It was in Feb 2012, serving in the Sutton Foodbank, when it hit me. Until then, I thought I understood the homeless problem. I thought I was doing my bit by helping at a Foodbank. I’d seen all the pictures and statistics. I got the problem
or so I thought.
But it was only when I was confronted face to face with the issue I began to understand the gravity of it.
It was only as it was looking at me, speaking to me, when I really saw the truth of homelessness.
Alene Snodgrass (more about her below) confronts this on an even bigger scale in her new e-book, ‘Graffiti: Scribbles from different sides of the Street’.
It is the true story of when Alene – a Christian woman from suburbia – encountered a homeless man, Rick, who had been falsely accused of serious crime, rejected by the church and the world, and ended up on the street.
Seen from two perspectives.
From both sides of the street.
Alene shares the challenges and experiences she faced when encountering the issue of homelessness at first hand. Fear, avoidance, and a divine challenge to respond. She says:
“Even in the midst of your questions, doubt, and struggle God can still do miracles.
All He needs is someone willing to step out and go” (tweet that here)
Intertwined with this, we also hear the Rick’s story. His journey from happy marriage into homelessness, and how he recovered his faith.
He shares this through incredible storytelling, and in moving poetry which often proved to be his own way of sharing his heart with God.
He writes about how he was awakened to hope, in the midst of the blackest darkness. He says:
“That Christmas Eve as I sat angry, lonely, and troubled, God showed up with a gift. It wasn’t wrapped in pretty paper with a bow, nor found perfectly placed under a brightly lit tree. No, it was placed directly into my broken heart. “
‘Graffiti’, however, is not simply a story of hope in darkness. Not simply a story of one person’s challenge to grow.
It is a challenge to us all. God never has, and never will, want to us to remain in our comfort zones. He doesn’t want us to run away from the world’s problems. It’s so easy to make problems just words on paper or a picture on the screen. LIke I did before I met a homeless person.
We can’t live in ignorance of the pain of God’s world. (you can tweet that here)
In it’s 44 pages, ‘Graffiti’ confronts us with the uncomfortable truth that these problems are real. They involve real people.
And God is calling us to be the solution.To be the change He wants in the world.
But ‘Graffiti’ shows that changing the world can be a simple as building relationship. Acknowledging people and loving them. Showing them how valued they are. And in the process, we discover that a homeless person and a woman from suburbia aren’t so different after all.
As Alene shares toward the end:
“This is the beautiful graffiti of the heart, of which life is made, if we can only open our eyes and see. To see not the bold outlines and colors that make us different, but to see the heart graffiti that makes us the same.”
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. It has both challenged and inspired me to confront these issues, and it will do the same for you. If you want to grow in faith, and you care about social justice, this is a book you really can’t afford to miss.
It’s a relatively short book. I read it in just over an hour, and wasn’t able to put it down. And, I neither, I suspect will you.
“Graffiti” is available on Amazon for kindle now – just go here & get your copy. And until the end of the 26th November 2012, the book available absolutely free. (Yes, I said free).
You can find more information on the book here – I’ll be writing a guest post there in a few days too.
(But even if you miss the free deadline, I guarantee it’s well worth paying for).
So take a step to growth. Read this book.
And be ready to leave your comfort zone.
Alene Snodgrass, the author of ‘Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street’ is a writer and speaker from Texas, US, who loves to share stories. Alene speaks regularly around the US at conferences, retreats, and women’s groups sharing Christ through her real life experiences.
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