“need help”…

paigeknudsen.com

the alarm buzzed loudly at 5am. i snuggled up to dan and mumbled something about a request for more sleep. monday morning with rain in the forecast & work to do waiting for me downstairs on the computer wasn’t as inspiring as little more time with my lavender scented pillow.

since i’m down to one kiddo to make lunches for, that particular morning task is fairly simple. monday & friday are the days i work at ponce city market so i make one for me & one for her. four pieces of whole wheat bread lined up in two rows. the bread was fresh & extra soft, just the way i like it. i slathered on a little extra mayo just because & then mounded the organic arugula & topped my little masterpieces with thin sliced turkey.  a chilled blackberry pear izze sparkling water added in & i thought to myself, what a cute little lunch that’s gonna be.

looking through my denim options i remember praying for the day & thinking to myself how much i longed for HIM to speak to me.  i wanna hear your voice today lord was the cry of my heart, but not in some heavy sorta way, just a request if you will. dry shampoo to jack up my roots, rain boots on, all my goodies thrown into a little red whole foods lunchbox & i was out the door-ready for my monday. & perhaps to hear from HIM. sometime.

i quickly popped in the latest Passion cd & listened to crowder on repeat. words about the power of the cross & HIS life given for every single one of us played loudly over & over again.

my monday/friday gig is at ponce city market, the recently renovated historic sears warehouse which houses fantastic destinations for the hip foodies & shoppers of Atlanta. my drive down ponce is one of my favorite drives here in georgia. mansions rich with southern history line the winding road. hundred year old hard woods fill the parks that are some of my favorite photography session destinations. a few of my favorite food spots, a country club & history center, beautiful churches with red doors and sidewalks all lead into the city that I’ve called home for essentially my entire life. further up the road is the krispy kreme donuts where the red hot light flashes, the same light flashed when my folks took us to the city when i was a little girl. the famous fox theatre with its iconic marquis light is another of my favorites in the city. and i’m privileged to see all these on my drive.

privileged. there’s a word for ya. probably each one of us hears that word & immediately thinks, well yes i have so much indeed, but so & so- now they have a lot, a lot of the good stuff.  they’re privileged. i’m just ordinary. 

ordinary. there’s the other word. when i feel ordinary i assume that i don’t have much to give or that my not-so-much doesn’t really matter. & my ordinary, well if i offer my ordinary, will it be received with a oh that’s all ya got?

i wasn’t really pondering concepts like ordinary or privileged yesterday as i sat in the long line of traffic on that tree lined beautiful road leading into the city when i saw him. he was probably 4 or 5 cars length ahead of me walking on the sidewalk, carrying a sign, in the rain. the cardboard sign looked like it had two words on it. i could only make out the first. “need”. what was the next word? was it food? cash? a job? he got closer to me & my eyes began to sting. the lyrics seemed louder. and what did it matter anyways. he clearly was in need. 

Lord, I am a vessel here
I’ll be Your’s now
The earth, the earth
Lord, let Your kingdom come
And let Your will be done
Make me Your witness

From glory to glory
I am transformed in Your image
From glory to glory
Your blood has bought my redemption

he was closer now. the lump in my throat surely was as visible to him as the words of his cardboard declaration were to me.

“need help”

he walked past my car. i was behind a lexus with a 30A sticker.  a sign of privilege in the midst of the ordinary. historic mansions & pizza joints mix with shelters and churches where folks slumber up against the cold brick, no lavender scented pillow in sight. bus stops house the occasional person who’s belongings sit beside them, no whole foods lunch box in sight.

i had no cash in my wallet. i seldom do. no blanket or pillow in the back of my old car. i don’t own a big business with a day job to offer him. i swear the music was louder. make me your witness. i rolled down the window as he was walking back towards me -thankfully the light was still red. i unzipped my lunch box & handed him my ordinary turkey sandwich. he began to unzip the baggy and eat.  i reached back in & grabbed the sparkling water and handed him that as well. i forgot to tell him quickly that jesus loved him. the light was changing & white lexus was moving. i rolled up my window and headed to my destination. the tears began to fall. i thought about that fella. i’m certain we’re more alike than different really.

HE spoke to me after all.

