Posted by: Emily Shemwell | September 18, 2009

Welcome Back to Jeff Street

Tuesday… What a day…

It was a reminder of the various realities of homelessness. I broke up an argument in the women’s restroom… saw the Word of God being taught to recovering addicts… witnessed a mentally ill lady handcuffed and escorted out the door to the demeaning jokes of the police… and heard guests say “amen” while listening to a preacher at chapel.

It was only my second day back in the Day Shelter after being gone for almost four weeks from the summer term. On top of that, I was the only female staff person who’d been around more than a few days. It was a day of responsibilities that I never thought I’d have to perform just two days in to the year HOPE program. While one situatation was somewhat scary, it was handled in a positive and appropriate manner; even though my heart was racing as I mediated an argument between a rambunctious accuser and a quiet woman, what came out of my mouth was not of me – it was all the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know how it was all going to go down… Was this woman going to discredit everything I was saying because I was some “kid?” Was she going to cuss me out, try to put her hands on me, try to put her hands on the other lady? I had no idea what her actions and words may be. I was only responsible for my demeanor and my words… I just prayed for God to allow those to be ones of love and for her to respond respectfully.

And, He answered my prayer. After I handled the situation, I realized that what took place was of God. It was all the Holy Spirit. The conversation and actions that occured were of Him… It was not me speaking, but God… It was not the other ladies speaking, but Him. The Spirit was most certainly present at that moment. And, that is why the argument and mediation went the way it did. It was also a tremendous help to witness other HOPE teammates and Jeff Street staff members this summer handle similiar situations in a loving, Christ-like manner.

Through all the events of Tuesday, I was reminded that all that is taking place here at Jeff Street is of God. Every day, every hour, the Holy Spirit is working, not just in this one situation I physically took part in, but in all that we do here. It’s humbling to know that God has chosen me to be part of His work. I don’t know why He has picked me, but He has. While I’m unworthy to be His child doing His work, I’m able to rest at the foot of the Cross, remembering the love and grace that Christ showed for me and you, for the rich and the poor, for the black and the white, and for the entire world.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” —1 Timothy 1:14-15

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