“I want to see God, who gives gifts in hospitals and gravesides and homeless shelters and refugee camps….” – Ann Voskamp
I have seen it. I have seen it in the face of a stranger who needed money for diapers. I have seen it in a Mother desperate for food to feed her children. I have seen it in my mother, Sally Hunter Allen. I watched her give out of her need, not her excess. She was my first glimpse into the work of God. She fed the hungry when she was hungry herself. She tiptoed around the knowledge of God, she was wary of His intent, but with His wooing, she came and became a new creature in Christ. I followed. Young. Green. Not sure where I fit in, still wearing the skin of rejection, I didn’t put on the cloak of righteousness, I stayed in the pit. Saved, but not transformed. Not yet.
She saw the poor, the needy. She saw God’s glory in them. I could not see through the lens of glory. I had not learned yet. I saw filth. I smelled the stink of the world. I didn’t see the person or the God-glory on them. She saw them, their needs- physical, emotional and spiritual. She filled their bellies with food, their ears with Godly counsel and healed hearts with love, unconditionally. I watched from the shadows, sometimes jealous of the love she gave so freely to others, and slowly, I learned the love walk, ‘the least of these’ were the most important to my mother. The hopeless cases were not hopeless to her. She prayed early before the gray dawn, she prayed in the dark, kneeling on the braided rug covering hard wood, petitioning for all of us hopeless cases, crucifix above her, the wood and metal reminder of what Jesus suffered. She prayed. Then she worked. Long hours. Writing. Petitioning the community. She and Bud opened the Mannington Food Pantry, stocking shelves with canned goods, dried beans and cereal. She handed out boxes of food to feed the stomach and unconditional love to feed the soul.
Her legacy lives on in her children and grandchildren- volunteering at soup kitchens, helping at the mission and in the Mannington Food Pantry under the leadership of Colleen Morris since 2005.
Who has been the hands and feet of Jesus in your life? What has that example birthed in your heart and mind?
More next time…..