Right Here, Right Now

I stayed with my grandmother for a brief stint when God called me to end my relationship and leave my home. During this time Aiden rode the bus to school.

One morning I woke up late yet managed to get Aiden dressed and at the bus stop within 10 minutes flat. While waiting for the bus I noticed four girls and one boy huddled in a circle. It didn't take me long to figure out what they were huddled around, looking, and laughing at. A condom. The same used condom and wrapper that I had stepped over for the past week in disgust. Someone had carelessly discarded this condom right at their bus stop. So, that morning as these elementary students laughed and kicked at this used condom I realized that I had missed an opportunity to act. I chose to rely on "someone" to pick up that condom.

I remember taking a good look around the neighborhood. Foreclosed properties. Unkempt yards. Trash littered everywhere. Kids with no jackets. Each day I drove past these homes and these children, but I never really saw them because it was not my reality.

I had been researching mission trips and that day I realized I did not need to go anywhere. I did not need to take an 18 hour flight to another country to speak life into the lost. The opportunity was right in my backyard.

God woke me up that morning just in time. There was no alarm. I needed to see those kids. God needed to wake me up and draw awareness to the immediacy, urgency, and needs of those right within my neighborhood. God is sending me on a mission trip...right into my own backyard.

It's so easy to witness injustice and adopt an attitude of indifference because it's not our reality. Yes, we may feel bad about it, but sometimes it is difficult to bridge that gap in our mind that makes that person, that project, or that cause seem so far-away and irrelevant to our day-to-day life. Instead of adopting my normal "but, God" list I sat there in my car and posed one question:

"What do you want me to do here?"

But, I already knew. I went home, grabbed some gloves, and trash bag. I went back picked up that used condom and the rest of the trash that littered that lawn. I accepted God's call to action. I went home, got on my knees, and prayed.

Father God,

Use me. You have my hands. You have my feet. You have my eyes. You have my legs. You have my mouth. You have everything. Thank you for waking me up. Thank you for popping my bubble. Thank you for forcing me to live aware...not just of my needs, but the needs of others. Thank you for paving the way and ordering my steps. Send me. I'll go.

In Jesus Name...Amen

So, today ask God what He wants you to do "there." You are not "there" by accident. WAKE UP! Ask God to alert you to the needs of those in your immediate surroundings—workplace, neighborhood, family, and community.. Recognize that He may be asking you to plant a seed. Recognize that He may be calling you to get your hands dirty. If one person plants to the seed, and another person comes along and waters it, and another person spreads a little sunshine then at some point that flower will blossom. However, if we refuse to accept our call to action that initial seed may never have an opportunity to take root and change a life. Refuse to turn a blind eye. Choose to act. Choose to be that "someone." Remain aware so that you don't spend a week walking over or looking past something or someone that God needs YOU to help. Wake up.

Ashley Ivery is a single mother of two brilliant children, Aiden and Devyn, with an overwhelming desire to empower women and help them to realize the importance of a relationship with God. Through her writing she hopes to encourage women to claim their strength and value in Christ. Ashley serves as the Residential Listing Partner for Team Harris Real Estate. She graduated from Fayetteville State University in 2012 with a BS in Psychology. Her motto is: "Be Authentic. Live Honestly. Dispel Light."