Sitting outside of a Starbucks in downtown Chattanooga, enjoying the sun as I was reading through some important material. Casting crowns is playing on my ipod, suddenly I was approached by a black woman in shambled clothing who looks at me and begins to speak with a face twisted with deep emotion.
She continues to talk in a distressed manner as she lifts her shirt to show me a very thin stomach discolored with bruises. I can’t help but notice she is missing all her front teeth. Big sad tear drops are falling from her face.
My heart hurts, I wanted to hear her story. I realize that she is trying to ask me for money by explaining her hardships.
As this woman was speaking I pushed back a chair because I wanted to offer her something, something she wasn’t asking for. A listening ear, a sandwich I had purchased for later, some coffee, a prayer and maybe even some guidance to help her get into a local shelter.
I never got to offer her anything because the first thing I said was ” I’m sorry I have no cash”. She quickly pulled down her shirt and walked away from me. Walked right up to the next person on the street and the next and the next.
I stared at her because I wasn’t done offering help, just not the help she thought she was looking for.
My heart broke for her, my heart hurt because if she was hungry, I had food. If she was thirsty I would have purchased a drink for her. I have a heart that was prepared and full and wanted to minister to her, I wanted her to be heard. I wanted to offer her the hope of a Savior.
She wanted cash. She thought she knew what she needed.
For half a second I was tempted to chase her down the street as she went from person to person but I felt a press to pay attention for God was trying to teach me something.
How often am I that woman asking God for what I think I need when He has so much more to offer me.
Today I pray for both of us.