I AM transforming you into my MY image. MY blood bought your redemption paige & that guy’s as well. I came for you as much as I came for him.

i don’t want to over think things. someone had a need. while a sandwich isn’t a dignified job opportunity, a warm place to sleep, or a crisp hundred dollar bill, it’s what i had yesterday. why would i not give just because it wasn’t extravagant?

i want my heart to be HIS. i want to hear HIM. and i want to see HIM. honestly, i often times wonder when we get to heaven if folks like that fella with the cardboard declaration were actually HIM in disguise. i’m certain more times than not i’ve over thought and while i’m busy over thinking the opportunity walks on down the road. i don’t want to be a clanging cymbal with just talk about HIM but no heart for compassion. i don’t want to be a white washed tomb either, giving the appearance that my life is all perfect on the outside, yet inside full of yuck and greed. the irony of organic arugula inside 99 cent kroger brand whole wheat wasn’t lost on me.

in the midst of a rainy, ordinary monday morning, HE spoke to me just as i asked HIM to. while the venue wasn’t a historic church with a red door, it was my old beater of a car. the speaker wasn’t a dynamic jet-set, polished preacher of health and wealth ( insert eye roll)  it was fella with a need, a few of them i’m certain. yet HE gave me a close-up glimpse into the eyes that represent HIS kingdom. it’s simple really. from glory to glory and we all need help…our needs may be different but we all need HIM. and guess what HE loves that fella the same amount that HE loves me and that lexus driver. HE loves us all so much.

 may we share whatever we have with whomever and may we see HIM. my bet is, HE is walking all around in the midst of our ordinary.  the sparkling water is optional.

(scriptures today from matthew 23, hebrews 13.2 and 1 corinthians 13)

February 23, 2016 - 10:45 am

dana - Beautiful words of sweet encouragement. May we all listen for HIM to speak today!

February 23, 2016 - 10:47 am

Jo - I read this with tear-filled eyes. He speaks to us all the time – we just don’t always hear

February 23, 2016 - 10:59 am

nancy - Your writing makes me smile. Thank you for that.

February 23, 2016 - 11:22 am

Natalie - He is awesome!

February 23, 2016 - 11:48 am

Amanda - Stunning. Thank you for sharing. He is beautiful in you.

February 23, 2016 - 12:16 pm

Brandi - What a simple yet beautiful story of sharing the love of Christ! Brought tears to my eyes. I’m guilty of not helping because what I have is never extravagant but you have shown that simple obedience is all he asks! Thank you for the encouraging words!

February 23, 2016 - 12:23 pm

KC - Powerful.

February 23, 2016 - 12:26 pm

Marcy Norman Cox - Thank you so much sweet Paige for sharing.. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

February 23, 2016 - 2:16 pm

Beth - Thanks so much for sharing your heart, paige. Once again, your heart touched mine.

February 23, 2016 - 2:56 pm

Linda Stoll - Your story touched me somewhere deep, Paige. Eyes filling here as I read …

February 23, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Bethanie - This gave me the chills, my friend. So beautiful. That sandwich was gold to that man. I’ve had great intentions of making “blessing bags”… a granola bar, wash cloth, chap stick…whatever would fit in a baggie that I could keep in my car and have at times just like that.. but somehow being unprepared seems to have been so much more special.

February 23, 2016 - 4:05 pm

Vicki - …it’s always in the simpleness.

February 23, 2016 - 4:26 pm

Lisa Mothersead - Been there. Done that. My KC brother says, don’t, but when they gobble the food down immediately, gosh, it feels like you did the right thing. Love the movie that speaks to this, “Grand Canyon”. Stick with it til the end.

February 23, 2016 - 4:29 pm

Anna - Sweet message! As I heard last week, “you can fake caring but you can’t fake showing up” Thanks for sharing your example

February 23, 2016 - 5:53 pm

Linsey @ Bravehearted Beauty - I love this story. So glad you took the time to write a blog post about it and not just a little piece of it on social media. Worth the WHOLE story for sure! xoxo

