"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy..." Psalm 30:11 (NIV)
When my girls were little we had a love-hate relationship with kid's menus. I loved that they had creatures to color and crayons were provided. However, it never failed that someone would color on someone else's sheet and squeals and screams would have all heads turning our way.
Then I would sit there in disbelief that my kids had caused such a fuss over colored on menus. Menus that would soon be covered in ketchup and juice and tossed in the trash.
I thought about these menus last week. I thought about them at the strangest time.
I was standing on Hollywood Boulevard looking at the stars walk of fame when a woman approached my friend, Amanda, looking for money.
It took my brain a few seconds to figure out why her face was familiar. So familiar. It was my friend from skid row, Juanita. We'd gotten Juanita off the streets the day before and taken her to the Dream Center. A safe place for her to detox and find healing.
But less than 24 hours later she'd walked away. Away from help. Away from hope. Away from restoration.
There she was begging for money to buy a bus ticket to get back to skid row. And in a city of 13 million people, somehow our paths crossed again. What are the odds? Surely it was a sign to her of how much God cares.
"Oh Juanita, why did you leave the Dream Center? Can I take you back? I can call for a Dream Center bus to come get you right now. Please, please let's go back." I asked Juanita. I begged Juanita. But she just shook her head and quietly whispered, "I have to go back to the streets 'cause I know where to put my blankets there. I don't know where to put my blankets anywhere else."
"To skid row?" I asked with tears brimming my eyes. She nodded.
I asked if we might pray for her. She agreed. We circled and prayed and then watched her walk off. Up to another to beg for money. And then another. Rejected most of the time. But slowly walking away-away-away.
It was in that moment I thought of those stupid kid menus. Menus that were fought over. And then covered in ketchup and juice and tossed in the trash.
And my anger burned. Not at my kids. But at myself. And all the many dumb things I can find myself getting all bent out of shape about.
I am no more mature than my kids arguing over throw away menus. How dare I get angry over things so inconsequential? God, forgive me.
Yes, there are things that should make me angry. Like Juanita not knowing her whole life she could put her blankets somewhere safe. And now the place she keeps returning to is skid row.
Heroin alley on skid row to be exact. Where pimps sell women to do unspeakable things in make shift tents right on the street. And where kids play with dirty needles. And where teens are passed out with needles in their toes because they don't have veins good enough to shoot drugs into their arms.
Yes, there are things to get angry about today. But not slight inconveniences and little things that bump into my happy.
God help me and my kid menu life. If Psalm 30:11 is true in my life, that God has turned my wailing into dancing and removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, might I dare look for a way to help the Juanita's of the world.
Yes, might I dare help instead of getting in a huff over the small stuff.
If you want to help women like Juanita who are caught in a world of drugs, sex trafficking and destitution, visit Lysa's blog by clicking here for a simple yet profound way you can make a difference today.
Instead of being paralyzed by the enormity of the problems of this world, what if we all determined to do something? When we do what only we can do, God will do what only He can do—and the world will be changed.
Dear Lord, help me step outside my world and to see people with Your eyes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.