This post is written by a woman that I hope becomes a new friend. Kristin Bridgman has a beautiful blog called Ponderings, and one of the things she has pondered is the plight of the homeless in America. Her husband takes amazing photographs journaling their travels together. Here, she chronicles her journey from homeschooling housewife to an advocate and friend to the homeless in her hometown. I know you will find her story as inspirational as I have!
An ordinary man and a miraculous story
An ordinary people and a miraculous God
Ordinary blankets and miraculous outcomes
God is definitely not ordinary but He uses ordinary things to produce the miraculous. If you don’t believe that, just ask me sometime about a cottonwood tree.
A blanket ministry started because of an ordinary book with a miraculous story about a couple and a homeless man of different races and the incredible bond of friendship that was born and the wisdom that flowed both ways, and the miracle of love that changed them all.
God brought this book to an ordinary woman who read the entire thing in one day. Then he led her to a book club where they were discussing this very book and then she discovered there was a homeless population in her town. God laid it on her heart to bring blankets to the cold and homeless. I believe because of two small words that came out of the mouth, “Yes Lord”, the miracles began.
This mild, meek, quiet woman suddenly was filled with boldness and began her mission and the blankets began to appear. A blanket is an ordinary thing but look at what it can do. . .
It became a mission project in her church bringing children together to tie blankets and a girl scout troop to make mittens for the homeless. It introduced these children to a world they had not seen before. It made them realize that not everyone has a home, refrigerator full of food, and nice cars in the driveways. They saw that not everyone has warm coverings or even a bed to climb into. The woman prayed that this was an opening to understanding about gratefulness and truly being thankful for their blessings and not just saying the words. To understand that even though some are not clean, do not smell pretty, God loves them just the same.
What can a blanket do? It brought a teen age boy into his school to tell fellow peers about the homelessness and asked for them to consider helping. They did and big bags of blanket donations were brought in to help warm the cold.
A blanket brought another group of high school students together to sew even more blankets for the homeless and needy. For just a moment, it took the teens away from their world and opened their eyes to a bigger world beyond themselves. They saw past the video games, the pretty clothes and make-up to see a group of people that need love, compassion and understanding. They took time from their own world to open up their hearts to gratefulness for their own families, what God had blessed them with, and compassion for those who are struggling so. Gratefulness, love, compassion; that is more beautiful than all the make-up in the world and designer jeans!
A blanket brought a newspaper reporter to do a story on the blanket ministry. An ordinary paper brought miraculous results. 24 straight days of e-mails and phone calls with donations of blankets and money and every one of them came through. People in Wal-Mart came up to the blanket lady and put cash in her hands for blankets. They came from people at church, hotels, and friends. It brought a job to a homeless man who was also reunited with his family. It brought a man from church to offer a complete stranger, a homeless man, a job, a home with him and his wife. They planted numerous seeds within this young man that hopefully one day will let God water and grow those seeds into something bigger for his life. A blanket brought sweet ladies from church on Wednesday mornings week after week to sew blankets and mittens. A blanket witnessed a lady who suffers with pain in her body, stand over a table and cut fleece for 1000 pairs of these mittens. She walked to the bridge to give, and she sat for over 6 hours at a community fair handing out blankets because she cares so much for others. God blessed the blanket lady with this awesome friend who has a huge servant’s heart. The blanket lady was also blessed with another servant hearted friend whose family stepped up and made food bags for the blanket couple to give out.
What can a blanket do? Because of all the donations, many blankets were given to 3 children who had come into their school crying because they were so cold. It was discovered they were living in a place with no heat and no beds. They were sleeping on a hard floor with only their coat for warmth. They have sleeping bags and many blankets now to keep them warm. A patient from the hospital getting discharged and having to go home to recuperate in a very cold mobile home was given blankets to keep her warm.
What can a blanket do? It brought a huge smile to a little girl’s face who was not getting any Christmas gifts that year. She was given a very soft, warm, red blanket just her size with cute holly leaves and snowmen. You would have thought she had been given a bike or doll by that smile she gave and the way she hugged it all morning!
What can a blanket do? It can bring a husband along on the journey he never thought he would be a part of and it opened his eyes and heart to see something…someone differently.
A blanket can bring people together that otherwise might never have met. Like the drifter off of the highway freezing and hungry.
Like the older homeless man under the bridge, a war veteran who’s been out on the streets for 10 years.
Like the bag lady who has a great big smile, but virtually has lost all her teeth.
Like the children at Salvation Army who gave us great big hugs and smiles.
Like the big ex-con this ordinary woman met at her downtown square park and formed a friendship with. Five weeks later he asked her to help him pray the sinner’s prayer.
This man went from being an ex-con to a redeemed child of God. He is now in 3 different Bible studies and volunteering 2 days a week at Hope House, a place that helps the homeless and needy. He also attends church service every Sunday.
Homelessness is not a pretty subject and people have asked, “Why do you do this, they are there by their own choices, they will just take advantage of you.” Ahh, she would say, look at them through the lens of Jesus’ eyes. . .
Psalm 139:14 says that we are His masterpiece and He wants us to know that full well. Some people don’t know this yet, and if they can come to understand that they are loved and feel that love when a blanket is handed off to them, well. . .is that not worth it? For them to feel the beauty of Christ’s love, to see them smile through their wrinkled faces and tired eyes. . .that is beauty we see through the lens of our eyes.
Through a horrendous act on a hill long, long ago, those who believe see the beauty of that day. Through the Savior’s broken body, blood, pain, sweat and tears, was astounding, beautiful love that still brings tears to my eyes when I close them and think about it. Not sad tears but tears brought on by the overwhelming love He had for me, so undeserving was I, and he has this for all these people on the streets as well, some who say are undeserving. We are ALL undeserving but we are all given a chance. Some of us came to know of this love through a church home, loving parents who shared and taught, a friend who experienced this love and then shared with another. Some may be on the street, waiting for that certain word, a touch, a hug, a blanket handed to them touched by the prayer and love of others.
In the beginning, the ordinary blanket lady did not think she could do much. Alone she could not, but with a miraculous working God, anything is possible. God took an ordinary occurrence, the reading of a book and took it into a miraculous ministry of handing out over 1000 blankets.
A blanket is just an ordinary piece of cloth, fibers woven together to make a covering. But ask God to be a part of it, and He will take it and bring a covering of warmth over an entire city. For some, warmth for their bodies, and for some, warmth for their hearts.
A favorite quote goes like this. . . “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” That’s all of us. Is He calling you to do something, to go somewhere? Don’t be scared or anxious. For wherever He calls you to go, He will be right there with you, equipping you with whatever you need, whether that be material resources like blankets or internal resources, like boldness and courage.
I pray next time you see a blanket, whether on your bed or on a store shelf, it will make you smile and ask God, what will be your ordinary thing. Then listen. . . obey. . . and watch Him make it miraculous.
Linking with the lovely Jen this morning.
and the beautiful Emily at: