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Dignity Restored

“Can you spare 60p for food?

The question came from a young man, carrying a large rucksack, who was walking past me with his girlfriend and a small dogimage. I was with a couple of friends, and we had spent that afternoon praying for people on the city streets, and were now heading back home.

“We may have something better for you,” I said. We started chatting, and the couple introduced themselves as Martin and Sue. They were homeless and hungry. We bought them lunch; it was just a burger and a drink from a nearby stall, as they couldn’t take their dog inside a cafe.

Downward Spiral

Martin seemed hyperactive, but not from drugs or alcohol; he talked incessantly, with few breaks. I sensed he felt humiliated and ashamed, because of his current position, living on the streets. “I used to have a good job as a plasterer,” he said. “I want to work, but I can’t get a job, living like this.”

Martin’s girlfriend was much quieter, sitting calmly, eating her burger, and breaking off small pieces to feed to the dog at her feet. Their lives had been on a downward spiral, including some time in prison, yet the love between them, the loyalty and companionship they had with one another, were clearly evident.

The constant flow of negative speech from Martin’s mouth was really getting to me now. He was putting himself down, almost apologising for his very existence. Finally, I interrupted him. “Who told you that you were no good? Who spoke all those bad things over you?” I challenged him. It was blunt enough to command his attention. “My Mom. My brother…” He tailed off.

Flicker of Hope

“Well, this isn’t how God sees you. What if I said God cares about you, and he has a good plan for your life, and he wants to restore your dignity?” Those were the words I felt prompted to say, and they did, indeed, stop Martin in his tracks, and I saw the flicker of hope in his eyes.

We asked if we could pray for Martin and Sue, and they agreed. Sue’s hands were chapped and raw, from exposure to the biting cold. I held her hands and prayed, both healing for her hands, and blessing for her future. Then I gave her my gloves, and as she protested a little, I told her I had another pair at home. It wasn’t really about the gloves; it was a simple reminder of her worth, and a small symbol of God’s care and protection.

My friend turned to Martin, placed a hand on his shoulder and began praying. Martin bowed his head slightly, as he received the prayer, and I could visibly see the peace of God fall on him. He looked calm for the first time since our meeting. As my friend was sharing an encouraging prophetic word with Martin, I was getting a nudge from the Holy Spirit to give Martin a hug.

Mother’s Embrace

God was revealing to me something of Martin’s hurt and pain, due to a lack of nurturing. He needed a mother’s hug. Now, I’m not in the habit of hugging strangers on the street, but God was speaking loud and clear to me, so I knew I had to do this.

Initially, Martin looked a little embarrassed. He was unwashed, his clothes were dirty, his hair unkempt, and he knew he didn’t smell clean. He apologised again for being so dirty, and I just smiled and said it didn’t worry me at all.

When I hugged him he didn’t withdraw, but stayed there for a while. I sensed some of  that hurt and pain being released. Afterwards, his countenance looked different. There was healing power in a mother’s embrace.

As we said our goodbyes, I gave Sue a hug and some final words of encouragement, too. This whole encounter touched me very deeply. It caused me to wonder how many people feel “unclean,” undeserving of even the most basic human touch and affection.


imageDignity Restored?

You don’t have to be physically homeless to feel that way. I wonder how many of us have sometimes felt emotionally or spiritually homeless? And I wonder what it takes for a person’s dignity to be restored?




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Grace to Begin

To Boldly Go…

Are you the kind of person who boldly steps forward into new territory, or do you take a slower, more cautious approach to embracing something new?

Being honest, it depends on the situation for me. I can be confident and impulsive, but more frequently, I think deeply before committing to something. At times, that also shows up as procrastination.

The Old Sailor

One of my favourite poems as a child was “The Old Sailor,” by A.A. Milne. It is a humorous tale of a sailor who gets shipwrecked on an island, and devises many survival plans, such as looking for water, making a hut for shelter, hunting for food, building a boat for escape, and so on. However, he finds himself in a state of not knowing what to do first, and consequently, does nothing.

ONL0IW4L“So he thought of his hut… and he thought of his boat,

And his hat and his breeks, and his chickens and goat,

And the hooks (for his food) and the spring (for his thirst)…

But he never could think which he ought to do first.

And so in the end he did nothing at all,

But basked on the shingle wrapped up in a shawl.”

Love is Stronger than Fear

Procrastination sometimes has its roots in perfectionism, and perfectionism can be rooted in fear. But love is stronger than fear, and there is grace for new beginnings.

“The Old Sailor” is published in A.A. Milne’s book, “Now We Are Six,” a book which I loved as a very young child. It was around the age of six that I stopped writing my own stories, and now I begin again, writing afresh as an adult. It’s been a long time, and a lot of water under the bridge, but that is a story for another day…

Letting the Light in

A calculated guess: I’m not alone in thinking up a myriad different reasons to stay safely in the comfort zone, like that old sailor, basking on the shingle, wrapped up cosily in his shawl, waiting for rescue.

Such a variety of inspiring blogs out there, for starters. Poets and wordsmiths and artists and entrepreneurs, creating beautiful, challenging, inspirational work.

So, from the outset, I make a choice not to be intimidated by that, but to celebrate it. I choose to play my small part in bringing something of God’s love and healing and hope to the World Wide Web.

Leonard Cohen puts it this way, in his song, “Anthem:”image

“Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.”


If you identify with procrastination or fear of stepping out into the unknown, please feel free to share your experience in the comments. If you would like prayer for healing, or for new beginnings, or any other needs, please head over to the prayer requests section. We would love to pray for you.