A few weeks ago, my church, CrossWinds Church, went to the Downtown Rescue Mission and held an R&R event for the women and children there. Rest and Relaxation… Now, usually, when you think of a homeless mission, R&R is the last thing that comes to mind, but definitely one of the most needed things 🙂
We brought in stylists from the Stile Salon, a makeup artist from our church, photographers, as well as other volunteers. We had the women come and get a makeover, their hair styled, their nails done, and then had a photo session. We took portraits of them alone or with their children, if they were there with them at the mission. We had a snack table and some toys and coloring books to keep the kiddos occupied while their mommas were being pampered.
While there that day, I noticed three ‘shifts’ that took place, all starting with the letter P: Posture, Posing, and Perspective.
Posture. One of the things that I noticed about the ladies was their posture. When they first came in the room, their heads were down, their shoulders were slumped, and they were extremely timid to talk to us. But as we began to pamper them, converse with them – LOVE them – their posture changed dramatically. Their chins lifted, their shoulders went back, they looked us in the eyes, they opened up, they smiled.
Posing. After these ladies were dolled up, they went to see Geneva and Jeanette, our photographers. These ladies had set up a winter backdrop, along with props for a professional portrait. The DRM ladies, when they first went to pose for the picture, were very shy. They were looking beautiful, but needed a little encouragement to smile and really pose. As the photographers went on about how lovely these ladies looked, their posing began to be more elaborate. They smiled beautifully and posed like they were being put on the cover of Vogue magazine!
Perspective. As these ladies went through their beautification process, I noticed a shift in perspective. The ladies began to view themselves as women of worth, of value. Not that a little makeup, nail polish, hair spray, and curls have any magic powers or add any value at all to a human being, but conversation, eye contact, human touch, and love do. But not only did THEIR perspective change, MINE did too.
Not that I ever once thought I was better than these ladies. I never even looked at them with pity. More like women who were just dealt a bad hand of cards. Someone in a current state of need, who needed fixing. And here I was, a fixer! “Da-da-da-dah!! Here I come to save the day!!” But no… that was not the perspective God wanted me to have that day – or for any day actually. A perspective shift was needed.
As I stood there and looked around the room at God’s love in action, I realized WE are all in the same boat – on the same playing field – all in need of fixing. Only by the grace of God am I not there in the mission. And the only one qualified to be the ‘fixer’ is the Big Man Upstairs. He just needs us to be His hands and feet, voice and ears. I was humbled at the thought that He lets me be in on His plan.
At the end of the day, I was talking with Mrs. Geneva, one of our photographers. As we discussed what a wonderful afternoon we just had, she tearfully said, “I loved doing this. I just want to help these ladies see themselves the way that God sees them.” At that moment, I realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Help others see themselves the way God sees them. Letting the lyric to that old Christmas song become a new personal mantra starting in 2014 – “Do you see what I see?” Can’t you hear Him asking you that? “Do you see what I see?” Once you see yourself the way God sees you, as His beautiful creation, His daughters and sons, the sky’s the limit to what you can achieve.