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Advent Day 16: It’s the Simple Things

By • December 16 2020

Truth: Someone mistook me for Jesus once. And I emphasize: ONCE.

One dark, chilly spring morning I woke up early to get my bearings before the day started. At the time, my husband, Dan, and I were running an inner city ministry in Portland, OR, and not long after the rooster crowed, our revolving door ushered in dozens of people all day long. I learned very quickly that if I didn’t get some Jesus in me at the start of the day, I was likely to find myself in deep doo-doo by noon.

I tiptoed downstairs to make sure I didn’t wake my husband and two small boys, headed to the kitchen to make coffee, and then mashed myself into the couch with my Bible in hand. Ahhhh! A holy and precious moment to myself…

But today, the revolving door decided to start spinning early.

Just moments after I took my first sip of coffee, I heard heavy footsteps climbing up to our porch, and then loud, determined knocks. Who could be needing help this early? I wasn’t about to open the door myself, so I sped upstairs to get my husband. He promised me he’d get up and follow me shortly, and so I headed back down to the door to open it.

Peering through the peephole, I saw a bedraggled man sitting on the railing of our porch, and it looked like he had fallen asleep. I didn’t recognize him, but he looked harmless enough, and I knew Dan was on his way downstairs, so–with a bit of fear and trepidation–I opened the door. As I did, he stood up and started toward me, but not with any hint of aggression. He looked like a sleepwalker; his steps were slow and unsteady, and he could barely keep his eyes open.

Long story short, I’ll call him Dale, and he knew Eric, our ministry partner and roommate. He came to us because after three straight days and nights of smoking crack, no sleeping, and no eating or drinking, he knew things needed to change. Dan and Eric shared the gospel with him, and he gave his heart to Jesus on the spot.

Now the real work was about to begin. Dale agreed to go to detox, but needed to see his parole officer first about some outstanding warrants. It was too early for that, so it was decided that Dale would wait at our house for a few hours, and then they all would go.

Dale slept on our couch through all of the sounds of a house waking up: Two little boys running down to the kitchen, breakfast dishes clattering, bath water running, toilets flushing… but Dale didn’t stir. He was catching up on three days of lost sleep.

When Dale did wake up, I offered him breakfast, and I’ll never forget the look on his face: the depth of gratefulness I saw in his eyes is indescribable. Sometimes when I feel like no one appreciates my cooking, I think back to that moment, and it makes me feel better.

Dale scarfed down his breakfast, took a shower, and then he and I sat on our front porch as the sun began to warm the morning, and we had a sweet conversation. We were a very unlikely pair: A goody-two-shoes pastor’s wife and a crack-head with a rap sheet, but Jesus joined our hearts together in a miraculous way, as only He can do.

The time came for Dan and Eric to take Dale to see his PO, and he climbed into the van with them after we said our good-byes. As soon as the van door shut, Dale shouted to Dan and Eric, “That woman, she is JESUS!” I don’t feel like I did much to deserve those accolades, but sometimes that’s all we need to do: feed people, talk to them, welcome them into our homes, love them right where they’re at. After all, that’s what Jesus did.

Happy December 16th!

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