Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For Five Dollars

A few moments ago I pulled into my driveway after coming home from the Bible Study downtown. This Bible Study is called "Undivided Devotion" based on 1 Cor. 7:32-35. This weekly study began a little over a year ago for homeless women in our city. Many of whom work the streets for a living. This time together is to encourage them to live with "Undivided Devotion" to the Lord.

Once I came in our house, I shared with Reid about the evening, but wanted to record it for my own memory as well...

One friend who frequently attends the Bible Study is Betty. Betty is very soft-spoken. Her brownish-red hair is poofy behind her headband. Her attire is usually sweat pants and a large t-shirt. Betty is a little smaller than me and only a few years younger. Because of a disease, she shakes all the time - her hands, legs and feet. She never seems steady walking but convulses as she moves. I always stop myself from offering to help her because I know she doesn't like that. She is independent and prefers to do things for herself. Her shaking doesn't seem to bother her, but I struggle sometimes to see her difficulty with simple tasks.

Last week, I drove her back to the mission. While riding, she shared some of her story with me. Her mother killed herself when she was three, so she went to live with her Mamaw. Her Mamaw raised her until Betty was eleven, but then her Mamaw died as well. Betty was sent to live with her Aunt, but Betty confessed to doing something really bad. She compared her Aunt to her Mamaw...

Last week when we arrived at the mission, there were three police cars out front arresting a man. He was wearing a coat and nothing else. No pants, socks, or shoes. Realizing this was an awful greeting to come home to, I wanted to help her in. Pulling her rolling chair out of the trunk, I configured her belongings to keep them as dry as possible from the rain. As I helped Betty get out of the car, I offered to walk her in. She informed me that she "wasn't afraid" and had "faced far worse."

Betty then told me she has spent three years in prison. However, she "doesn't do those things anymore." (I don't know the crime.)

Tonight, she was in my small group. She shared how she prays for people whenever she hears them use God's name in vain. She prays for people when she hears them argue - which is frequent at the mission. Charlene, another lady in my group from the mission, said Betty spends much of her day at the altar praying. (The mission only allows the homeless to stay in the chapel during the day. Most resent it. Betty chooses to seize this time in the chapel to pray for others. This woman whose body shakes constantly spends her day kneeling for others. Her heart is beautiful.)

As we ended the evening tonight, Betty asked if she could ask for prayer for something. She was in tears by the time she spilled out any words. Betty was shaking violently while the women beside her were holding her hands.

Betty: "Can I ask for prayer for something?"
"Sure. Absolutely."
Betty: "You know I would die for him. Jesus. I would have died for him so he wouldn't have to die. I can't believe he did that for me."
Women around the room are struck silent.
Confidence wavering, Betty: "It's stupid to ask for prayer for this."
Betty's tears come now.
"No, Betty. It's okay. God cares about every need you have."
Betty: "Are you sure?"
"Yes, it's okay. You can pray about anything."
Trembling. Tearful. Betty: "T-t-tomorrow I h-h-have a doctor's appointm-m-ment. M-m-my insurance has ch-ch-changed and my d-d-doctor is going to change m-m-my medication. I have to p-p-ay five dollars to get it."
"You need five dollars for your medicine?"
"Y-y-yeah. S-s-see I told you it was s-s-stupid."
"Oh, sweetie. God cares about that. I believe he will provide for your need."
Stephanie (who runs Water Angels): "Betty, I bet that there is a five dollar bill in our offering box just for you. I think God wants to give you that money that you need for your medicine."
Awestruck Betty: "Really?"
"Yes, really. He loves you that much."
Betty: "Do you really think he loves me?"
"Yes, Betty. I know he does. So much. You are his beloved chosen child. He loves you."
Betty: "He really loves me?"
"Yes, Betty. He really loves you. He really does love you..."

But whoever loves God is known by God.
1 Corinthians 8:3

"You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

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