Please Help

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of our van this afternoon waiting with the kids while Doug picked up some groceries inside Ralph’s. We were on our way home from the hospital where I have been since Friday with symptoms of pre-term labor. I was enjoying my time catching up with the kids when I looked up and saw a young girl, maybe ten years old, standing beside the entrance of Ralph’s. I noticed her because she was just standing there, alone, and she was holding a little sign–something scrawled on a piece of cardboard. When she turned a bit I could read the words: “Please Help”.

I couldn’t leave the kids alone in the car and I was on bed-rest orders from the hospital, and I felt a bit paralyzed about what to do. I couldn’t believe that a parent would drop their child off and have her stand, alone at a grocery store, asking for money. People went in and out of the store, and no one stopped to talk to this little one. I called Doug on his cell phone and told him when he came back out I needed to go and talk with her. I also decided to call L.A.P.D. dispatch to have an officer come out and check on her situation.

When I finally had the chance to talk with her, I asked her what she needed help with. She told me that her family needed money for gas for their car, and she pointed toward the other side of the parking lot where they must have been waiting. By then the Ralph’s security guard had already come out to talk with her as had a few other customers. L.A.P.D. arrived by the time we were leaving, and I wondered at what would happen to this girl and to the adults in her life that seemed so casual (and calculating) in their use of her. I felt that deep frustration as well that comes with situations where I don’t know how to get involved, or where I only scratch the surface by giving someone a bit of cash or calling for some other authority to intervene (which was all I did in this case).

Mercy and I talk a lot about the story of the Good Samaritan. How costly the call to love is, and how regularly I choose, for reasons good and bad, to pass by at a distance.


  1. How many weeks along are you, Erika?

    DO follow your doctor’s orders for bedrest. (Easier said than done, I know.) I feel like I’ve spent have of my pregnant life on bedrest, but every single moment of non-activity was completely worth it as I look at my VERY active boys today.

  2. Robyn,

    I thought of you.

    How did you do it?!?!?!

    I feel like they are impossible orders, but even the slightest activity I feel the impact of almost immediately…

    Pray for me.

  3. Thanks for sharing this story.Living in Paris, I see a lot of this. We cannot dsimiss thinking further on situations like this, and deciding how God would have us respond–challenging stuff.

  4. Erika — I prayed for you this morning. You can do it…one moment at a time. Don’t look at the days or weeks, but the minutes.

    There’s a praise chorus I used to sing to the boys, “You have a maker, He formed your heart, before even time began, your life was in His hands. And He knows your name…”

    It gave me great peace to know that the Maker of the universe was knitting my boys together in my womb, and He knows.

    How far along are you? You can do what you can do, and that’s all. Don’t let guilt in, it does nobody any good.

  5. Less than 24 hours in LA and you were back in the hospital?! Astounding! Thanks so much for your candor and transparency, Erika. Hang in there! As for the story of the good Samaritan, I have to think that sometimes we take on the role or are called to the role of the Samaritan, but there are probably other times where we are more like the man on the side of the road, needing help. So maybe, sometimes, it’s not that you are choosing to pass by from a distance – but that maybe you, too, are like the one you think you are passing: wounded, sick, injured, dying, waiting for someone to help.
    You are in my prayers! Let me know if I can help out in anyway.

  6. Karla,

    Thank you for the kind words. What a timely reminder to one who likes to see herself as the helper and not the needy among us 🙂

  7. I am praying for you and your little one, erika. I had to be on bedrest for about 6 weeks when we were waiting for Emma to arrive. All I can say is that the Lord taught me what it means to rest in Him over those six weeks. I am so glad you noticed the little girl and took appropriate action. Oh, if we would only slow down enough to notice the needs around us.

    Exodus 33:13-15 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

    14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

    We all worry about you.

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