Week after week, my prayer list held the same phrase, lady in the yellow house. This is God’s story of how God brought love to the inhabitants of the yellow house.
The rain had just started as we continued on to the last few houses we had on our route for the day. Mikayla, my 11 year old daughter, clutched the flyer which shared the information about our church’s Thanksgiving outreach. Our heart was to make sure every family living in our church neighborhood had a Thanksgiving meal.
We rounded the corner on the sidewalk that led to the yellow house. There was commotion in and around the house, but we walked up confident of the love we had to share. Mikayla knocked on the door and a scowling woman answered the door. I began, “Hi, I’m Lisa and this is my daughter, Mikayla. Our church…”
“No! No! No! Oh no. Leave me alone! Get away from me!” the angry woman yelled at us. Throwing the flyer down in an outrage, she slammed the door. I had no words to say. Mikayla was shaking and crying
I’d like to say compassion filled my heart, but that was not my immediate reaction. As we walked away in stunned silence, I couldn’t just let it go. I reassured Mikayla that we were not doing anything wrong, that we were okay, and that everyone else had been loving and gracious to us on our mission. But, my heart remained on that woman. I just wanted to tell her our purpose. If only she knew that we weren’t asking her for anything at all. Not inviting her to church. Not asking for a donation. Just wanting to bless her with a free meal.
Before I could think any further, she emerged back out of her door. Okay, God, here I go again. “We just wanted to ask if you need a Thanksgiving meal,” I call to her before she has a chance to shut us out again.
“You get away from me!” she screamed at us as she headed to a neighbor’s house.
Well, that was that. We would not be talking to the lady in the yellow house that day. The rain came down heavy now and our route was complete. Time to head back to our car to soak up the heat and rest our tired feet.
Why did God have us go to her door? Did any of the love we had to share break through to her at all? Discouraging questions ran through my mind, until I began praying for the lady in the yellow house.
I prayed that God would soften her heart:
Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Although I didn’t see her after that day, God brought her to my mind almost on a daily basis. I waited on the Lord to show me what He wanted me to do, but in the meantime, I prayed.
Distribution day came. It was an amazing day. Families piled into our church. Greeted by our Pastor. Given mochas, hot chocolate, muffins, cookies. Families were prayed for. They were each given a full bag of food containing the side dishes for a Thanksgiving meal, a huge pumpkin pie, and a gift card to buy a turkey. My daughter even set up a table full of books and stuffed animals for the kids to take.
In all, we had 107 full meals to distribute that day. It was thrilling to see how the Lord worked to bring the families there and how He worked through those of us who were willing and eager to be used by God.
At the end of our scheduled distribution time, we still had several meals left. I knew where one of the meals was going. I always knew that I would be making my way back over to that yellow house. No words would be needed this time as we were holding a beautiful pumpkin pie and a large bag of food. She couldn’t turn us away today.
Mikayla joined me as we walked up the familiar sidewalk and rounded the corner to our destination. There was a younger woman sitting outside the door to the house. Not the lady we had encountered on our first trip. She was sitting down in an old lawn chair, crying.
“Can I talk to her, mom?” my daughter asked me. “Yes, of course,” I replied.
“Would you like this Thanksgiving meal?” Mikayla asked the distraught young woman.
“No,” shaking her head, keeping a steady look toward the ground, quickly discarding her cigarette.
Oh, dear woman, if only you knew, we don’t care that you were smoking. We want to love you.
“Well, do you know anyone that could use this meal?” I ask her, while motioning at the pumpkin pie like one of the ladies on the Price is Right.
“Well, you are starting to convince me to take it.” Looking up from the ground, her red rimmed eyes met mine, “But, why? Why would you do this?”
“Because we love you and Jesus loves you so much…” I could barely get the words out before she was standing and leaning in towards both of us, hugging and sobbing against us. She cried hard. “Can I pray for you?” I asked. Big nods from her head assured me we were not going to be turned away this time.
“What is your name?” I asked. All those weeks, I longed to know the name of the lady in the yellow house. God had clearly brought us back to this house for a purpose and her name was Kristina.
I prayed for Kristina as she continued to hug us and cry. Amen, so be it, Lord. May she find peace in you. Hope in the death and resurrection of your Son. A fountain of love in your plan and purpose for her life.
She wiped her tears and then her heart softened. “You guys don’t even know,” she poured out her deep sadness, “my mom died on this exact day 3 years ago,” choking on her tears, she continued on. “And, I just talked to my dad and he’s been having strokes lately.”
This, Lord, is why you brought us here.
“The Lord loves you so much, Kristina. He sent us here to tell you that.”
Laughing and shaking her head, she asks, “Where did you guys even come from?”
Mikayla explained that we came from the church down the road. We had no other explanation to offer her other than God loves her so much that He sent us to her in her desperate time of need.
Kristina was not at all forgotten by the Lord. He saw her tears. He knew she was hurting. And, He saw fit to use Mikayla and I to reach her.
There is nothing like that in all of the world. Knowing the Creator of the Universe chose to use us in that brief little moment in time to help bring comfort to a hurting soul. There is also nothing like being the recipient of God’s love when we are in need.
For a brief period of time that afternoon, all was right in the world in front of the yellow house. There was a need. God was completely aware of the need. There were God’s children ready to be used. And, the need was met. Beautiful.
Oh, God, thank you for your beautiful plan for Kristina. Thank you for loving her so very much. Thank you for using Mikayla and I to demonstrate your love to her. Please help us to see the needs in front of us and step forward in obedience with You. Amen.