I awoke with a start to the ringing phone. Bleary-eyed, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 5:30 a.m. on my only day to sleep in. Who would be calling at this hour?
“This is the police. We are with a woman in crisis. I understand you are a counselor. Could you come over?”
I had missed my counseling work and had been toying with the idea of starting a practice. Since my pastor-husband had been transferred to a small community, I had relied on my physical therapy, since it was easier to find work in that profession.
I thought for a minute. I might find anything in that home. I had no liability insurance. I had a busy day planned. I had lots of excuses.
My devotional time had not been what it should have been lately, and in the previous month I had recommitted my time to my Lord. I had been praying that God would use me and that I would be sensitive to His voice.
“I’ll be right there.”
As soon as I arrived, the police made a quick exit. Dave, my husband, waited for me in the car.
The woman had been through a messy divorce and was now a single parent with three kids, a low-end job, in bankruptcy, and about to lose her home. She was numb, depressed, potentially suicidal.
“God,” I prayed, “I think You got me into this mess. You will see me through.”
With the intervention of two physicians the woman was admitted into the small local hospital. A friend of hers took the kids. We filled in the gaps when she couldn’t keep them. Our well-planned week disintegrated. We made adjustments daily.
Fortunately the medication helped very quickly. We took turns visiting her in the hospital. I did counseling, and Dave shared Jesus and the assurance of His love and saving grace.
Her physician asked me to follow her after discharge. I gave her my pager number, just in case she needed it. She used it often, with a 911 after her number. We met once a week, and many times I fell into discouragement. “We’re not getting anywhere, Lord.” But somehow I heard a voice telling me to stay with it.
Every week I encouraged her to return to church. She had been faithful in the past, but her bad choices haunted her. I prayed for her and with her.
At last I began to see changes. She found a church family, she confessed her sins, and recommitted her life to Jesus. She felt a need to obey and follow Him. She had some amazing answers to prayer. God saved her home. She had found joy and purpose in her life, and she thanks God every day for us.
What a blessing we would have missed had I said “No.”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
By Sylvia Pereyra Shasky
Do you have a stewardship story? Tell it to us: Share Your Stewardship Story » NAD Stewardship