Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Being God's Helper

I’ve been part of a bible study at the local drug and alcohol rehab for women for several years now. It’s called Morgan’s Mercy Mansion but most of us just call it the Mansion. It's run by an independent Pentecostal church here in town. And it’s such an interesting blend of women that I talk about it a lot here.

Briefly, the bible study is usually about evenly divided with around 12 women from the Mansion and 12 other women from the mainline denominations in town, being mostly Baptists, Methodists, Christians, and Presbyterians. You couldn’t ask for a more diverse group of different ages and beliefs. We have some lively bible discussions.

I fell in love with the rehab center and the ladies who come and go for a six month stay. So I started going to their Thursday morning prayer meeting.

There are always prayers for patience to stick out the six-month program, for favor from various county judicial systems and child custody cases and for reconciliation within families. And then there are prayers for the smallest things that are so often taken for granted. Yesterday we prayed for toilet paper.

I have seen their prayers answered abundantly and vividly for both large requests and small. Money is always tight at the Mansion. One day they had been running low on money and food. And the ladies hadn’t had any meat for a few days. So they prayed and asked God to send them some hamburger meat. Before the day was over someone from their church had called and donated steaks. Ever since that day I have called them "the ladies who prayed for hamburger and got steak.”

Well, we’ve been praying for a dentist for a couple of years now.

A good majority of the ladies at the rehab are in their 20’s when their wisdom teeth start giving them trouble. Then there’s always one woman who has missing teeth from an abusive boyfriend, car accidents or just neglect. And most of the women don’t have dental insurance or money or, sometimes, even family.

Last Wednesday I went to the dentist for my regular check up. I am big on routine checkups. It was a routine mammogram that caught a cancerous lump in my breast. Caught it early enough that the treatment was almost routine and saved me a LOT of drama, possibly even saved my life. Routine checkups catch stuff before it has time to get big and ugly. I am all about routine checkups now.

Now--the thing about getting your teeth cleaned is that only the hygienist gets to talk. During one of the short spit breaks, I had asked about the pond that you can see from their window, so she was telling me how the dentist got a good deal on solar film for the windows by exchanging dental work.

At the next spit break I asked if they ever did free dental work for people with no money. When she told me that, yes, they do a lot of it, I sat up and started talking. The rest of the conversation fell right into place and by the very next morning when I walked into the Mansion for our regular prayer time, the staff greeted me with excitement they could barely contain and the news that “Bridgett is at the dentist!"

Seldom has just one sentence brought me such a good feeling. I felt so used. Most of the time you hear this phrase in a negative way, like: a boyfriend uses you to get what he wants not for your own benefit. Or your employers use you to get what they want. But when God uses you it’s a totally different feeling. I am certain that God used me to connect the need and the solution. The only question I have is why God didn’t just do it Herself instead of going through people. It certainly would have been easier and more organized.

I’m starting to appreciate that Christianity, when done correctly, is just a jumbled, messy, unorganized outfit that seldom makes sense. Christianity is a group experience.

Maybe God picked a writer to use knowing I would be here today with my fingers on the keyboard saying, “You wouldn’t believe what God did!”

I was only a set of ears taking in information, filtering it through my heart and sending words to my mouth when it was time for words. It only took one question and the ball started rolling. This was on Wednesday. Thursday morning Bridgett was at the dentist.

This morning I read something from one of my favorite blogs, RevGalBlogPals, an on-line preachers’ aid that usually has an interesting take on things. Here’s what someone wrote today:

I just got done reading Kate Braestrup's marvelous new book Beginner's Grace. In it, she tells a story of Mr. Roger's mom. First of all, don’t you feel better already, just thinking of Mr. Roger's mom? Anyway, in the book, Braestrup says that when Mrs. Rogers (Mom) would take Mr. Rogers (probably little Freddie in those days) to the movies, he would get disturbed by the pre-movie news reel. So much difficulty, death and destruction! Mrs. Rogers would tell him to "look for the helpers." If he looked, he could always find someone offering help, no matter how dismal the scene
God usually sends help in times of need. Sometimes you are an observer and sometimes you’re a helper. It feels good to be the humble helper.

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