Her Name is Katie

Today I met Katie. I don't know her last name or much about her. She was standing outside Chic-fil-a in 105 degree weather. Her face was bright red, her eyes dull and her clothes dirty. She didn't ask for money or something to eat. In fact she moved away from our car as we approached and went to stand up against the building.

"Do you think she's okay?" I asked my husband.

"I don't know," he said.

I started to back out of my parking space, all the while watching her in my rear view mirror. I started to pull away. "Do you think she's hungry?" I asked as I drove away slowly.

"Pull around and ask her," Lee said.

So I did. The answer was "yes".  

I parked the car and joined her on the sidewalk.  As I approached her she asked, "What makes you so nice?"

One word flew out of my mouth, "Jesus."

"Let's go inside and get you some dinner," I said.

She stared at me. "I can go in with you?"

"Of course you can. Why wouldn't you?"

"I don't want to embarrass you," she said. My heart broke.

Inside we ordered her dinner, then made our way to a cool booth. We chatted a bit while poor Lee waited in the car.

Her name is Katie. I'd judge her to be in her mid to late 60s. She's smart, articulate and interested in others...and she's homeless. She asked questions about me, my family, where I'm from. She told me her story briefly, further breaking my heart.

I kept thinking about my poor husband waiting outside in the hot car. I had to leave, but I really wanted to sit and talk with my new friend more. When I told her I had to go, she said, "When I asked you why you were so nice, you said Jesus...would you pray for me before you go?"

That had been my intention all along.  We prayed. "Your good at that," she said.

I shrugged, "God's easy to talk to."

"You've been praying for a long time," she said.

I nodded, then stood and gave her a long hug. "I'll be praying for you every day, Katie, and anytime I'm in this area, I'll be watching for you so that we can share a meal and have a chat."

Her response..."Thank you for hugging me."

I drove away with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. My husband says I (we) did what Jesus would have done, but I wish we could have done more. I wish, like the Good Samaritan, I could have taken her to an Inn and paid for her care. I wish I could have taken her to a doctor to have the sores on her legs tended. I wish I had room to invite her to stay with us until we could find a home for her, but our second bedroom is already in use by someone else we're helping.

I wish I could really do what Jesus would have done. He might have healed her on the spot.

The only thing I can do is pray for her daily, trusting that Jesus will help her...or give me the means to help her if I see her again.

If you think about Katie after reading this, please mention her to God in prayer. I know this precious woman will never leave my mind and my heart. I wish I could have done more.

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Anonymous said...

You have such a sweet spirit, Jan. Many of us would be tempted to just give her money for a meal or possibly even ignore her presence. But you did what Jesus would do instead by eating with her and showing her love. What a beautiful story!

Jan Christiansen said...

Thank you, Tresa. I've thought about Katie many times since running into her and have been in the area, but not seen her since. Each time I think of her, I pray for her. Today, I'm praying that she is somewhere cool because it's 118 degrees here right now. It makes my heart hurt to think of those on the streets in weather like this.