Keep My Eyes to Serve, My Hands to Learn


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Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve and my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve and my hands to learn”
                –Mumford and Sons “Below My Feet”

Rolling over in bed, my eyes squinting open, I can see it’s still dark out. I inhale my husband’s soapy, snuggly morning scent, leftover from his shower the night before. I lightly kiss his shoulder and lean to turn off his alarm. I slide out of bed and a new smell dances along my upper lip as my coffee brewing downstairs beckons me. I’m careful not to step on any toys my carefree toddler has left strewn about our house. A chill runs down my spine as I mindlessly turn our air back up. Without a second thought, I search our fridge, bursting with food, and grab the eggs, juice, butter, and fresh fruit to make an easy, bountiful breakfast.

While pouring my cup of coffee, I can’t help but think of the events from the night before. It was after 10:00 at night and I could hear the little girl crying. The frustrated mother trying to console her as not to wake her teenage son who needed to go to school the next day. Five other families were trying to sleep that night as well.  I slept on a cot that night. A cot I was quick to curse for being incredibly uncomfortable. Oblivious to what was surely running through the minds of the conjoining families. I imagine they had thoughts I have never had to think about in my life. Worries about keeping their job to feed their family. Wondering if their youngest was starting to get sick, causing a trip to the doctor’s office that they couldn’t afford. I was cursing my bed that night while they were finding comfort in sleeping in a safe place. That frustrated mother of her two year old had never been more thankful to be rocking her little to sleep in a room with air conditioning. Knowing that she would be able to have a cup of coffee the next day and a guaranteed way to get her kids to school the next morning. That night waned on in a slow trudge for me, while going too fast for those families. I could hear the little girl’s cries carry down the hall.

And I kept hearing that little girl cry. I could hear her this morning as I am back in my home, carelessly pouring my cup of coffee, with more than enough food, not worried at all about doctor’s visits. Passing the day, without a worry about the general stability of a life filled with a husband and a blessed job, a healthy toddler, electricity, food, water, and a home I call my own.

You see a couple of weeks ago I signed up to be an overnight host at my church for our local Family Promise (FP). A few days ago, I had the privilege of just existing for these people. They didn’t need anything from me really. Just my presence so they could all stay in our church for a night of safety.

If you don’t know anything about FP, then I highly encourage you to check out your community to see if they have facilities there so you can get involved. These families that were staying at my church for the week are homeless, struggling to hold a job, struggling to feed their families, struggling to live a life I have lived so carelessly. Even now as I type this, I can’t help but heave a heavy heart for the people who need help in this life. People right in my own town. People I surely pass on the street while I’m yelling at my iPod in my car as they are walking down the street with their kids, hoping to catch the bus on time to make it to their temporary home for the week they have found through Family Promise.

I keep hearing that little girl cry as she calls to me. I see the young man’s smile again, grateful for a hot cup of coffee to start his day. I keep replaying the teenage boy’s story about how his mom and sister are never back before 10:00 at night because his mom finally found a job. All their fears behind their eyes, reaching out to me, calling for help.

And as I take my coffee in my own cozy home the next day, their eyes remind me of what I am grateful for. I am grateful for my home. I am grateful for a husband who warms my bed at night. I am grateful that I have a car to take my son to his doctor’s appointment. I am grateful for a fridge full of food.

I am grateful for these daily necessities that I so easily take for granted.

I am grateful for these daily necessities that I so easily take for granted.

I am grateful for these daily necessities that I so easily take for granted.

Everyone has a story. Things are not always what they seem. We have so many trials and tests in this life that bring to the surface who we really are deep down. But who am I when I am walking at the top of the trial? Who am I when I am walking through life on a high? Who am I when I can go to bed at night generally content?

I want to be grateful. I want to be grateful during the times I so easily forget to be.

I want to remember that God is a God of a woman with a roof over her head and the God of a woman who needs a roof for her family.

I need to remember that God sees that little girl crying in the night and God is holding her alongside her mother because of His incomprehensible love. God is holding her because a girl down the hallway volunteered to spend the night in a building, just to be present, so this family could have a night of safety.

What about you? What are you grateful for?

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My name is Gloryanna and I'm a stay-at-home momma, former teacher, turned blogger. I love hearing stories and sharing stories, especially when they are encouraging. This is a blog about stories and experiences that encourage us in our relationship with Christ and others, no matter what season of life we're going through. Hopefully, you will take away a positive nugget by visiting this blog and maybe laugh a little along the way.
  • Aimee

    Gloryanna, your words are always a blessing. What an important piece to share. This has been heavy on my heart, lately, this call to serve. James works downtown and each morning when we drop him off at work I see a community of the homeless on the street. I’ve come to recognize their faces, and I always long to know their stories. I absolutely love the image of God holding them just as near as he is holding me. Thank you for giving me something to think about, and challenging me to better serve and love with gratitude. <3

    • Gloryanna

      Thanks, Aimee!! Simple encouragement that someone else is uplifted in some way means a lot!!

  • Such an inspiring post. We all need to practice gratitude more often, especially in the light of circumstances that anyone could easily find themselves in. The chain of events that leads people to homelessness or poverty doesn’t discriminate. We are all susceptible and should always live with this awareness so that gratitude never leaves our hearts. What a blessing you are being to these families.

    • Gloryanna

      Thanks, Harmony!! I like “practice gratitude.” That’s a good reminder that it is something that doesn’t just happen. It takes an effort most times!!