was a part in the book which especially spoke to my situation. I had this “dream” of becoming a missionary in Africa.  The whole idea became bigger than life to me.

God had other plans for me though. I met my husband, got married and had two boys. I remember when I had my first son, he was diagnosed with all sorts of health issues. I realized then my dream of becoming a great missionary in Africa was over.

I really was struggling in my new role as wife and mother. I had a difficult time understanding why my son was born with all sorts of health problems. I didn’t understand what the Lord was doing and questioned Him a lot. I wasn’t a happy camper.

This is why these excerpts spoke to me:

“When I felt the call to be a missionary, I thought I would end up traveling the world for the rest of my life. You know, pack my coffin, move to Africa, and have the natives bury me–that sort of thing. But that’s not what happened. In fact, that may never happen. After a lot of struggle, I’m okay with that. I’m finally embracing this is not my life; it doesn’t belong to me.  I’m not the master of my own destiny. I’ve started to find what I was made to do, and it has little to do with going or staying and a lot more to do with obedience.”

“When you are thirty-five, doing the uncomfortable thing may mean cleaning the house or paying the bills. It may look like making sure the kids aren’t late for school or that you don’t miss a soccer game. It’s less glamorous, but the less is the same: your life is not about you.”

Well, that pretty much sums it up. I came to realize this after the Lord broke me of my idol. Funny thing is, I was exactly where God wanted me to be all along.

I highly recommend Wrecked to everyone. This book will change your life.

If you order the book through August 4th, Jeff Goins will send you six exclusive gifts valued at over $158. Please check out what you will get here.

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Jeff Goins and Moody Publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of this book. I am sincerely grateful.

Photo by Ashley Goins

Jeff Goins is a blogger, speaker and author. He works for Adventures in Missions, a nonprofit, where he serves as the Communications Director. In his free time, he writes books and shares ideas worth spreading.

Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Jeff graduated from Illinois College with a double major in Spanish and Religion. There, he spent a semester in Spain, an experience that opened his eyes to the needs of the world.

After he graduated, he spent the next nine months on tour with a band and the following three months training other musicians. Then, after a year of traveling around North America, he moved to Tennessee to “see about a girl.” In 2008, he married her.

Since 2006, Jeff has worked out of his home, overseeing marketing, communications, and innovation teams from afar. He is passionate about not only telling great stories, but living them, as well.

His blog, GoinsWriter.com, is one of the fastest-growing blogs on the web and is a well-respected resource for writers and difference-makers. In 2011, it won the Top 10 Blogs for Writers award on WritetoDone.com. Each month, he receives over 80,000 visitors to his website.

Jeff’s work has been published online and offline in a variety of publications, including RELEVANT Magazine (with a circulation of more than 150,000 readers) and ZenHabits.net (one of Time Magazine’s Top 50 Websites for threes years in a row).

Jeff and his wife, Ashley, live just outside of Nashville, TN with their son and dog.



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