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The other Rebecca

Last night, I met another Rebecca. She was about my age. Like me, she had three kids: two girls and a boy. But she is homeless and her kids are in care. She hasn’t seen them in two years.

The other Rebecca and I both had tattoos. Hers were real, encrusting her arms. Mine had been applied by my daughters at a kids party the previous day.

As we sat and ate together, Rebecca was given clothes: second-hand clothes to help her through the next few weeks. Trying to relate, I told her I had also been given clothes this weekend. A kind French woman whose name I did not even know had asked me if I wanted her maternity clothes. I accepted, gratefully, as it saved me the time and energy of shopping (which I hate).

Rebecca and I talked about naming our sons. I confessed that, with a month of pregnancy left, my husband and I still hadn’t settled on a name. She shared that she had not even known she was pregnant until she gave birth to her son, so naming him was a rush job.

When the time came for us to pray together, I asked for her requests. She said she longed to find a job so she could get herself off the streets and have access to her kids again. My prayer needs felt so pale by comparison: pregnancy was beginning to wear on me. My back and my bump were slightly sore. I wanted to pray that my son would grow up in the Lord. She wanted to pray that she would have the chance to see her kids again.

As we prayed, Rebecca started to cry. She was so grateful for me and the other women she had met that night. She hadn’t known our church’s regular meal for the homeless would be paired with a short service that evening, but she was glad she had come. I felt a sense of wonder that she did not just resent my privilege and that our small connection had brought her any joy. I prayed that Jesus would be near to her, and I felt ashamed of all the times I sense lacking in my full-to-bursting life.

But one thing I knew: if Jesus had walked into the building at that moment, he would have seen this Rebecca and drawn near to her. For him, she would have been the most important person in the room.

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