Sunday, September 11, 2011

A few thoughts from Monroe Park's Birthday Party

For the last two months we have been planning this Birthday Party for the homeless. It’s not your typical brown bag lunch, I give you. I was sure nobody would go for it, or truly get the intent behind it. I was mistaken. Folks jumped all over it and on this side of everything I can honestly say it was a huge success. Okay, so we were a little over zealous with amount the cupcakes needed, but the party was lacking absolutely nothing.

Until today the party idea was just that . . .an out of the box idea. But as I sit here reflecting, it now has a face . . .it has names. Anna. Al. Wesley. Armando. Chris. Allison. Evan. William. It has stories. You would not believe time and time again how many people told us that they did not get to celebrate their birthday, or that no one had remembered it. I wish I could have captured that faces when some realized it wasn’t an event for the VCU students, rather a birthday party for them.

Today, I understand why Jesus talks so much about taking care of the sick, the needy, and the widows. I think so easily they have their sense of worth, of meaning, of humanity robbed from them. They are often overlooked, and treated as so much less than what God created them to be. We all need to be reminded of who God created us to be. We all need to be encouraged to settle for nothing less than His plan for our lives. As I reflect on my own life, yes, times can get very lonely and situations can seem pretty bleak, but I am constantly reminded of my worth and my value, and the special plans God has for me by my family, my friends, and my PCC brothers and sisters.

We live at a pace of life that honestly is ridiculous. I recently heard, if the Devil can’t convince you to do wrong, he will just make you busy. And too often, we buy into that lifestyle. We get so hectic with our lives, with our situations that sadly, we often forget to encourage and lift up those who desperately need it. It’s challenging to get outside of our own boxes. To be honest, I’ve struggled with this the past two weeks, but as I lay my head down tonight, I am thankful for the reminder of all the blessings I have and the call to be a blessing to those who desperately need it.

In closing, I encourage you to stop, take a look outside of what is going on in your own life. Look around, for those on the edge, to those who are lonely, to those who are feeling hopeless . . ..and do something. I can attest, it doesn’t have to be much to remind someone of their value, of their worth. Take the blessings that have been poured over your life (they are there if you look) and use them to show Christ’s love and care. Whether it be a small act of kindness (balloons on a mailbox, posters around town, or a simple hand written card) or an act of generous giving (paying for a tank of gas, a cart of groceries, a family’s dinner) you---we have been given the opportunity to speak value, significance, and hope into people’s lives. I have no words to explain how our unfathomable God can use our giving to change lives---those receiving and our own. He uses it to fill us, to satisfy our longings and to change us to become more like Him.

I cannot wait to download the videos and pictures to share with you just how God is moving through His faithful servants who serve in Monroe Park. He is building lasting friendships, building trust and creating an environment where people are opening up and sharing the burden life can sometimes bring. I covet prayers as we continue to seek His leading and as we continue to provide a loving community for Richmond’s homeless.

My heart is full of gratitude tonight.


  1. Mel, this is perfect. I am beyond thankful for what you've added to my life and with how Jesus has shown himself to me...through you. You are one of my favorite people. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Love you, lady!

  2. Dearest Mel,
    You got it!!! God moving through you is how He gets the important things done in this this world so filled with evil. Just yesterday, so much good happened that I, too, am overwhelmed. The meeting I wrote you about, with the City Councilman, means that the Park and it's people are safe into the foreseeable future. This is the culmination of a year-long struggle to protect them. Then God put some icing on my (cup)cake by sending my next-door neighbors to the Park with all four kids! Honest, God-fearing folks, they are desperately poor, but struggled with pride about accepting help. Thanks to Him, they went home with full tummies!
    I can hear the kids, right now, playing, and my heart is so filled with joy that it may burst.
    I count you among the ten or twelve most AMAZING WOMEN in this City. You are so very rare, and precious, that I can scarcely believe that God has sent you my way. I want to sit down and have a looong talk with you, I only hope that you can spare the time. May the true and living God bless you and all that you love. I pray that He protect you and give you good weather at the beach!
    All my love,

  3. Jimmy and I are so glad that God put you into our lives (as well as all of our park family!) I feel "real" when I am there. You know, I feel as though I take more time to really get to know everyone when I'm there. It's as if the rest of the world melts away and the new comes rushing forward. I told you the first time "I am new". Thank you, thank you, thank you for reaching for our hands and leading us into the plan that God has for all of us. We love you!