When I write my blog, you get my view and perspective on what goes on down at the park. Tonya emailed her story this morning and I wanted to share it with you, a look at the park through another pair of eyes and another heart. Tonya, Ashley and all the others are a blessing to have there. May you enjoy and be encouraged by her story.....It brought tears to my eyes! Be Blessed my friends!
TONYA AND ASHLEY
My Story . . .
All of us have a story. This part of the story I call my life began in January 2009 when we met through a mutual friend a gal named Denie. She had been going down to the park to feed her friends without homes for over a year. My daughter, my husband, myself and 2 of our dearest friends with their daughter, began to visit and meet Denie at the park. What a beautiful interchange we saw witnessed with these people and Denie. They were kind, considerate, and genuinely respected Denie and the simple, nourishing food she brought them each week. But there was so very much more to see. It is not the food that these lovely people show up for each week. It is the love and acceptance that they have received from Denie as she pours her heart and soul into this ministry that she has been called to. For me personally, it took a few months of feeling very inadequate and humbled by what I saw. We began to bake goodies, and help serve hot meals to these incredible people, and bit by bit, they too began to open themselves to us. Now I stand in line with my daughter beside me, and watch their eyes shine as she passes out some of their favorite home-baked chocolate brownies. . .they love those brownies. . .but again, it’s more than that. They are kindred spirits with Ashley. One day one of the regulars did a little mock hold-up and told Ashley not to turn around, because this was a stick-up and to give him as many brownies as she could. Of course she recognized his voice, and he was able to stuff as many brownies into his pockets as he wanted. They love her so much, and she returns that love whole-heartedly.
Denie warned me that there might come a time when my own heart would be broken. That happened a few weeks ago, when we had so many people that we ran out of food. Not that we haven’t run out before, but there is usually enough so that everyone has at least one turn in line. In this case we literally had a few chips left, and that was it. One of the regular couples came late, and I will have their faces etched on my mind for ever. . .a look of hopeless shock and disappointment was there, and I truly felt helpless at that moment. But within minutes, people were offering to them a few extra sandwiches. They really weren’t extra, as this was their supper they were giving up. Without hesitation, they gave. I was amazed at this selfless act. They have so little themselves yet they give so generously. Like the widow’s mite they have shown me the faith of a mustard seed.
Being down at the park with our friends without homes, has taught me something that I have never known in my life. There is still so much to give. . .of myself, my heart, my time, energy and resource. When I think I’ve tapped those things out , it doesn’t take me long to realize, I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can give. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I have concern. (my concern translates to worry in 10 seconds or less. . .) But, a good friend just recently reminded me that “Our heavenly Father owns a cattle on a thousand hills” so, I am going to trust “Our heavenly Father.”