Fleeing Like A Bird

Photo Credit:  Peggy James

I like it when people give me the heads up that they’re visiting our church when I greet them in the lobby.  Leslie told me she came from another city, 75 miles away.  She seemed nervous as we talked and stepped back outside for fresh air and a smoke.

The praise & worship started and Leslie slid into my row and sat next to me.

During the handshake break, she leaned in close and divulged through strong tobacco breath that she is homeless and living in the park.  I grabbed both her hands and reassured her she looked lovely because she did.  Her makeup in place, she sported clean clothes and a cute hairdo. 

Still holding her hands tight, I promised to protect her back with my prayers in the coming week.  Excited, she responded:  “Oh, how I love this church!”  She continued:  “I’m fleeing from an abusive man.  I’m a woman in flight.”

I wished I had some cash on me.  Tom took me out for breakfast that morning and decided at the last minute to pay in cash.  He wiped me out at Denny’s. 

Just between you and me, I felt like Peter and John on the temple steps telling the handicapped person that I have nothing to give you but my prayers but in the Name of Jesus stand up and walk.   

Leslie is the heroin of my story today because she worshiped God with a transparent, willing heart, desperately needing Him… and us.  She could easily have hid behind a mask and no one would be the wiser. 

How many of us attend church without letting the Lord or anybody else know the pain we carry?

The Body of Christ is a great place to hang out when you’re desperate. We’re family and we’re imperfect.  We understand each other’s brokenness because He touched us.  We’re investors, investing in lives not in stocks that we can’t take with us to our eternal mansions.  Like Peter and John, we believe in miracles, signs and wonders.

Answered Prayers! 
I  learned that a few brothers from the food pantry visited Leslie in the park bringing edibles and counsel.  They invited her to the pantry for a week’s supply and I heard she volunteered one day, working hard and serving others. 

Jesus is still doing it.  He’s feeding the poor and mending shattered lives.  He specializes in rescuing those in flight.

Whatever we are fleeing from…we can be sure of one thing…He’s always there as a refuge for us and, hopefully, so are we…for one another!

Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters.
Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith?
Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?
James 2:5


  1. Oh Mary, I don't think it's any accident your path crossed with Leslie's! Regardless of her circumstance, I think it's pretty awesome that she sought out the church.
    I love what you've said about "We're all family and imperfect.... we understand each other's brokenness." What a blessed reassurance!

    Love ya,

  2. This is so beautiful. The beauty is that even if we don't know the pain others may be going through, God does! And prayers really are answered, perhaps not how and when we hope or expect, but they are always answered, and God knows us and cares for us. What a blessing to hear this story, Mary, thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. So glad you were able to make a connection with Leslie and that she shared so much with you; I am glad to see too she got a bit of the help that she needed. I do like her honesty, I wouldn't have been like that I think if I came to church; not sure I would have ventured even going out to attempt to go to church.


  4. Good morning sister Mary! First, I just wanna let you know I love those flowers in your header photo. Beautiful!

    But more so with your post! What better gift than "prayers!" I know the Lord made Leslie crossed path with yours that morning. Make her path get back on the right track by sending one of His children who would encourage her and accept her with pure love that comes from Him. It's easy to forget when we are walking on comfortable and smooth paths, not recognizing the needs from hurting others who truly need Someone Who could lead them in this short journey. Her empty, broken heart was the most awesome offering she had that morning and it started right by God sending a heart which was Spirit-filled!!! So beautiful and this radiates a beautiful smell...from God's unfathomable fragrance of love!!! Hugs sister and praying for you to always be strong in the Lord's mighty power! I am blessed myself knowing you are praying for us, too, your siblings in blogland and I thank you, for crossing path with you. Love you in Christ.

  5. So loved this story! It was heartwarming and touching - and serves also as a reminder that we are called to pass on God's love every chance we get. It's so important to keep our eyes open for His opportunities. We are now the hands and feet (and hugs) of Jesus, and you're so right, He is STILL in the business of reaching out to those who are desperate. Might He keep us from judgmental spirits, and self-righteous posturing. Might we be the vessels of His grace and generosity.


  6. I love this story too. You were the love of Jesus to her, and what a joy it was for both you and her. Leslie knows more about Jesus love because you crossed paths. I pray she will be freed from her circumstances and continue to know that God loves her.

    Also... when I saw your header, I thought 'Oh, Mary has opened a restaurant called Pile of Smiiles! :)

  7. such a heart touching post, bless you.

  8. I loved this post! What a compassionate, caring heart-like-Christ you have, sweet friend! God bless you for reaching out, for reaffirming this dear woman's value, and for sharing this story with us here. You are a shining example of being Jesus' hands and feet. :) I am still praying for Amy and believing God for her miracle. I have also been praying for Kristen and Abby, too. I expect to hear from you telling me they are expecting! :) God is able!!!

  9. It was your prayers that sent a good week her way - I just know it. I am sure the food pantry has someone there to guide her for help regarding her flight. No woman should suffer abuse.
    Our church has a free meal after the morning service and word gets around. The bulletin calls it pot luck after the service - - but we know Pastor shops at the Save-More Foods for the meals. Many homeless do come for the worship, but others take their coffee and wait outside until after church. One lady visitor entered right into the praise and worship. She was smiling and happy to be there. After church I visited the rest room and she had her head in the sink, washing her hair and using up all the paper towels. God bless her sweet soul. Thank you for sharing your awesome post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

  10. I'm glad you told this! It is a precious story. Yes Jesus is always there as a refuge for us. My prayer is that we grow in hospitality and mercy. A blessing to hear this. I wrestle with: how do you distinguish whether people cheat you and only want your money or ... have real distress? My son lived three months on the streets and he was a bad boy. He would cheat you. But this woman is honest and really in need.

    I pray for a heart as Jesus ansd the ability to judge well.

  11. Bless your heart for making a homeless woman find home in the church and for being generous with your prayer. May there be more people like you.

  12. Love, love, love your words, "We're all family and imperfect! That is so true. And you know what else I have thought about....We'd all be HOMELESS without Jesus! Great post today and it melted my heart! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  13. People, such as you, broke into my heart when so much was on the side of me. I didn't smoke, but I had been very involved in beer for about 3 years until I had come to the Lord and even after that most of my friends were in the bars in Tacoma. Lots of other things were making me tremble, b/c I knew what was right, but wasn't heading the right direction often enough. The Lord dropped very kind and "putting up with me" people. Since He had me accept Him when I was 20, w/in about 3 years, my life had truly changed. Anyhow, blessing, encouraging, drawing people forth to the Lord is what counts from her to heaven. Bless you...

  14. What a great story of compassion and love. So great that she was able to find the grace of God in you. Nothing better than real life stories of our Father in action in His chosen. Very warming and motivating.

  15. I am glad I have found your blog. Thank God for your compassionate and loving heart. Also thank God for your church who are so willing to help this woman. Most important is that people see the love of God through us. May God bless you and your family.

    1. Hi, Nancy!
      I’m glad you found me too so I could find you! I connected with you on Google+ and look forward to learning more about you!

      Thank you for your nice words. Our church motto is “Looking up, moving forward and Reaching Out!” It is a great place to grow in Christ! Blessings right back at you!

  16. Mary I think you win for best spent anniversary!!! Don't you love it when they plan something? It happens very infrequently at my house.LOL. It sounds like you had a ball(no pun intended) and you both look so relaxed and happy. Glad you had a wonderful anniversary and thanks for a great post,;)


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