Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bring the Wandering Ones to Jesus! By Catherine Leggitt

It’s true. I actually prayed that God would send hurting people to church to be welcomed with loving arms regardless of who they were—addicts, alcoholics, homeless people. But when I answered the door to find that a wild-eyed, nearly toothless woman had taken up residence on my doorstep, my first reaction was fear.

I pictured a certain woman when I placed a newspaper ad soliciting housekeeping services—late forties with work-worn hands, stable and competent—the kind of domestic ready with a long list of reputable references. But this fidgety, tattooed person fit none of my criteria.

At first I considered bolting the door and hiding the valuables. I certainly didn’t want this woman inside my house. Instead, I shrugged on my most gracious attitude. “How long have you been cleaning houses?”

“Been sober six months.”

“Great!” Quick, think of some way to get this door closed. “Do you have … um … experience?”

“Don’t got no money. I pray to my guardian angel every day.”

Her grubby fingertips plucked my heartstrings. “Well, I only need someone on a temporary basis. You understand?”

The woman stepped forward, peering inside. “Looks like a big house. How much you gonna pay?”

Rapid heartbeat distracted my thinking. “Perhaps I could show you around.” That’s not what I meant to say. Was I having a stroke?

But she had already pushed past me into the entry. “Been here long?”

I followed, searching for the right dismissive words as she wandered through the great room and into the kitchen.

“It’s gonna take all day to clean this place. I work by the hour, you know.”

“Maybe it’s too big for you.” I threw a gesture toward the bedrooms. “Besides this part, there are three large bedrooms, each with a bathroom.”

A steady stream of comments flowed through her lips as she peeked in the rooms, sharing unsolicited details about her “old man’s” stint in prison, her mother’s death, being falsely accused of drug possession.

None too soon I led her back to the front door. “I have your phone number. I’ll call after I interview the other ladies.” My effort to smile must have looked crooked.

I twisted the lock, pressed my back into a walnut panel, and closed my eyes.

The whisper of my Master filled the sweet silence. “You asked me to send the needy ones to church. YOU are my Church.”

Had I wasted an appointment set by God because of my prejudiced heart? God wants His children to love everyone just as He does. No matter what they look like. That means we must love the unlovable ones. In my failure to recognize this woman as someone Christ died for, God exposed the true state of my heart. In that gapping space, he planted the idea for PARRISH THE THOUGHT.

Prejudice doesn’t apply only to color of skin, but all its forms interfere with loving others. I am thankful for the way God teaches me, even through my failures. No matter how I respond to the lessons God supplies, He continues to fulfill His promise to make me more like Jesus. And, as a bonus, He also gives me fresh ideas for books.

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Catherine Leggitt is an author and inspirational speaker. A native Californian born in the Bay Area, she raised two daughters, taught school, and cared for her aging parents in southern California before retiring to the north end of the state. Catherine is the author of a cozy mystery trilogy called the Christine Sterling Mysteries, which include PAYNE & MISERY, THE DUNN DEAL, and PARRISH THE THOUGHT. In PARRISH THE THOUGHT, unlovable people plague Christine Sterling’s pristine church-lady world. To help a Goth teenager accused of murder, Christine must first confront the ugliness of her own prejudiced heart. Visit Catherine at: