This year has been ridiculously amazing and SO TOUGH all at the same time.
As I sit here trying to write something meaningful, I just am coming up with jumbled thoughts.
4 years of on the street, day in and day out, love and care for people that are skipped over every other second.
Patience tested, pushed, and gained over trial after trial.
Continuing opportunities to look in the face of people who deserve nothing by the world's merit - addicts, prostitutes, murderers, failures, etc. - but to know inside that I deserve nothing too. I am EXACTLY the same as these women and men.
Why am I here, warm with encouragement and care, while they huddle in dark alleys, cold to the touch and the random stranger's encounter?
I get accolades. "Well done!" "So rewarding it must be."
"You are amazing!" And so on...
They get curses. "Fucking worthless bum."Lazy Bitch".
I do apologize for the language, but I hear it over and over again from my friends. My friends who sit there and ask me why, day in and day out, that they get lumped in together as the worst that mankind is.
"Oh, sorry for the language" as they quickly realize that they are talking to someone that prays and they don't want to offend me.
I am always quick to affirm that their words are not what offends me. I'm internally offended that this is what they have to deal with every day of their life.
So, with all of this, why was this year good and not bad?
Amazing and not mediocre?
Because of you people.
Plain and simple: If I was alone in all of this, I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't have the faith in humans that I do, and I wouldn't believe this Bible stuff about God working all things together for good.
Do I believe that God is real and has placed me where He has? Absolutely. But I also believe that God uses people to affirm and encourage.
When you take the time to read these words, that alone changes how you see the world, other people, yourself, and your actions.
Your encouragements go a long way. I love and appreciate the simplicity of a thumbs up or heart on a post, comments of "thanks for writing this", or especially when you share what I have shared.
But, when you take it to the next level and it starts to change how you see your place in this world and that works its way up to your actions.... BOOM! So AMAZING.
Those of you that have gone out of your way to support what I do - and in so many different ways.
Money is one of them. Hugely appreciated!
But there are so many other creative ways that you have found this year to support me, my family, and those I serve.
Here are a just a few examples that pop into the top of my head as I write out this:
Carlee just sent me a pic of how she was walking around NYC handing out gift cards as she went about her day.
Jeffrey was moving and bagged up many bags of clothing and bedding for my friends to have new found warmth!
Daryl gave me Christmas gifts from his girls to my girls as a way to say thank you and embrace what family looks like - even at 1000 miles away!
Paul Voorhees Music put on a Christmas concert to raise money and receive over 100 warm winter items!
Elizabeth has organized her knitting group on multiple occasions to make warm goods for my friends.
Lois and I just talk and she prays for me.
And the list goes on and on and on.
Thank you all for the love and support this year.
I absolutely could not show up each day and do this without knowing that there is this army of people who have my back. I love you more than you will ever know.
Here's to greater impact in 2018!