When the opportunity presented itself to me, I was worried it would be too much. My mind jumped to a million excuses: you’re too busy, you are not a journalist, you will be so stressed, and can you really handle one more thing? Oh, I had my doubts for sure. I hesitated, and when my head was screaming no, my mouth said, “Sure, I’d love to!” I mentally kicked myself, but looking back I am so thankful my mouth and brain were not on the same wavelength that day.
This semester, I had the honor to interview a few people at the Salvation Army in Winston-Salem as well as meet and tour their emergency homeless shelter, the Center of Hope. Upon my first trip to Winston-Salem to meet with the director of marketing at Salvation Army, I was anything but confident. I was a jittery, caffeinated bundle of nerves. I had never interviewed someone, let alone write an article about them. However, before I went to that interview, my devotion for the day stepped on my toes and challenged me to think about what I could do for God, even in my day-to-day tasks. I prayed for God to open my eyes and show me ways I can help people around me, not just the ones I plan on serving in my future.
It’s not often that God answers my prayers in a single day. I usually realize the work He has been doing in my life a couple months, even years after the initial prayer. But not that day. The interview I had left me in tears. My heart was bleeding and blowing snot. After my trip to meeting to the Center of Hope in Winston-Salem, I called my mom, and she answered the call to the sound of my tears.
“Mama, I had no idea.”
“What do you mean?”
“Home-homeless people, Mama. They are people just like you and me. I’ve just always passed them by. I’m not a good Samaritan…” The mountain in my throat made me pause before continuing.
“The Center of Hope is doing wonderful things. They help people who just happened to get a dose of bad luck, get back on their feet and be self-sufficient.”
She paused for a moment and listened to my broken sobs and hiccups.
“Raegan, you know we have a homeless shelter back at home. Would you want to try volunteering again?”
She couldn’t see my bobble-head nodding on my end, but I eventually cleared my voice and sniffles enough to croak out a “yes.”
God humbled me that day and showed me that I did not have to wait until receiving a degree to use my talents for His glory. I have known for the past couple of years that I want to work for a faith-based non-profit one day. While I keep a running list of places to get involved with back home over the summers and when I graduate next May, God showed me a way to start now. It was as if he was saying: why wait?
1 Timothy 4:12 reads “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
It doesn’t matter how old or young I am, if I have finished my degree, or where I live. I can help anywhere and at any stage in my life, somehow someway.
He showed me how I don’t need to look beyond the person in front of me anymore. Need is to my left, my right, behind, in front, and surrounding all around me. I praise Him for opening my eyes, humbling my soul, and giving me a heart to serve Him through my words and actions.
If there is anything my experiences have taught me, it’s that God can do some amazing work in the broken pieces of our lives. He can turn your ugly mess, like losing a roof over your head, into becoming a servant for Him, and helping people who used to be in your same situation. My article featured an individual who used to be broken, crying at the steps of the Center of Hope, and now is working there as a case manager. God led her to those steps, and he already knew how her brokenness would be fixed.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
That verse gives me goosebumps. I feel so blessed now, and I cannot wait to see where He will lead me next. I’m sure I’ll fall down, get bruised, and even break completely sometimes, but I rest in knowing my brokenness will turn into a future full of hope.
I have been broken. Kneeling at the altar, completely shattered. I have seen family members and friends absolutely heartbroken. God helps pick us back up, dusts us off, and turns those heartbreaks into something beautiful.
He transformed my story into a testimony. He turned my writing into a mouthpiece of His word.
God is so good! We are His hands and feet to help piece those broken parts of fellow brother and sisters back together. Lord, give me the tape, the glue, Your Word, and the strength to help fix the pieces for the ones on my path. And provide them with the tape, the glue, Your Word, and the power to fix my broken pieces when it’s my turn to fall apart.