How can I live as Jesus lived? When I see pain and suffering that I do what I can to reach out and share the abundant love and compassion God has given to me?
Put together as a short devotional book, “Finding your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart” broke my heart and then inspired me. The women (over 100 contributors) who are current residents, graduates, staff and volunteers of Nashville’s Magdalene house put their collected experiences into a little book that left me smiling and weeping. It won’t take you long to read it, but it will take days to process their moving stories of life on the edge.
The most powerful statement to me came in chapter 3 “Cry with your Creator.” The woman writes of being sick, skinny, and filthy.
“I will never forget just standing at the edge of Dickerson Road with tears streaming down my face. Someone please help me.”
I read it and cried. I could not stop crying. I tear up every time I think about it. How many people drove by and didn’t notice her? How many people are begging on the inside for someone to see them? To be kind to them? It was personally convicting in that I would be one of those people – so busy, so distracted that I would not look around to see who was hurting and how I could provide comfort.
Matthew 10:42 states “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” (NIV) That would include the bag of chips and soda that brought one woman to Magdalene (ch. 12 – Show Hospitality to All.)
The Thistle is the symbol of both the community and the farm that makes body care products. Why the thistle?
“Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Magdalene walked. Considered a weed, they have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. And in spite of their prickly appearance their royal and soft purple center makes the thistle a mysterious and gorgeous flower. Being a Thistle Farmer means the world is our farm, and that we choose to love the parts of creation that others have forgotten and condemned.”
I love that there are ministries (within churches and para-church) that are reaching out to those that are largely forgotten. Examples include Hookers for Jesus and in Nashville, Emmaus Church does outreach to strippers, the gay community and the homeless saying ‘God loves you as you are.’
What I take away from this book:
- God loves everyone more than we know.
- There are people out there who will love you like He does.
- I need to learn and continually practice how to love like He does.
- Small kindnesses matter.
Each chapter paints a picture of love and grace. It shows the long process of healing. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But the love remains.
Just a quick editorial note: I was asked to write a review and received a copy of the book. Also, the book should not put off anyone who does not believe in God. While we can argue about eternity later, I believe we can all agree that the world is in dire need of more love, compassion, and grace. The source of that is your choice.