Long gray hair, weary eyed, and slumped over. This dear older woman in rehab caught my attention week after week. It’s as if she could have folded her shoulders across her chest with the way she bent over in her chair.
So when she wept and prayed with her hands crossed, leaning on her knees during worship, I wondered about her. I wanted to know her story. Her life. Her heart. Her hopes. Her desires. Her reason for the road that brought her to recovery via a court appointed action.
But I loved that she came to church service! I loved how she brought her brokenness! I loved how she stayed! I loved how she’s held on! Even if by a thread! But I didn’t love how she looked away or glanced down whenever I spoke to her. I kept trying to reach out to her, but she appeared like a shadow of a person who hid in the crowd.
A few weeks ago, she finally made eye contact with me. And I with her. Her smile snuck out, and she made an attempt to greet me.
Then I hugged her the next week. And the next. And the next. She still cried most of the service. But she remained in worship, even though I sensed she longed to run off. But fortunately, she ran to the Lord.
Then one Sunday, she raised her hand and asked for prayer. “I’m being attacked in my mind. I am battling. I am struggling. I am having the hardest time ever. I need Jesus. I need Him to give me strength and to help me fight the devil.”
Her honesty and bravery at needing strength from God stirred everyone, not only me, but my ladies in service (other addicts who are struggling). So, we gathered around to pray for her! But I told them, “This prayer, is my prayer for you, too! We’re all battling. We’re all struggling. We all need Jesus.”
This sweet time of praying together connected our hearts with our Savior and brought liberty and healing and confidence in knowing God hears and holds and comforts.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet. 2:24
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Ps. 55:22
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9
After service, my warrior friend came to me, and this time she hugged me. Yes, she reached for my neck. Cried on my shoulder. And held me. I love that trust is building and faith is growing in her. Not just in her … but in me.