Recently I was loading our car and a woman who works the streets walked past. I had seen her out for weeks now and had sometimes felt angry at her presence and other times burdened for her. A few weeks ago I had stopped to talk with her outside, and when I spoke to her, she looked at me with smile that could only be described as hungry. When I told her that my wife and I lived here and that we didn’t know if there was anything she needed, her smile faded from hungry to warm, and she said she was just trying to get some food, which we gave her. I learned her name that day, and then didn’t see her much again for a while.
So back to our recent meeting – when I saw her, I told her hello and used her name. She smiled, surprised, and said, “You remembered my name?” and walked on. As she left, I felt like the Lord had something more to say to her, and so, when she passed by again, I called her name and said, “You know that God knows your name, don’t you? He does. And He loves you.” She mumbled something and walked on.
As I drove off a few minutes later, I passed her again, and as I waved, I could see her wiping tears from her eyes. The Lord’s heart for her, simply being reminded that no matter what she was doing, God still knew her name, still loved her, had broken through.
On Monday of this week, I saw her again, walking the streets, and I tried to talk with her, to tell her that there was another way than the life she was living right now. But a wall was up. She wasn’t going to let the Lord touch her heart again, at least not right then. It’s dangerous on the streets to show weakness or need, to face the pain and darkness for what they are. But hopefully Diane and I are reminders to her that there is a God who remembers her name, who loves her, and who offers another way.