Yesterday I went to spend some time with my mum, helping her out and just being there really. She's not been well for a long time, but sometimes the tiredness and pain coupled with being a long way from family can all get too much when something is worse than usual. It was good to see her again and spend time talking through a whole bunch of things.
However that's not what prompted this. I had to collect a prescription and medication for her, and it was while I was out that it happened.
There's a Sainsbury supermarket at the top of Crystal Palace with a pharmacist inside. When I came out having collected the medication there was a girl in her early 20s selling 'the big issue' magazine. I bought one once, and it was full of rubbish really - the kind of 'progressive thinking' that leaves me feeling slightly sick in my stomach. So my instinct as I walked past was to say "No, thankyou" and walk on by.
I got about 10 feet before I felt a gentle 'tug' inside.
Funny how God speaks over things that aren't important to ME. It was almost like an audible voice "go and give her a couple of quid" (God doesn't need to pretend to be posh and say 'pounds' to me). As I turned round all the arguements that used to sit there ready (she'll use it to buy booze/drugs/fags etc) kind of melted away. I felt again like God said "maybe she needs those things right now to make it through. I love her enough anyway - I loved you enough to not worry about your issues". A raft of different thoughts and 'minds eye' images floated past.
So I turned round, went back to her. She was thing faced, a bit grubby and looked a little hungry but had decent clothes that looked warm enough. She started to hold out a magazine but I said "I don't want the big issue - here's a couple of quid", dropped the money into her hand and smiled at her.
Then I turned round and walked away.
That was it.
No amazing spiritual epiphany. No choirs of angels. No 'speaking words of salvation' and seeing tears welling up.
Just walked away, went back to my mum with her pain killers.
But I just feel like God's doing something inside and I'm changing. There's an aspect of Fathers heart I'm catching that is there for a few minutes, then fades like my memory. Sometimes I have an idea of how He cares, and the things we do are less important than our response to Him. Then I'm back again, normal, argumentative, difficult, insistent Toni.
I talked with my mum about all kinds of stuff into the evening. She mentioned someone she knew who was in ministry that had made a terrible mistake in trying to correct for a smaller one. 20 years ago I'd have said "they have no place in ministry" and brought out a whole bunch of 'good reasons' why they should be treated such and such a way. Now I think I know a little differently, and there can be an answer in love instead of judgement. I'm learning, a little.