Our good friend Valerie from back East was in town for work and came by the shop to visit Donna and me. She broke down in tears as she expressed her fears. Her ex-husband is an alcoholic. He is sober sometimes but then lies about being sober at other times. She really needed to take this job and had to leave her three kids with him for the four days and one of the kids was sick.

When she spoke with him on the phone she could tell by his slurred words that he’d been drinking and she was terrified something could happen to the kids. Besides that, her new husband was just laid off his job and she’s was so worried they wouldn’t have the money for bills or to properly take care of the 8 kids they have between them. She told us her world was falling apart. What did I do?

To be honest, I was caught off guard and didn’t do the right thing. I was caught in the downhill spiral and felt a little overwhelmed myself. Donna and I said we felt so bad for her and we would pray. She left and I felt this emptiness as I saw her walk away. I prayed for Valerie that night but I still had a niggling feeling that things weren’t quite right with how I handled the situation. I felt Donna had done the right thing but it was me. Somehow I missed something.

I didn’t realize what it was until three days later. Jesus told me what was wrong. I’m a minister and I should have taken her outside away from where all the other people were (accept Donna of course), and prayed right there. That was when she really needed it.

Jesus let me know that I’d messed up big time and I needed to repent, which I did. Of course I felt terrible and I had to apologize to Valerie too. I’d lost the opportunity to minister to my friend at her point of need.

I was reminded of James 2:15-16 where it says, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and you say to that person, ‘God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,’ but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing.” As it says in Hebrews 1, “NOW faith is,” not later when I get around it it.

This experience was a great wake-up call for me. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But Jesus has given us the ability to overcome our weaknesses. My strength is in my writing. My weakness is in thinking on my feet and acting immediately. But I’m determined, with Jesus’ help to change that, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16).

I don’t want to be “unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17). “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake” (Rom 13:11). “Let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10). I hope this story is helpful to you and I know we’ll all be ministering more quickly and efficiently in the love of Christ.

Have a great week.

Love, Carolyn

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