It is Memorial Box Monday again! I cannot tell you how much I love doing this. A Memorial Box is a place to remember God's faithfulness by placing a small object in the box to remind us of times when God has been faithful. I have begun using this box to tell our kids some of the stories of what God has done and every week God reminds me of more and more ways that He has been faithful. What could be more exciting than that? To find out more and read other people's stories of God's faithfulness Click Here!
As I am writing this my sweet husband is playing "It is well with my soul" on the piano. I cannot think of a more fitting background! I am so spoiled because he plays every night as the kids are falling asleep, it is the perfect ending to the days for all of us.
I have been reflecting on what to write for this Memorial Box Monday and may ramble a bit but feel like God is speaking to my heart. Many times, it is through writing that God clarifies what He has been speaking to me. Thanks for hanging in there as I fumble along.
Here is the story that He has been telling me to share:
Back in the late 90s I worked at a Women and Family shelter. I LOVED working there...loved every part of having a ringside seat in watching God transform lives, the lives of bright, incredible, brave, compassionate, beautiful women and children every day. I learned so much about myself and even more about the Lord during that time.
Many of my shifts did not end until 11pm. The shelter was in a very dangerous part of downtown Seattle (drugs, gangs, prostitutes etc) and the free parking was about a half mile away from the shelter. I was young (late 20s) and pretty naive at the time and many nights would prepare to head out to my car by myself. The shelter had a few colorful characters living on the top floor who acted as 'security'. One was a Swedish gentlmen named Jan who must have been in his 70s and was passionately in love with with Lord and cared for the staff as if we were family. The other was a dear, sweet for lack of a better word "codger" named Sam. Now Sam had quite a past and now in his late 70s (or 80s???). I'm pretty sure he had lost all of his teeth and he had no hair. Sam would wander hunched over around the building muttering under his breath and sometimes would get his boxers in such a bunch about something that he would fling donation boxes in the hallway. Other times he would sit and chat so tenderly about his life that big tears would roll off his nose. To this day thinking of these guys bring tears to my eyes, they were so dear to me.
So Sam was usually on the nightshift. On this particular Fall night he appointed himself my escort to my car. So now picture us will you? A young innocent (and not very big) lady and a hunched over old, old man walking literally past dealers, prostitues and the like. I remember that night that there was extra tension in the air. Something had happened between the gangs and there was sure to be retaliation. Groups of men huddled on each corner, not so secrectly hiding weapons. They also were making it very clear that they were not moving to let people pass, noting was clearing them from their 'turf' for even a few seconds.
I was scared to death so before we headed up the dark hill to the car (on the sidewalks that held all of these men) I quietly prayed (I didn't have the guts to ask Sam to pray with me) and asked God to place His angels around us. I immediately had this picture of big, burly men surrounding Sam & I....men with bulging muscles and tank tops (why the tank tops? Really not sure!)...I took a big breath and we headed up.
OK, not an angel but an older picture of my husband...isn't he a hottie???
As we walked I tried to get Sam to talk (anything to calm my nerves). Things like, "Where were you born Sam?" which got the muffled response...."not telling you that!" and so on. I kept glancing at the group of men on the first corner. They were clearly not happy that we were moving their way. I remember it all now in slow motion like a movie, the sound of my boots on the sidewalk, Sam's labored breathing and muttering as we moved closer and closer. The group stood firmer and firmer, hands on whatever was inside their jackets.
Then, as we got right up to the group...they all jumped WAY back, hands up, as if they were terrified. They stayed that way and let us pass right by! I have NO doubt that those burly guardian angels must have made themselves (tanktops and all) abundantly clear to that gang! But it did not stop there, seriously...at EVERY corner we had the same reaction. By the time I reached the car I was giggling (probaly a bit out of relief) and safely dropped Sam off back at the shelter, hugged his old smoky shoulders and headed home.
Out of the 6 years I worked there, 3 of them I had that evening shift. There were nights when I had to walk that same route alone. I would step out the shelter doors, thank God for my burly buddies and walk....and no one ever touched even one hair!
"How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings."
In my Memorial Box? I happen to have a ceramic wing from one of my Grandma's old angel figures. I am heading now to find it and place it in there!