I love when people come up to me or contact me and tell me a story about my mom. How they interacted with her while she was homeless. Whether good or bad, brief or extended, I truly appreciate hearing these stores. So far I think this one that you're about to read, is the most special. If any of you are familiar with any of the newspaper articles or TV interviews that were done, one thing I mentioned was how my mom saved her change for the homeless. And how she would give the shirt off her back.
A lady named Barbara said she thought of that when she realized who that lady was that she had had an interaction with.
Barbara is a longtime attendee of United first United Methodist Church in DeLand. The city of DeLand was where my mom spent the majority of her last few months. This church serves meals to the homeless, almost daily. They also have a day during the week where the homeless can shower and get clean clothing. Barbara told me that many of these homeless people will also attend the church services. Usually sitting on the first floor of the 2 story building. She felt compelled to tell me a beautiful story about my mom and her experience with her during one of those services.
Barbara said that she had noticed my mom on several occasions and knew her as one of the homeless, but they had never spoken to one another. On this particular day, for unknown reasons, my mom, (and a male friend that was with her, who Barbara didn't recognize), sat upstairs during the service. Barbara often helps with passing the plate for tithes and offerings, as she did on this particular day. She just so happened to be passing the offering plate on the row in which my mom sat. As the plate came to my mom, it didn't pass her by without her giving an offering. As the plate came to my mom, my faithful mother placed a single shiny penny in the center of the plate. Then she looked right up at Barbara and gave her the biggest smile. Barbara said "thank you very much". She said this was a moment she will never forget.
I know exactly why my mom was smiling. I know what made her heart so full, with a single shiny penny. She knew her Lord was pleased. She remembered this:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44.
A verse that may have crossed Barbara's mind and certainly came to mine:
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I'm constantly amazed at how many lives my mom's life, and death, has touched. Yet my grief is deep. My hope that she would get better and we could share once again a normal mother daughter relationship, has ended. My new hope is that she is happy with what we're doing through Christine's Blankets. I hope she's smiling as big as she was when she placed that shiny penny in the plate.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.