I grew up in a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. It started out a wonderful neighborhood but year by year became more and more swallowed up by the city. My older sister’s experienced the best of this neighborhood wondering the streets no matter what time of day. It was safe. As teenagers my sisters would often mow the grass in their bathing suits without causing much commotion. When I was a teenager and mowed the grass fully clothed, it caused a lot of commotion and I could never finish the job without being harassed.
My little brother stood out like a sore thumb. He was often verbally accused of juvenile crimes. He was always proven innocent before the accusations could ever leave the front door (praise the Lord). One time he was picking up random trash along the sidewalk and put it inside someone’s trashcan on the curb and he was scolded. I was terrified when he would leave the house. He was a little white boy with a smart mouth and he was jumped (beat up) frequently. This caused him to become focused on his fitness and health, to assure no one would jump him again and he succeeded.
When I was in middle school, there was a group of beggars that moved into the neighborhood. Theft, drug, and human trafficking were rumored with this “family”. They would beg every day throughout the neighborhood. If you passed them in your car or on foot, they would always try to get your attention. Your best bet was to ignore them, like I always did.
When I turned 16, I got a job less than a mile away from my house. I witnessed stealing and scamming very often. A few times I was tricked and was the one who got scammed. There was always a distraction of some kind. This is what scammers do; they prey on your compassion. One lady I remember very clearly. She scammed me with kindness. She complimented me and told me all about her Church project she was working on. And then, days later I was told her check was faked and somehow I was the one to process it. My company had insurance and was reimbursed for scams like this. But man, that made me more skeptical.
My husband has a different view of being cautious than I do. I remember when I was discovering that he didn’t know how to say no to anyone. I was so upset at him. One time, He was unemployed and going school, we had one baby and one on the way. We were shopping at goodwill (yes of all places) and someone stopped him and asked for money. He told the guy he had to ask his wife. I stepped over with my big pregnant belly and shook my head, NO! I had no empathy and I don’t know why.
Last year we were leaving target with two carts. One had the kiddos and one was full of the groceries. This woman with a sign and a young girl approached us and before I even read her sign or heard what she had to say, the mama bear inside me shooed her away. My husband was embarrassed. I felt kind of proud. I didn’t know if she was part of a distraction with a team around the corner preying on innocent families or what.
While reading Missy’s blog, live His love today, I realized this is something I still struggle with today. While trying to find some middle grounds, I’ve decided to seek Him. That’s the best answer to any problem.
I don’t want my kids to hear me talk about Jesus but not see Him in my actions. I don’t want to make excuses for why I am the way I am. But it seems to be the most logical way to explain why I am this way. Everyone’s past makes them who they are today. When we give it to Christ, we don’t have to let it define us in a negative way.
I am thankful for those in my life who give me a different perspective. My husband gives me a different view on life that I am grateful to see. I know he is also grateful that I am the way I am, with certain experiences in our lives. On one hand this person may just need someone to tell them Jesus loves them and show them an act of His love. But on the other hand this person may be glad to hear you are a believer and try to take you for every penny you have. You just never know. I ask for the Lord’s Guidance and the ability to know the difference. I pray to remain calm when dealing with these situations. I pray to clearly see which action to take when proceeding. I pray for His will to be done through any circumstance.
(This font was made from Tara’s handwriting from Verse Doodles. Thanks Tara for letting me turn your awesome handwriting into a font!)