Psalm 51:10 NLT
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Let me start by saying that I did not grow up with
money. I have never known what it’s like
to have money (other than money to pay bills and just barely get by).
When I was a kid my parents moved us from a little
hole-in-the-wall town in Oklahoma to Tennessee to provide a better life for
us. (There were not many job
opportunities in Healdton, Oklahoma.)
I lived in a trailer until I was 18 years old. I remember as a child feeling not good enough
because my family lived in a trailer but I didn’t want that to stop me so I
just kind of sucked it up and went on with life. When I was in school the bus would pick us up
and drop us off in front of our driveway so the kids could see that we clearly
lived in a trailer.
When I was in 4th grade I had a friend who lived
in a huge, brick house in a subdivision.
She wore GAP clothing and had the white Keds shoes … you know, the ones
that actually have the blue rectangle on the back? Yeah… I had the Payless or Walmart white
shoes. We just couldn’t afford $20.00
for a pair of Keds when my mom could get them at Walmart for $10.00 or
less. I loved this friend. I guess I envied her life a little. I remember I use to come home after staying
the night with her and I would try to rearrange my room and redecorate to make
my tiny room seem a little more like hers.
One day I asked this friend to come over to my house and play for a
bit. I could hear her talking to her dad
while we were on the phone and she asked him could she come over to which he
replied, “Yes.” I then heard her put her
hand over the phone and say “Are you sure? … Because she lives in a trailer.” I hung up on her and cried.
My heart was broken.
I was being judged because I didn’t have as much as her. I realized then that people will look down on
you for what you don’t have. Even typing
about it now makes me feel sad because this is how the world is… this is how I
am…. It disgusts me.
This past year has been….. ummmm….. challenging.
Job, jobless, job again, moving, depression, doctors, etc. It’s been
When we moved to the apartment we are in now I was ill. Not only was I suffering from depression but
I hated the apartment. It was old, there
were a lot of people living there that didn’t look nice (clothes, cars,
appearance), and it was considered “Ghetto” by others in Franklin. I remember driving through the complex one
day and seeing a woman walking down the street and looking at her in disgusts
and thinking “Ugh! I do NOT belong over here.”
Wow… I hate to admit it, I hate
to type that out here for you to read but I want to be transparent with
you. I was instantly convicted. I consider myself a good person and I know that God totally loves me and knows my heart – that’s just it though, He knows my heart… He knows what doesn’t belong there.
Who do I think I am? Who am I to judge that woman walking
down the street? Why is she any less
than me? Because her hair is not as well
put together? Because she is dressed in skinny jeans with a shirt that is too tight? What does that matter? How does that affect me at all? Who am I to
judge this woman and feel grossed out by her?
I hit my knees when I got home and begged God to pull that ugliness out by
the roots. God is definitely working on me.
You know me, I have to give a LONG intro before I get to the
point of my blog, haha! The Contributor –
you’ve seen the people standing on the side of the street
selling newspapers, right? I remember
when I first saw them in Cool Springs and I was annoyed. I would give a dollar here and there but for
the most part I just didn’t like the fact that when I pull up to a red light
there is a person standing next to my car who is seeking money.
I work in Nashville and I get off at the Harding Place exit
from 65N Mon – Fri. There is a guy
selling The Contributor at the exit. One
day as I was digging through my purse to find a dollar I noticed something sweet
about him. He waves and smiles even when
cars are just passing him by and it’s sincere… as if there is more to him than
just wanting a dollar or two. I handed
him my dollar, took the paper, wished him well, and drove off. As I was driving
I saw a sign that the vendor had posted that said “Brand New Day, Never Been
Used!” He has a few signs sitting out and they are hope filled signs. This man is standing on the side of the
street, rain or shine, hot or cold, and he’s making a living… with a smile on
his face. I pondered this on my way to
On my lunch break
that day I actually opened the paper and read through it. I was moved.
These articles are amazing! Some of the articles rip your heart right
out of you. I guess I have been one of
those people who want to ignore what is really going on right here in our own
back yard. I learned also that this IS a
job for the vendors who are selling the newspapers. Just like you and I go to work every day to
make a living, so do they… they sell newspapers on the side of the street to
make a living. That’s honorable to
Every day as I’m sitting on the exit at Harding Place I
either give a dollar to the vendor (if I have cash on me) or I pray for
him. There are days I wish I could pull
my car over to the side and just sit and hang with him… I’m sure I could learn
a lot from him. I bet he is so anchored
to our Heavenly Father and doesn’t care what anyone thinks! I want that… I want to be more like that.
Yesterday as I was
sitting at the exit, I rolled down my window with excitement and waved my
dollar at him. The October issue just
came out and I couldn’t wait to read it!
As he approached my car we talked a minute and he told me that on page 8
he wrote an article and it’s for me. I
thanked him and told him I would surely read it. We smiled at each other and I drove
Here is a section from John Giffing, the Harding-Place-Exit-Vendor’s
“Being a vendor for The Contributor puts much-needed money
in my pocket, but it also puts me in touch with the daily greetings, the waves,
the God-bless-you’s from commuters coming off I-65. Even though it’s impossible, I wish as a vendor
that I could know who these people are handing me the $1.00 + tip, the gift
bags and snacks, the water bottles, the hand-written prayers. It’s overwhelming to receive so much
compassion. God bless all of you. You have my sincere gratitude.” – John Hope
Giffing | Formerly Homeless Writer
John Giffing is a person.
I am no better than him. If
anything, he’s probably better than me.
This man loves the Lord, serves Him, and is showing the heart of Jesus
to strangers. He holds his head high and
even if you pass him up without showing him any attention, he still smiles and
waves at you. He doesn’t look defeated
by his outward appearance because he’s NOT defeated. John Giffiing has victory.
My heart is so moved by this man every time I see him. He’s actually one of the highlights of my
mornings. I thought today “That is so my Father… teaching me through a man that
is less fortunate”… but is he really less fortunate? I don’t think John Giffing
is the less fortunate one. I think John
Giffing “gets it”. I am so blessed by
Awake my soul,
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind
to the needy honors God.
If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them
receives many curses.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the
blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be
repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have
entertained angels without
1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity
on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with
words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
http://thecontributor.org/main/ Please support The Contributor if you are able. You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven.