(This is a true story and names have been changed, but names are the only thing that has been changed!)
Two days before I met Darlene, she decided to give up cocaine—for good–and the LORD met her where she was and started working mightily in her life.
When I went to the library that morning, I wasn’t thinking about a divine appointment, and I didn’t know that. I got out of my car and saw Darlene walk up over the hill, but really didn’t think much about it; there were people there often from the homeless shelter next door.
We happened to get to the sidewalk at the same time, so I asked her how she was doing. “Not too good,” she said, and I sensed a true heaviness in her.
I looked at her. “Do you have a loving church family praying for you?”
She shook her head. “I got out of jail in October, and have been sleeping wherever I can since then.”
It didn’t matter about her past. I felt she was telling me the truth. What mattered was now, and but for the grace of God, I could have been her. (I’ve never done drugs like that, but I still had challenges and temptations to overcome, as we all have!)
I turned to her and said, “Do you know the LORD Jesus Christ as your Savior?” And she was honest. “No…..”
I recognized what God was doing. “Then you can know Him right now! He can be your Best Friend! And He is so good! He has a wonderful life for you!”
I led her in the prayer and she, crying, received the LORD!
Still being cautious because the enemy attempts to deceive, I was on high alert, listening in my spirit for any warning from the Holy Spirit.
I didn’t get one, so I proceeded. “Have you not been able to get into the shelter?” I knew the managers were kind Christians because my husband and I had ministered there every month for years.
I had a slight dart of fear, wondering what she’d done and why she couldn’t get in. But I knew that fear was from the enemy, so I ignored it. My mighty God had my back. Through the blood of Jesus, I had a covenant of protection with Him.
“Why can’t you get into the shelter?” I asked again.
“I don’t have my ID card. But I can get one if I can just get to the Department of Finance and Administration. They have my records.”
“So you don’t have a job, or a husband?”
“No.” And she held up a loaf of bread. “The Friendship Center feeds me every day.”
I hesitated. We had cut up all our credit cards a couple years before, had made a vow not to borrow any more money from anyone, and were radically attacking every debt in our lives while we continued to tithe and give to various ministries. But I made the decision to trust God to guide me and to supply. “I don’t carry cash or a checkbook,” I told her. “But I have a two quarters to call my church and see if they can help. How much do you need?”
“It’s just $15 to get my ID card,” she said. And, again still checking with the Holy Spirit and feeling peace, as well as being surprised at the very low fee, I called my church. I queried them about programs, not knowing if we had any in place yet, although I knew it was a goal. And I asked them to pray. The LORD had orchestrated this whole thing, and my pastor was there and he and his daughter said they would cover me. That reassured me even more.
I put down the phone and told her, “Tell you what. I believe my husband and I can help you. But I have a few things to do. Meet me here at 2:00. I WILL be back.”
She hugged me and said, “Okay, I believe you.”
“Some of us ARE sincere,” I told her.
I finished my other errands and went home. And just like someone enjoying giving at Christmas, I went around the house, gathering things for her, i.e., a well-used Bible that my husband had just replaced for my birthday, personal items, my beloved battery-operated radio, even a butterfly ornament that I’d felt strongly should not be packed up with the Christmas tree—but should be kept out to remind me that this was my year of transformation. I wanted to keep it, but believed it would mean a lot to her, so I made the decision to give it to my new sister in Christ.
After all, this was also the year of transformation for Darlene!
“Thank You, LORD, You bless us to bless others!” I told Him. We Covenant people are so very wealthy with the goodness of God!
I packed some chocolate chip cookies that I’d made the day before, and put in some other snacks and goodies as well. I was tickled to give this to her, and thought, If I’m this excited to help rescue and restore someone, and to give to her—when I don’t even know her—then how much more is God eager to give and bless and rescue and restore, and He knows all about us, but loves us anyway!
We got in the car and I could tell she was nervous. She had also had to make the decision to trust, and I was glad she did. It may have been out of a sense of desperation, but sometimes that’s what it may take for us to make necessary changes.
We drove to the finance and administration office, just a few blocks away. Again, I knew the city buses ran close enough, and she could have walked. But I also knew this was my assignment, to help Darlene be rescued and on the road to restoration.
When we walked in, one of the clerks whom I’d met a few weeks before asked, “Can I help you?” I pointed to Darlene and said, “I’m here to help her.”
Darlene gave the information needed to get her card, and I talked to some of the other personnel, most of whom I’d known for years. I invited one to my church again, and testified about how the LORD had recently instantly healed my neck in a service, and how the LORD had healed another friend of mine years ago of a very painful back condition.
Shortly, Darlene turned to me and said, “It will just be $5!” I believe that small price was the favor of God too. I paid for the card, then made the decision to give the other $10 to her, for I’d thought that the price would be $15 for the card anyway. Darlene just looked at me, like I’d given her a thousand bucks, and said, “Really?!”
My heart ached. I wish I’d had a thousand dollars to give her, and I knew I felt a very slight part of what our tender Father God, awesome in His unfailing mercy and love, feels for each of us. And as much as He gives, He wants to give more.
Then again, I was more blessed than she, because I had made the decision to work with Him, so that He could give her the most priceless gift of all—eternal life. And truly, the little bit of time and money and possessions I had shared with her were nothing, nothing, nothing at all, compared to Him giving His life for hers!
How gloriously humble and awesomely, sacrificially, completely IN LOVE with us is our Father God, Who pities us, Who is so eager to deliver us, to cover us, to restore and bless us!
The LORD blessed us and the clerk found Darlene’s information. She went over to get her photo made, and as I smiled at her, I announced to a woman who had just come in, “Darlene just received the LORD Jesus Christ today!” I didn’t know if the woman was a believer or not, but she must have been, because she beamed at us.
“I can’t believe I got my ID card!” Darlene said, as we left. And I praised the LORD for His favor.
We headed to the shelter, and the clerk told us there were no beds available for women. “Show us what to do, LORD,” I whispered. I made the decision to wait on the LORD and trust Him to work on our behalf.
Meanwhile, one of the men who helped run the desk knew me and gave Darlene and application. “Can I put you down as my emergency contact?” she asked.
I made the decision to continue to trust the LORD. “Yes. Put me down as a friend. And here’s my phone number, but please don’t give it out; it’s private.”
“Yes ma’am,” she said. And I knew in my heart that she would keep her word.
A couple minutes later, Darlene whispered to me, “Should I put on there about me doing cocaine, even two days ago? But I haven’t done it since then.”
“Yes, tell everything. Tell the truth,” I told her. “I believe being honest will help.”
Meanwhile, I chatted with the gentleman that had given her the application. “You know, none of us can judge another, for every human is born with a criminal record—until the blood of Jesus washes it away!” He nodded, and I could tell that he hadn’t thought of it that way before.
She signed the application and waited. I believe she made the decision to trust in the LORD’s mercy and goodness.
Then the main manager who knew my husband and I heard my voice, stuck her head out of the office, winked at me and said, “Just a minute.”
She rearranged things—God is The Rearranger!—for Darlene to have a bed and be able to stay there!
I immediately had Darlene raise her hands to Heaven with me and repeat after me, “Thank You LORD Jesus for letting me get into the shelter!”
Then I led Darlene outside and prayed with her. I led her to renounce all of satan’s works in her life in Jesus’ name and ask Jesus to help her be strong and get to know Him. I told her that asking Jesus into her heart was the BEST thing she’d ever done, and that He had a wonderful plan for her life, and that it would get much better from here.
Darlene was amazed at how He moved for her at the shelter and otherwise. She’d made the decision two days earlier to give up cocaine, and I believe the LORD honored her desire for a new life–and sent someone to introduce her to JESUS, the TRUE LIFE!
She had made the wisest decision of her life to call upon the holy LORD of Heaven and earth Who is Love, and He–Who had already made the decision to rescue and restore her over 2000 years ago–answered.
INVEST. CONNECT. EMPOWER. LOVE. Aren’t you glad God did?!
copyright 2010 by Tonja K. Taylor