Do you remember the scene in Bruce Almighty where Bruce (Jim Carrey) is frantically driving down the road as he pleads for God to give him a sign? A flashing road sign blinks in front of him “caution ahead” and a construction truck packed with signs reading “stop,” “yield” and “road closed” cuts Bruce off. Yet he doesn’t notice any of them. Have you ever had one of those moments? Where you were praying for some insight or a sign and it was right in front of you, just in an unassuming, ordinary form?
One morning last week I was headed to Saint James UMC in Baltimore to learn about how they are serving their community. The church sits directly on North Monroe St. which is packed with people and cars every day of the week. This day was no exception. As I circled the block looking for parking every curb and every alleyway was filled. On my second circle of the block it seems that construction crews had appeared out of nowhere. Orange cones blocked my path and a jack hammer was being unloaded out of the back of a truck. Before I knew it the street was closed and every way to the church was blocked.
As I made the decision to leave I couldn’t shake this feeling that there was something I was supposed to be doing, somewhere I was supposed to be and it wasn’t at Saint James UMC. I eventually decided to detour to Wilkens Ave. just a few blocks away, thinking I could at least stop by Living Well on Wilkens and check on our ministry house for women caught in prostitution, addiction and homelessness. I pulled up to the house just as a woman who had been knocking on the front door was turning to walk away. She was frail, shaking, a bit disheveled and she was clearly looking for help.
Although the home wasn’t open yet for the day I was able to let her inside where we sat for over an hour and talked. While we talked I learned that her name was Chrissy, that she is a mother and a wife and that she is battling drug addiction. Chrissy desperately wanted help and believed she was ready to face her addiction. While we were there Chrissy ate, showered and received the resources and support she needed to get connected to the detox program at Bon Secours Hospital from Cathie Wildes our program manager.
What a grace-filled moment it was for me to remember that at times God puts detours in our path in order to put us where we need to be. What a blessing it was to see the Living Well on Wilkens Day Center being used for exactly what our congregation dreamed of.
Cathie Wildes has been keeping up with Chrissy by phone over the past week. Unfortunately Chrissy decided not to walk through the doors of Bon Secours that day. The power of addiction keeps a strong and fearful hold on people’s lives that we struggle to comprehend. The good news here is that Chrissy now has a safe place to hear God’s message of hope for her life and we will be there to share that message time and time again until she is ready to walk through the doors.
Please keep Chrissy and Living Well in your prayers and pay attention to those moments when God is calling you to turn aside and go another way.
Grace and Peace,
Learn more about Living Well on Wilkens here.