Dog Lover wasn’t her real name but the name that she preferred. Her real name was Shauna. She was interested in the brood of boys I brought with me to the frozen yogurt shop and questioned my daughter and me about them as we sat indoor among the quiet and warmth. Although only 3 of the boys belonged to me, I had sent all of them outdoors to be loud and annoying. The boys belonged outdoors, no matter the weather, since spilling, shouting, and shoving, was inevitable.
Shauna spent the next few minutes asking socially awkward questions about my age, my dogs, and my boys, and telling short stories about her family and the dogs that they owned. Her voice was not particularly quiet, but her curiosity at a peak.
She steadied herself on a flowered cane and appeared to be going someplace. “Where are you going next?” I questioned. “Home,” she replied. She then told us about her bus ride, where she lived, and how long it took her to arrive home after the bus stopped several times along the route. As I thought about the distance to her home, a car drive was a short one and paled in comparison to the bus ride. Before I could stop myself, and consider my companions and the number of seats in my car, I blurted out, “I can give you a ride home.” Delighted at the idea, she clapped her hands and joined us outside to gather up the boys let them know that we would be taking Shauna home. Acts of goodwill were not their primary language, so their shocked faces were quickly ignored as I began walking to the car summonsing them to follow.
Shauna and I talked the entire ride about her home about her impeccable skills for knowing every breed of dog, even mixed breeds, and her neighbors. The passengers sat silently, still shocked that we were driving a stranger, who lived in the opposite direction of our home, to her house.
The minute we arrived at Sauna’s home and she exited the car, thanking me and asking me to say hello to my dogs, my oldest son asked, “Why did you do that?” To which I replied, “God told me to.” There was no need for any more explanation, and I knew that what those kids witnessed would leave an impression. They needed desperately to see someone not physically or mentally healthy, exude joy in the midst of her circumstances. They needed to see how to show God’s love to a stranger. They needed to know that when God asks you to do something, even if it makes you uncomfortable, you need to obey. They needed to know that serving God means loving people.
While I have never taken my family to a soup kitchen in order to feed the homeless, driven out of the country to build houses for the less fortunate, or delivered sandwiches to people living on the streets, I do my best to be an example of someone who serves God by loving people. I don’t always get it right, but when I do, I receive more of a blessing than I ever could imagine. When God places people in my path to serve and love, I know that He is giving me a gift of being His hands and feet, and that is a privilege.
Give your kids the gift of watching you serve Him by loving others, and let it begin right inside your home.