I received an amazing e-mail from someone I haven’t seen in a while. It was to let me know how well she is doing, and oh my she is doing well. She is a part-time student with a job and custody of her little girl. More importantly she is three years clean and four years since she sold herself for money. She wrote to tell me that she is starting her own support group for women and that she won an award for woman of the year at a gala dinner recently.
I met with her for a tea and we talked for hours about her life. We joked about who we were both back 6 years ago-both very different women in different seasons of life. She remembered the time I kicked her out of HHSM because we were tired of her stealing extra clothes and we all assumed it was because of her that we were broken into. I said “do you remember when we asked you to come in and help us sort clothes and a few days later we were robbed?” She said “I don’t remember everything from back then Helen and I know I used to steal extra stuff from you but I promise you I did not have anything to do with that. Is that why you guys kicked me out for so long that time? Helen I have done a lot of bad things in my life and even broke the rules with you guys a lot but the mission was the one place I could come in and get a coffee, get off my corner and for a few hours forget what I needed to do next to survive. I would never have done that to you, please believe me.”
I did believe her. I looked into her eyes and I realized that all these years I had accused someone in my mind of something they did without having proof. I assumed because of her lifestyle that it must have been her. I humbly asked for her forgiveness for the accusation I made to her character all these years. I was a naive missionary in the city that wanted to make sure someone paid (even if only in my mind) for taking from us when we were trying to help. I wanted justice and she was the easiest target.
She took my hand and looked in to my eyes and said” thank-you for apologizing to me. I have spent the last 3 years trying to make up for the things I have done to others and asking for my own forgiveness and I know that wasn’t easy. I forgive you and thank-you for being in my life even when you didn’t have the tools to always do it right. I always tell people that my location isn’t my destination and we have both grown into better women Helen”
I thought about her words when we parted and it really made me think. This whole journey of life is so often filled with who are we helping? Is anyone hearing us? Are we changing lives? I don’t believe God sends us to help other people because he somehow thinks WE are healthy and THEY need us. I believe He sends us to connect with each other equally in the hopes that we BOTH come out of the relationship better on the other side. My friend was helped in one part of her journey by connecting with HHSM but God sent her there to help make me a better woman too. I am grateful He did.