I can tell you now… this will be one of those few days in life I won’t forget. I had spoken to Gary over the phone days prior to seeing him, and although I was looking forward to interviewing him, I was not looking forward to driving all the way to Dallas. I had worked that prior weekend and I was tired, exhausted would be the word I would use to describe how I felt. So, driving to Dallas wasn’t exactly something I wanted to do.
I have seen most of the world, I have witnessed destruction and poverty, and I have seen true hunger in the eyes of a child, and praise be to the Lord of Kings, everywhere I’ve been, I have seen the Lord working in mysterious ways, ever-present through strong men and women of God. But even those faithful men and women, as I, were weary, worn out, exhausted, and drained. They had a look that only one that has been there can recognize, only one that carries the invisible scars can see.
So, I wasn’t expecting much if I am honest. To make it even worst, instead of me asking God to give me words for someone in his situation, here I was thinking of my own problems, which by the way are small hiccups that have come from huge blessings the Lord has given me.
I saw Gary for the first time at a park, behind the Inn where Gary is currently staying with his son. I remember thinking that he didn’t look like someone we would imagine in his situation, and it wasn’t his appearance, it was the way he greeted me, full of joy, he looked like he didn’t have a worry in the world like he knew something I didn’t… or did I and conveniently had forgotten for a minute…?
Here is a man who lost his mother less than a year ago, one to whom he was close and who had stood by him throughout his lowest moments. Three months later he gets his youngest child, who was taken away from his ex-wife by CPS and then from him by the system. Someone who through all this also becomes homeless and unemployed. But despite it all, he holds tight to the peace the Lord placed in his heart.
“I praise Him for the new home that is on the way… I praise Him for the new car that is on the way. We want God to always give us something… have we thought about blessing and thanking God with our lives? This… is what we need to do…,” said Gary Rider. This is a man who is in surviving mode in my view… and he is the one reminding me? How self-center and blind have I become?
After that day I thank God for allowing me to be a part of this man’s life through NewDay Services (NDS). I thank the Lord for reminding me how blessed I am for being able to serve right next to His people, helping those like Gary who are going through hard times get their children back.
Since that day I thank the Lord because my NDS family and I, are truly trying to make a difference in the lives of the children whose parents we serve, and I refuse and will not take it for granted.