I often think of the message in your podcast called “God Nudges.” In that show, you share that you believe that it is God speaking or “nudging” when a person comes to mind randomly. When that happens, we should act upon it by reaching out to that person who may be in need. That message recently had a profound impact on my life and the life of another needy family.
It was two days before Christmas in 2013 and a horrible ice storm hit our town. Thousands were without power or were iced in at their homes and unable to leave. It was freezing temperatures outside and there was no end in sight anytime soon. We were lucky and had electricity and our home was full. In addition to our regular family of five, my in-laws lost power at their house and were staying the night. Another mom and daughter, who are neighbors, had moved in after being iced in at their home a few days. And we had two brothers, who are friends of our son, staying with us as their mom was home recovering from radiation cancer treatments. It was chaotic and a little crowded but we were all safe and warm and having a good time.
The power had gone out in the city in the middle of the night before and it had been probably 18 or 20 hours. It was 8:00pm and I had just cleaned up the kitchen after feeding the crew at our house and the kids were playing. I sat down for a minute to relax alone and was working on a puzzle. Out of the blue, a family from my church came to mind. They are a family of three – a father and two sons. The mother is suffering from a severe mental illness and has recently been pulled from the home and placed in an adult care facility. The father was in a horrible car accident years ago and has a major brain injury that significantly limits his ability to communicate and care for himself and others. The oldest son has downs syndrome and also needs lots of care and attention. We had been praying for them for several weeks at church as they are struggling with the sudden change of events with the mother and are struggling to adjust.
I knew they lived in an area near our church where the power was out. I wondered if they had lost their power and where would they go if they did? I know they have no family in town, no transportation and limited resources. For a moment I thought to myself, “I’m sure someone has checked on them and they are fine. Besides, my house is full. What could I do?” But they never left my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking of them and of “God Nudges” and so I forced myself to look up their name in the directory and I picked up the phone and called.
The father answered the phone and said immediately, “We don’t have power and haven’t for a long time. We’re cold but we have the oven on and the door open.” No one had checked on them. No one was coming to help. They had the gas oven running for the better part of 24 hours and they were not safe and cold. Because of his injury, we couldn’t have much more of a conversation. I reassured him that I would help and would call him back. We hung up and I sat silently dumbfounded.
After several calls and planning with other church members, we were able to move the family from their home to a hotel. The church member who picked them up to take them to the hotel said she felt dizzy being in the house for just a short time. The fumes were very strong and everyone was starting to get disoriented and had headaches. She is convinced that if we hadn’t intervened, another tragedy for this family would have occurred. Power was restored the next day, a few days sooner than expected, and they were able to return safely to their home for Christmas without an issue.
As I lay my head on my pillow that night, I thanked God for all the blessings in my life. I thanked Him for electricity, heat, food, shelter, my physical and mental health and the health of my family. I thanked him for Karen Mulder and the work she is doing to inspire others to be your hands and feet. And I especially thanked Him for speaking to directly to me….for forcing me to be still and listen, and for giving me the privilege of experiencing the true meaning of Christmas.
Jennifer says, “Thank you Lord, for the God Nudge.”
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