I had the most extraordinary experience this week. Linda and I attended the AGM for Coverdale Centre a women’s ministry in Saint John. There in the front row was someone I didn’t recognize. She was beautifully dressed and seated next to a young man who was obviously smitten with her. It turned out he was her fiancé. I did notice a tattoo which was reminiscent but I could not figure out where I had seen it. This young woman was the key speaker at the meeting. As she was introduced my jaw dropped (and ‘jaw dropping’ is not as easy for me as it once was), this was Holly!
I met Holly over three years ago. She was a hilariously funny and very creative person with a terrible drug addiction which was obviously killing her. At the time I met her I was working closely with my friend Catherine. Catherine was an outreach worker at our church. She became a great friend and support to Holly and it seemed for a while that there might be hope in Holly’s dark world. Just about that time Catherine’s employment came to an abrupt halt and we lost track of Holly. The last glimpse of her I had was as she was standing on a street corner. She was selling her terribly thin body in order to buy more drugs. After that I didn’t see her. I assumed that she had probably died in some crack-shack.
I remember feeling upset that we should be brought into her life and then because of a decision by others, lose that entrée. I did not know that God had a bigger plan than I saw. A local women’s addiction centre sent Holly to a treatment centre where she ‘got clean’ and more importantly found Jesus!
I did not recognize the no longer rail thin young woman. As she spoke she gave credit to Jesus that now she was clean, reunited with her children, no longer living on the streets but living in a house. She has a young man who is also a Jesus follower and she has a future!
This week at Street Hope we did a study on Romans 8:28 “God works all things together for good…” This is an often misused verse. Church people use it to tell us to “be happy” when we are most sad. I remember hearing it countless times when our son died and it was not particularly helpful. God does not make bad things! God uses the bad things that happen! He is not called Almighty for nothing!
I was upset when Holly was no longer in our orbit. I should have remembered my father’s saying “The graveyards are filled with indispensable people.” God has his ways which are higher than mine. Holly’s story will keep me going for a long time. I know others in very similar circumstances and I pray “God what you have done, do again. Nothing is impossible for you.”