February 23, 2016 - 6:39 pm

Alecia - Oh my goodness…I had something similar happen to me on Sunday! I pass this same lady almost everyday. She’s got her spot right off the highway at a stop light. I too never have cash on me but that day I had just left a lunch meeting at church. They told us to take any of the extra food that was left…so I grabbed a new bowl and loaded it up with some food for my lunch on Monday. Needless to say, it didn’t make it to Monday. As I take the exit, I see her. She’s bundled up in her coat and blanket with her sign. I hadn’t even reached the stop sign and the Lord is already telling me to give her the food I had in my front seat. I felt the need to say it was fresh food not something I had eaten out of or picked at – In my mind she deserved to know her life was more valuable than to eat my “left overs” or “scraps”. As the light turned green I was instantly overwhelmed by God’s love for her and reminded of how well He truly takes care of us. I too forgot to tell her just how much Jesus loves her…it came to mind just as I started driving off. Immediately the Lord brought Matthew 6:26 to mind…now as someone who recently went back to work after 3 months of unemployment, this really hit home! I was moved to tears and just so thankful for His provision in my life AND hers! I was blessed to be a blessing that day. I’ve thought about her since then and prayed for her. I’m overwhelmed with thoughts of how to help someone like that and all that it would entail but I don’t feel like God is asking us to do that necessarily. I think He asks us to be His hands and feet in certain moments. That can be hard sometimes because I feel like I need to “fix it” or be a solution. Thanks for posting…I love this and I love that He’s speaking to His children states apart about similar stuff! This is clearly important to Him. Lyrics from a favorite worship song “Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your Kingdom’s cause – as I walk from earth into eternity”

February 23, 2016 - 8:09 pm

Terri - Wowza…..did I ever need this!! Thank you for these beautifully written words, that hold so much truth in them. Well done….on all counts!!

February 24, 2016 - 12:38 am

Lisa M. - I had a lump in my throat while reading this because the exact same thing happened to me this past Saturday. I live in a small town (pop. 26k). I actually live in a suburb and about 2 miles down the road is “downtown”. We don’t travel down there often but my son had a basketball game at the YMCA. As we sat at a light, there was a man standing to the side at the front of the line of cars I was in. I saw his sign about being homeless and hungry and I was so bothered by it. This is something we don’t see in our town. It’s not that we don’t have homeless people, we do. In fact it can be a pretty poor and run down area in places, but it is rare to see someone standing out with a sign. I said to my husband how upsetting it was to see this in our town. He stood there with cars stopped on all sides of him and he didn’t make eye contact with anyone and it seemed as if time stood still. I wanted to help him so badly and I wanted to take away all the pain and shame I saw in his eyes. And the thought always runs through my mind of what will they actually do with the money I hand them. But you know what? That’s not my business. That’s God’s business. I am called to love. Just like Jesus. All of the sudden people started rolling down their windows and handing him money. The light (which seemed to stop with time as well) turned green and I just waited for him to get to my car for the money. I wanted him to have my measley $5 and know that God loves him. I said God bless you, but I wish I had said Jesus loves you. But he heard God’s name and that’s what matters. I know this is a long comment, but this post just resonated with me and I wanted you to know. Thank you for sharing your story.

February 24, 2016 - 1:13 am

Kimberly - Simply beautiful! I love the way you write. Thanks for sharing your story. Praying for simple opportunities to share His love.

February 24, 2016 - 8:23 am

Heidi @ Decor & More - Thank you for sharing, Paige ~ I think we all need this reminder that our opportunity to be His hands and feet is before us each and every day — in small ways and in big ways. God bless you!
xo Heidi

February 24, 2016 - 9:27 am
February 24, 2016 - 10:09 am

angela - Make me a vessel Lord. Thank you for this Paige.

February 29, 2016 - 3:05 pm

marcie - 🙂

March 6, 2016 - 7:42 am

Giosmama26 - This! All of it! Wow! Girl, I haven’t been to a blog in forever and yours was the first one I stopped at tonight before bed. I’ve been having many a thoughts lately so very many. Some good and some not so good. SOMETHING made me login tonight and go to your blog. It’s pretty amazing what the power or HIM can do. This post was just perfect and I’m sure the perfect timing for many others. All of that to say, you did a wonderful thing by offering him up your meal. Granted, it wasn’t a job, crisp bill or anything crazy big as you said, but it was REAL. It was far more than any of those things. You gave more to that man than money can buy. I hope you know that. Bless your heart, friend. You really are one of the good ones.

May 9, 2016 - 2:21 pm

Maria - He has chosen you as a vessel for HIS work and you exemplify His word in every post….I just sent my best friend to your blog. She lives in Atlanta and lost her Momma 3 months ago….she’s strong but she’s hurting…and I know she’ll find comfort in your words, just as I do. Thank you once again for your heart and for doing His work every single day…

whimsical sophistication~a fabulous dallas home

my friend peach & i met a few years ago at the seaside half marathon. my guess is that she had probably gone home, taken a leisurely shower & then stood in the long “free beer & bbq” line before i had even crossed the finish line. {wink}. we’ve been online-friends-become-real-lifers ever since. she sent cookies after dan’s “all clear” after his cancer diagnosis…and honestly, she even sent treats while i was all strung out & stressed early on in the cancer thing. she remembers birthdays & other sweet events. she’s loved on my girls as well. she’s just good people.

