When I say there is no one on this earth like my Mom, I truly mean it. I do not know one other person with a heart like hers or such a kind and loving disposition. Those who know her say she is one of a kind, and she is an honest to goodness friend to everyone. My Dad lovingly refers to her as "Terry (last name), Friend to the World." She makes every one she comes in contact with feel like they are a king or queen and you can not leave her presence without feeling encouraged, head lifted and ready to take on the world. God blessed my Mom with such a rare, special personality. I could try to explain it all day, but I could never get it across to you unless you know her. To know her is to love her. She bursts with the Fruit of the Spirit and does such an excellent job showing Christ to others. Better than ANY one I know. She challenges me and at the same time encourages me to be more like Him.
When we were home for Christmas, my Mom and I left the babies in the care of the rest of the family at home and headed out to the next town over to go to the grocery store. When we pulled up to the stoplight at the end of her road, we noticed a man and woman struggling to pull a suitcase up a hill - they were clearly trying to get somewhere on foot and it was miserably cold outside.
Me: Look at those people.
Mom: I know. I was just watching them. Should we pick them up?
Now, my Mom is always wanting to pick people up on the side of the road. I, being cautious and suspicious of everyone, always tell her not to do it. But, we typically have the babies with us. Of course we wouldn't put a stranger in the backseat with my children. This time felt different. We were childless, the people were clearly struggling, and I didn't even hesitate ...
"Yes, see if we can take them somewhere."
We pulled up next to them, rolled down my window and my Mom said, "Can we help you? Can we take you somewhere?"
The man said, "That would be great!"
Mom asked where they were headed and the woman responded, "as far aw you're going".
Now this is not the scenario I had played out in my mind. Since they had a suitcase, I figured they had broken down somewhere and needed a lift to a gas station or nearby house. Yeah, that wasn't the case.
"We're headed to the next town to go grocery shopping, actually." Mom said.
The woman said, "Great! We actually need to go to my sister's house at [some housing addition in the next town]."
Mom jumped out and started helping them load their suitcase and bags into the trunk and I grabbed my Mom's purse out of the back seat and put it in the floorboard in front of me. Like I said, cautious.
Mom lifted the man's bag and could barely lift it! "What do you have in here?!" she said without even thinking. It still makes me laugh that she asked him that.
"Oh, those are my tools."
RED LIGHT. I'm in the front seat thinking "now why on earth would you carry a bag of tools with you for 25 miles on foot? A suitcase and a bag of tools?! This spells TROUBLE."
Mom wisely threw the tools in the trunk and ushered them into her backseat. I whipped out my phone and started jotting down things in the notes part of my phone just in case we went missing. I wrote down their names, where we were headed, etc., and then I texted my husband and told him what was happening and where we were going.
As we started driving, my Mom started asking all kinds of questions to get the conversation started. My Mom never has a conversation lull. It's seriously a remarkable trait of hers.
She's jabbering away and getting the life stories of these people and I'm giving a courtesy laugh every few seconds and typing furiously on my phone.
They had a strange story. Things didn't seem to add up. They paused a lot when asked certain questions and though we talked to them for half an hour, we still were confused as to what was going on with them ... not that it was any of our business. But still. It just seemed ... off. Lots of things that happened in that time span were hard to explain. I can't go into detail all on here, because their story isn't mine to tell, but my Mom and I couldn't quite put our finger on it.
Though we never felt threatened, we were both conjuring things up in our minds about what we would do if they attacked us after they had us turn down a desolate road. The man was super nice - quite a talker. And his wife sat quietly ... she was a beautiful girl.
My Mom continued to talk to them and encourage them along the way. They told us of some hardships in their lives and Mom told them she would pray for them and pray specifically for the perfect job to land in this man's lap. She told him that when that job came along, for him to remember that she was asking God for that on his behalf. He smiled and didn't quite know what to say. He seemed grateful.
When we finally pulled up to the house they led us to (and I was thanking God that there actually was a house at the end of that road), my Mom got out and helped them get their things from the trunk. I was looking all around, always aware of my surroundings to ensure safety, and I glanced back at Mom and the man and woman. And wouldn't you know, they were all standing there, behind the car, in a group hug.
They hugged for what seemed like an ETERNITY, and the three of them stood there crying. All of them. The man. The woman. And my Mom.
I'm still not exactly sure what went on behind our car, but I do know that Mom gave them some money and told them she was doing so in the name of the Lord. Whatever else was going on back there was moving them to tears. And they couldn't stop.
The man told my Mom he had done more for him than she would ever know. And though we didn't know what that meant, it didn't matter. We knew our appointment with them was divine.
It was the night before Christmas eve. They had no where to go. They were walking to her sisters for shelter. They were alone.
I can't help but think of the Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for in doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Sure they could have been regular people needing some help, but ... they most certainly could have been angels, too.
The woman told me her name and said she grew up there, in the town I did. I'm from a tiny little town - everyone knows everyone. She said she was 3 years younger than me, went to my school, etc., and I have asked several people if they know her. No one does.
The house we left them at seemed empty. No one answered the door and there was nothing on the patio. We pulled away and I keep wishing so much that I would have looked back. Would they have been there?
.... you just never know.
I brought them up to Mom again the other day because we passed a couple in the hospital that reminded me of them. She said she prays for them all the time.
I know we helped them out from getting them out of the cold weather and helping them get to a safe place before nightfall, and sure - anyone could have helped them do that .... but their encounter with my Mom was special. It left them in tears and speechless. Because she showed them Jesus. She prays every day for opportunities to show Christ to others, and it hit me that night that if you're praying for that - you better act when you feel the Lord leading you. You never know how you can change the course of someones life. Now I'm not saying pick up every stranger you see, of course not. But if in circumstances such as this, you stop and pour a little bit of your life into theirs, you are doing what Christ asks of believers and you never know what that could do for them.
That man and woman may have been blessed by our brief time together, I hope they were. But my Mom and I left blessed even more.
Oh that I might be a woman who lives to show Christ to others. Day in and day out.
Thanks, Mom, for the lessons your life and faith always instills in me. Even on everyday runs to the grocery store. :)