I saw her before she saw me.

I had just pulled up into the gas station at the pump when I saw her chatting up the guy two cars down from me.

At first, it looked like they were friends, but then she turned and went to the man next to him.

And then she came to me.

I already knew what she was going to say before she said it. Her face, clothes, and teeth gave her away.

She was an addict. Meth? Heroin? I live in a state with the highest overdose death rate in the country so it’s not far fetched to think. 

“Hello,” She said with much cheer.

“Do you have a dollar I can have, or a cigarette?”

I didn’t have either.

“No. I don’t smoke.”

“I don’t smoke…anymore.”

“That’s great.” She said.

And I looked her in the eye and said, “Yes it is. Do you know that there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain?”

She continued, “I’ve tried quitting before, but…”

“But have you tried with Jesus?” I asked.

“No.”

“Do you mind if I pray for you? Do you mind if I pray that he would break any chains that you have?”

At first, she said no, that’s okay, but then she turned and said, “Sure.”

And I put my hand on her shoulder and I prayed for her right there in the middle of that gas station parking lot.

I prayed that God would meet her where she was. That He would break the chains of addiction that kept her bound and that He would begin that work in her right now. That He would place His hand on her life and lead her in His paths of righteousness. That she would know that she is well-loved by Him and would feel His overwhelming presence in all her brokenness. I prayed that through Him she would overcome her addictions and He would give her beauty for her ashes.

And then I hugged her and she went on her way. She got in her car and I got in mine.

Guys, I wish I could say that that is what happened, but let me rewind.

“Do you have a dollar I can have, or a cigarette?”

“No. I don’t smoke.”

“That’s great.” She said.

And then she moved on to the car next to me.

I finished pumping gas and got in my car and drove away.

This has been bugging me for days.

Because I wish I had said those things to her. I wish I had told her.

Not because I’m naïve enough to believe that I can change the course of someone’s else’s life, but because I am confident that Jesus can. He changed mine. He’s in the life transformation business. Who have I ever called on in times of trouble? Who has always rescued me? Who’s hope do I stand on? I didn’t have a dollar or a cigarette for her, but I did have hope. I could’ve shared my hope with her. 

Next time.

Oh, God, I hope there is a next time.

I pray that next time those words come rolling out of my mouth. Prepare me, Lord, to share with others what I already know to be true. That there is power in the name of Jesus.

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Sherry White

Sherry White writes about the messiness of life, parenting, and faith at her blog The Messy Christian. She tries to add her own brand of humor and insight into everyday issues we all face, reminding us that even though we find ourselves in countless messes, God’s grace lights the way. She would be thrilled if you follower her on Facebook and Instagram.

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