last year i flew to dallas for an event & peach picked me up from the airport. this is a true story. since our only other time together in real life was post a 13 miler, seeing her in all her fabulous glory…with her hair down on a glorious spring day with sun streaming in through her sunroof, i was like PEACH YOURE A BABE!  we only had a couple hours together before i had to head to my event, but she drove me over to walk through her home which was undergoing a complete renovation. with walls knocked out & plastic lining everywhere she shared with me the fun ideas she had for her home.

last week i was in dallas again & this time was treated to a tour of her newly completed reno!  let me first tell you that i didn’t have my interior wide angle lens so i missed out on the ability to shoot some broader angle images for you. a few of her boys (think tall, very tall, witty & handsome fellas) were there so i had to lasso in ( like what i did there? throwing around some texas lingo) my craziness. after all, i’m treating myself to a repeat visit after the wedding and sitting by her fabulous pool…which again, due to my lassoed in excitement, i didn’t photograph.

so, peach hosted a shower the day before hence the confetti balloons ( her manicure was even white with confetti. you love her too right?) …and when she opened the door ( i was already dying because WHITE)  i was speechless. although, her charming son said i had way too many words for first thing in the morning…silly boys.

my guess is this fabulous home will be featured in a publication one day because it is nothing short of wonderful & cheerful. perhaps the most cheerful home i’ve ever seen. and its so peach. if lilly pulitzer, kate spade & jonathan adler threw a bash, peach’s home would be the place.  it’s sophisticated & whimsical, modern & charming, fresh & fabulous. it makes me so happy to share just a little peek inside with ya’ll. there’s a plethora of details i didn’t capture. think crystal skull drawer pulls on a bubble gum pink dresser & houndstooth and plaid in the game room. endless inspiration. my precious friend & her svelte physique enjoys whataburger sweet tea (& can slam down fried chicken like nobody’s business) so that’s in the shots & her pink running sock self had probably thrown down a 10k before i showed up bright & early. i loved, i mean i absolutely loved watching her boys love on her. i have four daughters. she has four sons. safe to assume our lives are just a smidge different. i was like, peach heck, you’re like dan at our home. no one’s ever irritated with you & no one jacks your clothes. it’s obvious those boys adore their mama ( who incidentally looks like she could be their sister) as they horsed around the entire time i was there. i don’t think i’ve laughed that much in ages. it was just an all around delightful visit.

i shot her a text this morning & said please tell me the correct terms to describe your home & it’s decor. the guys affectionately refer to it as #barbiedreamhouse . i love it.  peach wittingly replied, “Doris Day ~ 2016 style” 😉

enjoy…. (& peach i love you friend…and those boys of yours were just the icing on the pink cupcake of your world!)

 

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February 16, 2016 - 4:19 pm

Mary - Such a beautiful and fun home!
I love it! thanks for the tour!
And Peach seems like such a fun and dear friend.

February 16, 2016 - 6:19 pm

Nicole - Oh my goodness … how fun, and perfect for Peach! She is a total doll and I love the love she has with her boys, too. And that front door … dying! So glad to visit. 🙂

February 16, 2016 - 6:52 pm

Lori H - I am in love with that home! And Peach is obviously such a doll. So glad that you and she had a fun visit and posted some photos. Thanks for sharing!

February 16, 2016 - 7:57 pm

Lisa Mothersead - Happy. Love a happy home!🎈

February 16, 2016 - 8:08 pm

Charlotte - So beautiful. What a gift to her that your talent could capture her beautiful, light, and joy filled home.

February 16, 2016 - 9:44 pm

Sandy - Love the house and her style is wonderful. I really want to meet Peach now and find out where she shops and see what her wardrobe looks like. I think Pink and Athletic are a wonderful fashion style too.

Are you running the Seaside half this year? I would love to meet you too if you are here for it.

February 17, 2016 - 12:23 am

Alecia - I do believe I just toured my dream home! I’m going to have to pin this post like crazy!!!

February 17, 2016 - 11:53 am

bethanie - I know a couple single girls… 🙂 What a fun home! I see why you fell in love!

February 17, 2016 - 12:09 pm

peach - paige, thank you for making us and our home look good! disclaimer…it’s unsweet tea and i had run 3 miles that morning not 6 🙂 i love you!looking forward to your next visit by the pool

February 17, 2016 - 5:55 pm

Sharyn - Peach, her boys, and her home – all ADORBS!